Across 13 categories, the judges of the Scotsman's inaugural Food and Drink Awards have whittled down the nominations to this select shortlist, writes Sean Murphy.

Seeking to recognise those businesses and individuals who have, in the eyes of our readers, helped to make a huge success of the country’s food and drink sector, we asked you to submit your nominations.

Now, after a tough judging process, The Scotsman is delighted to be able to announce the shortlist for our inaugural Food and Drink Awards.

As we’re sure you’ll agree, they are an outstanding group of individuals and businesses, who have been whittled down from hundreds of entries to be named finalists across 13 specially selected categories.

This year’s winners will be announced in a glittering ceremony at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange on Wednesday, 1 November.

Most innovative chef

Norn – Scott Smith
(Edinburgh)

Norn’s Scott Smith has created a tasting menu that moves with the seasons and provides customers with a journey through Scotland’s stunning larder.

Six by Nico –Nico Simeone
(Glasgow)

Nico Simeone and his team deliver a tasting menu that changes every six weeks and sees guests taken on a delicious adventure through a variety of exciting themes.

Edinburgh Food Studio –Ben Reade and Sashana Souza Zanella

(Edinburgh)

Opened in 2015, Ben and Sashana’s Edinburgh Food Studio is part restaurant/part research hub that happily explores Scotland’s food culture, traditions and history with anyone – be they Michelin-starred chefs or simply guests hoping to enjoy a meal.

Best cafe

KitschnBake
(Newport on Tay)

Another exciting community café that were nominated for their wonderful cakes, KitschBake work closely with other local artisan producers and provide some of the best home made baking to be found in the area.

The Storehouse
(Inverness)

Located on the shores of the Cromarty Firth, the Store House is hugely popular throughout the local area and famed for its delicious, great value food, home baking and welcoming atmosphere.

Castleton Farm Shop
(Kincardineshire)

This family-run business is well known for its use of quality ingredients (including their own award-winning soft fruit), and friendly service.

Best craft beer/cider

Tempest
(Galashiels)

Scotland’s brewery of the year last year, Tempest has consistently challenged perceptions of what Scottish beer can be and continued to the push the boundaries of not just their own beers but also by colloborating with other breweries, that of the whole Scottish brewing scene.

Fierce
(Dyce)

Hailing from Aberdeenshire, it must have seemed like a daunting task for any small brewery to step out of the large shadow cast by neighbours Brewdog but in a relatively short space of time that is exactly what Fiece Beer have done – culminating in them winning beer of the year at this year’s Scottish beer awards for their Café Racer.

Fierce Beer. Picture: Contributed

Spey Valley Brewery
(Keith)

Founded in 2007 by a distiller and a local farmer, Spey Valley brewery has gone on to create some truly exceptional beers with head brewer David MacDonald being a recent finalist for the Master Brewer of the Year at the Scottish Beer Awards.

Waulkmill Cider
(Dumfries and Galloway)

Described as Scotland’s “only real Cider Mill” Based within the Eskdale Valley in Dumfries and Galloway, Waukmill Cider was born in Sept 2010 and has over the past seven years continued to champion Scotland’s growing real cider scene.

Best cocktail

Kelvingrove Café
(Glasgow)

Founded by the legendary Mal Spence in 2013, the Kelvingrove Café remains at the forefront of Glasgow’s exciting mixology scene and offers one of the best places in the city to grab a cocktail.

The Kelvingrove Café. Picture: John Devlin

The Voyage of Buck
(Edinburgh)

Based on the larger than life fictional character William ‘Buck’ Clarence, the West End Bar has quickly established itself as one of the best cocktail venues in the city, mainly thanks to its award winning staff.

Draffens
(Dundee)

Paying homage to the original Draffens of Dundee department store, Draffens is a hidden gem of a Speak Easy bar in the City of Discovery that’s been a huge hit with locals and visitors alike.

Best dining experience

The Kitchin
(Edinburgh)

Opened in 2006 by Tom Kitchin and his wife Michaela, the Kitchin has been at the forefront of Edinburgh’s fine dining experience since its inception using French cooking techniques to highlight Scotland’s wonderful fare.

The Kitchin. PicturE: TSPL

Newport
(Newport-on-Tay)

The panoramic views across the River Tay at Jamie Scott’s Newport may be stunning but it’s the food, according to our readers, that really takes your breath away.

Ondine
(Edinburgh)

With a serious commitment to sustainable seafood, Ondine has become something of an institution in the capital, serving some of the best seafood dishes you’ll find in the city.

Best local pub

Kays Bar
(Edinburgh)

Edinburgh favourite Kays Bar is the kind of local that is universally loved, with great service combined with an amazing selection of real ales and whiskies.

Glen Clova – Climbers’ Bar
(Angus)

Located in a small hotel situated at the foot of beautiful Glen Doll, the Climbers’ Bar is a favourite – unsurprisingly – with climbers, with its warm atmosphere and cosy setting.

The Ship Inn
(Elie)

The Ship Inn. Picture: TSPL

AA’s Scottish Pub of the Year for 2016-17, the Ship Inn has long been regarded as one of Scotland’s most iconic pubs and offers a large beer garden overlooking the Forth.

Scottish spirit

Isle of Harris Gin

(Isle of Harris)

This gin has fast become one of the most popular in the country with its stylish bottle and use of sugar kelp giving it a fresh maritime flavour.

Arbikie – Kirsty’s Gin
(Arbroath)

The second spirit to be released by Arbikie following the launch of their popular potato vodka, Kirsty’s Gin is described as Scotland’s first farm to bottle gin and has gained a huge following since its release.

Ogilvy Vodka
(Angus)

This small-batch potato vodka is produced on a farm in Angus by the Jarron family, and is a major player in the revival of the premium vodka category in Scotland.

Best street food

The Big Feed
(Glasgow)

Picture: Julia Smith

Found in a warehouse in Govan, The Big Feed is putting street food firmly on the map in Glasgow, providing a creative space for some of the country’s best up-and-coming vendors as well as donating a portion of its income to local charities.

Saiko Kitchen
(Edinburgh)

Hugely popular with our voters, Edinburgh’s Saiko Kitchen is a pan Asian street food eatery in Marchmont that was recommended on the basis of its “fresh and healthy food”.

The Pitt
(Edinburgh)

Based in the heart of Leith, The Pitt is a street food market created by street food vendors for street food vendors in December 2015. Hugely popular, they were even chosen as the setting for the first ever Scottish Street Food Awards last year.

Iain R Spink’s The Arbroath Smokie

Iain is a regularly seen face at Farmer’s Markets and foodie events up and down the country and has made appearances on both TV and radio promoting Scotland’s very own traditional street food the Arbroath Smokie which has been named in the ‘Top 50 Foods within the UK’.

Best vegetarian

Foodstory
(Aberdeen)

With a focus on community, Foodstory was conceived in 2013 as a space where anyone can come and enjoy fresh, healthy food.

Hug and Pint
(Glasgow)

Glasgow is one of the UK’s best cities for vegetarian and vegan food, and in Hug and Pint you’ll find one of the best places to go in the city’s west end not just for live music but also for meat free meals with an Asian twist.

Kalpna
(Edinburgh)

Offering up a unique take on Indian cuisine by only serving vegetarian dishes, Kalpna has become a favourite since opening 35 years ago, in 1982.

Kalpna. Picture: TSPL

Most dedicated food blogger

TartanSpoon

Tartan Spoon was lauded for her ability to run not just a blog but also three social media platforms, as well as her well-written product and restaurant reviews.

Boys Eat Scotland

Boys Eat Scotland were chosen for their exhaustive research into the food and drink scene around Scotland, with travel recommendations, detailed restaurant reviews, and previews for events across the country.

Foodie Quine

Foodie Quine was picked out in our nominations for her amazing work in not only promoting the food and drink of the North East but also her exciting and innovative recipes.

Most inspirational creation

IQ Chocolate
(Stirling)

This innovative brand has been producing healthy chocolate which is dairy free, suitable for vegans, and comes in a range of delicious flavours from lime to peppermint.

Edinburgh Food Studio

The EFS combines the research of its chefs with their passion for Scotland’s expansive natural larder and traditional cooking techniques while providing a setting for guests to enjoy amazing food in a communal setting.

Mark Greenaway Cookbook

This award-winning book aims to change the ‘perceptions’ around Scottish cuisine by championing Scottish produce through “fresh eyes, new techniques and beautiful recipes”.

Picture: contributed

Use of Scottish produce

The Alexander Smokery

(Aberdeen)

Lauded for their sustainable sourcing and smoking techniques which hark back to 1920s Aberdeen, The Alexander Smokery Ltd was chosen by our readers for its innovative use of Scottish ingredients such as single malt whisky to create wonderful new flavours.

Ardross Farm Shop
(Elie)

Chosen by the readers for its amazing array of homegrown produce which includes its own beef, lamb, and honey as well as an incredible 52 different varieties of vegetables.

Isle of Mull Cheese

Brothers Brendan and Garth were singled out for “working tirelessly for over 30 years” to ensure they achieve the highest standards possible to produce their Isle of Mull Cheese.

Hidden gem

Good Brothers Wine Bar
(Edinburgh)

Nominated thanks to their recommendations, “expert knowledge” and friendly customer service, many said they were always delighted to take a trip there.

Kimchi Cult
(Glasgow)

With a varied but concise menu, this Korean fast food restaurant was picked out for its amazing food such as the Bao and Kimchi Cheese Fries, as well as its exciting specials.

Picture: TSPL

Glendale Highland Market
(Skye)

Run by a local community charity, the market was nominated because of the massive impact it has had on food and food production in the remote area of Glendale, Isle of Skye.

The Whitehouse Restaurant
(Lochaline)

Nominated for its stunning location, close-knit community feel, and the inspired dishes created by its innovative chef.

The Old Post Office
(Lochbuie)

The Old Post Office is described by those who nominated it as a tiny honesty tea room in an outstanding location which is loved by visitors and locals alike.

Le Roi Fou
(Edinburgh)

Those who nominated it named the New Town’s Le Roi Fou as one of the most exciting new restaurants they’ve been to in the capital.

The Glenfinnan Dining Car

This restored 1930s dining car was a popular choice for those lucky enough to have visited Glenfinnan, with the team singled out for the excellent work they do with limited resources.

Loch Arthur
(Dumfries)

Loch Arthur impressed many of our readers not only because of its outstanding produce, but on account of its incredible work with men and women with learning disabilities.

• Find out more about our awards at the www.scotsmanfoodand drinkawards.co.uk

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things whisky-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over six years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink.

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