Meet the judges of the Yorkshire Life Food & Drink Awards

PUBLISHED: 00:00 23 June 2017

Judges Claire Sawkins, Gary Smulders, Mitch Mitchell, Claire Gallagher

Judges Claire Sawkins, Gary Smulders, Mitch Mitchell, Claire Gallagher

Andy Bulm er

We search for the finest talent in Yorkshire’s food, drink and hospitality industries.

Sykes House FarmSykes House Farm

Our judges are more than half way through their task of discovering some of the finest talent in the food and hospitality industries to be found in Yorkshire. Discussions, tastings and visits are still going on as we get ready to draw up a shortlist for the Yorkshire Life Food & Drink Awards 2017.

Every year is difficult with so much talent and innovation developing and this year is no different. Judges – Claire Gallagher, Claire Sawkins, Gary Smulders and Mitch Mitchell - have experienced some of the best dining and hospitality yet but even so there continue to be gaps particularly in South and East Yorkshire.

‘We are conscious that the spread of our awards seems to be concentrated in North and West Yorkshire with fewer nods towards South and East Yorkshire than we would like,’ says Yorkshire Life editor and chair of judges Esther Leach. ‘But we see this changing as Hull celebrates its status as City of Culture 2017 and Sheffield, a vibrant city, working hard to promote its wonderful theatres, museums and its

Outdoor City campaign. It will take time but I have every confidence it won’t be too long before the scene changes.

Taylor FoodsTaylor Foods

‘We know the success of the finest food and drink products is widespread across the region and we are always glad to hear from those innovative entrepreneurs who take the risks to develop something different and special.

‘There is no denying Yorkshire is special when it comes to food, drink and hospitality with six Michelin star restaurants in the region, the highest number outside London and consistently held, rarely is one lost. Each of them at one time or another has won a Yorkshire Life Food & Drink Award. Our hotels frequently top national lists

of favourite places to stay.

‘We say we are ready to support and champion Yorkshire’s finest talent, we know our food and drink loving readers are too.’

For further information about Yorkshire Life Food & Drink Awards 2017 celebration lunch at Rudding Park on Monday, September 25th visit or email

Yorkshire Life Food & Drink Award 2017 categories

Restaurant of the Year

Chef of the Year

Hotel of the Year

Family Dining Award

Pub of the Year

Dining Pub of the Year

Newcomer of the Year

Coffee/Tea shop of Year

Customer Service Award

Producer/Product of the Year

Independent Retailer of the Year

Food and Drink Hero

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest from the Yorkshire Life