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. 2018 panel to be announced soon!
If you work in the food and drink industry and you're interested in joining our panel, please email email@example.com for more information.
Aileen is a career HR professional who left the corporate world last year, returned to Ireland and set up her own business. Being a Coeliac and a Food enthusiast Aileen decided to test the market's appetite for having a dedicated Gluten Free/Coeliac Safe business and just launched her first pop up Gluten Free store called Unglu-d in Dublins City Centre. Aileen has plans to do further pop ups in other parts of Ireland over the course of the next year with the intent of setting up a dedicated Coeliac Safe business in the longer term. Aileen lives in Dublin, originally from Dundalk and up until now has lived most of her adult life outside of Ireland in the UK, Australia, Singapore and New York.
I have worked in the hospitality sector for many years before getting in to lecturing food and beverage studies. I am a certified sommelier who enjoys teaching and tasting wine. Cooking is a huge passion and with a hungry family to cook for every day can be challenging.
I am a Culinary Arts lecturer in GMIT. I hold a MSc in Food Product Development and Innovation form DIT. I lecture on the BB in Culinary arts Mgt programme and am responsible for the delivery of a module in New product development. I have a keen interest in all things food and have extensive knowledge of food and consumer trends.
Aodhan has spent over 25 years in the Hospitality/Food & Beverage sector. Spending half of that in Five Star Hotels as Sommelier, Restaurant Manager and Food Beverage Manager. Aodhan now runs up to 24 bars for Munster Rugby in Thomond Park Stadium and coordinates up to 160 staff on match day. Even though Aodhan now works in a fast service, high volume sector, he still finds time for his love of wines and good food through tastings and cooking.
Dr Audrey Tierney is a senior lecturer and course director for the MSc Human Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Limerick. Audrey has worked both clinically and in academia for 15 years in the area of nutrition and dietetics. After completing her PhD in Trinity College Dublin in Nutrition and Nutrigenomics, Audrey spent the last 10 years working in Melbourne, Australia with her research focus in the area of the Mediterranean Diet and the impact on health and disease. Audrey has continued in this research area since her return to Ireland and in her work at University of Limerick.
Spiralaytos are freshly made potato crisps from Maris Piper potatoes - hand cut, hand cooked and hand eaten - deep fried to a perfect crunch with a sprinkling of secret seasoning. Spiralaytos can be enjoyed as a tasty snack as part of a balanced diet. Previous to her role as development director with Spiralaytos, Biggi was part of the teaching staff at the USDoDEA Europe.
Brenda has worked in the food industry for up to 20 years in food product development. Brenda has a passion for food and has worked extensively developing branded and own label products in chilled and frozen categories. Brands include Goodfella’s, Donegal Catch, TS Foods & Tony’s Chippy. Own label products include M&S, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco UK & Ireland, Asda, Morrisons, Supervalu, Aldi & Lidl. Brenda’s current role in Southern Regional College’s Business Support centre involves assisting food businesses to innovate and help launch products successfully in the marketplace.
St. Munchin’s Community Centre & St. Lelia's Community Campus not only provide a central accessible community hub in their area but also offer a valuable service to people over 55 in Limerick. Almost 400 meals are provided daily to the people of Limerick; close to 200 meals from the 'Meals on Wheels' service and almost 200 meals from within the Community Cafe, amounting to a whopping average of 2,400 meals per week.
St. Munchin’s Community Centre has had an active role in promoting and developing community involvement within the Parish since its establishment in 2005.
I’ve always been passionate about food, and when I went to Italy I found a whole new love for food. Seeing the simple ingredients that were used to make the most amazing dishes. I knew then that I had found my passion. I opened Bella Italia in 1990, along with my brother Hugh. We now have 2 restaurants and 28 years later we are still using these same ingredients to make our signature dishes today.
Catherine with a MSc in Food Safety management , has being heavily involved in seafood certification and seafood quality both on and off the water during her career. She is currently the lead on a Digital Seafood project that aims to increase transparency and consumer awareness of their seafood and enhance the consumer experience between the producer and consumer.
Dr Catherine Barry-Ryan (http://www.dit.ie/fseh/stafflisting/barry-ryandrcatherine/) holds a BSc in Industrial Microbiology and a PhD in Food Technology. She worked in the meat industry and subsequently the Food Research Centre UL, prior to taking the role of Senior lecturer in Food Product Development & Sensory Evaluation in the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). Her research projects, funded and supported from Industry, National and European sources focus on decontamination treatments & technologies and the development of novel, functional & alternative ingredients and allergenicity. Council member of the Institute of Food Science & Technology Ireland and member of the Sensory Food Network Ireland. Outputs: 20 supervised PhD & MPhil graduated, supervising 7 researchers, Over 60 Published Papers (http://arrow.dit.ie/), Over 100 conferences, 1 patent, Editor of: Plant physiology: characteristics, breeding and genetics and 8 other book chapters.
Cuthbert as Director of Boarding has direct oversight for the catering at Glenstal Abbey School. He holds a degree in Hotel Management from GMIT and has previously worked as General Manger at Dunloe Castle in Killarney and a Deputy Manager at Adare Manor. Since joining the monastic community at Glenstal in 2003 he has continued his passion and interest in the catering industry and keeps abreast of current trends.
EU R&I funding support, proposal writer
Funding and proposal writing support targeted to SMEs for national and EU programmes. Experienced in various domains ranging across agri-food, bioeconomy and life sciences, with an In-depth knowledge of EU research funding systems.
Donald has worked in a variety of EU grant funding support roles over the past ten years extending across university, research and consultancy sectors in Ireland, UK and Spain. An earlier career extended over 20 years within the Irish food industry, in technical R&D (Glanbia) and commercial business development roles primarily within the Ingredients area.
Drew has worked in the food industry for 25 years, from technical roles through to commercial roles. I have managed brands such as Benecol, Denny, Ballyfree, Dececco, Nandos and various own label. Very passionate about quality food and innovation and love new ideas and concepts.
Elaine is the co-ordinator of the European Region of Gastronomy Designation for 2018 and is passionate about championing food in Galway & The West of Ireland for long term growth. The theme for the year is; ‘From the Ground Up, Feeding our Future’ and will explore the regions deep rooted food culture from farm to fork, its strong heritage links right through to the modern and diverse food culture of today.
Elaine has worked for several years along the food supply chain with an experienced background in Retail Operations with Lidl Ireland, Sales & Marketing and Production from working on the Bord Bia Fellowship in London and in her role as Export Sales Manager for Brady Family Ham. Elaine holds a First Class Honours Masters in International Marketing Practice and Diploma in Strategic Growth (Food Industry) from the UCD Smurfit Business School.
A lecturer in the Galway International Hotel School at Galway and Mayo Institute of Technology, Elizabeth is a beverage specialist with extensive experience both in the trade and in education. A specialist in Wine studies, Contemporary Beer Studies, Spirits and liqueurs and Service Skills, Elizabeth has held senior beverage management positions in the licensed trade sector for many years.
As well as lecturing in various beverage studies courses at GMIT Elizabeth has had a strong involvement in both national and international beverage competitions. Among her many qualification is a WSET Diploma in Wines and Spirits. She is a member of The Institute of Wines and Spirits and A Consoeur Compagnon in The Confrérie Saint – Etienne d’Alsace, France.
Elke is a food expert and runs Bia Sasta, Events for Food Lovers. She consults on food businesses, teaches social media for food businesses at Cork College of Commerce and give regular talks on all things related to food. She writes a weekly column for the Cork Independent and her weekly show ‘The Food Affair’ has a faithful following. On her show, she interviews chefs, food producers and fellow writers and shares the latest news on all things food.
Emma Lyttle works as a Food Innovation Consultant within the Business Support and Innovation Team at the Southern Regional College (SRC). The role entails mentoring start-ups, artisan producers and SME companies in all aspects of New product Development (NPD). Prior to her role at SRC Emma worked in the food industry for 10+ years as a NPD and Technical Manager.
Founding director of Ireland’s largest Food Safety Quality Assured Training Providers. Evelyn is a UCC Food Science Technology graduate and member of the Institute of Food Science & Technology in Ireland (IFSTI). She works in a consultancy capacity with a number of Food Manufacturing/Distribution businesses as well as a Hotels, Restaurants, Childcare & Residential Care Homes across Ireland. She sat on the Board of Management of the Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim Education Training Board (ETB), mentored for the TASTE Council/Bord Bia and judged previously at these Awards. She will bring this wealth of experience and knowledge when judging at this year’s awards.
Fiona is the founder of Fiona’s food for life, a cookery school based in Dublin. She is a Ballymaloe trained chef with a degree in education from Trinity College in Home Economics. She brings her culinary skills and kitchen into workplaces to inspire the nation to cook from scratch and enhance the health, creativity and productivity of each workplace.
Her website, www.fionasfoodforlife.ie, is a source of recipes, blogs and events for those who care about what they eat and like to enjoy meals with family and friends.
Gabriel Silveira, the head brewer of Treaty City Brewery, is a Chemical Engineer with many years of experience in the brewing industry. Brewing beer is a passion and quality is an obsession for me. As a brewer and beer enthusiast, I am glad to see many great new beers in the market challenging our senses.
Owner of the multi-award-winning company, Caveman Grub, which produces a range of innovative food products, including baking mixes and snack bars. The ethos of the company is catering for Consumers’ growing needs of ‘clean’ and ‘free-from’ ingredients, which does not compromise on taste.
She has been awarded 3 ‘Great Taste’ awards over the last 2 years, as well as two ‘Free-From’ awards, including Gold for ‘Best Snack bar’ in Ireland. Jac also uses her culinary skills as Free-lance Product Developer, creating products for Manufacturers based on growing market trends for healthier alternatives, including vegan, paleo, gluten and sugar- free recipes.
Jacinta has worked in the hospitality industry for over 30 years. She’s has recently moved to the digital side of hospitality leading the Savoy hotel group social media department.she was a judge at the National Social Media Awards 2018 at the RDS in Dublin this month.
James Burke has personally worked in the food sector for over 23 years. Having started in SuperValu in West Cork, and then moved to Superquinn he spent 10 years at the operational side of the business and 10 years at head office. During his career in Superquinn James became group purchasing manager and he was also appointed to the board of the company. He is now CEO of Irelands largest food and retail advisory business. He is also a member of the TASTE Council (the strategic advisory group for the speciality food industry). He works with many of Irelands leading retailers and foodservice operators both at strategic level and developing management skillsets as well as helping businesses respond to market trends.
Jane Milton, leading a team of Food Industry Specialists. Jane has built a business working with producers, innovators and retailers helping them develop ideas and bring them to market cost effectively, expediently and successfully. With over 30 years expertise in the food industry and a proven track record for helping food businesses achieve great results, Jane and her colleagues are always in demand to identify strategies and bring them to fruition within the food industry.
Jen has over 25 years’ experience in business development within Invest Northern Ireland’s Food Team and an extensive knowledge of 200+ Northern Ireland food and drink manufacturers. She utilises this experience to provide retailers and foodservice companies in the Republic of Ireland with easy access to a comprehensive range of existing food and drink products as well as new products and innovative ideas from Northern Ireland processors, both large and small.
Dr. Jessica Ralston has a passion for understanding how foods and dietary nutrients influence health and well-being. She obtained her PhD in Human Health & Nutritional Science in Canada, before moving to UCD as a postdoctoral research fellow for 2 years. She now works in Food for Health Ireland, a research centre that addresses some of today's most pressing health issues through food.
Jim is a Past President of the Institute of Management Consultants and Advisors. He has worked in written and broadcast journalism, and held research, technical, marketing, sales and general management roles in food and agribusiness firms in Ireland, UK and overseas. He runs an international consultancy, Riverwest Management based in Wicklow with an office in Winnipeg, Canada. For the past 19 years, he has consulted and mentored food and agribusiness companies with Enterpise Ireland, InvestNI and Local Enterprise Offices as well as InterTradeIreland. He develops funding for firms in the start-up, agribusiness, bio-tech, food, regional development and energy sectors in the UK and Ireland. He has degrees from UCD and is a Certified Management Consultant.
In a career spanning almost 27 years, Jimmy Lee has extensive experience in beverages manufacturing with C&C soft Drinks and now Britvic Ireland Soft Drinks. Jimmy has held a number of HR & Operational roles within the organisation including Production Manager in Ballygowan as well as the Britvic Facility in Dublin. is currently the Production Manager for the Dublin facility. Jimmy's comes from a public house background and has held a variety of roles in HR to production to general management.
Judith Boyle is an accredited Beer Sommelier with the Institute of Brewers and Distillers, beer journalist and award winning member of the British Guild of Beer writers. She is a beverage lecture in the Dublin Institute of technology and is passionate about all aspects of beer and beer education.
Karen Cryan is an Extra Virgin Olive Oil taster/sommelier who has trained in extra virgin olive oil tasting in London, Italy and Spain. Karen is an Associate Member of the internationally recognised Savantes Extra Virgin Olive Oil Organisation and has taken part in the judging panel for the Armonia International Extra Virgin Olive Oil competition in Parma, Italy. Karen trains people how to taste extra virgin olive oil for quality, flavour and aroma. She has worked with the staff of gourmet food shops, groups and clubs as well as in Cathal Brugha Street. She also gives lectures in this area.
Kate Ryan is an established food writer, blogger and founder of Flavour.ie a website that is dedicated to promoting West Cork Food through writing, events and tours. Kate writes regularly for the Evening Echo and The Southern Star newspapers, The Opinion Magazine, TheTaste.ie, voted the worlds’ best digital food magazine in 2016, Headstuff.org and has been featured in the Irish Examiner and Irish Times. Kate was commissioned by A Taste of West Cork Food Festival to author an “Artisan Food Guide” published in June 2017.
Her blog, The Flavour Files, is recipe driven showcasing the best of West Cork produce and encouraging everyday cooking with it at home as well as the best places to eat in the region.
Keith Mccarter has been with Reflex Group for just over 2 years. Previously he was with CCL and Spear Europe. His focus on the Beers, Wines and Spirits market for Reflex Label Plus. He has 9 year’s experience in the purchase of labels and packaging, and 26 years in sales and marketing in labels and packaging.
Leonie has a PhD in Branding, a Masters in Marketing and a BA in Fine Art but her passion lies in health, fitness and nutrition. Leonie has worked as a fitness professional for 8 years as an advanced level Pilates instructor. As a mother of 2 and a Pre and Post natal Functional Exercise Specialist she has seen first hand the challenges that women go through at this time, especially with nutrition. As a result Leonie founded Juspy, an Irish food company specializing in food for different life stages. Leonie is alumni of Food Works and also Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers Programme.
Dr Liam Lewis, graduated from UCC with a PhD in 2007. Following on from a short post-doctoral position he joined Cork Institute of Technology as a researcher for the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Process Analysis. The centre is primarily focusses on delivering R&D solutions to industrial clients and has a strong involvement with the food and beverage industry. CAPPA works with both SME and multinational companies in this space and has a portfolio of over 50 projects at any given stage. The centre attracts over €1M in funding each year almost half of which comes directly from industry.
Lorraine Butler is the Managing Director of CPM Ireland. CPM is the worlds leading outsourced Field Sales organisation, supporting & partnering with world leading FMCG clients across 23 countries. Lorraine is a graduate of DIT where she holds a BA in Management, and also holds an MSc in Business Leadership & Management Practice from UCD Smurfit Business School. Lorraine is also a Council member of the Sales Institute of Ireland.
Dr Lynn Gilmore is a marine biologist working with the seafood industry in Northern Ireland on behalf of the Seafish Industry Authority. Her role is varied working with all sectors of the industry from fishermen, processors and aquaculture producers to fishmongers, Fish and Chip shops and seafood restaurants.
A keen cook, who likes to catch, forage and hunt for local seafood, seaweeds and game, Lynn also judges the Seafish Fish and Chip Shop Competition and writes a monthly column for the Irish Skipper magazine.
With +20 years’ in the supermarket trade I have held food technical roles in M&S and Dunnes Stores followed by buying roles in Dunnes, Superquinn and SPAR. From 2006, I was Buying Director and Marketing Director at Aldi Ireland. From 2014 to 2016 I was the Fresh Foods Commercial Category Director at Tesco Ireland. I set up Food First Consulting in 2017 where I help suppliers and buyers do better business through my unique retail insights, negotiation skills training and strategy development. I joined the IPLC network in March 2018, a boutique consulting firm specialising in Private Label strategy.
In a career spanning almost 20 years, Maresa Cagney has extensive experience in Food Marketing and Innovation across a wide range of market leading companies and brands including Heineken and the former Dairygold Food Products. Maresa has held a number of senior Marketing and Innovation roles including Head of Marketing at Heinz Ireland and is currently Commercial Marketing Manager Ireland at Birds Eye Ireland, a subsidiary of Nomad Foods Europe. Having grown up on a dairy and beef farm in Co Limerick, Maresa is passionate about food, the Irish Food Industry, consumers and brands, Maresa also has extensive International experience having worked in diverse markets including as Belgium, Portugal, The Netherlands and the US.
Dr Mulhern is a Lecturer at Ulster University and contributes to both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across the School of Biomedical Sciences. Maria is responsible for the delivery of the Food Product Development module taken by all BSc Hons Food & Nutrition students. She has a keen interest in sensory science and is a partner in the Sensory Food Network Ireland. Maria is passionate about the impact of food on health and her research focuses on the role of vitamin D in health and disease and the influence of nutrition throughout the life-cycle on cognitive development and immune function.
Nicole Dunphy founded Pandora Bell, which has won multiple food awards and has been featured in design blogs across the globe for its innovative packaging. Nicole developed her passion and sensitivity for high quality chocolate and confectionery through the international Ecole Chocolat Chocolatier program. She trained in Bonbon Making with Valrhona in France. Nicole has also studied Italian Cuisine and gelato.
A graduate of English and the History of Art & Architecture from Trinity College Dublin, Nicole came to the Food world after working for eight years in Production in RTE Lyric FM (Ireland’s National Broadcaster). Nicole has been a winner of the prestigious Image Magazine’s ‘Young Businesswoman of the Year’ and named by Image Magazine as one of Ireland's 100 most Inspiring Women.
The excellence of Irish food is a cause for celebration, and the Irish Quality Food Awards provides the recognition.
Sarah is a chef at Shannon College of Hotel Management and has worked in the hotel and restaurant before joining the staff at Shannon in 2008. In more recent years she has developed a keen interest in new food product development. She has a particular appeal in baked goods and artisan products that are nutritional in value. Taking a food product to the marketplace is commendable and as a chef, Sarah knows the importance of buying Irish and promoting local suppliers.
Shane Smith discovered his passion for food over 20 years ago when his mother-in-law presented him with Paul Rankin’s book, ‘Gourmet Ireland’. On discovering he could cook the recipes “to look just like they did in the book and to taste gorgeous too”, he has never looked back.
As a publisher of YesChef Ireland and Scotland and photographer, with clients including Lough Erne Resort, Enniskillen; Turnberry Resort on Scotland’s Ayrshire coast and Deanes restaurants in Belfast, Shane’s knowledge and passion of the industry develops on a daily basis. A self-taught cook, he has appeared on RTE’s ‘The Restaurant’ and is a former Northern Ireland winner of ‘Britain’s Best Dish".
I graduated with a B.Ed. in Home Economics and Biology from St. Angelas College Sligo in 2007 and I am currently a teacher of Home Economics and Biology in Trinity Comprehensive School in Ballymun, Dublin 9. I have always been an active member of the Association of Teachers of Home Economics (ATHE) and have take on the roles of Dublin Rep and National Treasurer in the last few years. Outside of my working life I enjoy cooking in all of its forms but have a particular interest in baking.
Sinéad graduated from UCC with a PhD in Public Health Nutrition. Presently she is a research officer in Teagasc and one of the co-ordinators of Sensory Food Network Ireland. Sinéad is responsible for leading the consumer research programme on food and health and developing sophisticated research tools for understanding consumer behaviour, attitudes and motivations.
Dr. Siobhán Moane is the Head of Research & Technology Transfer at Limerick Institute of Technology. Siobhán is responsible for the strategic development of research across the Institute in addition to facilitating technology transfer activities, the dissemination of research outcomes, and postgraduate research activity within LIT. Siobhán also facilitates research activities through 14 dedicated research centres and groups within LIT including the Food Development Services Centre (FoodDS) which she aided in establishing. FoodDS is a food development, improvement, and innovation service aimed at the food SME sector offering a variety of services including recipe development, consumer research and sensory analysis
Born and reared in a Hotel. Her late father was one of the first students to graduate from Shannon College of Hotel Management. Suzanne subsequently studied there. Since 2014 she has returned to Shannon and currently lectures in Accommodation Services, Business Skills Development and Personal Development.
Suzanne has always been passionate about food and has a large collection of cookery books. She keeps hens and bees and enjoys cooking especially baking.
Tom Flavin has been Executive Chef at the Strand Hotel Limerick since 2007, but he has essentially been a chef almost his entire life.
Tom grew up on a farm in West county Limerick and helped on the farm from a young age. Milking cows, slaughtering animals, making fresh black pudding were normal occurrences. He had his first business up and running age 8, milking his own goats and selling the milk to neighbours. This background gives Tom a deep appreciation for what goes in to producing good food.
After studying hospitality in Limerick, at the age of 18 he joined a cousin in the Philippines and worked in the kitchen of a 5-star hotel. After a total of two and half years in Manila, eight years in London where he reached the position of youngest ever Sous Chef at the Dorchester, and periods working in Singapore and Australia, he returned to Ireland in 1999.
Since then he has committed himself wholeheartedly to buying from local food producers, winning many awards for the Limerick Strand hotel that acknowledge both his culinary skill and his commitment to quality sourcing. He sees local sourcing as something that contributes not only to the food offering of a hotel, but also to the local economy and comes back to the hotel in business and local loyalty. He regularly brings his chef team to meet with local farmers and food producers, does cookery demonstrations in schools, and gardens with his own children. He is passionate about sharing food skills with future generations and believes in passing on “the joys of food in everyday life”. Tom is a Failte Ireland Food Champion, a proud member of Eurotoques and also a member of the Limerick Food Group, which is developing a Limerick Food Festival and coordinating a number of smaller food events.
Chef Trevis L Gleason has been a food journalist and published author, a consultant, an award-winning chef and culinary instructor; teaching at institutions such as Cornell University, New England Culinary Institute and California Culinary Academy. Recently retired from his distinguished career and living in West Kerry, Chef Trevis has taken on an even larger challenge; having been diagnosed with Secondary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis in 2001. He is an advocate for all living with the disease and was recently named as the #1 on-line influencer on the subject of MS on the web.
Vanessa is the founder of Cooks Academy Cookery School in Dublin.
She also writes a weekly column for The Irish Times. Vanessa is a member
of Euro-toques and she has a lifelong love for food and artisan
producers. She has made several TV appearances on TVAM and RTE and has
performed cookery demonstrations at many Chefs Theatres including A Taste of
Dublin, Food and Wine Show, Bloom, TasteFest and at the RDS National Crafts and
Design Fair. She has written for publications including a regular column
in EasyHealth Magazine. She has also written for the Health and Living
supplement of the Irish Independent and Image Magazine. Her first cookery
book, The Cooks Academy Cookbook is published by Gill & Macmillan.