Oliver Awards 2022: Here's what the judges have to say ahead of glittering awards ceremony at Queens Hotel

Following hundreds of entries and hours of deliberation, the Yorkshire Evening Post has unveiled its shortlist for the Oliver Awards 2022.

By Abbey Maclure
Thursday, 10th March 2022, 4:30 pm

The finalists across 14 categories were announced last week, celebrating the best of Leeds' food and drink scene after what has been an incredibly challenging two years.

From the city's most vibrant bars and street food start-ups, to brunch connoisseurs and extraordinary fine-dining institutions, the Awards will highlight the outstanding talent that makes up the city's hospitality sector.

A glittering ceremony will be held at the newly-refurbished Queens Hotel on March 28, hosted by much-loved TV presenter Harry Gration.

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Clockwise from top left: Chef consultant Stephanie Moon, award-winning blogger Stanley Dru, wine writer Christin Austin and YEP business and lifestyle reporter Abbey Maclure

The finalists will enjoy drinks supplied by Hooting Owl Distillery before dinner, presentations and prizes.

The winner of the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Leeds food and drink scene will be announced on the night, as well as the ultimate accolade of Overall Restaurant of the Year.

Chef Works is sponsoring the highly-competitive Chef of the Year category, while the award for Best Brunch is backed by Northern Catering Equipment.

The Best Fine Dining Experience is sponsored by Hallgarten & Novum Wines and delivery service Pronto has got behind the new Best Takeaway Offering category.

A glittering ceremony will be held at the newly-refurbished Queens Hotel on March 28

Sustainability is high on the agenda for many hospitality businesses and ReFood UK Limited is sponsoring that award.

Dish Hospitality is behind the Newcomer of the Year category, while Best Bar is sponsored by Kopperberg.

The other categories are Best Cafe/Deli, Best Pub or Brewery, Best Speciality, Best Local Produce, Best Family Friendly, Best Customer Service and the new award for Best Use of Outdoor Space.

Making the all-important decisions is this year's panel of judges; consultant chef Stephanie Moon, wine writer Christine Austin, award-winning blogger Stanley Dru and YEP business and lifestyle reporter Abbey Maclure.

The finalists will enjoy drinks supplied by Hooting Owl Distillery before dinner, presentations and prizes

Here's what they had to say

"I was really impressed with so many of the entries," Christine said.

"Not only the quality of the food and presentation, but the way so many had managed to re-structure their businesses during lockdown to keep their customers and their neighbourhood supplied with quality food during this difficult time.

"The Awards are an unmissable event, it's an opportunity to rub shoulders with so many of the great chefs of our region and enjoy great food and wine."

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Stanley added: "There are some excellent entries this year, it was amazing to see so many new faces who managed to pull themselves through Covid and bring some new and exciting ideas to Leeds.

"Since this was my first time judging, and as someone who has nibbled and drank their way through Leeds, it was a hard task to choose the finalists.

"I think what we’ve agreed on is a brilliant example of Leeds' finest. And there are so many amazing credible establishments that are growing in popularity, so I think it’s going to get better and better year-on-year."

"What a year it's been," long-standing judge Stephanie said.

"There were outstanding entries with so much quality to review it was very tough to decide, and great to see Leeds has bounced back and showed the resilience of our beloved industry under tough times.

"The team did a great job everyone brought an individual dynamic which was exciting. The amount of entries was staggering and really impressive."

Abbey said: "I was blown away by the quality of entries and it was a tough job to whittle them down, but our finalists really showcase Leeds' fantastic and diverse offering.

"The award ceremony will be a night to remember and I hope many of you will join us for a fabulous celebration of Leeds' food and drink scene."

Who are the finalists of the Oliver Awards 2022?

Best Cafe/Deli

Coffee & Cake House

Fika North

Grön

Le Chalet

Love Brownies

The Leeds Deli

Best Pub or Brewery

Amity Brew Co

Duke of Wellington

Horsforth Brewery

Kirkstall Brewery Taproom & Kitchen

The Beehive Thorner

The Lamb & Flag

The Crown Hotel at Boston Spa

Best Brunch

FINT

Fleur Cafe

Gaucho Leeds Electro Brunch

Grand Pacific

Mans Market

Moss and Moor

Saint Jude

Best Use of Local Produce

Brontae’s

byMölly

CULTO

The Beehive Thorner

The Tetley Bar and Kitchen

Best Bar

Angelica

Below Stairs

Hedonist

Jigger and Jar

Neighbourhood

Salon Prive

Tabula Rasa

Best Speciality

Bundobust

Chophaus

Döner Summer

Issho

Kuala Lumpur Cafe

Oxford Place

Tharavadu

Best Family Friendly

Grumpy’s

Le Chalet

Salute At The White Swan

The Forde

Zaap Thai

Zucco

Best Use of Outdoor Space

Chow Down

CULTO

East 59th

Kirkstall Bridge Inn

Restaurant Bar + Grill

Sustainability Award

Bottle Chop

Eat Your Greens

Gaucho

North Star Coffee

The Alchemist Bar & Restaurant

Best Customer Service

Escapism Bar Group

Fazenda

Kuala Lumpur Cafe

Jigger and Jar

Sukhothai Chapel Allerton

Sous Le Nez

The Assembly

Newcomer of the Year

Brontae’s

CORA

FINT

Nǎm Sông

Sakku

The Crown Hotel at Boston Spa

The Forde

Best Takeaway Offering

Bomba Paella & Tapas

Farsley Fire & Smoke

I am Döner

Manjit’s Kitchen

Maureen’s Kitchen

POCO Sicilian Street Food

Village Pizza

Best Fine Dining Experience

Brontae’s

Chef Jono at V&V

CORA

Dakota Grill

HOME

The Owl

Chef of the Year

Bobby Geetha

Craig Rogan

Elizabeth Cottam

Jono Hawthorne

Kaoru Nakamura

Matt Healy

Simon Jewitt

Yupha Kaewkraikhot (AKA Ban)

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