THRIVING rather than surviving was the theme of Ireland's longest running independent food awards yesterday, organisers said.
The 2011 Georgina Campbell Awards, which judges hotels, restaurants and pubs around the country based on anonymous assessment visits throughout the year, was held in Dublin.
Announcing the winners, Ms Campbell said the year might have been expected to be dominated by franchises keeping their heads above the water - but that it has been "more positive" than that.
"This year's awards celebrate those who are bucking the trend, getting on with it, and thriving," she said.
Top award winners on the day included Kelly's Resort Hotel, Rosslare, Co Wexford (Hotel of the Year); L'Ecrivain, Dublin (Restaurant of the Year); Henry Stone, Sha-Roe Bistro, Clonegal, Co Carlow (Chef of the Year); and Hargadon Bros, Sligo (Pub of the Year). "Given the difficulties posed by the current economic situation, it takes a very special kind of determination and skill to confront the situation head-on, take control and come up with innovative ways to attract customers," said Ms Campbell.
"The winners represent those people in the hospitality industry who have real grit and can continue to provide a combination of excellence and value for money that brings in business, even at this dire time for the industry," she added.