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

2018 Judges

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

Alice Zaslavsky

Alice Zaslavsky

Alice Zaslavsky – Alice in Frames

Emigrating from Georgia, USSR as the ebullient child of academic parents, Alice Zaslavsky has made a career out of crafting stories and connections through food, as teacher, writer, food editor, television host and live presenter. 
Her best-selling children’s book, ‘Alice’s Food A-Z’ was the first cookbook to be given a ‘Notable’ gong by the Children’s Book Council of Australia, her kids’ food and lifestyle program ‘Crunch Time’ can be caught on Nine’s Channel Go!, whilst ‘Short Cuts to Glory’ (for slightly bigger kids) is on ABC. Alice’s digital food education program, Phenomenom, is set to launch in Term 2, 2018.

When not sharing soundscapes, screens, and/or stages with the world’s best culinary talent, Alice can be found on social media as @aliceinframes

Jerry Mai  - Annam Restaurant and Bar

One of the first chefs to bring authentic Vietnamese flavours to Melbourne’s kitchens, Jerry Mai continues to be a culinary leader whose paddock to plate ethos and no-fuss attitude is winning friends and fans in Melbourne and afield.

Jerry’s cooking – predominantly Vietnamese, with a little inspiration from Thai and Cambodian cuisines - tells her family’s story through flavours, inspired by the places her parents were born, raised and lived before settling in Australia in the 1980s.

Jerry spent her early years at some of Melbourne’s best known and most respected Asian-accented restaurants – Longrain, Seamstress and Gingerboy, then further afield at Nahm and Zuma in London.

Following the success of Pho Nom, September 2017 saw the restaurant incarnation of Jerry’s family history, culture and training with Annam Restaurant and Bar opening in Chinatown, mimicking the feasting friends and family are treated to at Jerry’s home table.

Jerry Mai

Jerry Mai

Ian Curley

Ian Curley

Ian Curley – French Saloon and Kirk’s Wine Bar

Ian Curley is one of Australia’s most-awarded chefs, with an enduring 25-year tenure in Melbourne that has seen him at the helm of some of the city’s most iconic restaurants, including The Point Albert Park and The European. Currently, Ian is co-owner and chef at French Saloon and Kirk’s Wine Bar.

Ian’s food is much-loved for its accessible approach and simple philosophy – he cooks the food he loves to eat. His signature style is European fare of the highest quality, with classic French underpinnings - a legacy from the rigorous training he received early in his career in the kitchens of London.

As a consultant, Ian has enjoyed a successful partnership with The Melbourne Racing Club since 2013, designing menus, training kitchen staff and taking the Executive Chef-in-residence role across the fine dining Black Caviar Restaurant and the Committee Room.

Ian is also a consultant to Craig’s Royal Hotel in Ballarat. You may recognise Ian from one of his regular TV appearances, including Channel 7’s Conviction Kitchen, MasterChef Australia, Yes Chef and Postcards.

2018 Garlic Judging

Judging for the garlic category of the 2018 Australian Food Awards took place in February. The judging panel consisted of the following local industry leaders:

Penny Woodward

Penny is a garden writer and presenter who has written seven books including her award-winning Herbs for Australian Gardens and Community Gardens. Her most recent book is Garlic, An organic guide to knowing, growing and using garlic. Penny is the horticultural editor for, and also writes freelance articles on edible and useful plants for, the ABC’s Organic Gardener magazine, Essential Guides, Diaries and Calendars and website. Penny also writes for her own websites australiangarlic.net.au and pennywoodward.com.au. She is the patron of the Herb Society of Victoria, a board member of the Australian Garlic Industry Association and on the management committee of the Horticultural Media Association, Vic.

Trevor Gray
Trevor grows around 40 different garlic cultivars each season and helps preserve rare garlic cultivars for future commercial establishment. He works with many hobby and commercial growers, providing advice on technical related garlic issues, other cultivars worth trialing and disease and pest management. Trevor is also a board member of the Australian Garlic Industry Association.

Siu Ling Hui

Malaysian-born, Chinese freelance food writer, Siu Ling has written for various publications including Good Weekend, The Age “Epicure” (now Good Food) and Gourmet Wine magazine, as well as authored “Queen Victoria Market – History, Recipes, Stories” (Wakefield Press) and “In Praise of Prunes – History & Stories” (Kindle). She was also a reviewer and part of the Editorial Panel for The Age “Good Food Guide”, as well as a reviewer for Cheap Eats Guide. Siu Ling has designed and organised various events for the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, presented at several events at Tasting Australia, and writes her own blog - foodstuff.hubpages.com.

View the 2018 garlic results here.

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. 

2018 Australian Food Awards entries close Monday 28 May

Don’t miss your opportunity to be part of Australia’s leading national food awards program. The Australian Food Awards presents producers large and small with the chance to benchmark their products and establish credentials in the Australian premium food industry.