Meet our Farm Shop & Deli Awards judges
Every November, Chair of Judges Nigel Barden and Co-chair of Judges, Elaine Lemm are joined by experts from the world of speciality retail, fine food and food media to form our judging panel.
They come together to evaluate the online entries and consumer votes for the Farm Shop & Deli Awards.
Nigel Barden is a food & drink broadcaster, working with Simon Mayo & Chris Evans on their Sony Gold award winning BBC Radio 2 shows & is the food correspondent for BBC London. He specialises in promoting British ingredients & artisan producers and returns as our Chair of Judges for the 2018 Farm Shop & Deli Awards.
Elaine Lemm is returning again this year as our Co-Chair of Judges. Elaine is a Yorkshire born former chef-restaurateur turned national food and travel writer and voted one of the Top 50 Food and Drink Journalists in the UK. She writes for many leading food titles and is the author of three books, including the best-selling 'Great Book of Yorkshire Pudding'. Her website About British Food ranks as one of the most visited food sites in the UK.
Joining Nigel and Elaine on our judging panel are:
Anthony Johns, and his wife Sue, own and actively run 2 thriving delis & grocers, a vibrant café and a popular beach hut in the coastal Devon villages of Appledore & Instow. In 2015 Johns of Instow won the Independent Retailer of the Year at the Farm Shop and Deli Awards.
Ashleigh O’Mahony is the Food Trends Reporter at The Grocer with previous roles including features writer for Farm and Deli Retail magazine. Ash is excited to see the range of talent, innovation and passion that is driving the industry forward throughout the UK.
Debbie and Callum Edge, owners of Edge & Son in Birkenhead and winners of the 2018 Farm Shop & Deli Retailers of the Year. They will be looking for a business that really respects what they do, their customer base, the guys they are buying from and their team.
Chris McNeill is the owner and editor of the Delicatessen Magazine. With a background in publishing and events that took him around the world, he had a great opportunity to try a vast selection of great food and drink products with unique stories behind them. It was this, coupled with his country upbringing and love of local produce, farmers markets and his local delicatessen that saw him take over the ownership of The Delicatessen magazine so that he could further source and promote great products and brands within an industry he truly loves.
Georgina Wald is the Corporate Communications Manager for Fuller, Smith & Turner – the London brewer and pub company. George has worked in the pub sector for over 20 years and has seen many changes in that time, including the way the role of food has developed across the licensed retail industry. She will be looking for a commitment to excellent quality and innovation in how produce is retailed.
Hero Hirsh is the Head of Retail at the prestigious cheesemongers, Paxton & Whitfield. Following a career as a pastry chef in various Michelin starred restaurants, she has enjoyed ten years in the cheese industry, and continues to be enthused about artisan food and retailing of it. She is excited to see innovation, attention to detail and a real love for the product from this year’s entries.
Holly Shackleton is proud to be the Editor of Speciality Food, the leading publication for the fine food industry. As a long time lover of food and independent retail, Holly says it is an honour to head up this respected magazine, to explore the market’s ever-evolving trends, products and innovations, and to share the passion of the professionals within it.
Iain Hemming, Owner Thyme and Tides. Iain has dedicated his professional life to the speciality food industry with experience in cheese making, wholesaling and sales. Five years ago Iain and his wife Sally opened Thyme & Tides Deli Bistro & Fishmongers in Stockbridge, Hampshire. April 2014 marked the couples first foray into the restaurant business by opening a 100 seated premises called Woodfire – Pizza Mezze in the same town.
Jamie Hall, U.K. Retail and Rest of World Markets Sales, Neal's Yard Dairy, has worked with artisan cheese now for over 6 years. He started in Borough Market selecting Comte from France and selling over the weekends to help fund his time at university. His passion of cheeses led him to Neal’s Yard Dairy full time four years ago where he was a retail cheesemonger before moving into the wholesale side of the company and now is responsible for managing the sales with Distributors, Food halls and Shops across the United Kingdom.
John Gill is Head of Commercial Operations and Buyer extraordinaire at the fabulous Booths. Leading a team of 21, Jon is responsible for sourcing all areas within Licensed, Bakery, Ambient Grocery, Non Edible Grocery and Kiosk.
Jon May is the Managing Director of Fabulous Food & Drink. Jon has over 12 years experience working within the speciality food sector including leading the Trade Development programmes at HEART of ENGLAND fine foods (HEFF) and, most recently, over 1 years experience with the local buying team at Asda. He recently took the plunge into self employment setting up Fabulous food and Drink (FFD), assisting small to medium sized food and drink producers and independent retailers grow their businesses without the expense of employing additional staff.
Martin Hesp is both Editor-at-large and food and drink Editor of the Western Morning News, the largest daily newspaper in the South West of England covering a patch that stretches across Somerset and half of Dorset, to Devon and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. He added the job of food editor to his portfolio earlier this year because he believes the region to be one of the most exciting places around when it comes to the quality produce, preparation and cookery now being found across the South West.
Neil Nugent, currently Head of Product Development for Iceland Foods, has a good take on the artisan & commercial sides of the business with previous roles including; Director of Food and New Concepts Pizza Express group, Development Chef at Morrisons, Restaurateur and previously working for Waitrose & Asda on their development side. Neil also has his own food consultancy business BullDogFish.
Simon Hurley, Managing Director, P2P Food Solutions has written pieces for Fine Food Digest and Speciality Food Magazine and consults for several food brands including Tyrrells Crisps, Australian Wagyu, Silver and Green Olives, Piltons Cider and Granny Gothards Icecream. He also works with a number of local authorities looking at healthy alternatives for their school meals offering.
Victoria Robertshaw is the co-owner of Keelham Farm Shop, a multi-award-winning family-run business and our 2017 Retailer of the Year winner. Victoria took over the day-to-day running of Keelham a decade ago alongside her brother James. They have transformed Keelham from a stereotypical ‘farm shop’ into an original, quirky and exciting retail concept. Across two shops in Thornton and Skipton they now serve more than one million customers a year and the team has grown from 56 in 2010 to 320 today.
Vince Bamford is Editor of British Baker magazine and oversees print and online coverage of the business, the people, and the community of bakery in the UK. Vince has been a journalist longer than he is keen to admit, having started out on local newspapers in the mid-1980s. Before joining British Baker he was editor of international news site BakeryandSnacks.com, and also spent five years heading up product news coverage on The Grocer magazine. Vince’s interest in the food industry began with a Saturday job on the deli counter in Spar!