Last week I had the great pleasure of being a Judge for The Great Taste Awards, 2018 that is held every year by The Guild of Fine Food.   You will no doubt have seen the Great Taste Award winners roundels on various products displaying one, two or three stars.

These judging for these prestigious and highly recognized  food awards  take place in London and Gillingham, Dorset. Last week I went down to London for one day and Gillingham for two, to do some judging myself.

Each year,  around 450  food industry experts, including food writers, chefs, producers, deli owners and other foodies,  take part with morning and afternoon sessions Each session consists of 6 tables with 3 or 4 judges, in addition to two adjudicator tables.  The judging process goes on for around six weeks and the wonderful thing about the judging process is that the entries are sampled and scored by a variety of judges and products are not judged in category format. Over a morning session you try around thirty products.  The foods that you sample and judge range from peanuts to marmalades, butter, cakes, biscuits, chutneys, ready meals, ice creams,  seasonings, breakfast cereals, breads, cordials and so much more.  In order to keep your taste buds in tip top condition judges sip water or nibble on crunchy apple slices. It is certain that the variety and quality of entries is quite astounding.
There is a great atmosphere in the judging rooms with judges being immersed in deep thought a they analyse flavour, texture and taste.  Meticulous care is taken to ensure that every product is graded correctly and given a fair chance.  All tasting is ‘blind’ with all labeling, branding and logo’s removed from the food samples, where logos are embossed on a chocolate or biscuit they are scratched off before being presented to the judges.

The marking is thus:
One star: Simply delicious.
Two stars: Outstanding.
Three stars: Exquisite. Wow! Taste that.

Products that get zero or one star are referred to the ‘referral’  table where adjudicators make sure its mark is double-checked.

You are reminded before each tasting session the importance of starting off with the positives and to record all the details of a product, the good the bad, the pleasing and the displeasing elements of every product judged are carefully recorded  along with any suggestions for how the product may be improved, finally after around 5- minutes judging a mark is awarded and the product moves to another judging table to go through the same process.

It was a wonderful insight into the world of judging and I thoroughly enjoyed my three days of judging and meeting other foodies. Hopefully, I shall be invited to judge again next year.

Also last week I attended the Free From Awards Ceremony at the College of Royal Physicians, Hyde Park, London and enjoyed a lovely evening of seeing and sampling some delicious products that were all free of some or all major allergens. One of my product was up for a silver award, sadly on the night it didn’t win, but with such stiff competition it was an honor just to be shortlisted.  Hopefully, we’ll bring back a trophy next year.

 

With such a busy week behind me, it is now time to catch up on writing deadlines, admin and indeed my blog which is steadily growing.  At thirty six weeks pregnant I feel the need to get ahead with my writing before all those sleepless nights start.

 

So until next time, I bid you a fond farewell from Wales.