Announcing the Panel of Judges for 2019 Irish Cheese Awards

The panel of judges has been chosen to widely represent the food industry and include acknowledged experts from retail, wholesale and cheesemaking as well as chefs and members of the food media. We are hugely grateful to all judges for the generous giving of their time and are thrilled to have such a knowledgeable panel on board!

The competition judging day has been kindly sponsored by Ornua.

The Irish Cheese Awards are supported by Bord Bia who are kindly also hosting the judging day in their HQ in Dublin

Pallas Foods Sponsor The irish Cheese Awards

Catherine Fulvio

Day-time Emmy nominee, TV Chef and presenter is an award-winning food writer and owner of Ballyknocken House & Cookery School.

Growing up on a farm in county Wicklow, Catherine really appreciates the source of our daily ingredients and actively thinks about the way our food is produced.  Once a dairy farm she grew up with a fresh supply of milk and was known to make butter and cream.  


Ross Lewis

Michelin Starred Chef, Chapter One Restaurant, Dublin

From Bishopstown in Co. Cork, in his early years Ross Lewis spent time on his uncle’s farm.  His desire to be a chef is rooted in this early experience of the myriad connections between land and food.  It helped that his mum once ran a very successful café on her family’s dairy farm.

Patrick Clement

Pallas Foods Head of Culinary

Patrick Clement Chef de Cuisine from Brittany, France. He has spent over 40 years working as a chef in Brittany, Paris, Germany and Ireland. Patrick joined the Pallas Foods team 18 years ago and now heads the K.I.S Chefs Consultant team. Recently appointed Chairman of the Irish Foods service Alliance.


Dr. Matthew O’Callaghan OBE

UK Protected Food names Association, Artisan Cheese Fair Organiser

Matthew O’Callaghan has lived and worked in a number of countries including the UK, Belgium, Japan, Costa Rica and Brasil. With a Doctorate in Chemistry Matthew was appointed Professor of Animal Nutrition in Costa Rica working with dairy cattle where he became interested in cheese making.


Catherine Mead OBE

Chairperson Specialist Cheesemakers Association, Cheesemaker/Owner at Lynher Dairies – makers of Cornish Yarg

Lynher Dairies, owned by Catherine Mead OBE, is home to Cornish Yarg, Cornish Kern and Stithians. Every single truckle comes from the small, rural dairy in mid Cornwall. We’ve been wrapping our Cornish Yarg in nettle leaves since the 1980s.

Catherine was chosen by HRH Prince of Wales on his 70th birthday to be one of his top ten Countryside Champions.


Aoife Carrigy

Freelance Food Writer and Editor

Aoife Carrigy is a freelance journalist, editor and cookbook author specialising in food, drink and travel. 


Dr. John McKenna

Food Writer

John McKenna and his wife Sally are massively important contributors to Ireland’s food culture. They live on the Sheep’s Head Peninsula in West Cork and travel far and wide promoting Irish artisan foods. John has written about Ireland’s artisan food culture for more than thirty years.


Enda Howley

Cheese Grading Expert, Ornua

Enda Howley is an expert Cheddar grader and an extremely experienced competition judge, he will be a part of the team to specifically oversee the cheddar grading along with other members of the judging panel. In 2018, Enda was inducted into the New World Chapter of The Guilde Internationale des Fromagers and is an internationally respected cheese expert.


Monica Murphy

Cheese And Wine Expert

Monica has been in the Cheese and Wine business since the early 80’s, after years in the hotel, restaurant and delicatessen industry.

 She was a pioneer in the early days of the Irish Farmhouse Cheese industry, setting up Ireland’s first specialised Cheese shop in the Westbury Mall, the Cheeseboard. 


Rory Mellis

Wholesale Director, Mellis Cheese LTD.

As part of my role I visit cheese makers as much as possible, run the wholesale side of our business and help with the management of our retail stores. As a family run company we are often tasting batches of cheeses to ensure we are maturing them correctly and that our customers in both the retail and wholesale sector have the best possible product available.  


Dr. Kieran Jordan

Teagasc

Dr. Kieran Jordan is Research Officer at the Food Safety Department, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy. He has work with the farmhouse cheese industry for about 15 years, mainly in the areas of safety and quality.


Diarmuid Murphy

Simply Better Brand Manager for Dunnes Stores

Diarmuid Murphy has over 25 years of retail experience, he joined Dunnes in July 2000 managing the food hall in their St. Stephen Green store. Since then Diarmuid has a number of years buying experience across different food categories within Dunnes Stores and now leads their award winning Simply Better food collection since it was relaunched in 2013.

The Gastrogays

Food Writers

Patrick Hanlon, Russell Alford, food writers and broadcasters GastroGays, Chew The Fat Podcast    

Russell James Alford and Patrick Hanlon blog, write about and live food!


John Leverrier

Quality Manager, Sheridans Cheesemongers

John Has been with Sheridans Cheesemongers for 20 years and looks after the quality of all the cheeses in their stores and throughout the wholesale business. John is an expert cheese taster and cheesemonger.



The competition judging day has been kindly sponsored by Ornua

Bord Bia are kindly hosting the judging day in their Dublin HQ and supporting the competition


Irish Cheese Awards 2019 Judges – Full Profiles


Catherine Fulvio

TV Chef, presenter and owner of Ballyknocken House & Cookery School.

Growing up on a farm in county Wicklow, Catherine really appreciates the source of our daily ingredients and actively thinks about the way our food is produced.  Once a dairy farm she grew up with a fresh supply of milk and was known to make butter and cream.  Now third generation at Ballyknocken House, Catherine’s Irish blood and Italian heart is a winning combination.

With her effervescent charm and personality, Catherine Fulvio is an ardent supporter of fresh local produce and one of Ireland’s top culinary stars.  Born and raised at Ballyknocken, a working farm, Catherine has an inherent knowledge and understanding of food and cherishes the land and its produce. An expert cook her recipes reflect seasonal, easily sourced, quality ingredients and she is known for her no-fuss approach to food with a twist, often Italian! Catherine’s ability to make the ordinary extraordinary is evidenced in her recipes and her cookery demonstrations which she hosts all over the country.

She is one of Ireland’s most celebrated female chefs.  This is affirmed by her many and diverse roles from food educator to female entrepreneur. With her extensive experience in the hospitalilty and food industry Catherine can talk at ease on a number of food related topics with great amount of knowledge.  Her areas include food and food innovation, marketing, leadership and food tourism.  In 2013, Catherine scooped the top award for Entrepreneur of the Year for the region of Europe and Africa, sponsored by ActionCOACH at the Business Excellence Forum in Lisbon, Portugal.  The award recognised Ballyknocken House, Farm and Cookery School in County Wicklow as a destination for international and domestic visitors alike, and she was cited as an “outstanding example of entrepreneurial spirit.”

Catherine enjoys a strong media profile, and is currently filming the fourth series of ”Tastes Like Home”.  She has four tv series under her belt and is copresenter on the popular TV series “Lords & Ladles” which has recently been sold to Netflix.

Catherine has also enjoyed TV appearances on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, and in America, where she has appeared on top US morning show, NBCs Today Show. Her TV series has aired in over a dozen countries and she has published five cookbooks to date, and was winner of the Irish Cookbook Awards in 2012.  She is the food writer for the RTE Guide.


Ross Lewis

Michelin Starred Chef, Chapter One Restaurant, Dublin

From Bishopstown in Co. Cork, in his early years Ross Lewis spent time on his uncle’s farm.  His desire to be a chef is rooted in this early experience of the myriad connections between land and food.  It helped that his mum once ran a very successful café on her family’s dairy farm.

Certainly his youthful experiences were enough to inspire him to study Dairy Science in University College Cork.  However, the idea of cooking for a living came to him only while working on a student visa in the United States, and after that came a move to London to learn the trade of a chef.   From there, through a schoolmate he found a job at the restaurant Odin’s, owned by Peter Langan.  Next came a position as junior manager at Dolphin Brasserie and, later, as chef at Le Chat Botté Restaurant at the Beau Rivage Hotel in GenevaSwitzerland.

Lewis, then 24, returned to Ireland in 1990 and for three years worked as Head Chef at the legendary Old Dublin restaurant.  In 1993 he took the opportunity, with Martin Corbett (now retired), of setting up Chapter One in the space below the Irish Writers Museum – formerly the home of John Jameson, the whiskey maker – on Parnell Square, in what was then a rather gritty part of central Dublin.  The restaurant started trading in 1993, and thanks to a relentless focus on customer care and a commitment to creating dishes that reflect the best of Irish food and producers, it has enjoyed a loyal following ever since.

El Bullí, Ferran Adrià’s iconic restaurant in Spain, further inspired Lewis to refine his cooking.   As well as holding a Michelin star since 2007, Chapter One has won countless awards including the Restaurant Association of Ireland’s award for Best Restaurant in Ireland eight times, the most recent being for 2017.

Lewis has been a member of Eurotoques since 1992 and served three years (2001–04) as Commissioner General.  He has also been a member of the Taste Council of Ireland since its inception October 2003.  In 2011, he was the head chef for the only State Banquet to be held during Queen Elizabeth II’s State Visit to Ireland.   He is a passionate advocate of Irish food and food producers, and in 2015 published the book Chapter One:  An Irish Food Story (Gill Books).

It is Lewis’s quest to reflect Ireland’s landscape, craftspeople and artists in everything he does at Chapter One, not just in the food, but in the art, design and crafts he commissions, including the ongoing Project Art, showcasing work by young Irish artists.  He is also a firm supporter of the Food on the Edge conference, which since 2015 has been bringing together leading chefs and food producers from all over the world to explore the future of food.

Lewis lives in Blackrock, Co. Dublin with his wife Jessica and their three children.


Aoife Carrigy

Freelance Food Writer and Editor

Aoife Carrigy is a freelance journalist, editor and cookbook author specialising in food, drink and travel. You’ll find her fortnightly Dublin restaurant reviews at foodandwine.ie, her bi-monthly drinks news page in Image Interiors & Living and her co-authored Cornucopia: The Green Cookbook coming to bookshops in autumn 2019. She is currently completing postgraduate research at TU Dublin focussing on ‘Cultural Representations of the Irish Pub’ to explore the place of the pub in Irish culture. 

Building on many years of front-of-house restaurant experience to develop her specialisation in food, drink and travel writing, editing and consultancy, Aoife has maintained a strong profile within the Irish food, beverage and hospitality industries. She has reviewed restaurants since 2002, is a judge for various industry awards and a regular contributor to numerous national newspapers and magazines, including The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, Sunday Business Post, FOOD&WINE Ireland, CARA Magazine and Image Interiors & Living. 

Previous editorial experience includes Deputy Editor of FOOD&WINE Magazine, Local Dublin Editor for Zagat Guides and General Editor of five books for the Irish Countrywomen’s Association. She is also co-author of The Ard Bia Cookbook (Atrium Press, 2012) and has lectured at third level on journalism, literature and communications skills.

Aoife has been employed as an industry expert by government bodies such as Fáilte Ireland and Bord Bia as well as on a consultancy basis with various commercial retailers including Value Retail (Kildare Village). An experienced public speaker, Aoife is a former Chair of the Irish Food Writer Guild and has both chaired and contributed to food-focussed panel discussion events and broadcasts. She launched an events-focussed food blog, HolyMackerel.ie, in 2011 and partnered with Great Irish Beverages in 2015 to establish the inaugural Dublin Wine Fest and the Failte Ireland-sponsored Irish Cider & Food Day. 

Patrick & Russell – the Gastrogays

Patrick Hanlon, Russell Alford, food writers and broadcasters GastroGays, Chew The Fat Podcast    

Writing about food and travel, Patrick and Russell began blogging at GastroGays.com in 2013 and since then have turned the name and title into a digital brand known across Ireland, the UK and beyond. Having been located in both Ireland and London for equivalent amounts of time since launching, relocating back to Ireland presented an opportunity to delve into the world of podcasting and since mid-2018 the pair have produced and presented Chew The Fat, interviewing notable guests in and out of the food industry about food memories, processes and the make-up of our food cultures in the modern day, in particular assessing the standing and make-up of Irish cuisine right now. Both with an academic background in media production (TV, radio, journalism, PR) the pair also contribute regularly to national radio and print media on food and travel. 


Dr. Matthew O’Callaghan OBE

Chairman of UK Protected Food Names Association, Artisan Cheese Fair Organiser

Matthew O’Callaghan has lived and worked in a number of countries including the UK, Belgium, Japan, Costa Rica and Brasil. With a Doctorate in Chemistry Matthew was appointed Professor of Animal Nutrition in Costa Rica working with dairy cattle where he became interested in cheese making. Much later whilst working in Brasil he made Colwick Cheese a soft cheese from the East Midlands which had become extinct. It was then reintroduced successfully by a dairy near Melton Mowbray and featured in a Jamie Oliver programme. Matthew chairs the UK Protected Food Names Association which covers the 80+ products protected under EU law and worth some £6 billion – ¼ of all UK food and drink exports. Matthew lives in Melton Mowbray, home of Stilton Cheese, and organises the annual Artisan Cheese Fair.  This is the UK’s largest cheese fair with around 70 artisan cheesemakers and some 9,000 visitors attending. He also organises the Artisan Cheese Awards and was a judge at the World Cheese Awards. With family in Co Cork, Galway and Sligo Matthew is often over in Ireland hunting out artisan cheesemakers. In 2015 he was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours the award was presented to him by Prince Charles.


Dr. John McKenna

Food Writer

John grew up in Northern Ireland – the son of a publican, he went on to become a barrister and subsequently a well known and respected journalist. John McKenna and his wife Sally are massively important contributors to Ireland’s food culture. They live on the Sheep’s Head Peninsula in West Cork and travel far and wide promoting and supporting Irish artisan foods. John has written about Ireland’s artisan food culture for more than thirty years. In 2018 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of GMIT, Galway, along with his wife, Sally, for their work on Irish food.  His most recent book is “Ireland The Best 100 Places”


Monica Murphy

Cheese and Wine Expert

Monica has been in the Cheese and Wine business since the early 80’s, after years in the hotel, restaurant and delicatessen industry.

She was a pioneer in the early days of the Irish Farmhouse Cheese industry, setting up Ireland’s first specialised Cheese shop in the Westbury Mall, the Cheeseboard.

Apart from promoting Irish and international cheeses to the Irish market, she exported to the UK and even France. She imported cheese from and even sold Irish cheese to famous fromagers such as Pierre Androuet and Philippe Olivier in France and Neal’s Yard, Fortnum and Mason, Paxton and Whitfield, Patrick Rance and various wholesalers all over the UK, from Chester to Sussex. She also supplied Aer Lingus ( for over ten years) and other airlines with cheese in the days when it was offered on flights, and continued by choosing their wines for Business Class for another ten.

Monica has judged cheese at various Irish events at the RDS, at the Concours Agricole in Paris, at Nantwich and many other competitions. She is also a wine judge, having judged at the International Wine and Spirit Competition and the international Wine Challenge in the UK ,for many years , and judged tastings or written for various publications such as Food and Wine, Business and Finance and Meininger’s Wine Business International.

Monica won bursaries from both Bord Bainne and Aer Rianta for Business Innovation with The Cheeseboard.

In the early days of the Irish Farmhouse Cheese industry, Monica was very involved in Cais and also manned many a stand at food fairs such as IFE, SIAL and the RDS. She also lectured on matching Irish Cheese and also Smoked Salmon with wines at the Slow Food Salone Del Gusto in Turin and was a founding member and sponsor of Slow Food Ireland and has attended most Salone Del Gusto fairs in Turin and Cheese in Bra since their inception.

Monica holds the WSET Diploma in Wine and studied for several years for the MW – however work got in the way of completion!

Widely travelled, she has led hundreds of wine and food tours in Europe and beyond and visited countless cheese farms as well as wineries.

She is now mainly retired but still keeps her hand in the Cheese, Wine and Food industries.


Rory Mellis

Wholesale Director; Mellis Cheese LTD.

Rory officially started working in the family business from the age of 16, but you could say that he’s spent his whole life surrounded by food. “All our family holidays normally consisted of visiting cheesemakers which is where the passion comes from.” Rory’s Dad (Iain Mellis) spent many years making cheese in Orkney, Mainland Scotland and England before starting in the business in 1993.  

“I started managing one of our Edinburgh retail stores at 18 years of age and worked full time right through my Spanish degree until I spent one year in Madrid for my ERAMUS. After quickly realising I had grasped the language I moved back to Edinburgh early and fully began my career in the cheese industry at the age of 20. As part of my wholesale role I spend a great deal of time with chefs. Tasting cheese, recommending cheese for cooking, pairing cheese and wine. I have to work with quite a diverse range of flavours and foods each day and always think about balance which for me in very important.”  

As part of Rory’s role, he visits cheese makers as much as possible, runs the wholesale side of the business and helps with the management of the retail stores. “As a family run company we are often tasting batches of cheeses to ensure we are maturing them correctly and that our customers in both the retail and wholesale sector have the best possible product available.”  

Mellis Cheese now have 5 retail stores throughout Scotland, Operate in the Wholesale sector, Online and Export.


Dr. Kieran Jordan

Teagasc

Dr. Kieran Jordan is Research Officer at the Food Safety Department, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy. He has work with the farmhouse cheese industry for about 15 years, mainly in the areas of safety and quality. His research interests include aspects of occurrence, persistence and survival of the foodborne pathogens like Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7. His work involves combining molecular methods with traditional methods to maximize the understanding of the pathogens. He has coordinated and participated in EU-funded and nationally-funded projects . He is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Food Protection, the International Journal of Food Microbiology, Food Microbiology and the Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research, and in addition is a reviewer for several International journals.

Diarmuid Murphy

Simply Better Brand Manager, Dunnes Stores

Diarmuid Murphy is the Simply Better Brand Manager for Dunnes Stores. With over 25 years of retail experience he joined the company in July 2000 managing the food hall in their St. Stephen Green store.
Since then Diarmuid has a number of years buying experience across different food categories within Dunnes Stores and now leads their award winning Simply Better food collection since it was relaunched in 2013.
Simply Better is their premium award winning food brand presented as part of the Dunnes Stores private label brands. The Simply Better brand is a cross category food collection spanning all major food areas from protein, cheese, yogurts, confectionery, coffee, frozen and occasion specific products with an extensive Christmas collection. The collection promises to offer the customer proper food made in the right way – simple, recognisable, done exceptionally well consistently and great to enjoy any day of the week.

At present they have over 380 products as part of the collection with plans to extend this further to over 500 products over the next 12-18 months.
Since it was relaunched in 2013, the brand has received the most awards for any Irish food brand. In 2016, the Simply Better Irish Handmade All Butter Sticky Toffee Pudding won a coveted 3 star award at the Great Taste Awards which then went on to win the prestigious Golden Fork Award for Ireland that same year.

In 2018 Simply Better won the ‘Own Label Brand of the Year’ Award at the inaugural Food & Drink Business Awards and was heralded as the Christmas Brand of the Year at the Irish Quality Food Awards having won six out of the seven Christmas Q Awards.

The producer partnership is absolutely intrinsic to the Simply Better Collection and the provenance of all the products is highlighted through the individual product story on the back of the packaging. We are proud to tell the story of the supplier, and we are proud to show our partnership with
such quality Irish and International craftspeople.


The competition judging day has been kindly sponsored by Ornua

Bord Bia are kindly hosting the judging day in their Dublin HQ and supporting the competition

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