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

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.

Allison Morgan
Product Manager
Delicious Food

A trained Home Economist, I have worked 32 years within the Retail Food Industry, currently with the Co-operative Group as a Product Development Manager.

Food is a passion, not just in work but outside of work, with personal interests being to combining travel with product or recipe research and innovation.

I enjoy experimenting and being creative with food, being outdoors, growing our own fruit and veg, or long distance footpath and hill walking.

Allen Hoult
Business Development
The Vegetarian Society
Business Development Officer at the Vegetarian Society working as part of the busy Vegsoc Approved accreditation team.
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!
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. 

Andy Gray
Trade Marketing Manager

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.

Andy Jones

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. 

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.

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. 
Ann Marie Gallagher
Catering Manager

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. 

Annemarie Penderis
Senior Director, B2B
Ant Durrant
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!

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

Archie Sinclair
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

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. 

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. 

Bill Simmons
Beer Consultant, International Beer and Food Judge and Writer

My name is Bill Simmons, I have spent 35 years in the brewing industry working for the likes of Fullers, Caledonian and Samuel Smith.  I now run my own consultancy business helping the smaller craft brewers.  I am also an International Beer and Food Judge, with experiences at World Beer Cup, Chinese Craft Beer Awards, IBC, World Beer Awards and Quality Drinks Awards.  I am a member of the British Guild of Beer Writers and currently write articles for the Chinese Craft Beer magazine.

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.

Caroline Capel
Client Manager
ResearchFarm, Retail Analysts

I deliver a consultative approach to help build, integrate and promote sales, marketing and research departments to address business issues and deliver improved focus and value.

With a heritage in retail, shopper and food research, I have held varied senior roles at retail head offices and leading CPG research and technology agencies. 

Currently supporting ResearchFarm, a leading provider of strategic research reports for the Retail/CPG industry. Reports include thought provoking analysis and actionable recommendations which address the intersection of technological innovations, retail evolution and food trends.

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. 

Cat New
Marketing Manager
The Food Marketing Expert
Charlie Long
Head Brewer
The Wimbledon Brewery

Charlie is the Head Brewer at The Wimbledon Brewery, with more than seven years brewing experience.

Following the completion of a Masters in Brewing and Distilling at Heriot Watt University, Charlie joined the Wimbledon Brewery back in 2015 when the brewery first opened its doors. He has enjoyed being part of its growth into new markets and overseeing the addition of new beers into their line-up.

Charlie has judged at various CAMRA and SIBA competitions over the last few years and earlier this year he gained his Certified Cicerone qualification.

Cheryl Laidlaw
Branding and Website Designer/Blogger
Reyl Design Group
Chris Beech
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
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. 

Dale Freeman
Commercial Director UK & Ireland
Klὂckner Pentaplast

The Klöckner Pentaplast Group is a global leader in rigid and flexible packaging, printing and specialty solutions, serving the pharmaceutical, medical device, food, beverage and card markets, among others. With a broad portfolio of packaging, films and services powered by innovation, Klöckner Pentaplast plays an integral role in the customer value chain by marketing and safeguarding product integrity, assuring safety, consumer health and protecting brand reputation. Founded in 1965 in Montabaur, Germany, Klöckner Pentaplast has operations in 18 countries and employs over 6,300 people committed to serving customers worldwide from 61 total locations, including 35 production sites.

Dale was promoted to Commercial Director in June 2017 following kp’s acquisition of Linpac Packaging.

He heads up all sales and commercial activities in the UK & Ireland for our Food & Consumer Packaging Division and started with kp back in 2002

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.

Daphne Llewellyn 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 technical seminars, theatres and sales &marketing.

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)

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.

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.

Debbie Parker
Associate Director, Sensory; Beer Sommelier
Walnut Unlimited

Debbie manages Walnut Unlimited Sensory panels used in the profiling and reformulation of consumer goods and foods. A sensory scientist for over 20 years, Debbie uses her knowledge to generate and deliver high quality value added sensory and has worked with many global companies. With a Doctorate in Brewing Science, a Post Graduate Certificate in Sensory Science and as an IFST Approved Trainer, Debbie is also one of the few women accredited Beer Academy sommeliers. Debbie and her Sensory teams have featured on several BBC television news and consumer interest programmes, including Test House Watch Dog and Food Unwrapped.

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. 

Denise Spencer-Walker
Food Communications Manager
Agriculture, Horticulture and Development Board, AHDB

Denise Spencer-Walker has worked as Food Communications Manager at AHDB (Agriculture, Horticulture and Development Board) for 14 years and has worked in the food industry for over 25 years.  She is also a member of the Guild of Food Writers and has a Masters in Culinary Arts.

Diane Camp
Development Chef

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.

Dom Lane
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.

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
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
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. 

Emily Jade
Amethyst and Jade

Specialising in drinks consultancy I have a background in venue management within the art world I then transitioned into predominantly creating bespoke cocktails for high end clients. Having worked as general manager for several establishments in London I have trained with some of the most highly regarded mixologist in the industry and previously worked with clients such as Nike, M&S, Warner Brothers, Diego, National Portrait Gallery. I now work almost exclusively as a consultant covering drinks, project management and sponsorship for independent events under the company name of Amethyst and jade. 

Gabriella Thorpe
Vintage Velvet

Gabriella is the founder of Vintage Velvet, a craft brand of English Vodka. Having gained significant knowledge of the wine industry by previously working for a high demographic wine journal, Gabriella saw the opportunity to experiment with natural ingredients and form a cross over to the spirits market creating a new product. Since she has developed her own brand and is currently working on new projects within spirits.

Garry Dennis
Director / Consultant

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.

Genevieve Rule
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. 

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. 

Gervase Fay
Wellbeing Exchange
Graham Williams
Chief Executive Officer

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.  

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

Hannah Lanfear
The Mixing Glass

Hannah Lanfear is the founder of The Mixing Class, a company dedicated to education and research within the drinks industry. Clocking in at 18 years of service to the cocktail & spirits industry, she has managed and trained bar teams (Milk & Honey, Bungalow 8, Boisdale); consulted on bar openings (Nimb Copenhagen, GloGlo’s); as well as working for a distillery as a global brand ambassador (Jensen’s Gin). She has written articles for industry press (Imbibe, Bar Life, Class, Drinks World Asia, Standart); was a member of the Tanqueray Ten Martini Guild; winner of the London heat of Bartender Mastermind; and GVine’s Gin Connoisseurs’ Programme World Finalist 2013. She works as a Spirits Educator at the WSET, and under the banner of her company, The Mixing Class, is an independent provider of the WSET Spirits Courses.

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

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.

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 

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!


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

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.

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. 

Jill Deegan
Market Research Consultant
JDQ Marketing and Researching

With 25 years of working in the food industry starting initially as a category manager within frozen and then chilled food at the Co-op, I now run a market research consultancy which has been operating for over 14 years.

I have a wealth of experience in food retail and work with many own label and branded suppliers in addition to design agencies and grocery retailers.  I am passionate about food and really enjoy finding out consumers thoughts, shopping habits and preferences and always enjoy seeing innovative products being developed in the marketplace.

I feel that my experience of working both on the client and retail side of business has helped me to develop an approach that puts a much greater emphasis on the quality of analysis provided to develop sound understanding of business needs and tangible results.

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 Hardwick
Director of National Accounts
Berkmann Wine Cellars

With a career spanning 20 years in the wine trade with Robert Mondavi, PLB, Bibendum and now Berkmann Karen has worked across both the grocery and on trade markets. Currently heading up the National Sales Team, Education and Technical teams for Berkmann Wine Cellars. Karen has extensive experience of wine making, blending and label design as well as judging wine competitions.

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.

Katie Thompson
Commercial Manager
Off Piste Wines

Starting out in Asda’s Wine Selector team in 2011 and currently working for Off Piste Wines. I have worked both as a supplier and retailer in the off trade sector in varying roles and companies. Having completed my WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits, I am passionate about the products that reach the retailers shelf, the quality and value that is required to be proud of the wineries and brands that we represent. I have worked across sales, operations and sourcing on the supply side. My current role as Commercial Manager allows me to work with producers and all the UK supermarkets to make sure we are delivering an excellent service, availability and outstanding products.  I particularly enjoy South African and Italian wines but would be hard pushed to choose a single favourite.

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.

Laura Davis

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.

Liz Goddard

Liz has a love of food & travel. Some of her fondest memories are cooking sardines with chermoula with Moroccan women in Marrakesh, searching for the best Pata Negra in Andalucía, a clam bake with the locals on a Boston Harbour Island and cooking mackerel on a make-shift barbecue in Devon.

This passion for all things food has meant Liz has built great relationships in the industry and has delivered profitable growth and outperformance.

Liz has been with heading up the Commercial function at Sacla’ for the last three and a half years.

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 Ede

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

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.

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.

Lucy Thomas

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.

Luisa Welch
Euposia Wine Events

 Wine educator, Wine Judge, Freelance food and wine writer with a focus on Piemonte, the rest of Italy, Champagne, Burgundy and Grape Spirits.  As a wine educator, I hold regular wine tasting events, pairing food and wine. Tastings for corporate clients include City Women Network, EMEA (European Medical Research Group), the Single Solution, Business Pursuits events company, the U3A.

Food & drink and restaurant specialist, having worked as a consultant for blue chip companies such as IDV, Heinz, German Wine Information Service, Wine Education Service, City of London Wine Fair, Tuscan Olive Oil Consortium, Taste of Puglia Wine, Marche Food and Wine UK, Gambero Rosso,  DoctorWine. Launched several drink brands including: Omar Khayyam Indian sparkling wine, Bolla Italian wines, Mommessin French wines, plus Bombay Sapphire Gin, Berro D’Agua cachaca, and the Singleton whisky.  

Luis Vargas
International Business Manager

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.

Lynsey Dewars
Sales Manager
Reflex Group

Lynsey has over 16 years experience in the print and artwork sector.
Starting her career at 16 years old she has developed and diversified over the years within the industry.
Born in Lincolnshire, Lynsey has been keen to move around with her career and has resided in London, Yorkshire and even Melbourne!
Travel is a huge part of Lynsey’s life and not to mention the amazing food in each country, Thai being a firm favourite!

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.

Melissa Aplin
Reflex Group

Melissa’s time at Reflex began with a placement year as part of her time at university. After completing her degree in BA Business Management & Marketing, Melissa returned to Reflex full time. As Reflex supply packaging design and print to a broad range of highly recognised brands within a wide variety of customer sectors from MFP, Fresh & Dried Produce, through to Beers, Wines & Spirits, Melissa’s knowledge within these sectors have developed over the years. A definite foodie and WSET accredited- Melissa enjoys all things food and beverage in her own time too and looks forward to experiencing future trends within these sectors.  

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.

Michele Young
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. 

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. 

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.

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.  

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.

Nichola Reeder
12th Man Solutions

I’ve worked in food and drink for over 20 years since starting as a graduate on the shop-floor at Asda. Having completed stints at Mars and Heineken, my passion now is to help emerging brands tell their story and influence buyers and consumers to become super-fans. At 12th Man Solutions we use a variety of media channels and live events to help food producers find, engage with and persuade their audience to buy. 

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

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
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.  

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.

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
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.

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 that are healthy, Gluten Free and Vegan for restaurants, sandwich shops, caterers, sandwich manufacturers and retail shops.

Our products include falafel, houmous, dips, and salads which we produce fresh in our factory every day.

We are proud to use cooking methods that are part of my family’s Mediterranean history allowing us to mix authentic flavours with emerging food trends.

It's an honour to be both judging and entering the QFA’s this year and wish all the entrants the best of luck!

Rebecca Pate

Rebecca Pate is a beer loving Canadian based in East London who, by day, works as the Marketing and Events Coordinator at Mason & Company in vibrant Hackney Wick. By night, she blogs over on www.brewingeast.com and is currently studying to become a Beer Sommelier. She has previously judged for the World Beer Awards.

Richard Ayres
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

Richard Bost

Richard has two mottoes in life – “A day without wine is like a day without sunshine” and “Life is too short to drink bad wine”.

He is an experienced and enthusiastic wine educator with a knowledge of wine stretching back over 40 years.He holds the WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits.Being educated to WSET Diploma level, like any competent wine educator, Richard can give presentations on most wine regions and countries, but he tries to specialise in the more unusual. His great speciality is in the wines of Turkey, but he can currently offer tutored tastings on the wines of Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Mexico, The Lebanon, Brazil, Japan, India, China, & Thailand, California, Argentina, Chile, Australia, Uruguay, Austria, The Rhone Valley, Italy, Spain, Sicily, and Portugal.

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.

Richard Maxted
Mix and Muddle

Richard has been working in hospitality and specifically cocktails for 6 years now. A former bartender of The Artesian, which was voted Best Bar in the World 5 years in a row by World's Best Bars, and before that working in events hospitality, Richard set up bespoke cocktail events company Mix & Muddle in 2015. His clients have included the likes of AirBnB, Sony Music, British Airways, ASDA, and Virgin. He also set up Alter Ego with fellow cocktail aficionado Mathias Granberg in 2017, aimed at helping emerging brands break into the London on-trade market. They currently work with multi award winning Devon based Salcombe Gin.

Rob Iles
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.

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. 

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.

Seáneen Sullivan
L. Mulligan. Whiskey Shop

Seaneen is the founder of L. Mulligan. Whiskey Shop, a specialty off-license and international drinks retailer and L. Mulligan Grocer, an award-winning pub and restaurant in Dublin, Ireland.  She serves as a Failté Ireland Food Champion and is a leading authority on whiskey, gin and craft beer, regularly contributing articles on each to international publications such as Tales of the Cocktail and Whisky Magazine.

A former aviation lawyer and originally from Australia, Seáneen has been living in Europe for 10 years and has over 15 years’ experience of working in the world of craft beer, whiskey and food. She is a partner in the Brown Paper Bag Project, a locationless brewing initiative. 

Simon Bell
Chief Executive

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.

Sophie Freeman

Graduating with a degree in Food Marketing & Business Economics, Sophie has progressed to explore commercial roles across condiments and sauces with both Retail and B2B. Working alongside development teams in the kitchen through to launching products on shelf has led to a thorough understanding of what makes a product launch successful.

With a passion for eating good food and experimenting in the kitchen, there’s always a recipe or recommendation to be shared.

Stephen Losee
Senior Executive Development Chef

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 Reeder

Over many years working in food and drink trade shows and exhibitions I’ve seen some fantastic (and not so fantastic) examples of innovation and product development from some excellent food producers. Through ProExTra I now help exhibitors plan, implement and execute trade shows more effectively, generating engagement that leads to more profitable sales leads.  As features manager on the UK’s major food and drink shows I’m always looking for good quality, exciting brands, ready to shout about their offer.

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.

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.

Sue Purcell
Section Manager – Sensory Training
Campden BRI

Sue manages the sensory training activities at Campden BRI which involves beer and cider products as well as food and drink. She also acts as a company consultant in sensory quality and technical issues involving manufacturing, production and processing. Her experience in tasting originates from her extensive work in the brewing, sugar confectionery and food ingredient sectors of industry. She is an expert in the field of sensory training and delivers bespoke programmes to multiple manufacturing sites and retail companies helping them improve their consistency in product quality with respect to the consumer acceptability.

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.

Theo Michaels
Author & Executive Chef

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.