Meet your kitchen team 

The Quality Food and Drink Awards are excited to be welcoming a brand new kitchen team to this year's judging. The kitchen team will be headed up by kitchen manager, Bridget Colvin who will be joined by her esteemed colleagues Chris Rowley and Gemma Stoddart.

All three  bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the judging. They will lead a team of qualified students from Leith's School of Food and Wine who will be working front of house and behind the scenes to ensure the four weeks of judging runs smoothly. 

"We are truly delighted to be this year’s Kitchen Team for The Quality Food Awards 2019. And it really is a team, as we have worked together for a number of years on numerous projects.

Together the three of us work alongside celebrity chefs, behind the scenes on well-known TV shows, as well as writing recipes, developing exciting new products, teaching and of course private dining.

Our most recent assignment brought us together with the wonderful Gennaro Contaldo and his client, Birra Moretti. This was a great event where the general public were asked to bring a table to a pop-up restaurant hosted by Gennaro. Over six nights we served 40 covers per night, a six-course Trattoria style menu, designed by Gennaro, It was truly a memorable week.

All three of us trained at Leith’s School of Food and Wine, although that was some time ago for some of us! We have all kept our strong connection with the School and this year more so than ever, as the majority of our team consist of newly-qualified Leith students. We felt confident that whether a team member was front of house, in stores, note-taking or in the kitchen that they all had a great understanding and passion for food - an ethos heavily instilled by Leith’s.

Personally, it seems my every waking moment revolves around food, either cooking, tasting, writing, developing or teaching, which can’t be bad. I have been very fortunate to work in so many parts of the food industry and this is what really keeps my love of food alive.

I am one of those people with a creative gene; I love looking at how things are put together – all aspects of food development and design. I get really animated about packaging and how it is used in relation to food. I have always been fascinated by new product design and I completely understand the trials and heartache that both big and small food producers experience just trying to get that product to market. I worked with Yorica, in the early stages of development and was instrumental in producing their initial dairy-free ice cream range. Yorica, was at that point the first dairy-free ice cream shop in the UK, so ahead of the curve. Now of course dairy-free is so on trend with multiple options in all forms available for the consumer. I then went on to help other major brands with NPD as well as even launching my own product range. So, what I would say to all those first time small producers, is don’t give up; it might not be your first idea that works, but keep going.

When I am not cooking, which is a small window, I always enjoy spending time with my family and friends, which of course always involves food at some point.

I am looking forward to meeting a new panel of judges and seeing and tasting the sensational new products coming through the kitchen. Bring it on." 
- Bridget Colvin