Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2016 - meet the judges

Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards 2016 judges

Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards 2016 judges - Credit: Archant

With thousands of votes in and counted, the Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards judges are now on the road visiting the three finalists in each of their categories and choosing who will be victorious at this year’s black tie gala dinner at Foxhills. Here we meet them and discover their local foodie favourites...

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2016


With thanks to:

Main event sponsor: Partridge Muir & Warren

For all of this year’s sponsors, please click here


Judge for Farm Shop of the Year

Diana Roberts, tourism marketing and development manager at Guildford Tourist Information Centre

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Favourite local foodie treat…

“I do love spicy food and I’m particularly fond of Spanish cuisine. My top three favourite dishes would be Chorizo de la Plancha from La Casita in Chapel Street; Dulce de Leche pancakes from CAU in Guildford; and a huge bag of fudge from Guildford Farmers’ Market. Where to eat and drink is without doubt the most frequently asked question in the Tourist Information Centre here in Guildford.”

Judge for Best Local Menu

Dr Anita Eves, head of the Department of Hospitality at the University of Surrey

Favourite local foodie treat…

“Not very refined, but a really good fish and chips, whether The Grantley Arms’ cod and triple-cooked chips in Wonersh or from my local chippy in Bookham. For an affordable treat, lunch at Steve Drake’s The Anchor pub in Ripley is perfect for a top-notch meal. And then, Norbury Blue – our local blue cheese – deliciously creamy and full of flavour. I like to see menus that include local produce.”

Judge for Newcomer of the Year

Donal MacIntyre, TV presenter

Favourite local foodie treat…

“I buy my organic meat from PJ Dales in East Molesey and my local honey from any of the farm shops in the heart of the Surrey Hills. It was a lot of fun attending the Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards last year, and I can’t wait to be involved in the actual judging process.”

Judge for Best Family Dining

Jo Oates, communications manager at Royal Automobile Club

Favourite local foodie treat…

“We are so lucky here in Surrey to be surrounded by such a fantastic selection of local pioneers taking our foodie experience to the next level. I’m quite partial to a traditional local pub with a twist: especially a cracking local menu. It’s been amazing to watch Chobham grow and see the likes of 2014-winner The Four Horseshoes go from strength to strength. For an outstanding cuppa and piece of cake, I have to say Ripley is your place with either Nest or two-time winner Pinnock’s. Most recently, the best afternoon tea experience has been The Dabbling Duck in Shere.”

Judge for Independent Retailer

Chris Howard, director of Visit Surrey and chairman of the Surrey Hills Society

Favourite local foodie treat…

“A glass of sparkling wine – from the Surrey Hills, of course! Not only are the awards great fun, it is an opportunity to celebrate and be proud of where you live. It is always great to meet newcomers to the industry, as well as catch up with our established Surrey businesses. See you there!”

Judge for Chef of the Year

Christopher Moore, chief executive of The Clink Charity

Favourite local foodie treat…

“I enjoy cycling out to The Stephan Langton pub, located in the woodland setting of Friday Street near Dorking, for a relaxed lunch with locally-sourced or home-grown ingredients. I also like walking and generally try to plan my routes finishing at good gastropubs. My current favourite is The Percy Arms in Chilworth, which is a South African-inspired restaurant. It’s another one located in the beautiful Surrey countryside and the food is great.”

Judge for Services to the Community

Carrie White, events manager for Surrey Hills Enterprises

Favourite local foodie treat…

“I am really lucky to live nearby to several excellent local pubs: The White Horse in Haslemere, The White Hart in Witley and The Dog and Pheasant in Brook are high on my list. I do like to treat myself to a visit to the Butchers Hall in Forest Green and any of their sumptuous home-made pies. We are, of course, increasingly blessed with fabulous local booze. I love to drop into Taurus Wines near Bramley for advice from the knowledgeable team there. My final mention would have to be for Dylan’s Ice Cream – my son is quite the aficionado!”

Judge for Food and Drink Producer

Kenneth Bare, vice-chairman of the Surrey Hills Society

Favourite local foodie treat…

“I love in-season, freshly-picked and simply- served vegetables. When available, they rapidly appear on my plate! I especially enjoy local asparagus, really fresh sweetcorn and tomatoes picked fresh from the plant. You get the idea! Eating out, I’m not a great meat fan but love dishes such as the glazed beetroot with soft cheese and pecans I was served recently. Show me a pub or restaurant with a good range of local produce and the ability to provide interesting non-meat meals and there is a good chance I will be a repeat visitor.”

Judge for Food and Drink Innovation

Philippa Ratcliffe, director of Root and Prosper events company

Favourite local foodie treat…

“Silent Pool Gin has to be one of my favourites; their gin is top-notch along with their cheeky but oh-so-nice strawberry or blackberry cordial – delicious… and a bit naughty! Being able to snaffle wild garlic that grows in abundance in the local park is a huge treat as well as concocting dishes from the fruit and veg from our allotment. Can’t get more local than that! We also love going to Tony Tobin’s The Dining Room in Reigate on a lunchtime for his superb set menus or popping in to Monty Bojangles, our local truffle bar, for a delicious coffee and selection of melt-in-the-mouth truffles.”

Judge for Restaurant of the Year

Jane Garrett, journalist, author and PR consultant

Favourite local foodie treat…

“A steak from the Hampton Estate’s Sussex herd or Manor Farm in Wotton’s Belted Galloway and fresh asparagus from Sondes Place Farm in Dorking. I love cooking, so I am really looking forward to judging the restaurant category this year. Eating out needs to be special – it’s not just about food, but atmosphere, service, style and comfort as well; the whole dining-out experience.”

Judge for Pub of the Year

Andrew Maxwell, managing director of Tante Marie Culinary Academy and Restaurant

Favourite local foodie treat…

“Cellar Magneval has been in Woking for a few years now, and has a loyal following. I still really feel that it is a gem of a place: totally unpretentious, a friendly warmth and just delicious wine… and then there’s that cheese trolley – they’ve just got it right. And how!”

Judge for Butcher of the Year

Simon Barnes, chief executive of Surrey County Agricultural Society

Favourite local foodie treat…

“We are very fortunate in Surrey to have a number of local producers and butchers selling superb local produce. You really can’t beat local sausages, mash and onion gravy! And, of course, you can always go upmarket and add a garnish of locally-grown watercress – another favourite of mine! But no meal is complete without a glass of wine or a chilled beer and I am enjoying sampling the increasingly delicious range from around our county!”

Judge for Best Local Food Event

James Cannon, BBC Surrey Breakfast Show co-host

Favourite local foodie treat…

“I love visiting places across Surrey and am very lucky working where I do, as we get to meet so many of Surrey’s foodie people when they visit our studios. My personal quest has included the search for Surrey’s best caramel slice and, more recently, this has switched to trying to discover our best cheese straw! Currently, the ones you can buy from Guildford Farmers’ Market have the edge. I enjoy eating almost anywhere, so being a judge is not a chore.”

Judge for Entertainment Venue of the Year

Jason Adams, general manager at Foxhills Club & Resort in Ottershaw

Favourite local foodie treat…

“For a rare night out with my wife, I enjoy the riverside location and exquisite cuisine at The Anchor at Pyrford Lock. The food epitomises what can be great about British pub food. Also, you can’t go wrong with a traditional Sunday lunch and The Cricketers Pub near Woking is always busy. The Farm Shop in Lyne is a great place for fresh produce: right on the doorstep of Foxhills, the fruit and vegetables are fabulous quality and Martin’s Butchers’ chicken is a favourite for a home-cooked meal.”

Judge for Tea/Coffee Shop of the Year

Professor Andrew John Lockwood, forte professor of hospitality management at the University of Surrey

Favourite local foodie treat…

“After a long week at work, I really enjoy giving myself the night off cooking on a Friday and finding a nice country pub to relax and wind down in. In summer, this involves a sheltered garden to appreciate the fresh air and birdsong. The one constant here is the accompanying pint of locally-brewed beer and, with so many new artisan breweries growing up in the area, I am glad to say this is never too difficult.”


This special award is announced on the night and chosen by the chairman of the judges, Surrey Life assistant editor Matthew Williams, following discussions at the judges’ meeting at Foxhills.

Favourite local foodie treat...

“I’m hard pushed here, as I get to visit so many great places with Surrey Life. A long time favourite is Stovell’s in Chobham. Elsewhere, Steve Drake, of course, needs no introduction. Another on the trendsetting side of things is Aneke Spacie, who is a brilliantly creative chef and now the proud owner of the Water’s Edge at Horsell Common (anyone who has been to one of her pop-ups will know why I was so excited to see her with her own place). Finally, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for people like Nick Sinclair at Emlyn Restaurant in Dorking, Daniel Britten at The White Horse in Hascombe, Matt Edmonds at The Grantley Arms in Wonersh and, my most recent experience, Matt Worswick who is sure to fly at Pennyhill Park’s The Latymer. Apologies to anyone I’ve missed, but this is turning into an Oscars speech.”


Need to know:

The fourth Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards takes place at Foxhills, Ottershaw, on Thursday September 8, presided over by BBC newsreader and Reigate resident Nicholas Owen. Before that, our independent judging panel will meet to discuss the public voting long-lists and come up with the three finalists to be independently judged in each category. The special Pride of Surrey award will also be chosen during the judges’ discussion. For all the previous winners and highly commended businesses from earlier Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards, visit

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