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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
Amanda Butler
Neon Thistle
Award winning marketer and business owner. Amanda has over two decades of helping companies improve their sales and marketing capabilities. With a background in research in the food industry, I am honoured to be judging the 2017 Quality Food awards. This will be my second year as a judge and I'm looking forward to seeing the innovative products showcased this year.
Andrew Skinner
Managing Director
TQS Food Consulting
Andrew has almost four decades’ experience in the food industry. As the founder of TQS Food Consulting, he has extensive experience in food safety, quality, legality and hygiene across many areas of the food industry, encompassing raw materials, food processing and manufacture including import/export and distribution. He has worked with a diverse cross-section of the food industry, fro...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
Ekta Patel
Food Technologist
Ekta has always been passionate about food and followed her passion into her career. With a Masters degree in Food Science, Ekta has been a part of the food industry for close to a decade. She has been a Freelance Food Technologist Consultant for the past couple years which has allowed her to work across different categories, everything from bakery, meat, desserts, delicatessen and ready mea...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
James Kingham
Senior Technical and Process Development Specialist
Food Business Development Company
A senior technical and process development specialist who manages the day to day operations of the outsourced development arm for one of the UK’s largest convenience stores, as well as being Project Lead for some large international clients managing sourcing, factory audits, technical services and development advice. With a passion for food and travel he keeps on the latest food trends...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.
Liz O'Keefe
Food stylist and writer
Liz O’Keefe is home economist on LandScape magazine, producing British seasonal recipes for each issue, and also writes cookery and food books, develops recipes, is a food stylist and writes for various editorial websites/magazines and trade press. Her second cookery book, The Mushroom Book, co-authored with Michael Hyams, was published by Lorenz Books in summer 2017.
Louise Direito
Head of Innovation
Krispy Kreme
Louise has been immersed in the food industry for the best part of 20 years working at some of the most recognisable UK and global food brands; Sainsburys, KFC, Costa Coffee and is now Head of Innovation at Krispy Kreme.  Always seeking out the newest and tastiest trends, Louise’s passion for food and for putting the consumer insight at the heart of the business has given her a st...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
Michael Michaels
Michael Michaels Photography
I am a specialist food photographer with over 30 years experience in the industry and operate from my studio in Ladbroke Grove, West London. I shoot food mostly for advertising, packaging and PR clients and work for a wide range of them, from major blue chip companies to start -ups. My love of food and cooking goes back to childhood, which is what led me to food photography. Two passions rol...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
Nicola Wordsworth
Brand Guardian
Nicola Wordsworth
Nicola Wordsworth, Brand Guardian™ and Brand Implementation Specialist, has been has been in the industry for over 25 years. Nic's expertise is in the retail sector, with branding for packaging and POS for suppliers and brands alike, and in her capacity as an implementation specialist, she is part of The Retail Renaissance UK Collective. Always at the top of her list though is gain...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
Richard Hedges
Food Innovation Consultant
Absolute Food
My passion is everything that is and surrounds food, therefore being a food consultant is the perfect job for me! With my eighteen years experience in FMCG, QSR, foodservice and food manufacturing it gives me credibility to push all food boundaries! More recently, I have just returned from travelling on an incredible five month trip through Asia, Australia, NZ and South America, where I was ...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
Food Science Fusion
A food development professional for over 35 years, Ruth trained in both cordon bleu and home economics. "Her experience spans R&D for SME family businesses to large multinationals, manufacturers, the major retailers and wholesalers and includes 15 years as a development and applications specialist consultant. Ruth is a founding director at Food Science Fusion, established in...more
Simon King
Simon King Media & Communciations
A business-to-business journalist with more than 20 years' experience, I have written across a number of subjects including food and drink, hospitality and retail. I am delighted to accept the invitation to sit on the judging panel of the Quality Food Awards 2017 and would like to wish all entrants the very best. I also look forward to meeting the nominees at the Grosvenor House Hotel in...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
Steve Hobbs
Creative Director
pmdc design
Steve Hobbs is Creative Director of pmdc design and is remains a hands-on designer after 37 years in the business. PMDC creates memorable, commercially effective (and occasionally award-winning) design for a diverse range of clients from global organisations to sole traders, with a healthy track record of success in the food and drink sector
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
Sukh Deol
Managing Director
Sukh Deol is the Managing Director at PK Trading. With a lifetime of business experience covering many industries under his belt he loves nothing more than seeing new and innovative products. Sukh see things in black and white and likes to go straight to the heart of the matter in all he does. When he is not running a business he loves nothing more than getting his hands dirty in the garden ...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
Sarah Dugdale
Freelance Event Manager and Baby Led Weaning blogger
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 delivered events and marketing campaigns which support the grocery, FMCG and retail industry. In Sarah's spare time she runs an online for parents on Baby Led...more
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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Head of Product Development
I have worked in Food Retail throughout my working life in Commercial buying roles for M&S and Iceland, and as Strategic Co-op Brand Owner for the Co-op. I have recently moved to Greggs where I lead the Product Development function, so for the first time working as both a producer and retailer in the fast moving and ever competitive Food on The Go market.
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University College London
Originally from the States, Agnes completed her Master's degree in Anthropology from UCL. Her studies concentrated on Material and Visual Culture, how the material world has social and cultural significance. Agnes is passionate about food and baking!
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Victus Global
Bo Masole is CEO of Victus Global and Co-founder of Victus Global Capital. She is a Botswana citizen with a distinguished career in the UK and international food manufacturing industry, which has included senior roles with leading global blue chip companies such as Compass Group UK & Ireland. Brakes, Greencore, Lidl UK & Ireland and Pret-a-Manger. She has more than 15 years of experi...more
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Head of SPAR Brand
After a degree in Food Marketing and a PhD in Retail Strategy, Cath has spent many years in a broad range of brand, marketing and buying roles for major food retailers. She is currently Head of Own Brand at SPAR UK and has a passion for helping independent retailers deliver great quality, fresh, healthy food for their local communities.
Daphne Davies
The Event Support Manager
I have worked in the food and drink industry for the past 21 years as a Business Development Manager for Campden BRI and with skills in the Sensory & Consumer department. I have now set up a new company called 'The Event Support Manager' and I work with companies that organise large International conferences and exhibitions, working on projects within the event. e.g organising te...more
Hilary Birt
Marketing Research Consultant
Media & Market Research Consultancy
Previously at research agency Ipsos, I and am now a self-employed marketing research consultant. I design and conduct quantitative and qualitative research across a range of sectors and business and consumer groups. A key area of involvement is research in the food and food retail sector: I run focus groups and conduct in-store interviews across a range of food categories, including new prod...more
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Freelance Journalist and Blogger
Jackie Mitchell, food writer and blogger, has worked on newspapers and magazines in the UK, Hong Kong, Australia and New York. She specialises in the foodservice and hospitality sector and writes for several UK and European foodservice publications and web sites. She is a member of the Guild of Food Writers.
Jonathan Plows
Commercial Director
Sacla' UK
Jon has worked with many food companies over the past 20 years from Cadbury's to McVities & Mr Kipling and now heads up the commercial and supply chain functions at Sacla' UK. Jon joined Sacla' in 2014 and in that time has enabled more and more people enjoy the fabulous Italian Pesto every day. Outside of work, Jon spends most of his time with his wife and two children, and e...more
Karen Sargant
Customer/Technical Service Director
TQS Food Consulting Ltd
I have over 25 years’ experience in the food industry and worked with a diverse cross-section of different food products including bakery, Ready meals and cooked meats. My work has taken me around the UK, across Europe and I have also worked closely with one of the major UK food retailers. I mainly specialises in providing technical support service in the creation and writing of UK ret...more
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Head Of Commercial
Katsouris Brothers
I have been involved in retail since 1995, from being a wine consultant, duty free manager, merchandiser at M&S and different commercial roles in the supply base, I have gathered a wealth of experience in food. Different categories that I have been involved in have been drinks, chilled convenience notably Delicatessen and ready meals. I have a passion for food and you can never stop addi...more
Mark Fielding
Currently CCO of vypr working with some of the countries best retailers, manufacturers and brands to help them develop better products faster. 18 years experience working with food companies in a wide range of categories, all of which shared a focus on innovation and NPD.
Nicky Jagger
Fundraising Executive
As a former event manager in the hospitality sector, Nicky now enjoys managing events for GroceryAid, the charity for grocery people. An absolute foodie, Nicky takes great joy in trying new concepts and flavours and feels very much at home working in a sector which has such a great focus on food and drink.
Max MacGillivray
The Great Fruit Adventure
Max MacGillivray is the founder of The Great Fruit Adventure and is passionate about great healthy food and as such is a self-styled ambassador for fantastic fresh produce from around the world. He instigated a mammoth adventure by riding a Triumph motorbike for 18,000kms from London to Cape Town through 15 countries and on route he visited over 50 fresh produce growers. He wanted to learn a...more
Paul Chamberlain
Commercial Director
Association of Convenience Stores
Internationally acclaimed as the most prolific convenience store visitor worldwide, Paul’s extensive industry knowledge allows him to organise the most topical and relevant events to provide networking and sharing of best practice across the sector. As Commercial Director at ACS, Paul’s role is to understand the issues which impact upon the long-term success and relevance of the ...more
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Partnership Business Development Director
The Alexir Partnership
Business Development Director with over 30 years experience in food packaging and 15 years in food manufacture and food co-packing (ambient,chilled and frozen).Additional experience in supplying the travel and airline sector with both food packaging and co-packed food products.
Rob Amar
Managing Director
RH Amar
I am Managing Director of RH Amar, a 3rd-generation family business, and one of the UK's leading importers and distributors of premium grocery brands. RH Amar partners with some of the UK's best-loved brands, and over the years has played its part in bringing many new food trends to British consumers. Outside work, I enjoy cooking, travel, sports, and spending time with family and fr...more
Liz Thorpe
Commercial Controller
Sacla' UK
Liz has worked in the food industry for the last ten years, having worked alongside some of the UK's top retailers. Liz currently heads up the commercial function at Sacla' and has been with the UK arm of the much loved Italian brand for nearly three years. Liz has a boundless passion for food and the joy that it brings.
Angela Johnson
Cooking Teacher
Mrs Bun the Baker
Mrs Bun the Baker® grew out from my love of baking and teaching, Having taught in schools for 20 years, I decided to set up my own cookery school and teach toddlers from 2 years through to adults. All classes are Hands On Fun, getting everyone inspired about food. Toddlers come and make savoury goodies for the families to share, taste new foods and develop their motor skills. Teenagers l...more
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