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Quality Food Awards 2017 :: Judges


A word from our Chairs

2016 was a vintage year for the Quality Food Awards, reflecting the fine work done by the UK food industry last year. Despite the pressures caused by Brexit development teams all over the UK rose to the challenge of developing delicious and innovative products which were entered into the Quality Food Awards in record numbers. Our highly experienced kitchen team worked hard to ensure all entries were presented to the judges in optimum quality, and our teams of expert judges deliberated at length to find the food and drink products which really stood out. The end result was a selection of worthy winners which carried on the proud tradition of the QFAs.

Innovation is key to the continued success of the QFAs and last year we introduced The QFA  Small Producer Awards, in association with the Co-op. These awards proved so popular that they are back again for 2017, bigger and better than ever. The judges were knocked out by the passion and innovation displayed by the products entered in these awards, with the Very Lovely Sauce Company proving to be a deserving winner of the Gold for their acclaimed Gingerbread Caramel Sauce.
So whether your company is big or small there is a Quality Food Awards category for you. And we can’t wait to see what you will enter! 

It falls to me to offer you some wisdom on preparing your entry......

Treat the entry process like you would a tender document or an application for a job  Make sure you answer all the questions and give the judges the information they need to judge your product fully. That way you give yourself the best possible chance of success.  
Consider the selection of your entries carefully too - does your product genuinely fit the category you are putting it in? If not the team reserve the right to move it, for instance, a fish with a portion of herb butter is unlikely to do well in a Good Choice! category. What you want to put forward are your strongest products, those that best match the judging criteria as stated on the entry form and  you also want to put forward a maximum of two items from a range - pick your strongest two lines in the range or the two you think need the support of an award most to draw people's attention to them.  Always include a retail price - nothing can be judged for its value without this, and that is often a key deciding factor when there are two firm favourites.
I very much look forward to reviewing the products you select with a panel of the best chefs, food, packaging, nutrition, marketing, design and photography experts from within our industry. 
Adrian Chalmers
Director of Projects
"Adrian is Director of Projects for hospitality software provider Fourth, based in Covent Garden.  Adrian lives near Stratford Upon Avon where his partner produces traditional stoneground flour in one of the UK’s last surviving water mills. A classically trained chef in his early career, Adrian has held food development posts for M&S and Forte Hotels; as well as worki...more
Brian Bibby
I was a Team Leader for Food Quality at Defra, responsible for running the EU Protected Food Names scheme in the UK, and advising ministers on policy concerning food compositional standards.
Bridget Colvin
Home Economist/ Chef
By Bridget
Home Economist/Chef/NPD Having worked in the food industry for many years regularly working alongside Jimmy Doherty and Gennaro Contaldo at food shows and events. Now teaching for Michel Roux Jr and Jamie Oliver @ their respective cookery schools. Currently working on my own food innovation.
Bryson Craske
Commercial and Marketing Director
The Abergavenny Fine Food Co
Bryson has worked in the food industry for nearly 25 years. Having been ‘born’ into the family business, roles have included everything from milking goats and scrubbing wash rinded cheeses to the management of international large retailer accounts and heading up a team of development chefs. However, food and in particular, high-quality raw materials, have always been a person...more
Charles Banks
Director & Co Founder
The Food People
Charles is a true foodie and food trendologist and he is passionate about staying ahead of the curve when it comes to food trends! Charles has spent the past 20 years in the food industry, starting out as a chef, then various development roles in restaurants and food manufacturing. In 2004, having spent 4 years in NPD and Innovation for Grampian Country Food Group, Charles co-founded the...more
Claire Brumby
Claire Brumby Business Consultancy
"Claire, and her husband are Scrubbys Vegetable Crisps founders; an award winning premium healthier snacking brand; achieving listings both nationally and internationally. She is now through her consultancy business working with other food companies, helping them and their brands grow and thrive profitability; sharing the wealth of expertise, knowledge and contacts gained over 25 ye...more
Clare Blampied
Managing Director
Clare Blampied began working with the Sacla’ family twenty years ago when she introduced this irresistibly Italian food company to the UK and built it into a successful £30 million business which continues to grow and flourish. Clare is the original ‘Pesto Pioneer,’ although the product range has since grown, and her focus is on keeping Sacla’ in its number ...more
David Brooks
Various NED / Advisory roles
With 30 years experience in the food industry with Brake Bros until 1997, as CEO of Finsbury Food Group plc until 2008, and since then in a variety of NED roles primarily in the consumer sector. Current portfolio includes Board Member at FSA, Food & Beverage Sector Specialist to Grant Thornton, and adviser to half a dozen smallish food businesses
Debbie Davies
Contigo Management
Debbie is a seasoned marketer, specialising in food marketing, brand, product and category management across a wide-range of product sectors. Contigo Management, was founded out of a passion to deliver relevant insights and strategies in the food industry, blending the needs and wants of consumers and the corporate world. Her client base includes major UK grocery multiples, their supplie...more
Diane Camp
Development Chef
Reynolds Wholesaler
Diane Camp is the development chef for leading Foodservice fresh produce supplier Reynolds. She is a chef with 20 years' experience gained in South Africa and the UK across a range of restaurant styles. Working at all levels of the kitchen, including head chef, in corporate dining, fine dining, in private members club and catering for conferences and events in the hotel industry. Diane w...more
Gillian Barker
Gillian has spent over 35 years in the grocery industry most recently as Director General of the industry charity GroceryAid. Gillian now works part time offering charity and business management support in the private and third sectors.Gillian has spent over 35 years in the grocery industry most recently as Director General of the industry charity GroceryAid. Gillian now works part time offe...more
Janetta Hylands
Section Manager Consumer Testing Services
Campden BRI
Janetta leads all the quantitative research activity at Campden BRI and has been involved in numerous product and packaging development quantitative projects as well as investigating consumer attitudes on broader food issues.
Jason Danciger
Managing Director
Hana Group
 "Jason has spent a quarter of a century in the catering & leisure industry, from the start of his career in front of house before donning his chef whites and starting a gruelling journey that led him to the helm of some of London's most prestigious restaurants. Following a long stint with the Roux Brothers Jason joined other great names such as Roy Ackerman and Justin ...more
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Research Scientist
Leatherhead Food Research
Karen Burgos is a Research Scientist in the Food Innovation Group at Leatherhead Food Research. She obtained her MSc degree in Biotechnology at Lund University, Sweden. Previously, she worked at Bakkavor in Process Development. At Leatherhead Karen is working in research and confidential work with particular emphasis on product development.
Louise Direito
Global Innovations
Costa Coffee
Food innovator, Day-Dreamer and Aspiring Yogi – Louise has been immersed in the food industry for the best part of 20 years. Always seeking the newest and tastiest trends, Louise’s love of food has created innovative product ranges during her time working as a product developer at Sainsbury’s and currently at Yum! Restaurants International. Food innovator, Day-Dreamer and A...more
Manny Goncalves
Mannys Sauces
Started his way around the kitchen in the early 1980s. Founder of a few restaurants in South Africa and later in Portugal. Best known as the founder of the well-known Nando's restaurants. The person responsible for opening the first "Piri-Piri Chicken" restaurant in the world as well as being the first to produce, bottle and make available to the public the today's famous &...more
Michelle Charrington
Business Development Director
Invest NI
Working for Invest Northern Ireland, the government business development agency for Northern Ireland, Michelle provides sales and marketing support for over 200 food and drink sector clients.  GB is the largest customer of NI’s £4bn food and drink industry: based in Kent, Michelle works to maintain and develop regional links with major retail and foodservice customers, promo...more
Mina Booth
Director of Marketing and Content
Fresh Montgomery
I have been at Fresh Montgomery for a 4 years and in the exhibitions market for far too long to mention. Before that I worked in retail marketing and NPD. I love great food, great restaurant and cooking. I have 2 children who are young enough to think I’m a great cook!
Morwenna Ellis
Absolute Market Research
A market researcher with 16 years qualitative and quantitative experience across a cross section of categories.  Morwenna set up Absolute Market Research five years ago and already has a repeat client base of UK grocery multiples, and both established and entry FMCG food brands.  She is passionate about the research she delivers for her clients; whether brand tracking for establish...more
Neil Dugard
Dugard & Daughters
Having spent 18 years managing London stores within the corporate and premium independent food retail sector, Neil has enjoyed working alongside food producers coaching and guiding them to get their products onto supermarket shelves.   Neil now runs his own rare breed butchers and speciality food store in South London. At Dugard & Daughters, which he runs alongside his wife, the...more
Nigel Dickie
Director, Corporate & Government Affairs
Kraft Heinz Europe
Nigel joined Heinz as Director, Corporate and Government Affairs in 2005. Following the merger of Kraft Foods and Heinz in 2015, Nigel was appointed as Director of Corporate & Government Affairs for Kraft Heinz Europe with responsibility for all external communications and government relations. With a PhD in Nutrition from London University, Nigel started his career working for Unilever ...more
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Executive Development Chef
I have joined the Foodservice team as Executive Development Chef and have been working as a chef for 26 years. Olivier has previously worked for Airline & Retail food manufacturer, Absolute Taste McLaren racing & private jet catering, Albert Roux MBE, Mandarin Oriental London hotel, Relais & Chateaux, Pride of Britain hotels. My hobbies include fishing, hunting, foraging, country...more
Patrick Davis
In August 2008 Patrick was appointed Director General of Sweet Charity and remained in this position until 2012 when the charity merged with Caravan to become GroceryAid. Patrick is now retired and lives in Worcestershire with his wife Suki.
Peter Hopkins
Managing Director
Fine Food Focus
I have spent 30+ years in the fine food importing/distribution industry in a number of senior management/Director positions before starting my own sales and marketing consultancy 17 years ago. So I have since worked for 50+ companies providing strategic and tactical solutions to develop their UK retail business, namely by: Creating strategic plans, business plans, and sales and m...more
Ramona Hazan
Ramona's Kitchen
I own and run a food manufacturing company called Ramona's Kitchen and a brand of retail products under the label Me Too Foods!My company specialises in producing fresh Mediterranean-style foods for restaurants, sandwich shops, caterers, sandwich manufacturers and retail shops.Our products include falafel, houmous, dips, salads and soups which we produce fresh in our factory every day. W...more
Robin Barnett
Has spent most of his working life marketing fresh food, mainly meat, fresh produce and top-fruit into the wholesale and retail sectors; for companies such as Dewhurst Butchers, NZ Apple & Pear Marketing Board, CBT-Holland, Worldwide Fruit and The Greenery. More recently as a Food Marketing Advisor to Invest Northern Ireland and their 200+ food producing clients. Married with 4 children ...more
Ruth Dolby
Product Application Specialist
A food development specialist for over 35 years, Ruth originally trained and worked as a Cordon Bleu Chef before qualifying as a Home Economist, moving from the kitchen into manufacturing. Her commercial experience spans from large multinationals to SME family businesses, manufacturers and retailers, including R&D & auditing at Tesco & Northern Foods. After 15 years as an NPD...more
Soraya Gadelrab
Portfolio Director
Fresh Montgomery
Soraya Gadelrab is Portfolio Director at Fresh Montgomery, the UK’s market leading specialist exhibition organiser in the food, drink & hospitality sectors. Soraya runs a portfolio of events including IFE, Speciality & Fine Food Fair, Speciality Chocolate Fair, Pro2Pac and Waste-Works. Soraya has an extensive knowledge of the UK food & drink industry as well as the hospital...more
Vanessa Brown
Head of Business and Catering Services
The Vegetarian Society
I manage the commercial departments @ The Vegetarian Society. My teams look after the Vegetarian Society “Approved” trademark and also our prestigious Cordon Vert Vegetarian Cookery School. I have been at the society for 14 years and am a vegetarian.  The Vegetarian Society Approved trademark is now displayed on over 12000 products world wide. We work with companies like...more
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Freefrom Awards
A food historian by training Michelle now specialises in allergy and freefrom food. She edits the FoodsMatter informational website (over a million unique visitors a year) and is director of the Free From Food, FreeFrom Eating Out and FreeFrom Skincare Awards.
Tony Cameron
Chef Lecturer
Westminster Kingsway College
Worked at Westking for 2 yrs, 17 yrs as Head Chef of the Oriental Club in London. Worked in the industry for over 30yrs at establishments like Claridges Hotel, Carlton Tower Hotel, Rue St Jaques Restaurant, Carriers Restaurant and Waltons Restaurant where I had a Michelin star. Passionate about Training the stars of the future I am A fellow of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, ...more
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When I began working at the New York Post, I realised I wanted to write about food, cooking and restaurants so I studied at a catering college part-time. I've been working with food and drink since, mostly freelance, wrote a book on cooking with smoked foods and spent two years as editor of Tandoori (an Indian restaurant trade mag). I’ve worked as a restaurant consultant since 2000...more
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Freelance Events Manager
Sarah has worked in the grocery industry for over 8 years. Initially for Safeway supermarkets and 7 years for the confectionery industry charity ‘Sweet Charity’ (now merged with Caravan to become Grocery Aid). Sarah has developed and delivered events and marketing campaigns which support the grocery, FMCG and retail industry. 
Karen Green
Commercial Director
Karen Green is business mentor specialising in enabling food manufacturers to take charge of their businesses and grow profitable sales. Her clients range from multi-multi-million companies to start-ups, Previously she was a commercial director for several major food manufacturers and managed NPD teams delivering ranges from ready meals, salads and sushi to Christmas puddings and turkeys! Sh...more
Celia Holt
Chilfood Solutions
A passionate all-rounder and skilled foodie who combines impressive creativity, commercial pragmatism and technical knowledge. A seasoned food judge which started in the WI tents in Berkshire and now influencing many well-known brands across the food industry. Celia Holt has over 25 years’ experience in the food industry. Celia’s desire to drive creative thinking and strategi...more
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