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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. 

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Aileen Markey
Owner
Unglu-d

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.

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.

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.

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.

Evelyn Cafferty
Managing Director
About Hygiene

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. 

https://www.about-hygiene.com/

Fiona Staunton
Founder
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.

Jane Milton
Consultant
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.

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
MD
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.

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
Founder
Flavour.ie

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.

Lloyd Hamilton
Brand Ambassador / Food Blogger
BFree Foods

Lloyd started his food career at 23, when, unhappy with his situation, started making high quality soup and selling it to cafes and restaurants. From here he travelled the world for a year before coming back to be involvedin the Irish Food scene as an active member, blogging , interviewing and travelling the country getting involved in events and spreading the good word about Irish food.

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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. 

Malachy O'Connor
Consultant
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.

Richard Nielson
Lecturer, Dept of Culinary Arts
GMIT

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

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
Publisher
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
ATHE

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.

Trevis Gleason
Consultant
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
Founder
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.