Meet the judges for the Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards 2018
PUBLISHED: 15:55 19 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:34 06 April 2018
Nominations are still open for the 2018 Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards. Below we meet the judges tasked with identifying the county's best culinary and hospitality talent who tell us about their ultimate Surrey dish and tipple
Tourism marketing and development manager at Visit Guildford
I’ve lived in North Guildford for over 30 years and have explored lots of places to eat and drink in the area. I went to the very first awards and I treasure the memory of sitting next to the wonderful Fanny of Fanny’s Farm Shop, who is sorely missed. I’ve been a judge for about four years.
My favourite type of food is Spanish – so I’d say my ultimate Surrey dish is anything from La Casita in Guildford or No-Bull Paella at Guildford Farmers Market. Despite Surrey being renowned for its wines that isn’t my tipple. Now I’ve been taught how to make a gin and tonic using Silent Pool Gin, Fevertree Tonic and a slice of orange by the landlady of The Keep, that’s my favourite.
Vice-chairman of the Surrey Hills Society
I’m a long time resident of West Horsley. and have spent the last year researching and writing a booklet about the way the Surrey Hills AONB has changed over the past 60 years. The booklet will be launched next month to coincide with the anniversary. I have been a judge since the first year of the awards.
My ultimate Surrey dish would have to be a good breakfast produced using fresh local produce – a field mushroom topped with scrambled egg from Etherley Farm hens, one of our many local sausages – probably Conisbees – some locally produced bacon and all accompanied by soughdough toast from Chalk Hills Bakery.
I have been a fan of Surrey sparkling wines ever since they first re-emerged in the 1980s. My benchmark is still the one produced by High Clandon although the competition is getting really serious.
Breakfast DJ on BBC Surrey
I live in Woking with my wife and three boys and this year will be my fourth time round as a judge. I’ve found each year fascinating. Discovering new companies and organisations in Surrey is always interesting but actually having to choose a winner from the nominees always proves difficult, having to make that final choice is the tough part.
However, as I enjoy eating out – a good pub with a great menu really works for me, I’ve found the awards a great guide and inspiration to try new places. Drink-wise, a nice real ale will always get a thumbs up!
Professor Andrew Lockwood
Forte professor of hospitality management at the University of Surrey
The university’s school of hospitality and tourism management is recognised as one of the top five in the world in our subject areas.
I live in a house built originally in the 16th century in the middle of the picturesque village of Chiddingfold and used for many years as the village cycle shop. My wife and I enjoy cycling around the quiet lanes of Surrey. I can think of nothing better than sitting in a cosy Surrey pub gently warmed by the log fire and tucking into a juicy chargrilled rare ribeye steak with a side of crispy hand cut proper chips and accompanied by a pint of well-kept Timothy Taylor’s Landlord. Bliss!
Journalist, writer and editor
I have lived, worked and ridden horses in the Surrey Hills all my life, so I have enjoyed an elevated view of this beautiful countryside. My home for 34 years has been a cottage in the hills south of Shere, where I can keep chickens and grow veg. I have been involved with the awards from the very start and feel extremely privileged to be part of the 2018 team of judges.
You can’t beat Surrey grass-fed beef and a slow-cooked casserole made from Hampton Estate Sussex cattle, Manor Farm Wotton Belted Galloways or Halliloo Long Horns is melt-in-the-mouth fab! I do love a gin and tonic and I do love wine, so depending on my mood my favourite tipple would be either Silent Pool Gin or Albury Vineyard rosé.
Acting chief executive of Surrey County Agricultural Society
I came to live in Surrey about 20 years ago when I met and married my farming husband. We now caretake a 55-acre smallholding in Puttenham, where our main enterprise is rare breed goats, pigs and sheep.
At SCAS I get to work with the great team who put together the Surrey County Show, Surrey Game and Country Fair and Ploughing Match, as well as some exciting educational initiatives.
My ultimate Surrey dish is exclusive to us at home, it is caramelised onion, goats’ cheese, parma ham and fig pizza – all the ingredients for the topping being produced by us on the farm. Accompanied by a homemade elderflower cordial.
Marketeer and mum
I currently live in Ash Green in the heart of the Surrey Hills running around after my little girl while balancing the digital marketing for sessionmusic.co.uk. I have previously worked in marketing for the Royal Automobile Club and Foxhills. I have been lucky enough to be involved in the awards since the start so this will be my fifth year.
My ultimate Surrey dish has to be locally sourced produce – for instance a local butcher’s sausage and mash or locally smoked salmon and eggs. My favourite tipple hands down has to be one of the local vineyards’ English sparkling, like High Clandon.
Chairman of Visit Surrey and Surrey Hills Society
Arriving in Surrey as an Australian backpacker, I fell in love with the stunning countryside. I live in Shamley Green and joined the award judging panel in its second year.
The Tillingbourne River starts as a spring on the top of Leith Hill and joins the Wey River near Guildford. Its mineral rich, spring water was perfect for growing watercress and its trout supplied much of the London market in earlier times. The river is still home to Kingfisher Farm, which is the last watercress producer in Surrey and Tillingbourne Trout farm – so a Tillingbourne trout served on a bed of watercress would be my ultimate Surrey dish.
My favourite tipple has always been a Surrey Hills sparkling wine – and we have plenty to choose from.
Professor Anita Eves
Associate dean (learning and teaching) for the faculty of arts and social sciences at the University of Surrey
My home department is the school of hospitality and tourism management, where I have now worked for 25 years. I live in Fetcham, near Leatherhead, with my husband, two children (when they are home from university) and two very lively kittens.
I have been involved with the awards for the past four years, and I have been lucky to sample some of the best that our county has to offer. It is difficult to choose an ultimate Surrey dish, but perhaps some of the excellent beef produced locally, washed down with a glass of Denbies’ sparkling wine. My guilty pleasure is a glass of the excellent Silent Pool Gin.
Chief executive of The Clink Charity
I have lived in Cheam with my family for the past 18 years. After college I worked for Holiday Inn in New York and for Hilton in Amsterdam and London. I headed up Harrods’ restaurants before joining Fenwick as head of group restaurants, which included the Bentall’s of Kingston. The Clink Charity operates fine dining training restaurants and gardens in eight UK prisons with the sole aim of reducing re-offending. We operate a café in Manchester and an event catering business in London where we train homeless clients of the Centrepoint charity to help them gain qualifications, employment and accommodation. Clink graduates are 41 per cent less likely to reoffend having been on our course. This will be my third year judging for the awards.
My ultimate Surrey dish is Tillingbourne Trout with Abinger watercress with charlotte new potatoes accompanied by a chilled glass of Albury Estate blanc des blancs. My favourite Surrey tipple has to be a Silent Pool Gin and tonic with a sprig of rosemary.
Director of Root & Prosper
I live in Reigate and run Root & Prosper, an events company that curates food festivals, street food markets, town centre events, launch parties and pop-up restaurants. This will be my fourth year as a judge on the awards. Each year the job gets tougher – we are blessed with the incredible talent in our county.
It’s not easy to say what my ultimate Surrey dish would be as we have such diverse choices, though having tasted the sublime Discovery Menu at Steve Drake’s Sorrel in Dorking that would get my vote. We have been doing a lot of events with beer and beer pairings so I would say my favourite tipple would have to be the fantastic beers that the new team are brewing at Pilgrim Brewery. We have the oldest craft brewery in Surrey so we ought to be shouting about it.
Put your nominations in now! Click here to vote in the Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards 2018