There are as many varieties of food awards as there are types of restaurant. Some offer a more reputable guide to quality than others. In the UK, the two big boys are Michelin and AA. But positive word of mouth reviews and ‘bums on seats’, as chefs say, can be the greatest accolade of all.
Here’s the low down on the main food awards in Scotland…
Awarded internationally by Michelin with no influence from the establishments, other guides or public, based on at least one visit, and can go up to 3 Stars, though these are rare, with only four 3-starred restaurants in the UK and Ireland in 2015. They don’t consider décor or service but the guide indicates how smart or casual a restaurant is.
Awarded in the UK only by the AA with no influence from the restaurants, based on at least one visit, and can go up to 5 rosettes, though 5 are very rare, with only 11 in the UK.
Respected insider awards from the Scottish Catering Industry. Nominations must be completed to gain entry to the scheme.
The late restaurant critic’s restaurant awards were highly sought after, based on independent reviews, but following his demise in 2010 are no longer in operation.
A long-time respected independent guide, featuring restaurants in an annual round-up, awarding numbers between 1-10, with 10 being the best. The public may give feedback on restaurants via the website, but there are also independent anonymous inspectors.
The Taste Our Best badge is awarded by Visit Scotland (our national tourist board) to food outlets that use great-quality Scottish ingredients and lip-smackingly fresh seasonal produce, and replaces the former Eat Scotland Awards. Places must also show a commitment to sustainability and local food sourcing and highlight Scottish provenance on menus. Staff will be trained to share information with customers about where the food comes from. Each place applies for the badge, is assessed, and pays an annual fee and is checked to make sure standards are kept up to scratch.