Meet the Judges

Meet our panel of specialist judges who will the taste the wonderful cheese you have shortlisted through your votes. Watch this space as we will announce more judges in the coming weeks.



Nominations Open (3rd May)



Brian Turner

Brian Turner CBE, chef restaurateur, is one of Britain's best known chefs, a familiar face on our TV screens over the years including 'Saturday Kitchen, 'My Life On A Plate' and 'Taste of Britain', where with Janet Street Porter he explores the best seasonal ingredients around the UK. Brian is known throughout the industry for his work with the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, of which he is President.


Chantelle Nicholson

Chantelle Nicholson is one of the UK’s leading female names in the hospitality industry. Her impressive achievements and ascent on the culinary career ladder set her apart as a remarkable talent and a source of inspiration to women across the UK. Chantelle’s contribution to hospitality alongside cookery books and film consultancy places her in the spotlight as one to watch, and one who is making waves in the industry.


Galton Blackiston

Galton Blackiston, a long time champion of local Norfolk produce, has enjoyed over twenty years in the Good Food Guide for the high quality, unpretentious food he serves up at Michelin-starred Morston Hall. Galton has held a Michelin star for 14 years and has also held titles of UK Craft Guild of Chefs ‘Chef of the year’, East Anglian Chef of the Year and Fellow of the Craft Guild of Chefs. Galton has appeared on 'Great British Menu' and is a popular regular face on 'Saturday Kitchen'.


Adam Woodyatt

Actor, Adam Woodyatt, is a very familiar face on our TV screens as one Britain's biggest soap stars. He's also an avid foodie. He co-authors the food blog - Peregrinations with a Pesky Pescatarian with his wife Beverley, carrying out reviews of restaurants and their food experiences around the country. No stranger to a cheese board, they certainly know their blues from the bloomy rinds and value the importance of artisan cheese across the UK.


Fiona Beckett

Fiona Beckett is a well-established food and drink journalist, blogger, cheese enthusiast and author of Fiona Beckett’s Cheese Course. She has a weekly wine column in the Guardian and publishes her own award-winning website She invariably has at least six kinds of cheese in her fridge.


Patrick McGuigan

Patrick McGuigan is a freelance food journalist and cheese writer. He writes for Harrods Magazine, The Telegraph and Restaurant magazine, and is a judge at various cheese awards. He's been lucky enough to meet, interview and make cheese with some of the UK's best cheesemakers. He also runs regular cheese tastings for the public and trade.


Felicity Spector

Felicity Spector is chief writer at Channel 4 news, but writes about food in her spare time for all sorts of publications from the Telegraph to Great British Chefs. She has been a judge-co-ordinator in the Great Taste Awards for the last eight years, as well as the World Cheese Awards. Her food travels have taken her all over the world, from the bakeries of San Francisco and LA, to the Comté cheese dairies and ageing cellars in the Jura mountains of France.


Andy Clarke

Andy has been involved in television cookery for 10 years. His credits include BBC1's ‘Saturday Kitchen Live’ and 'James Martin: Home Comforts'. Keen cook and wine enthusiast, Andy has also produced and directed live cooking demonstrations at BBC Good Food Show and trains chefs who aren’t used to cooking on TV by helping them make the transition from kitchen to camera. A judge for the World Cheese Awards, he is also a regular on BBC Radio Bristol and writes for his food and drink website and Crumbs Magazine.


Paul Thomas

Paul Thomas is a freelance dairy technologist with over a decade of experience as a cheesemaker and affineur. He works with farmhouse & artisan cheesemakers in the UK, and internationally, to develop new products and troubleshoot cheese recipes. He is the tutor on practical cheesemaking courses at The School of Artisan Food and River Cottage and is one of five writers preparing a dairy hygiene guide for the European Commission.


Chris Mercer

Chris joined Decanter as news editor in 2013 and became editor of in 2015. Chris has written for publications including The Guardian, Telegraph,, and many trade magazines, as well as being interviewed as an expert by BBC, NPR (US) and CNBC. Chris also holds an MSc in food policy.