A RECORD 4,800 votes were cast for this year’s awards as diners and shoppers from across the county supported their favourite venues.

Organisers have now announced the nominations for the categories for the 2014 Chester Food Drink and Lifestyle Awards.

Festival chair Jane Mooney said organisers were thrilled to see the popularity of these awards continues to grow.

She said: “There is no doubting that these awards are now recognised as the benchmark for our industry, right across Cheshire.

“We have nominations from all parts of the county and every one of these venues understands the need for great customer service, a unique product and a celebration of everything that is great about the Cheshire food and drink scene right now. It’s a wonderful time to be a customer in Cheshire.”

The process to find the winner is that each of the nominations will be mystery dined/shopped by judges and the winners will be announced at the awards dinner, to be held at Chester Racecourse on April 23.

For more information about the gala dinner or to order tickets go to <a href = 'www.chesterfoodanddrink.co.uk'>www.chesterfoodanddrink.co.uk</a>.

Festival organiser Stephen Wundke said: “The growth over the years of these awards and the robust selection method means we end up with truly worthy finalists and winners.

“The reach of the Chronicle series is also evident with nominations now coming from Wilmslow, Alderley Edge, Nantwich, Macclesfield, Tarporley and right across the county, making these awards the strongest throughout the county.

“We really do have a wonderful eating and drinking culture in Cheshire and it is getting better and better. Congratulations to each and every venue who have made it through to our finals. It’s going to be one tough task for our judges.”

The finalists are:

Best Local Produce Shop – Hawarden Farm Shop; Cheerbrook Farm Shop; Cheshire Smokehouse; Hollies Farm Shop

Best Family Friendly Restaurant/Pub – Hickorys; Ring o’ Bells; The White Horse; Lord Binning

Best Cafe – Brown Sugar – Chester; Jodrell Bank Planet Pavilion; Enzos Nantwich; Cafe Perk

Best Newcomer – The Suburbs; The White Horse; El Gato Negro; The Church

Best Delicatessen – Deli Vert; Cheshire Gap; Liveseys; Cheshire Deli Tarporley

Best Sandwich Shop – Chester Sandwich Co; Bloom; The Panini Press; Yard on the Edge

Best Bar – Red Door; Bar Lounge; Cuckcoo; Amber Lounge

Best Small Restaurant – Upstairs at the Grill; Sticky Walnut; Joseph Benjamin; Oliver @ Bollington Green.

Best Pub – Fishpool; George &amp; Dragon, Holmes Chapel; Ring O’ Bells; Yew Tree; Coach House

Best Large Restaurant – Cock O Barton; Michael Caines @ Abode; Blackhouse Grill; Residence

Excellence in Customer Service – Linenhall; Old Sessions House; Egerton Arms – Little Budworth; Stolen Lamb – Wilmslow

Best Use of Local Produce in a Menu – The Old Sessions House – Knutsford; The Yew Tree Inn – Bunbury; George &amp; Dragon – Holmes Chapel; Ring O’Bells – Christleton.

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