QFA Judges

We are very grateful to our judges, who taste and scrutinise hundreds of products every year, giving valuable feedback. Our judges are made up of food industry experts from all aspects, from chefs and nutritionists to packaging experts and food technologists. Confirmed judges for 2018 so far include... 

Alex Gazzola
Writer

Alex Gazzola is a writer specialising in allergies, intolerances, gut disorders and restricted diets. He has written five books - the latest being IBS: Dietary Advice to Calm Your Gut - and is the 'free from' columnist for Network Health Digest magazine, as well as a contributor to various allergy and vegetarian publications. He edits the website Allergy Insight, and has been a regular judge at the Free From Food Awards for many years.

Alice Bream
Assistant Brand Manager
Pioneer Foods UK

Assistant Brand Manager for Pioneer Foods UK, the UK's leading private label cereal manufacturer. I manage the Fruit Bowl brand; a market leader in kids fruit snacking.

Ant Durrant
Director
Coda FMCG Marketing

Ant's earliest food experiences were sadly scarred by his father's one pot cooking so after studying Marketing at De Montfort he followed his then dream, working for Boots the Chemists.  

 Here he unexpectedly discovered his passion within the sandwich category.  It's pace, focus on taste and consumers all left their mark.  

 Moving 'closer to the action' within food manufacturing, he went on to work at a senior level managing PL and Branded categories whilst having the privilege to work with some of the industry’s top foodies across all UK leading retailers.

 Today he specialises in supporting businesses with category and trends - including one pot!

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Ann Marie Gallagher
Catering Manager
Roadbridge

Chef, Head chef, catering supervision and management.  Food safety auditor Conducting food safety audits both internal and external to specific standards in Ireland. This Is My Second year in uk to participate on uk judging panel.  I enjoy seeing the range of products in a category and variations on to classics. it can be tough to pick just one winner so highly commending products is great when there’s two really deserving products in a category. 

Andy Gray
Trade Marketing Manager
Seafish

Seafish is a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) set up by the Fisheries Act 1981 to improve efficiency and raise standards across the seafood industry. We are funded by a levy on the first sale of seafood products in the UK, including imported seafood. At Seafish, our mission is to support a profitable, sustainable and socially responsible future for the seafood industry. Our remit includes everything - and everyone - from fishermen and processors through to importers, retailers and foodservice providers. As an organisation, we also take a great interest in the consumer: the people who buy and eat seafood. Maintaining a well regulated seafood industry which delivers high quality, safe, sustainable seafood to UK consumers is one of our highest priorities. We therefore listen to, and cooperate with, a broad range of voices in the industry. By balancing our priorities and maintaining a high degree of transparency in our operations, we endeavour to meet the needs of everyone that we represent.

Allen Hoult
Business Development
The Vegetarian Society
Business Development Officer at the Vegetarian Society working as part of the busy Vegsoc Approved accreditation team.
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Angela Johnson
Cookery school owner
Mrs Bun the Baker

I run a Hands On, Fun Cookery school for toddlers through to adults. I have worked at secondary schools for 20 years as a teacher of food and 5 years ago set up my own award winning cooking school to teach skills to all. They Make, Bake and Take home all goodies, gaining confidence and inspiring them to bake at home. I have written a book with my classes favourite recipes that they like to bake for the family. I work with schools, charities, nurseries, communities and my own classes too.

Andy Jones
MD
AJAssociates

Andy Jones, Past Chair of the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA), PS100 Chair, Partner in Nutrition and Hydration Associates has been a stalwart of patient catering for over 30 years, with the key influence being the delivery of a nutritious and wholesome food and hydration service to all patients at ward level. 

Andy’s mantra is to “treat every patient as if he or she is a member of your own family”, and his current focus is to campaign for a patient focused service that is ultimately owned by hospital caterers from ‘field to point of the patient eating/drinking’ thus enhancing the patient’s experience and aiding clinical teams, regardless of their length of stay in hospital and to eradicate malnutrition. 

Archie Sinclair
Partner
iSqueeze Ltd

Archie is a Partner at iSqueeze which is the UK’s largest provider of commercial juicers and fruit. Partnering with retailers, cafes, restaurants and hotels, iSqueeze exclusively distributes Citrocasa in the UK. With over 550 customers including Nisa, Spar and Center Parcs,  iSqueeze is the only supplier with national distribution and coverage.

Arnaud Kaziewicz
Head Of Foods
Eat

Arnaud Kaziewicz is Head Of Foods at Eat. following a career in food manufacturing and retail stretching over 23 years.

Arnaud developed his cookery skills working in Michelin Starred establishments in the UK and the USA.

His passion for artisan food drove him to creating his own artisan bakery in 2012 in Bristol 'The Real Artisan Bakery'

He is most known for his appearance on Masterchef The Professionals where he cooked his way to the final in 2016. 

Annemarie Penderis
Senior Director, B2B
Cirkle
Anna Rickard
Product developer Cakes and Chilled Juice
The Co-op
I have worked in the food industry for the majority of my career and been with the Coop for the last 7 years. A keen foodie, I’m currently loving my new role developing cakes and juices for the Coop. I have also held a number of other positions within the trading function including buying ready meals, butters and spreads, juices, yoghurts, desserts, cream cakes and prepared produce. Fiercely customer focused my background in both development and commercial gives me a really balanced view of products from both a quality and value for money perspective. 
Andrew Skinner
Managing Director
TQS Food Consulting

Andrew has over three decades’ experience in the food industry. As the founder of TQS Food Consulting, he has extensive experience in food safety, quality and hygiene across many areas of the food industry, encompassing raw materials, food processing and manufacture including import/export and distribution.

During his thirty six year career to date, Andrew has worked with a diver cross-section of the food industry, from small private firms to multi nationals and with two of the UK’s largest food retailers. 


Antonia Syla
Commercial Manager
Fletchers Bakeries

My name is Antonia Syla and I am a commercial manger at Fletchers Bakeries where I have been working for the last 6 years.

I have been working in the food manufacturing industry for over 20 years in various areas from ready Meals to sausages  and in varies roles spanning account /commercial management; planning; production; and scheduling.  I have always enjoyed working in the food industry as I have a real passion for quality food. 

When I’m not working I have 12 year old twin boys that keep me on my toes, my hobbies out side of home life and work life are, fitness, gardening and cooking

Anastasia Yates
Senior Marketing Executive
Speciality & Fine Food Fair
Anastasia works on Speciality & Fine Food Fair, the UK’s most influential annual gathering of artisan, speciality and luxury food and drink producers. Liaising with buyers and producers to create content and marketing ahead of the Fair, she has a good knowledge of this niche (but booming) sector.

Outside of work Anastasia is equally as interested in food, cooking and travel, as well as occasionally trying to combat the effect of enjoying these interests by cycling!
Brian Bibby
Independent Food Consultant

Recently retired from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, where I was Team Leader for Quality Food Policy, having special responsibility for Protected Designations of Origin, Protected Geographical Indications and Traditional Specialities Guaranteed.  Now an independent food consultant specialising in food and trade policy.

Bryson Craske
Commercial & NPD 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 management of international large retailer accounts and heading up a teams of development chefs.

However food and in particular, high quality raw materials, have always been a personal passion.

The Abergavenny Fine Food Co are one the UK’s largest manufacture of added value specialty dairy products and produce a wide range of premium products including fresh goats curd, gourmet appetisers and single serve top tier desserts

This is the fourth year that Bryson has judged at the Quality Food awards. In addition, he has also previously judged at the British Cheese Awards, World Cheese Awards and True Taste Wales.


Beverley Singer
Head of Sales
Ugo Foods Group

Beverley Singer is Head of Sales at Ugo Foods. Born and raised in Yorkshire, Beverley developed a strong interest in food whilst at school excelling in domestic science, then going on to study a Food Science Degree at London University. After graduating, a career in food retail management began in 1983 with Asda & Tesco. In  1992, she was given an opportunity at Selfridges to switch to Buying in the newly refurbished food hall. Beverley quickly developed a keen eye for trends and an instinct for what consumers wanted.

This led to a decade of buying and selecting for Marks and Spencer, Waitrose & Pret a Manger, working in the chilled prepared categories.  Beverley was responsible for developing many new concepts and delivered many successful launches. 

In 2004, Beverley was persuaded by Paul Ugo to switch roles and move in to a sales development role at Ugo Foods group, responsible for commercials and product development with key customers. 

With over 30 years’ experience in the industry, Beverley has a wealth of knowledge in the world of food and product development, she enjoys eating out and trying different cuisines, whilst at home she is a great cook and baker. 

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Chris Beech
CEO
LUHV Drinks

Chris is the Founder of luhv drinks, a drinks company that uses science to help create drinks that help different parts of the body, and are here to make health simple. Chris has over 18 years experience in the drinks industry, and has worked with some of the top companies in the country, which has provided him with an impressive level of insight into this complex and competitive environment. He began luhv because he saw a distinct gap in the market and wanted to help consumers understand more about natural ingredients and their benefits. Chris is luhv's passionate ambassador of products and ideas as well as a people person.

Claire Brumby
Founder
The Food Guide; Mentor & Consultant

The Food Guide was born through a real passion to help, teach and mentor.  Thus, ‘guide’ entrepreneurs by providing advice, strategy, mentoring and consultancy through knowing how difficult it can sometimes be in your food business.

Claire uses first-hand knowledge, real experience and battle scars gained through founding her own multi award winning premium snacking brand.  

Before this Claire spent 16yrs in management within the hospitality sector.  She is also a Virgin Start-up Mentor, Great Taste Awards Judge, Contributor to Fresh Hospitality Digital Magazine, Dragons Den Pitcher, married with 3 children and lives in North Lincolnshire.  

Claire Farrant
Advertising & Marketing Director
Lidl UK GmbH

After completing her degree BSC Food and Nutrition, Claire moved to London to start her career. For several years she worked for food suppliers whom supplied products to the Big 4. In 2003, she joined Woolworths, where she got a real taste for retail both across food and non food working across the Big w concepts. Claire wanted  to continue in retail and after a relocation went to join Tesco to help set up the business venture, Tesco Direct . During her ten year tenure here she worked in several departments: Buying, Trade Planning and then Brand & Advertising. She also led the high profile new Tesco brand transformation project alongside the property department which rolled out to the entire Tesco store estate. After consideration Claire, then left Tesco in 2015 and sought a new adventure with Lidl as an executive consultant for the marketing department. Soon after, she was promoted to Marketing Director and has been in this position for nearly 3 years. 

Carolyn Hudson
Marketing Manager
England Marketing

Carolyn spent almost two decades working in the media, enjoying a variety of roles working both in the press and for a number of prestigious radio groups. 

England Marketing is known for working extensively in the food and agriculture sector and Carolyn has developed a love of the industry with a flair for identifying what research can do to support business growth. Her sound commercial knowledge helps her to work with clients to gather evidence from research and telephone marketing that will go on to inform marketing collateral, selling stories and PR campaigns. 

Cheryl Laidlaw
Branding and Website Designer/Blogger
Reyl Design Group
Cat New
Marketing Manager
The Food Marketing Expert
Dave Brooks
Non Executive Director - various

Dave has 30 years experience in the food industry, split between Brake, Memory Lane Cakes & Finsbury Food Group plc - which he floated in 2002 and ran as CEO until 2008 - and most recently as an NED / Advisor to a range of business in the food sector (and beyond)

Daniela Busseni
Head of Category Development - Sweet Treats
Premier Foods

Daniela Busseni joined Premier Foods in 2012 as Category Controller, before progressing to Head of Category Development for sweet treats at the end of 2014. She has had a long and successful career within the category management and FMCG industry, working for notable companies such as Sainsbury’s, Pernod Ricard, Britvic-Soft Drinks and Bel UK. Throughout these roles she has developed wide-ranging skills from categorisation, shopper marketing and customer insights to brand management, business planning and product development.

Denise Charles
Head of Curriculum - Service Industries
West London College

I have worked in the Hospitality and Catering industry since the age of 16, developing my knowledge of new ingredients. My passion is trying new foods, travel to different countries, where I also make it my mission to try the local cuisine and national dishes made by the local people.

I have been involved in training and developing people in the Hospitality Industry for over 15 years, in this role I have the opportunity to introduce new and exciting products to Hospitality & Catering students, which leads to the students developing a palette for products that stimulating the taste buds. 

Debbie Davies
Founder and Director
Contigo Management Ltd

A seasoned foodie, specialising in category management, consumer insight and marketing across a wide-range of product sectors. My business, 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 those of retailers and food outlets. My client base includes major UK grocery multiples, their suppliers as well as established FMCG food brands.  With a proven track record of adding value to businesses, I care about making a difference and am a true consumer champion. I’m proud to be associated with the Q awards and love being a judge and chair.

Dom Lane
Director
Colour & Thing

Idea junky, info sponge, imaginarian, venn fiend, reader, writer, eater, dad. Less is definitely more. I think stuff up for a living. If it’s new, off-piste, eccentric, theatrical, comic or social, then count me in. I lead brand building, strategy and content at Colour & Thing, ensuring everything we create does what it's supposed to.

Specialising in brand and digital communications, Colour & Thing is a creative brand agency based in Bristol, inspiring our clients to be brave and imaginative. Branding was about publicity, but we believe the future is about authenticity. Successful brands need to be built on purpose and value.

Dawn Marshall
Strategic Marketing Consultant
Drive Brand Marketing Ltd

Dawn is a marketing expert with 20 years’ experience having worked across the food chain, specialising in new product development & new brand launches. She focuses on ensuring brands can be instantly identified from their flavour profiles whilst having packaging standout on shelf so consumers can instantly find the right product and get the same taste experience at home each and every time. Dawn has worked with small and major brands in ambient, chilled & frozen food, tea, pastry and confectionery, both in the UK and globally, and is passionate about the food chain and locally sourced food. She keeps chickens, bees and grows much of her own fruit & veg.

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Eleanor Ford
Food Writer

Eleanor Ford is a food writer and recipe developer. She is co-author of the award-winning cookbook Samarkand: Recipes and Stories from Central Asia and the Caucasus. Her writing focuses on making world cuisines accessible and capturing exotic flavours in home recipes. www.eleanorfordfood.com

Elisa Furci
Director
Familton & Hall

I am a freelance consultant in events management and restaurants consultancy, with clients who include the London Restaurant Festival, Harden’s Restaurant Guides and various street food events and food festivals.

This summer I am opening a naturally fast food pasta & focaccia bar in Lewes, East Sussex. I am also a director of Cook School, a new initiative in teaching primary school children nationwide how to eat and cook well. 

Emily Humphries
Marketing
Lucozade Ribena Suntory

I am very passionate about the food industry, I studied a food science degree at Leeds University and have continued since to build my career in the food industry. I have worked in NPD at Tesco and more recently have worked on many innovation projects at Lucozade Ribena Suntory across both R&D and Marketing departments. I have had the opportunity to work across breakfast cereals, jams and spreads, hot beverages and cooking sauces until I found my passion for the ever-evolving soft drinks category. I like how fast paced and on trend the innovation of soft drinks is. 

Garry Dennis
Director / Consultant
GDT-Consultancy

Experienced Food Technologist with 20 years’ experience in FMCG Food with UK largest retailer, employed as Supplier Auditor, auditing across the full range of food products in 50 countries. Additionally employed as Specific Product Technical Manager forMeat, Seafood, Bacon, continental meats, bakery and impulse, developing and launching new products and responsible for all aspects of due-diligence for the range.  Lead technical advisor /advisor for all forms of Continental Meats. Now assisting sites to meet various retailer and food service supplier requirement, and accredited schemes specialising in meat and meat products.This involves working with the full range of manufactures from 3 staff to multinational sites with thousands of employees.

Greg Emmerson
Private Chef

I have been cooking from an early age. I am so obsessed with food that it even determines our holiday destinations. One of the best meals of my  life was on our wedding day in Santorini where we travel back to often. Over the years I have  amassed hundreds of cookbooks, I continue to learn almost every day

My mother was an incredible cook, she made everything look so easy, she was a natural, I was her student from a young age in the kitchen. Since a young age  I have  a particular fondness for seafood and fish

My favourite chefs are Ferran Adria and Michel Roux Jr and I  aspire to work with food in a similar way, focusing on challenging peoples food perceptions as well as recreating the classics with my own twist. I love to experiment in the kitchen with flavours and textures. One day I would love to run my  own restaurant

When I'm not refining techniques in the kitchen, I enjoy traveling the globe with my Wife in our spare time

Gervase Fay
Founder
Wellbeing Exchange
Georgia Scobie
Content Executive
Fresh Montgomery

Georgia’s role at market-leading food and drink events company, Fresh Montgomery, primarily focuses on creating exciting and on-trend speaker programmes. She works across The Food & Drink Innovation Network, Specialty Fine Food Fair and the International Food Event (IFE). Georgia keeps a close eye on food and drink trends to ensure the content and speakers for every programme are as relevant and interesting as possible. 

Ian Bishop
Co Founder and Director
Our Livelihood Limited

I left school with no qualifications other than my Cycling Proficiency and whilst I wasn’t the best academically, I was determined to achieve my dream to own a Ferrari. Starting out I was earning £27.50 a week on YTS and my career has since taken me through private small businesses, to multi billion pound organisations holding a number of senior Board level roles in Marketing.  The bulk of my career has been spent in FMCG retail, but I also dabbled as the Marketing Director of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club for five years. As a no fluff, straight talking marketeer, I have a reputation on just getting the job done quickly, efficiently and cost effectively. A career varied and at times exciting, I have a wealth of experience in branding, strategy, sponsorship, the convenience sector and product development amongst others.

Ian Nottage
Chef Director
Reynolds

Ian is the Chef Director for leading Foodservice fresh produce supplier Reynolds. 

Working with Reynolds’ extensive customer base, Ian helps to deliver profitable, relevant and innovative menu solutions. He spends much of his time helping to forge close links with growers, producers and chefs, to help develop the understanding and appreciation in the trade about how fresh produce arrives from field to fork, as well as providing information regarding provenance for that all important menu appeal. 

Ian is an active committee member of The Craft Guild of Chefs and co-founder of the Universal Cookery and Food Festival a unique industry event ‘designed by chefs for chefs’

He is a regular judge at The Great Taste Awards, The World Cheese Awards and national Salon Culinaires.

Ian also judges The Craft Guild graduate awards and is a former examiner and exam writer for the Applied Ability Awards

Prior to joining Reynolds Ian was Chef Director for speciality food supplier Leathams and has also worked at prestigious venues such as Hampton Court Palace, Stoll Moss theatres and The London Coliseum.

JASON DANCIGER
MANAGING DIRECTOR
HANA GROUP UK

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 de Blank initially in his whites before slowly moving to senior management roles with a repertoire of clients from music & film stars to royalty.

Cafe Rouge took a hundred years of cafe society and swiftly planted them in high streets over the country aptly joined by Dome, Dragon Inns & Mamma Amalfi. Jason was at the beginning of a ten year journey taking the group from 4 to 160 cafe bars in roles as diverse as operations director to purchasing & marketing director.

Quality restaurants were flying back with successful brands such as Chez Gerard, Livebait and Bertorelli's leading the way with Jason supporting the group as their commercial director running the purchasing, F&B, information technology and property functions.

Jason then joined the Spirit group as director of food and put pub food firmly on the map which became a significant growth driver both for their 3,000 pubs and for the rest of the industry.

That successful drive continued in his role at SFI where the team took a group with an uncertain financial future to one of the most promising bar groups on the high street with premium brands now that outperformed the sector such as Slug & Lettuce, Ha Ha! and Havana.

Jason joined M&S and picked up a number of accolades for hospitality in M&S heading up over 100 restaurants & casual dining outlets and over 300 coffee shops in UK and over 60 global operations. Jason was also responsible for rolling out of 50 odd new deli counters adding theatre in their food halls as well as revitalising their in store bakery operation bringing a new award winning design concept to over 450 stores in under 18 months stealing significant market growth.

Jason then developed a number of award winning concepts for The Garden Centre Group as F&B director driving strong increase in customer service, team morale & significant LFL growth and return on investment.

Jason launched Sushi Gourmet in UK just 18 months ago and now runs over 60 eateries under brands of Sushi Gourmet, Genji, Mai, Wok Street Kitchen and Sushi & Robata

Jan England
Managing Director
England Marketing

Jan has been researching opinions of consumers in the food and drink sector for many years and come to recognise what makes a quality product and what the average discerning shopper looks for. Recently completing a new Research Hub at England Marketing which offers capture of sensory responses and biometric testing she is even more au fait with what people want and the current trends in the food and drink sector both from a taste perspective and packaging and presentation. Also, coming from a farming background where primary production and cooking from scratch are part of daily life, she considers herself a real foodie!

Jessica Martin
Executive Coach
Jessica Martin Coaching

Trained in Personal Performance Coaching and an NLP Practitioner, Jessica has over 20 years experience in senior Marketing and Sales roles in well known FMCGs including H.J.Heinz, United Biscuits, Unilever and Kerry Foods.

Now pursuing her passion to develop others as a qualified Executive Coach and Trainer Jessica facilitates the success of others to achieve their career goals. Using her strong commercial experience she helps ambitious business leaders develop and learn through being appropriately challenged and stretched to achieve more than they thought possible in less time and with more ease than they could have done working alone.

Jackie Mitchell
Food & Drink Writer & Blogger

Jackie Mitchell, food and drink writer and blogger, has worked on newspapers, magazines and web sites in the UK, Hong Kong, Australia and New York. She specialises in the foodservice, hospitality and “free from” sectors and writes for several UK and European foodservice publications and web sites. Her blog can be found at www.eatingoutwithfoodallergies.co.uk She is a member of the Guild of Food Writers. www.jackiemwriting.com 

John Glover
Sales Director
Rich Sauces

John Glover is Sales Director at Rich Sauces. He heads up the Sales and Marketing team, focusing on the development of sales of an award-winning range of mayonnaises, dressings, sauces, bouillons and powders within foodservice markets in Ireland, the UK and beyond. Working with a strong team of field sales developers, NPD and production, John’s continued focus is on forging long term beneficial partnerships through innovation, quality, and consistency, delivering diverse and profitable growth.

Likes eating and outdoorsy stuff. 

Karen Green
Business mentor
Food mentor

Karen Green is a business mentor, speaker and author of the best selling book “Recipe for success – the ingredients of a profitable food business".  She has a wealth of commercial experience, having worked both as a buyer for UK retailers such as Tesco and Boots, and commercial director for various food manufacturing businesses supplying UK retail.

She now works with food SME owners and entrepreneurs from start ups to those in need of invigoration enabling them to grow their businesses doing what they love (and she loves!)…. working with food

Karen Hornby
Brand Manager
Booker Group

I am passionate about tasting and developing great quality food and drink.   

With over 25 years of experience in Product Development/Innovation/Own Brand function in Retail (Sainsbury's, Coop), Manufacturing and for the past 5 years Booker Group,  I have been responsible for the development of products, packaging and marketing across all categories.  With so many launches to my name over the years, I've now developed a great insight into what makes a products survive in such a fast changing market.  At Booker we pride ourselves in offering outstanding quality and good value for our customers, so I’m thrilled to be a judge, to identify some fantastic Award Winners, in what is the Oscars of the Food Industry! 

Karen Sargant
Client Service Director
TQS Food Consulting

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 retailer and supplier Specifications. In 2011 I won The Society of Food Hygiene and Technology Award for Best Auditor/Technologist in recognition of my expertise for specification writer within the food industry.


Katharine Shipley
Head of Innovation
The Co-op

I have worked within product development in food retail for 15 years working for 3 different retailers in the North. My experience spans almost all categories form ambient to fresh including beverages. More recently I have been focused on seasonal event development and innovation and am head of innovation for Co-Op. I look at what are the future social, cultural and food trends that all affect what our customers want. I am passionate about all food whether this is retailer products to fine dining and am constantly excited by new innovation that comes to the market.

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Laura Davis
Consultant

Laura has significant commercial experience in strategic and operational roles across a number of businesses including KPMG and Finsbury Food Group.

Her in-depth understanding of the UK Grocery trade spans over 20 categories.

She has profound knowledge of brand development and leading customer orientated businesses.

Lucy Ede
Co-founder
Tastemakers

Lucy Ede gained a BA in Home Economics at South Bank University.  Lucy spent the early part of her career at Marks and Spencer as a Food Selector, working across a number of categories including ready meals and soft drinks. She took a brave leap into the entrepreneurial world when she joined innocent drinks as Head of Innovation. She was instrumental in growing the product range from the very start of innocent’s journey. Lucy then went on to work with a number of innovative hospitality brands, demonstrating her passion for food and ability to run large development projects.


Lucy Ferguson
Director of Marketing Content
IGD

A food and grocery marketing content expert with a passion for great food, Lucy has begun her career in television and radio, working on youth brands for BBC and Channel 4. Lucy has headed up digital for at Bacardi. She’s also worked agency side at Starcom Mediavest and Seven C3, concentrating on content, social and digital marketing for some of the country's biggest food brands.


Lizzy Hodcroft
Founder and Director
The Sweet Beet

The Sweet Beet founder Lizzy Hodcroft has always had a passion for exploring the wider world, in life, in business and in flavour. In a short space of time, The Sweet Beet is on track to becoming an industry leader in innovation and flavour. After winning Young Entrepreneur of the Year North East in 2017, Lizzy has continued to prove her ambition and drive for entrepreneurship by mentoring other business.

Lucy Thomas
Co-founder
Tastemakers

Lucy Thomas gained a BSc in Food Science at Reading University. Lucy’s career was grounded in the rigour of Unilever before joining the entrepreneurial spirited innocent drinks. Over 8 years at innocent saw Lucy develop many innocent products and ranges. Now a Ballymaloe trained chef, Lucy combines culinary skills with scientific principles to develop award winning products for a wide range of start ups and existing brands.

Luis Vargas
International Business Manager
Strategos

Luis specialises in developing international businesses for British and overseas companies. His experience spams from a wide range of products from exporting honey bee to China, to spirits to Middle East, seeds to continental Europe, olive oil to Asia, bottled water to India, and alcoholic drinks to the US. Luis has also worked importing food and drinks from Spain, fresh produce from the Caribbean and exotics food ingredients from Latin America. In recent years, Luis has started working with innovative compostable/biodegradable materials for both agricultural and food packaging business.


Morwenna Ellis
Managing Director
Absolute Market Research

A market researcher with 18 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 established brands or market exploration for a new kid on the block. Her background in both qualitative and quantitative research means she can design the most effective fieldwork to address the client brief.

Michelle Minnaar
Food and travel blogger
Greedy Gourmet

Michelle is a former computer programmer and chess nerd, turned food blogger and photographer, who has been running Greedy Gourmet since 2007. She is South African and lives in Chelmsford (Essex), just outside London (UK) with her two children.

When Michelle isn’t researching and cooking recipes from the four corners of the world, she is shooting for restaurant clients, running her own dining club, burning calories at the gym, reading or playing the piano. 


Maya Orr
Marketing & Advertising Senior Consultant
Lidl UK

A communications expert with more than a decade worth of experience in the food and retail industry. I am WSET accredited, and a former judge at the Great Taste Awards.

Michele Young
Director
Foodservice Support Ltd & CoolberryCafe Frozen Yogurt

Michele is an established foodservice marketing specialist with a career history spanning casual dining, quick service, and full service restaurant and catering sectors, having also spent time working internationally with major global brands.

In 2009 Michele founded Foodservice Support Ltd and now supports a growing list of European and International clients offering interim management services including strategic planning and business reviews, new country entry, new concept development, product / menu performance and business growth and development programmes. 


Nigel Dickie
Director, Corporate & Government Affairs, EMEA
The Kraft Heinz Company

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, Middle East & Africa with responsibility for all external communications and government relations.

With a PhD in Nutrition from London University, Nigel started his career working for Unilever as company Nutritionist. In 1985 Nigel joined Counsel, part of the Huntsworth international communications group, and was appointed Managing Director in 1992. 

Nigel has extensive international food and drink communications experience including Heinz, PepsiCo, Diageo, Marks & Spencer and Sodexho.

Nicola Knight
Senior Analyst – Convenience & Food-To-Go
IGD

Nicola specialises in providing insight on retailers’ strategic development and sector trends, with a focus on the UK market and the convenience and food-to-go channels in particular.  A CIM-qualified marketer, Nicola has over 20 years’ experience in the UK foodservice sector, working with food manufacturers, wholesalers and operators in a range of brand management, marketing and insight roles.

Nicola Thomas
Director
A La Carte Consulting

I am passionate about helping UK food and drink manufacturers to build sustainable and profitable sales overseas: I work with business owners and management teams to tackle the "pain points" they encounter as they develop their exports, including finding and managing best-fit in-market partners, optimizing limited human and financial resources and getting set up internally.

As a languages graduate wanting to combine a love of travel and eating, I have spent my career building international sales networks across a wide range of product categories including dairy,  snacks, fresh & frozen food.   For the last 10 years I have been an industry coach, mentor and trainer, supporting manufacturers with developing and implementing their export plans and acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in overseas markets.  

Nathalie Vieira
General Manager
Beretta UK

I was brought up in the South West of France and food has always played a huge role in my life. I have been working in the food industry for over 10 years enjoying learning about food history, processes, development and innovations. I always try to link whatever I do to food in some way, whether it is socialising around a nice dinner, trying up-and-coming restaurants, a cooking course when travelling or trying the latest trends off the shelf.  


Richard Ayres
Director
Trade Solutions International

Director at Trade Solutions International, who has worked with a variety of brands aiding them with UK market entry.

Our objective is to retain and grow distribution, availability and visibility of our clients products across the UK. We do this through three main processes: Preparation, Execution and Expansion. 

- Delivering category strategies - developing and growing profitable new business.

-Implementing NPD processes- launching innovative new products.

-Commercial management - Improving retailer, wholesaler and distributor relationships.

I am an extremely driven and motivated young professional with a fresh approach to business. A proven track record in both sales and purchasing, identifying, sourcing and building long-term sustainable relationships

Rachel Bain
Marketing Consultant
Bain Marketing

A Grocery Marketing Consultant advising on the buying and development of food to the multiples.

With extensive, varied experience in the grocery industry, the last 10 years working with retailers and brands such as:

Kellogg’s - project managing the delivery of their sugar reduction to the European markets.

Co-op - developing the strategy and delivering the re-brand of their premium brand “Irresistible”, still in double-digit growth 18 months after launch.

NHS - working with retailers to reward healthy eating.

All built on 15 years in Retail Buying – Buying Bread, Ready Meals and Yogurts & Desserts.


Rachel Davies
Founder
Rachel's Kitchen

With a degree in Theology and no culinary ability whatsoever, Rachel’s passion for cooking started while on VSO in Zambia. Having never cooked before, she was forced to learn fast whilst living in a village with no supermarket. So, she started baking her own bread, making granita using lemons from her garden, and searching for recipes wherever she could find them, and the rest, as they say, is history. After graduating in Cuisine and Patisserie from Le Cordon Bleu, Rachel went on to work with some of London’s most inspiring chefs. In 2010 Rachel started Rachel’s Kitchen cookery school as a way to share her passion for great food using quality ingredients. Rachel has since given thousands of people the confidence to create delicious dishes in the kitchen. She is a judge for the Great Taste Awards and the Quality Food Awards, was voted runner up ‘Best Cookery School Tutor’ in the UK Cookery School of the Year Award, and was twice a finalist ‘Best Young Rising Star' in the Cookery School Awards 2013. Her teaching is unique due to the personal, fun and friendly atmosphere created throughout.


Richard Hedges
Food Innovation Consultant
Absolute Food

The ultimate foodie with endless passion for exploring new flavours and textures in foods from around the world. The recent vegetarian explosion excites me! 

My twenty years food innovation experience within the food industry includes FMCG, International food brands, foodservice and manufacturing hence giving me a strong track record in strategy-lead product innovation that are aligned to business needs.

Simon Bell
Chief Executive
Donatantonio

I have over 30 years of food industry management experience supplying products to retailers, food manufacturers and caterers. I started my career at United Biscuits as a sales rep and progressed to  board roles at Shippams and New Covent Garden Soup Company. More recently I have worked in food ingredients import as a director of Leathams and my current latest role as CEO of Mediterranean ingredients supplier Donatantonio.


Susan Bolam
Managing Director
Jellybean Creative Solutions

With 21 years’ experience in marketing, nearly 17 of those in foodservice at Jellybean, Susan has worked with a wide variety of leading brands during her career, including Twinings, Tilda, Ferrero, Hobart and Pritchitts. She is passionate about the ‘out of home’/foodservice arena and the opportunities it offers across its diverse sectors. Bringing an in-depth understanding of the market from both a brand and operator perspective, Susan has won and judged numerous awards in the industry including FPA, CIPR, RAR, B2B Marketing, The DRUM and IPM and is delighted to return as a judge to the Foodservice Q Awards.


Sal Henley
Food Stylist and Consultant

Sal Henley was quick to set up her own business after university as a Food stylist and Consultant. After almost 20 years she has worked alongside some accomplished businesses, recent clients include: M&S, Slimming World, Heineken, Tesco, Tilda and Haagen Dazs. Day to day, week-to-week Sal could be doing anything from food styling, recipe creation, menu development, training and workshops, exhibitions and cooking demonstrations. 

Stuart Macdonald
Managing Director
ManíLife Peanut Butter

Stu off is the founder of ManíLife, a single estate craft peanut butter brand, which he started out of a rugby club kitchen, with 45 friends after graduating from Bristol University n 2015. A lot of hiccups followed and he finally quit an accountancy job at PwC to pursue it full time in October 2016. In April 2017 ManíLife closed a record breaking funding round on crowdfunding platform Seedrs. ManíLife now sells in over 1000 shops UK wide and feeds over 750,000 people/year through its partnerships with recipe box companies, cafes and, most recently, CrossTown Doughnuts.

Sarah Wolton
Food Technologist/Managing Director
SJW Technical

I am a Food Technologist with 10+ years’ experience in the food industry. Since 2014 I have been working through my own limited company providing technical support to suppliers of the major UK food retailers as well as food advisory and compliance businesses.

I specialise in UK retailer and supplier specification writing and have worked with various product categories such as ready meals, bakery, fresh meat & poultry, convenience, grocery and produce. I am also experienced in QAS writing and have been formally trained in food labelling and legislation and HACCP.


Theo Michaels
Author & Executive Chef
TheoCooks.com

Executive Chef for Elsewhere Events, two times published author, currently writing third cookbook due out spring 2019. Sometimes on the telly and radio…

Vhari Russell
Managing Director
The Food Marketing Expert

Life-long foodie, devoted to the food industry and renowned networking whirlwind. Founder of the Food Marketing Expert and Co-founder of Grub Club Cambridge.  Vhari is obsessed with helping producers get their products on retailers’ shelves and getting their products the sales, profile and coverage they deserve. 

Vicky Williams
Strategic Marketing Consultant
Drive Brand Marketing

Vicky is a passionate food brand marketer with over 18 years’ experience in creating new and developing established food brands. From introducing new cuisines & flavours to driving the health agenda across fresh, ambient and frozen categories to developing new health sub brands for retailers own label. Having been diagnosed a Coeliac 10 years ago Vicky has an obsession with great tasting food with no compromise. Over this time, she’s developed an affinity for brands who invest in packaging and clear allergen guidance so Free From consumers can be safe in their food choices.

Will Torrent
Pastry Chef Consultant
Will Torrent Consultancy

Award winning chef, pâtissier and chocolatier, Waitrose Consultant and presenter, Will has worked with top chefs including Heston Blumenthal, Jamie Oliver, James Martin, Nathan Outlaw and more. In addition, his TV appearances include BBC’s “Blue Peter”, “The Apprentice”, “Songs of Praise” and “Sweet Baby James”, Channel 4’s “Sunday Brunch”, “Jamie and Jimmy’s Food Fight Club” and ITV’s “This Morning”. Will is a board member of The Academy of Chocolate, Ambassador for Christian development agency Tearfund as well as being a member of the Craft Guild of Chefs and the Guild of Food Writers. He is the author of three best-selling books; Patisserie at Home, Chocolate at Home and Afternoon Tea at Home.

Daphne Llewellyn Davies
Director
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 technical seminars, theatres and sales &marketing.


Diane Camp
Development Chef
Reynolds

Diane is the development chef for leading Foodservice fresh produce supplier Reynolds.

She is a chef with over 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 works closely with other development teams across a wide range of foodservice offers, including leading high street brands, education, healthcare and corporate caterers to deliver meaningful and relevant menu solutions.  

She has competed in national and international cookery competitions; from the South African Culinary team, entering into the Culinary Olympics, to representing South Africa at the Bocuse d’Or. Her latest achievement was the finals of the National Chef of the Year. Making her the first development chef from a foodservice supplier to make the finals. In 2016 Diane was award the title of Development Chef of the Year at last year’s prestigious Craft Guild of Chefs Award.

Diane also wrote seasonal recipes for the Craft Guild Magazine, Stockpot.


Genevieve Rule
Co-Founder
Noble Leaf

Gen is one of the Co-Founders of Noble Leaf – The Mindful Tea Company, who are on a mission to build a conscious company that helps humanity return to wholeness through the world’s finest tea leaves.  Gen has worked over 15 years in marketing across a number of industries, but her love of good food and drink has always been a big part of her life. 

Graham Williams
Chief Executive Officer
RAP UK Ltd

Graham Williams is co-founder and CEO of Rapid Action Packaging (RAP UK Ltd) ,the leading design and manufacturer of innovative card-based food packaging in UK.

Over the last 20 years RAP have pioneered the way our food is packaged.

Primarily focused on the £20bn UK Food to Go sector where in the space of less than 10 years RAP helped all the major supermarkets move from plastic triangles for their sandwiches to cardboard packs, RAP is now working with manufacturers across all chilled and frozen food categories to help them reduce avoidable plastic use.

Graham’s team have won numerous awards for packaging innovation firsts and are currently pioneering a fully compostable range under the Precious Planet brand.

Graham is an avid cook and grows all his own vegetables in his home garden.  


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Janice Gabriel
Executive TV Producer
Eat the Globe

Executive TV producer specialising in food and travel.  She has worked alongside many of the UK's top chefs and food personalities on award-winning food TV shows for BBC, Channel 4 and UKTV , recently producing several TV series with John Torode and Judy Joo to promote Korean cuisine for UKTV Good food/Food Network and exploring baking across Asia with Irish cook, Donal Skehan. Her consultancy specialises in consulting talent new to TV, promoting Asian food and culture in the media,working with international food festivals and sourcing sponsors for  TV shows/books.  She is passionate about sustainability in the industry and supporting female chefs, farmers and food entrepreneurs. Favourite dish ; Tempe, waterspinach, red rice and sambal. 

Katy Moses
Managing Director
KAM Media

Katy has 15 years’ experience working in FMCG and hospitality.  She is the Managing Director for KAM Media, a creative insight agency creating multi-media content and research-led solutions for the retail industry through trend watching, innovation and thought-leadership.

Katy has worked with and advised some of the biggest names in FMCG and hospitality (Cafe Rouge, Punch, Fullers, Tesco, McColl’s to name but a few); also, many FMCG manufacturers and suppliers from large multinationals to small artisanal producers.

A self-confessed foodie, Katy is often found globe-trotting in search of a good lunch and best in class examples of restaurants, pubs, bars and food to go outlets.


Lucy Milleret
Brand & Packaging Consultant
L.E. Milleret Consultancy

After obtaining a food science degree I wanted to work in retail, so started my career with Budgens as a retail management trainee.  Then followed a brief role as a merchandiser at their head office and then a role in product marketing, developing own brand products from ideation to delivery.  I worked in this area for over 15 years working with the Budgens and Londis brands.  I have now started my own business consulting on brand, product development and packaging supporting smaller businesses who do not have this skill set in house.

Michael Michaels
Food Photographer
Michael Michaels Photography

Michael is an established food photographer with over 25 years experience in the business of food photography. He shoots food mostly for advertising and packaging clients, ranging from small food start ups to  to blue chip brands like Uncle Bens, Tesco stores and Dolmio. He operates from his own studio based in West Central London.

Neville Moon
Head of NPD
The NPD Kitchen Ltd

Neville Moon is co-founder of The Food Innovation Consultancy – a small team of senior NPD and Marketing professionals led by their love of food and dedicated to true innovation in retail and foodservice environments. In over 2 decades of NPD, Neville has launched a wide range of chilled prepared meals and speciality bakery ranges and was Head of Food and Beverage for Caffe Nero from 2007-2012.

Rob Iles
Founder
Visionise Ltd

Rob Iles has over 25 years experience in the UK Food Industry starting as a graduate with Whitbread and holding board-level roles with Greencore, Buckingham Foods and Adelie Foods where he was Group Innovations an Marketing Director. In 2011 he set up Visionise Ltd to support food manufacturers with consumer-centric growth strategies. His brands Millennial Jury and Inno-vigor-ate help companies development a pipeline of innovative products that are relevant for the under 30s.

Rob lives in Bedfordshire and has been a Q award judge for over 5 years now.

Ruth Badley
Freelance journalist and PR consultant
Ruth Badley PR

Ruth has recently returned from a three-year sabbatical in Dubai. Whilst there she worked with a food photographer and established relationships with local food writers and restaurateurs. She is now based in rural Essex – an area where fresh food markets, artisan producers and quality ingredients are the norm.

Previously, during 25 years in North Yorkshire, she was the senior features writer for a regional newspaper. She launched the paper’s first weekly leisure supplement which included restaurant reviews and interviews with some of the UK’s best-known chefs and cook book writers.  

Ruth Dolby
R&D Director
Company Food Science Fusion Ltd

The founding director at Food Science Fusion, a product development, applications and cross-disciplinary training company for the food industry in UK & Ireland. She is a University of Nottingham Associate of Nutrition, Visiting Lecturer at Birmingham City University and Trustee of Derby QUAD, Derby’s foremost visual arts centre, advising on catering and café.

Her experience spans R&D from SMEs, diversifying farmers, large manufacturers, multinationals and the industry’s major retailers and wholesalers. Ruth’s skills are practical and problem solving solutions are strongly linked with commercial acumen focussed on the customer requirements, applying cutting edge science to compliment culinary skills.


Stephen Losee
Senior Executive Development Chef
Sodexo

Stephen joined Sodexo USA as the Director of Culinary at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He was responsible for 200 chefs, 15 dining outlets, high end hospitality and project managed the opening of the newly built football stadium food offer. Stephen partnered with KelRae farm to instill farm to fork initiatives within the program. 

Stephen transferred with Sodexo back to the UK in 2017. He is the Senior Executive Development Chef within the food platform team. Stephen is responsible for the UK test kitchen, concept innovation and nationwide university accounts.


Steve Walpole
Freelance Chef & Consultant
Ugo Foods Group

Steve Walpole is passionate about food and cooking since he started a Saturday job in a local restaurant at fifteen. He went on to gain a whole host of qualifications, diplomas and awards. Now Steve heads up Steve Walpole ltd with a wealth of experience and knowledge under his belt. 

Prior to starting this Venture Steve  has held a number of roles such as Head development chef at Ugo Foods, Executive Chef at Corney & Barrow Bars, Senior Executive Development Chef for British Airways, With these roles Steve travelled and worked around the Globe to enhance his cookery skills but also share his knowledge of British and western cuisines.