The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Top judges line up for Outstanding Food Producer Award’s 8th event

Top judges line up for Outstanding Food Producer Award’s 8th event

The 2024 Outstanding Food Producer Awards are gearing up for an extraordinary year, poised to assess a record-breaking number of entries at Homeland in Auckland on Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 February.

This year’s competition boasts a remarkable 358 entries from 122 food and drink producers spanning the length and breadth of New Zealand, including 60 entries in the newly introduced Chocolate Category.

Awards co-owners Kathie Bartley and Nicola McConnell were encouraged by the diverse range of entries, which feature a strong representation of fresh produce, products designed to be ‘free-from’ traditional ingredients such as flour or meat and prepared meal solutions.

Furthermore, the awards welcome a significant number of new producer entrants, showcasing the continuous growth and innovation within New Zealand’s food and drink industry.

Building on the success of the 2023 Awards, this year’s eighth edition introduces vibrant, new branding and a dedicated Chocolate category, merging the NZ Chocolate Awards into the Outstanding Food Producer Awards. These enhancements offer more value to New Zealand’s hard-working food and drink producers and will showcase more locally made produce to Kiwi food lovers.

And The Judges Are

Lauraine Jacobs, is the Head Judge overseeing the assessment of all 358 products supported by a panel of leading industry professionals. They are: Peter Gordon (Homeland); James Wilkinson (Executive Chef, The Glasshouse); Kathy Paterson (Cookbook Author and food judge); Renny Aprea (Pastry Chef and international food judge); Tamara Rubanowski (editor of FMCG Business and food judge); Elle Coco (international chocolate judge); Amanda Thompson (Moore Wilson’s, General Manager); Mat Mclean (Palate Restaurant, Chef/Owner); Connie Clarkson (experienced food judge); Geoff Scott ( food judge and AUT Culinary Lecturer); Ginny Grant (food writer and judge); Lucy Owen (Farro, Deli Category Manager)  John Kelleher (AUT Culinary Lecturer); Vicky Tasker (Farro, Content Editor); Johnathon Robertson (Farro, Merchandise Manager) Lorna Riley (Coast presenter and experienced food judge); Ness Baxter (experienced food judge); Nici Wickes (cookbook author and food judge); Paul Jobin (Consultant Chef); Alice Taylor (food writer and MasterChef NZ finalist); Matt Casey (Source Kitchen, Chef/co-owner); Emma Boyd (NZ Life & Leisure recipe developer); Kelly Gibney (food writer and author); Kate Underwood (food writer) and Sustainability Judges; Emily King (Director of Spira, author and food systems expert) and Fiona Stephenson (Sustainable Business Network).

Following judging and adjudication, the top products are awarded Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals, to be announced on Tuesday 19 March 2024. Outstanding Food Producer Awards Medals provide producers with recognition of their work and assure consumers when buying NZ-made produce.

High-scoring Gold Medal winners are in contention for the Category Champion Awards which will be announced at the annual Champions Party on Thursday 18 April 2024.

Kathie Bartley and Nicola McConnell noted that excitingly, the 2024 Awards welcome new partners: Leefield Station and BYD Auto New Zealand. They join the prestigious list of supporters including NZ Life & Leisure, Coast, Emerson’s, Farro, FMCG Business, Label & Litho and Seafood New Zealand.

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