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7th Annual Golden Foodie Awards Nomination Process Begins August 3rd with People’s Choice Voting

Two-Week Voting Period Aug. 3 through 17 Recognizes the Best Chefs, Libations and Cuisine at Chef-Driven and Independently Owned Restaurants in Orange County

Orange County, Calif., June 2018 — Leading up to the 7th annual Golden Foodie Awards on September 30th, local Orange County foodies are invited to vote for their local culinary favorites during a two-week period from August 3rd through 17th. The Golden Foodie Awards are comprised of various categories, for which the public is tasked to vote for their favorite from the region’s independently owned and chef-driven Orange County restaurants.

“The Golden Foodie Awards has evolved into a celebration of Orange County’s rich culinary scene,” said Pamela Waitt, creator and producer of the Golden Foodie Awards, and president of the OC Restaurant Association. “Now in its 7th year, the Golden Foodie Awards have grown exponentially in reach and media attention. To enable us to continue to grow as an event, we have brought on the accounting firm of Moss Adams to audit votes and continue to attract sponsors who share a vision of highlighting those stand-out chefs and restaurants in Orange County.” 

The Golden Foodie Awards is a people’s choice event that recognizes the best chefs, libations and cuisine at chef-driven and independent restaurants. With its focus on involving the Orange County community to serve as judges through their voting, the Golden Foodie Awards serve as the highest honor and is an indication of local culinary trends and consumer preferences. 

Golden Foodie Award Categories and Schedule
The 2018 voting period for the Golden Foodie Awards will run Aug. 3 through 17, with winners announced on Sept. 30 at a red carpet awards gala. Connoisseurs of cuisine and lovers of libations will have a chance each week to vote for their favorites among 15 categories:

Vote August 3 – 9  (Voting ends August 9th at 10pm)

  • Bartender of the Year — This award recognizes excellence with the counties best bartenders, one who showcases his or her craft through the art of cocktail creation. This person has excellent knowledge and skills with: the classics, creativity, innovation, and hospitality.
  • Best Cocktails in Orange County — The best place to get delicious cocktails in Orange County — both innovative and classic.
  • Best Wine Program — The Best Wine Program Award is designed to recognize restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections and appeal to a variety of wine enthusiasts. A restaurant with an excellent wine program will have staff that can suggest wines that will work in harmony with the cuisine.
  • Best Beer Program — The Best Beer Program Award is designed to recognize restaurants whose beer lists offer interesting selections and appeal to a variety of beer enthusiasts. A restaurant with an excellent beer program will have staff that can suggest beers that will work in harmony with the cuisine.
  • Best Bar Program — An excellent bar program should be just as thoughtfully created as the dining menu. Many restaurants in Orange County have outstanding bar programs that offer knowledgeable food pairings, cocktail suggestions, and friendly service and well-rounded menus to suit all palettes.
  • Best New Restaurant — A new restaurant must have been opened no longer than 12 months from the voting month, meaning it would have opened between August 2016 and August 2017.  This restaurant has shown that it has made a great impact on the restaurant scene and offers excellent service and cuisine.
  • Best Lunch Spot in Orange County — This award recognizes the art of an excellent lunch. This eatery offers excellent options with fresh and delicious results a restaurant that you suggest friends try for lunch.

Vote August 10 – 17 (Voting ends August 17th at 10pm)

  • Best Brunch in Orange County — Brunch, that beautiful late morning meal eaten instead of breakfast and lunch.  There’s nothing better than a great brunch to kick off or end the weekend. What restaurant in Orange County offers the best brunch.
  • Rising Star Chef of the Year — This award recognizes an “up and coming” chef who has demonstrated outstanding talent, innovation and leadership.
  • Favorite Food Influencer in Orange County — Who do you turn to for food advice and suggestions?  Vote for your favorite “Food Influencer” in Orange County. Influencers come in MANY different forms; they can be a food writer, radio host, or social media influencer.  Share who you think does the BEST job in Orange County of keeping you informed on all things culinary.
  • Outstanding Community Service — this award recognizes outstanding community service. Please vote for whom you think is deserving of this award and share why.
  • Restaurateur of the Year — The award recognizes a hard-working restaurateur that continually sets high standards and demonstrates originality, quality, and service.  He or she is very successful in the eyes of his or her fellow operators, employees, and customers. This talented individual has contributed a positive image of the local hospitality Industry.
  • Best Dessert Menu in Orange County — This award recognizes excellent dessert menus.  This menu is seasonal, innovative and tempting. It offers a selection sure to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.
  • Best Entree in Orange County — This award recognizes cravability and food excellence. This entree is consistently delicious and your favorite dish at an Orange County restaurant.
  • Best Service Award — Service can make the difference between a terrific meal and a terrible experience. Truly stellar service will make a restaurant unforgettable and have you clamoring to come back.  What Orange County restaurant offers exceptional service?

Restaurant Industry Voting Begins August 3 for the Chef of the Year and Pastry Chef of the Year

Chef of the Year — This award recognizes an outstanding culinarian who stands out.  This chef stands out amongst a crowd of excellent chefs, he or she not only possess stellar culinary skills, but also someone who gives back to the industry through time, training and/or inspiration.

Pastry Chef of the Year — This award recognizes excellence to a chef that specializes in the production of pastry work. They demonstrate style and innovation in what they produce. He or She is someone with not only stellar culinary skills; they stand out amongst a crowd of excellent pastry chefs.

Voting Details

Voting will take place online on the Golden Foodie Awards website For each category, the top three individuals or restaurants with the most votes will be announced at the end of each voting week. Votes will be audited by the accounting firm of Moss Adams. The top winner in each category will be announced at the Red Carpet Ceremony for the Golden Foodie Awards, hosted by Simon Majumdar and Special Guest Neil Saavedra, on September 30th at the Newport Beach Marriott. For the complete rules and regulations, please visit

The Red Carpet Event 

As determined by the public, the chefs, bartenders and restaurants with the most votes will be announced at the Hollywood-esque Golden Foodies Award gala. Guests will nosh and imbibe creations from Orange County’s finest curators of taste trends.

Celebrity master of ceremonies Simon Majumdar will preside over the Sept. 30 affair at the Newport Beach Marriott. The culinary writer and Food Network personality will be joined by Special Guest Neil Saavedra to dole out awards to winners of the 17 categories, including the highly anticipated Chef of the Year and Pastry Chef of the Year honors. Each winner will receive a solid pewter Golden Foodie statue plated in 14k gold, along with other high-end prizes from event sponsors.

About the Golden Foodie Awards

The Golden Foodie Awards is a celebration of Orange County’s incredible dining scene. The event culminates with a red-carpet culinary awards show presented by the OC Restaurant Association. The event focuses on the contributions that independent and chef-driven restaurants have made to the local Orange County culinary landscape. To learn more, visit the Golden Foodie Awards website and follow the Golden Foodie Awards on Facebook and Instagram.

Golden Foodie Awards 2018 Sponsors

The 2018 Golden Foodie Awards are made possible by Newport Beach Marriott, Fisher & Paykel, Orange Coast Magazine, Maker’s Mark, Melissa’s Produce, Moss Adams, Sip Smith, OC Baking Company, Aloha SDCR POS, Hornitos, The District, Baja Shellfish Farms and Acqua Panna.

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