Belfast Telegraph

Top food critics on NI awards judging panel

By Margaret Canning

Entrants to the Belfast Telegraph Year of Food and Drink 2016 Awards will have to impress some of the most discerning critics in the UK and Ireland.

The judging panel consists of top food writers Charles Campion, Georgina Campbell and Joris Minne, and professor Una McMahon-Beattie, head of the department of hospitality and tourism management at Ulster University.

All four are looking forward to getting down to work after following the Year of Food and Drink closely.

Georgina Campbell, author of food and hospitality guides Georgina Campbell’s Ireland, said: “The Year of Food and Drink was a brilliant idea and I have been watching it unfold with great interest.

“The monthly themes have given the initiative a strong focus and it has been exciting to see the real pride that there is in the high quality and range of Northern Ireland produce — both amongst the food and drink community itself and the general public, who came out in their droves to support and enjoy the year’s events and create a buzz.

“Far from being ‘just another awards scheme’ the NI Year of Food and Drink Awards in association with the Belfast Telegraph are highly relevant to the development of the food and drink visitor experience, in underpinning the very real achievements of 2016.”

Charles Campion said: “The Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink has given a mighty boost to small producers, farmers, fishermen, chefs and visitors alike. It’s been my great pleasure to bring some excellent food and drink into the limelight.”

“As one of the judges in the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards in association with the Belfast Telegraph, I look forward to finding plenty more people dedicated to raising the standard of food and drink even further”. 

“In 2016 the Year of Food and Drink started the wheel moving and now we must all give it a shove.”

Professor Una McMahon-Beattie said the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink had been a “perfect opportunity” to celebrate the province’s food. 

“Simply put, 2016 has given the passion of our food and drink producers, retailers, chefs and hospitality businesses a voice.

“I am truly looking forward to celebrating their excellence and outstanding achievements at Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards, in association with the Belfast Telegraph.”

Belfast Telegraph restaurant critic Joris Minne added: “These are unlike any other food awards in that they celebrate the impact of the food sector on the wider economy and mark the significance of businesses working together for the greater good.”

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