Judges

Judges for the Australian Food Awards are selected from across Australia and are engaged based on their exceptional industry knowledge and expertise.

We're delighted to welcome a number of local industry leaders to the judging panel for this year’s Australian Food Awards, including:

Adrian Richardson - Chef owner of La Luna Bistro, North Carlton

Adrian is the owner of North Carlton's La Luna Bistro in Melbourne's where he has been serving up fresh bistro-style food since 1998. Adrian has a simple philosophy with his food, which he calls “modern Mediterranean”, and that is to use the freshest ingredients and keep it simple. Adrian is well known for his appearances on television show Good Chef Bad Chef. 

Adrian has been judging with the Australian Food Awards (AFA) since 2015. He has also been a member of the AFA Advisory Group since 2016.

Alice Zaslavsky – Alice in Frames

Alice Zaslavsky is a food literacy advocate, resident culinary correspondent for ABC News Breakfast and ABC Radio Drive, author of ‘Alice’s Food A - Z’, and creator of Phenomenom a free digital toolbox helping teachers slip more serves of veg into the classroom. You can find her online as Alice in Frames.

Saskia Beer - Owner of Saskia Beer Farm Produce

Saskia Beer grew up surrounded by the principles of good farming and honest cooking through mother Maggie’s restaurant, The Pheasant Farm, and father Colin’s game bird farming.

With the establishment of Saskia Beer Farm Produce in 1997, Saskia employs the knowledge gained from her parents to create full-flavoured produce through tailored farming practices designed for maximum flavour.

Throughout this journey, Saskia Beer Farm Produce has remained seasonal, free range and chemical free by maintaining close relationships with local farmers. With this approach, Saskia can control the flavour and texture of her produce by managing every step including diet, exercise, sunlight hours, and age of the animals.

Sofia Levin - Melbourne-based food and travel journalist

A Melbourne-based food and travel journalist, Sofia Levin has a decade of experience writing for publications like Lonely Planet, Fairfax’s Good Food, SBS Food, delicious., Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide, in-flight magazines and more. She sees food as a cultural barometer – a conduit that helps people better understand both each other and themselves – and takes pride in sharing both Melbourne’s diverse dining scene and international gems with those who crave more than ‘it’ restaurants and celebrity chefs. Follow her Instagram, @sofiaklevin, and join her mission to #EatCuriously.

Tony Dench - Co-owner of Dench Bakers

Tony owns Dench Bakers with his father, John, along with Dench Café in Fitzroy North and Bread & James for Frances in Hawthorn. The pair also run a wholesale operation, Dench Bakers, supplying the hospitality industry and public with handmade organic sourdough, specialty breads, pastries. Tony Dench and his father each take an active role in the bakery and café in Fitzroy North, from hand-moulding the bread to serving it over the counter. 

Judging Process

Judging for the AFA takes place in February, July and August, with different products judged in different months based on seasonality. 

Each class will be assigned to a judging panel, who will blind taste the entries. 

In the initial tasting round, all exhibits will be scored on the basis of points allocated by each judge. A product awarded 90 - 100 points will receive a gold medal, 82 - 89 points a silver and 74 - 81 a bronze. 

The highest scoring gold in each class will be awarded Best in Class and each Best in Class-winning product will be eligible for a category Champion Trophy. 

2019 Judging Panel

 

Beverages

Hilary Heslop

Kriben Govender

Sharon Flynn

Branded Meats

Anna Kelly

James Madden

Jerry Mai

Kerr Griffin

Mark Inglis

Mike Patrick

Peter Boucher

Ross O'Meara

Simon Poole

Troy Wheeler

Convenience Foods

Caroline Gray

Charlene Trist

Damian Sandercock

Hilary Heslop

Joanne Feehan

Matteo Tine

Michelle Thrift

Sarah Ugazio - Associate judge

Thanh Do - Associate judge

Dairy

Gina Dal Santo - Head judge

Aaron Pooch

Anna Kelly

David Mellor

Doug Eddy

Ian Haynes

Jane Clarke

Janos Kaldy

Keith Glewis

Marisa Singh

Penny Lawson

Stephen Raphael

Roberta Muir

Sara Werthenback - Associate judge

Frozen Dessert

Chris Higgs

Melissa Caia

Riccardo Malacasa

Robyn Gray

Pantry Goods

Brendon Hill

Kristine Wilson

Peter Wilson

Stuart Chandler

Andrew Papas

Toni Papas

Rita Erlich

Dylan Roden

Preserves

Andrew Papas

Cam Russell

Caroline Gray

Damian Sandercock

Diana Chan

Dylan Roden

Matteo Tine

Neal Hargreaves

Odette Martini

Rita Erlich

Stephen Raphael

Toni Papas

Tony Tan

Wendy Jarvis

Sarah Ugazio - Associate Judge

Thanh Do - Associate Judge

Produce

Dani Valent

Dianne Sekeres

Gavin Jamieson

Joe Panazzo

Mat Lumalasi

Nigel Wood

Rebecca Sullivan

Rita Erlich

Vanessa Kwiatkowski

Wendy Maslin

Seafood

Jason Collins-Smith

Jules Crocker

Michael Canals

Stephanie Kaparos

Smallgoods

Damian Sandercock

Horst Schurger

Jerry Mai

Matthew Connolly

Mike Patrick

Neil Hargreaves

Rosa Mitchell

Ross O'Meara

Simon Poole

Thomas Beuke

Troy Wheeler

Value-Add Grain Product

Charlene Trist

Damian Sandercock

Dianne Sekeres

Dylan Roden

Joe Panozzo

Matteo Tine

Neil Hargreaves

Odette Martini

Rebecca Sullivan

Sharon Jan

Stephen Raphael

Wendy Maslin

Sarah Ugazio - Associate Judge

Thanh Do - Associate Judge