Hertfordshire pub restaurant wins first nationwide FreeFrom Eating Out Award

Antony Worrall Thompson presenting the trophy to Brandon Kirby and Mark Snelling of the Alford Arms, Frithsden

Antony Worrall Thompson presenting the trophy to Brandon Kirby and Mark Snelling of the Alford Arms, Frithsden

Antony Worrall Thompson presented Hertfordshire pub, The Alford Arms, with the Silver Salver for the most allergen-aware eatery, serving the best freefrom food, in the UK – at the inaugural FreeFrom Eating Out Awards at the Food Matters Live event. The awards were sponsored by Sodexo.

The Alford Arms, one of a small chain of home counties pub restaurants, has been judged to serve the best freefrom food (gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soya-free) in the inaugural FreeFrom Eating Out Awards, launched to raise awareness of the new allergen declaration regulations coming into force this December.

“I am hearing heavenly choirs,” enthused the final round judge who ate, incognito, at the Alford Arms. As someone with multiple serious allergies, I have never been so well fed and cared for.

“They prepared me a special menu with multiple choices of excellent fresh, imaginative and delicious food, and checked it with me three times, yet on the night I was treated like any other guest – absolutely no embarrassing fuss.”

Runners up for the accolade were:

1. The Pizza Express Pizza chain which now offers a full, Coeliac UK-accredited, gluten free menu with dairy and soya-free options though out its 400 nationwide restaurants.

2. HC3S (Hampshire County Council Catering Service) which serves wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and nut-free meals to all of the 46,000 primary school children within their county so that all of their children, whether on restricted diets or not, can enjoy the same food.

3. Tea42 in Manchester for creating a cool yet vibrant and trendy eatery which is also entirely gluten-free.

Awards director, Michelle Berriedale-Johnson, said: “The standard of the entries was exceptionally high while the enthusiasm and commitment of the chefs and owners was really heart warming. We are very excited about the possibilities offered to the food service industry by the freefrom movement and expect freefrom’in food service to grow at an even faster rate than the 15% year on year that it has achieved in the retail market.”

Wan Mak, head of nutrition and dietetics at awards sponsor, Sodexo, said: “We are delighted by the response to the launch of these awards. It is so important that food service is able to implement the new allergen regulations which can help to inform the growing number of people who have to live on restricted diets. We are sure that these awards will help to raise awareness of the regulations and help to encourage compliance.”

The FreeFrom Eating Out Awards are run by the same team as run the FreeFrom Food Awards (now in their eigth year) and the FreeFrom Skincare Awards (now in their fourth year).