It is always an honor to be asked to judge at the Guild of Fine Food Great Taste awards. It was even more exciting to be judging in brand new London office minutes from Borough market and yet even more exciting to be not only judging but coordinating too, this gives you the responsibility of typing up everyone’s thoughts and comments on the products. A great deal of thought goes into this from all the coordinators as we only want to write nice positive and helpful comments for the producers who have put so much hard work into creating the delicious products.
Judging for the Great Taste Awards is a great opportunity to try products with other liked minded foodies and industry experts and the morning of my judging session was no exception as we tried an interesting array of products, from coconut jam, pasta sauce, dips and chocolates. It is always fascinating judging with your cohort and then judging the referrals that make it to your table. You see Great Taste operates in a different way to other awards every product is tasted by numerous pallets to gain its prestigious Great Taste Award. On average each product is sampled by a minimum of 9 pallets.
The awards were started in 1994 with the aim of supporting great producers and independent retailers. This objective still remains the same today as the guild of fine food now has 1,400 members across the globe and is regarding as one of the key awards to win. Many retail buyers will buy on the back on a product winning a Great Taste Award and since the start of the awards over 110,000 products have been blind tasted by experts, chefs, retailers and buyers.
This year Awards open for entry in February and saw 12,000 entries, which will be judged by 500 judges, 50 coordinators, over 55 days in the UK and Ireland. All culminating with the awards being announced in July/august with the one, two and three stars and then the top 50 announcement followed by the Great Taste Dinner in London on the 4th of September at which the golden forks will be awarded and the supreme champion announced.
The afternoon was even more exciting in terms of judging as we found a three star jam a very worthy product of this accolade. It is so easy to wax lyrical about great products and even more exciting when you are the first table in the room to find one. It was a delicious afternoon with a show stopping gluten free quiche, a wonderful mayonnaise, followed by an umptious coconut ice-cream. Needless to say no supper required that evening.
With the judging comes meeting the other judges which is equally fascinating sharing views on the food industry the latest news and trends. It is a really joyous foodie day. If you have not entered your products for these prestigious awards in 2017, make sure you enter in 2018.