One of the first high street casualties of the pandemic lockdown was the restaurant and hospitality sector, as their doors were forced to close to diners for safety measures.
However, as a truly resilient industry, chefs and their teams quickly adapted to ensure Northern Ireland foodies didn’t miss their fix of gourmet meals, with many establishments now offering takeaway and cook-at-home options.
This has radically changed the image and status of takeaway food in the last year, elevating it well beyond its traditional limits of pizza and Asian-inspired dishes.
And that is what inspired Andrew Benson and his fiancé Aine O’Kane to create the first NI Takeaway Awards. They want to celebrate the food heroes behind the scenes who have battled against the odds to keep the sector alive in the most challenging circumstances. The grand finale took place on Monday night (21 June) at The Crowe Plaza Hotel in Belfast.
“We have previously staged the highly successful NI Fish and Chip Shop Awards, but like everyone, we had to adapt to the new COVID-safe regulations. With everything going on at the minute and takeaways being on the front line, we felt this was the perfect platform and time for our excellent food vendors to shine and get the recognition they deserve.
“Our local takeaways are the heartbeat of our high streets. From incredible Indians to perfect pizzerias, every town has its food heroes. We are recognising the dedication of local takeaways across a multitude of cuisines and celebrating their contribution to our economy,” Andrew Benson, managing director of AB Events, said.
Event Sponsor Dusan Kavcak, Managing Director of DK Service Global, believes his company’s partnership with the NI Takeaway Awards underscores the food sector’s commitment to hygiene and safety.
“DK Service Global was proud to sponsor this event, which was a great night and of course was the first ever awards ceremony since the pandemic. Our Omagh-based company has developed bespoke trademarked Protective Shield Technology to create safe and healthy environments for every facility, especially the food sector. We are working hard to help local businesses build confidence with their clients as consumers will recognise they have engaged the market-leading industry experts in the sanitisation field.
“These awards were an excellent opportunity to highlight all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to delivery brilliant food in a safe way,” he said.
Other event sponsor partners include River FM, So Good Juice, 38 Expresso, EB Gas Services, BP Foods, iDesign, Duct Services, Butlers Event Hire, D Foods and One Delivery.
But the top-quality takeaway services now offered by local cafes and restaurants have provided more than just an economic boost. They have delivered a psychological lift to consumers in lockdown by keeping them connected to their favourite eateries.
“It provides an excellent platform to highlight the great work of local producers and makers.
For many people during the lockdown, the weekend takeaway food treat has provided a much-needed psychological boost and tangible link to normality. However, I predict when lockdown lifts, food lovers will continue to want quality takeaway service, and this could provide an important increased revenue stream for the sector.”
The NI Takeaway Awards 2020-21 Best Indian Takeaway
Sponsored by One Delivery
Kinara Indian Cuisine
The NI Takeaway Awards 2020-21 Best Healthy Takeaway
Sponsored by So Good Juice
Bebe Adrianoes Mexicanos
The NI Takeaway Awards 2020-21 Best Kebab Takeaway
Sponsored by EB Gas and DUCT Services
Moghul 4 in 1
The NI Takeaway Awards 2020-21 Best Cafe Takeaway
Sponsored by 38 Espresso
Greenway 9 Lunch Bar
Saints N Sinners
The NI Takeaway Awards 2020-21 Best Catering Food Trailer/Van Takeaway
Sponsored by Butlers Events
Ma’s Country Catering
Halls Chip N Grill
The NI Takeaway Awards 2020-21 Best Catering Refreshments Trailer/Van Takeaway
Sponsored by Butlers Events
The NI Takeaway Awards 2020-21 Best Dessert Takeaway
Sponsored by River FM
Oggies Dessert Bar
The NI Takeaway Awards 2020-21 Best Newcomer Takeaway
Sponsored by River Radio
Yur Coddin Me
Catch 2o2 Fish and Chips
The NI Takeaway Awards 2020-21 Best Pizza Takeaway
Sponsored by Dk Global Services
Taste Of New York Pizzeria
The NI Takeaway Awards 2020-21 Best Chip Shop Takeaway
Sponsored by D Foods
Flash in the Pan
The NI Takeaway Awards 2020-21 Best Chinese Takeaway
Sponsored by BP Foods
Jasmine Chinese Takeaway
The NI Takeaway Awards 2020-21 Best Overall Takeaway
Sponsored by Lick Gelato Ice Cream Solutions
SAINTS N SINNERS
The NI Takeaway Awards 2020-21 Best Manager Takeaway
Sponsored by Belfast 24/7 Radio
Megan Hamilton from Greenway 9 Lunch Bar
The NI Takeaway Awards 2020-21 Best Menu Takeaway
Sponsored by IDesign
Texas State Pizza
The NI Takeaway Awards Lifetime Achievement Award is
Dk Service Global LTD
Jim and Margaret Okane
The Jolly Fry’r