Time is running out for residents to vote for their favourite food and drinks businesses, venues and professionals in this year's St Albans and Harpenden Food and Drink Festival Awards.

Nominations for the 11 categories in the competition, which aims to celebrate the city's best bars, cafes, restaurants and pubs, are open until Tuesday.

In the wake of last year's problems the council say the awards have been "extensively overhauled", with a more robust nomination process and stringent voting system. This follows the introduction of a steering group made up of representatives from the community, who will be involved in the judging of the finalists

The Award Categories are as follows:

  • Best bar
  • Best independent food/drink shop (new)
  • Best cafe
  • Best newcomer (new)
  • Best local producer
  • Best local restaurant
  • Best pub
  • Best takeaway (new)
  • Most family friendly venue
  • Food and drink champion (new) 
  • The Kate D'Arcy Award

Venues will not be judged on the number of nominations received.

All nominated venues will receive a 'Tell us about you' form, which will be vital and allows the venue to support their nomination by selling themselves to the judges. These forms will be sent to venues as soon as their nomination is received. All forms must be completed and returned by June 15.

A steering group will look at all those nominated and their forms provided, to create a shortlist for each category.

The public will then have the opportunity to vote for their best from this shortlist.

The voting period will take place between July 1  and September 7.

The public vote will create a list of the top 3 in each category.   The steering group will assign a representative to each category and they will be joined with a representative from those sponsoring the award to judge the winner.