Our 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. 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 team@qualityfoodawards.com for more information. 

Andrew Langford
Lecturer in Food and Beverage Studies
Shannon College of Hotel Management

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.

Angela Foley
Business Development Manager
Thomond Park Stadium

Angela Foley is the Business Development Manager for Thomond Park Stadium, prior to this she worked for many years in the RDS in Dublin in the Commercial & Events Department. Before working in Events & Business Development Angela spent a number of years working in the Hospitality Industry.

Angela studied Business Tourism Management, where she gained a love of travel & food!

Anne O'leary
Culinary Arts Lecturer

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 O'Farrell
Stadium Bars Manager
Thomond Park Stadium

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.

Audrey Tierney
Senior Lecturer
University of Limerick

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.

Bastien Guillou
Head Chef
Alex Findlater & Company

I’m originally from France , I arrived 6 month ago in Ireland and I’m now the Head chef of the new restaurant “Supper Club” at Alex Findlater . I worked in Michelin stars restaurants and I use different methods of cooking especially sous-vide. I have spent most of my career in France but also have experience working in New Zealand.

Biggi Nargang
Development Director

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 Kelleghan
Food Innovation Consultant
Southern Regional College

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. 

Brian O'Connor
Volunteer Coordinator
St Munchin's Community Centre

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.

Bruce Langlands
Board Director Food & Hospitality
Caroline McMahon
Managing Director / Head Chef
Bella Italia

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 Barrett
Certification and Sustainability officer
Bord Iascaigh Mhara

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.

Catherine Barry Ryan
Senior Lecturer
Dublin Institute of Technology

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.

Clare Wilkinson
Food Stylist & Photographer

Clare is a food photographer and stylist, She has trained as a chef in Ballymaloe Cookery School and combined her passion for food and photography.

Cuthbert Brennan
Director of Boarding
Glenstal Abbey School

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.

Darragh Chapman
Brewery Assistant

Darragh Chapman works as a Brewery Assistant at N17 Brewing, involved in recipe  development, packaging operations and trade fairs. He has completed level 1 and 2 of the Beer Sommelier examinations as accredited through the institute of brewing and distilling in London, and is currently compiling his portfolio to achieve full accreditation. Darragh has conducted beer tastings and food pairings to groups internationally

Deirdre Nugent
Dilly Lane Cakes

Deirdre is a baker and cake decorator in her home bakery business based in Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny. A Psychology and IT graduate, followed by a career working in the IT sector, Deirdre rediscovered her passion for baking and decorating and decided to pursue her dream of starting her own business. She officially launched Dillylane Cakes in 2017, which specialises in bespoke cake design and delicious fresh flavours. 

Deirdre takes pride in her attention to detail and a keen student, she has taken classes with leading Irish cake designers and also continues to enhance her skills with online and self-taught techniques. Dillylane Cakes makes all cakes and fillings from scratch using only the freshest and highest quality ingredients and always chooses Irish products and suppliers when possible.

Doireann Barrett
Food Producer & Brand Developer
The Gluten Free Kitchen Company

Doireann Barrett is the founding owner of The Gluten Free Kitchen Company, a multi-award-winning food and wellness brand. After a lifetime of symptoms, Doireann was finally diagnosed in 2004 with coeliac disease. Thereafter she saw a gap in the market with the café/deli offering and began her journey to develop The GFK Co. Her ambition is to eventually create a safe brand of outlets that cater for those suffering with food intolerances and allergies while allowing her customers to enjoy a meal amongst loved ones without the unfortunate stigma and label that currently excludes a person with dietary exclusions.

Doireann currently runs her brand supplying her artisan food products to the foodservice sector, food-stall events and her online store supplying food and wellness products on a nationwide and global platform. Doireann is a co-author of a published case study on her business model which was co-written by Trinity College Business School Professors Paul Coughlan & David Coghlan, Claire Riggs Liverpool University UK & Denise O’ Leary, UCD College Dublin. Doireann’s case study chapter was published by Emerald Books in 2016, “Organising Supply Chain Processes for Sustainable Innovation in the Agri-Food Industry”. This case study was presented in Milan, Italy in November 2015 during the Milan Expo.

Since the establishment of The GFK Co. food and wellness brand, Doireann and her team have gone onto win many awards, nominations and accreditations and have received lots of media attention. Doireann has a big interest in wellness and well-being and in her spare time enjoys yoga, surf and holistic workshops.

Donald McDonagh

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 McIvor
Food Business Development Manager
Invest NI

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 Donohue
Program Lead
Galway & West of Ireland, European Region of Gastronomy

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.

Elizabeth Fox
Wine Expert, Certified Sherry & Rioja Educator and Hospitality Studies Lecturer

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 O'Mahony
Food Writer, Broadcaster, Events for Food Lovers,
Bia Sasta

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
Food Innovation Consultant
Southern Regional College

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.

Fiona Staunton
Fiona's Food for Life

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.

Frankie Douglas
Head of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs

Frankie, a Public Health Nutritionist, is Head of Scientific and Regulatory affairs at Nutritics. In her current role, Frankie supports Food Businesses with compliance with food law. She previously worked as technical executive in Public Health Nutrition for the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and was the permanent Irish representative on European working groups relating to Nutrition and Health Claims and Foods for Specific Groups. She has extensive experience working in the areas of business development and management within the food industry in Ireland.

Gabriel Silveira
Head Brewer
Treaty City Brewery

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.

Gerry Callanan
Glen Tavern

I’m the owner/director/ manager/general dogsbody of the Glen Tavern Bar in Limerick City. I’ve grown up in the on-trade bar & food business most of my life and have a great love of it. We  provide a food offering for the business community by day and for locals & tourists by night. So we have to know all areas of the trade. We aim to cater for these groups with a high level of service, choice and quality, which goes across our range of beers, spirits & wines & our various food offerings.

Jac Keady
Product Developer and Owner of Caveman Grub
Caveman Grub Teo

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 Khan
Group Social Media Manager
Savoy Hotel Group Limerick

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
James Burke & Associates

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
Jane Milton Food

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 Guiney
Business Development Executive
Invest NI

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. 

Jessica Ralston
Research Program Manager
Food for Health Ireland

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 Fitzsimons
Riverwest Management

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.

Jimmy Lee
Production Manager
Britvic Ireland

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.

Joe O'Connor
Commercial Director
Truly Irish Country Foods

I work as Commercial Director at Truly Irish Country Foods Ltd.   We sell breakfast meats, fresh pork , Irish Cheese & Butter in Ireland & International markets.

I have experience in product development, production  & marketing. I hold a B Comm & MBA degrees , a Diploma in Strategic Growth for the Food industry & am also a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified accountants.


Judith Boyle
Beer Sommelier and Beverages Lecturer

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
Olive Oil Sommelier

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

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
Sales Manager
Reflex Labels

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.

Lejla O'Driscoll
Sensory Panel Manager
Sensory Research Ltd

Lejla is a sensory panel manager at SRL, University College Cork. She has over 10 years’ experience in sensory and consumer research. She has a broad range of food research interests and has trained panels for many products including cereals, alcoholic & non-alcoholic beverages, meat, fish, dairy products, pet food, as well as products from the pharmaceutical industry. 

Leonie Lynch

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.

Liam Lewis
Centre for Advanced Photonics and Process Analysis
Cork Institute of Technology

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
Managing Director
CPM Ireland

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.

Lynn Gilmore
Seafish Northern 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. 

Mairead Moriarty
Home Economist
Ashmore Learning Solutions

Mairead Moriarty B.Ed Home Economics graduated in 1978 from Sion Hill /Trinity College Dublin . Having spent almost 30 extremely fulfilling years teaching Home Economics and other subjects in schools in Dublin , Kildare and Kerry , Mairead took early retirement in 2012 to establish her own business . 

Ashmore Learning Solutions was founded out of her involvement with a support group (PDST )for  Home Economics Teachers . 

The business produces a variety of educational resources( posters and jigsaws) which are aimed at improving Literacy and Numeracy Skills in schools . The business continues to grow and expand at home and abroad .

Mairead also works for the State Exams Commission as an Assistant Examiner  for the Junior Cert Practical Culinary Skills Exams in Home Economics. Her work does not end there when it comes to her skills  as Mairead has a sideline business making Wedding Cakes also!

Malachy O'Connor
International Private Label Consult

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.

Maresa Cagney
Commercial Marketing Manager - Ireland
Birds Eye Ireland

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.

Maria Mulhern
Lecturer in Food Science
Ulster University

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.

Mark Conway
Sous Chef
Alex Findlater & Company

I am the Sous Chef of the new restaurant the “Supper Club” @ Alex Findlater & Company in Limerick. I hold a Bachelors Degree in Culinary arts and gained most of my experience in some of Ireland’s leading 5 star hotels and Michelin star restaurants. I also gained knowledge and experience whilst living  and working in New Zealand for over three years and travelling through Asia. I am extremely passionate in all things food and travel. 

Mattie O'Grady
Board of Directors
Coeliac Society of Ireland

Mattie O’Grady is a Member of the board of Directors of the Coeliac Society of Ireland.in May 2016 and brings with him nearly 20 years experience in many senior leadership positions in the Fresh food, retail and services industries.

Mattie a Coeliac himself was diagnosed in 2006 and is well aware of the needs and requirements of people suffering from Coeliac’s disease and of the improvements required for the betterment of sufferers.

Maura Kearney
Kearneys Homebaking
Nicole Dunphy
Pandora Bell

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.

Patricia Roberts
Managing Director
No1 Pery Square

Creator / Owner & Operator of No 1 Pery Square, a boutique georgian townhouse hotel, Voya organic spa and Sash restaurant.  Opened in December 2008, fought the recession battle I hope . Founder of Select hotels of Ireland in 2001, a marketing brand for 3 & 4 star independent Irish hotels, since has changed ownership and continues to soar success. A proud board member of Limericks Civic Trust and I.NY festival. Passionate about about local, great produce, wow service wellness. Married to George and Mum of 3 and loves the hospitality game.

Rebecca Coughlan
Researcher/Shelf life analyst
Shannon ABC & Food@LIT

I am a biotechnologist working on my PhD in LIT, investigating the different properties if Irish produced rapeseed oil. I have always had an interest in food and food development so food science and innovation was an easy choice for me. I also work in conjunction with FooD@LIT conducting sensory panels and shelf life analysis for our clients.

Richard Nielson
Lecturer, Dept of Culinary Arts

The excellence of Irish food is a cause for celebration, and the Irish Quality Food Awards provides the recognition.

Rosemarie Casserly

I’m a full time Mom with a real passion for food who is huge into nutrition. I am also a regular charity event organizer and I try to attend many food tasting events as often as I can. 

Driven from my former career working in hospitals in many countries healthy food is a major part of my life. All food should be good food and I’m excited to take part in the judging panel for this wonderful event. 

Sarah Ryan
Culinary Lecturer
Shannon College of Hotel Management

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
Yes Chef

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".

Sinead Keegan
ATHE Treasurer

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.

Sinead McCarthy
Sensory Food Network Ireland

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.

Siobhan Moane
Head of Research and Technology Transfer
Limerick Institute of Technology

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

Stuart McNamara
Editor in Chief

Stuart McNamara is an Irish born International Whisk(e)y Writer, Blogger and Podcaster. In addition to editing several Scotch Whiskey and International Whisky sites, Stuart is a passionate promoter of his native Irish Whiskey. As well as being Editor of IrishWhiskey.Com and the Irish Whiskey Trail websites, Stuart is also the creator of Irish Whiskey Day (3rdMarch each year) and produces a chart topping Irish Whiskey Podcast on iTunes at Irish Whiskey Pod. 

Suzanne Kennedy
Shannon College of Hotel Management

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
Executive Chef
Limerick Strand Hotel

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.

Trevis Gleason
Sapphire Solutions Consulting, Inc

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 Greenwood
Cooks Academy Cookery School Dublin

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.