Here Comes The Judge…Judge A
With the voting now concluded, it’s time for the final verdict. Those venues that have received the most votes will be visited, anonymously of course, by our independent judges to make that final assessment. Taken from a range of businesses but more importantly, from the world of food, drink and hospitality, these assessors will be casting a critical eye over our nominees in the forthcoming weeks.
So what makes a good judge?
Judge A – Credits include 20 years with Ronay, 7 as a Chief Inspector; Restaurant Editor of the Simplyfood, later Taste Network, website; 6 years with Loyd Grossman on the NHS Better Hospital Food Panel and magazine credits include; Olive Magazine, Which? Good Food Guide and Which? Good Pub Guide.
Judge A answered a few of our questions:
Q: When judging, what are the key factors you look for?
Key factors when judging include the menu choice, the presentation of the food, the quality of the ingredients and, most importantly, the ability of the kitchen to cook and deliver what they aspire to achieve.
Q: Is it possible for a venue to impress you after all these years?
What impresses me most is that what I see before me on the plate lives up to my expectations, both from what I anticipated having seen within the establishment and having read the menu as well as the taste, flavour and execution of the cooking.
Q: What do you consider most establishments get wrong?
What deflates me most is over ambitious cooking, where the kitchen team is trying too hard to impress with the likes of too many ingredients and, even worse, ill-judged combinations.
Occasionally staff attitude can be problematic, but this is thankfully quite rare, though it has happened.
Q: If you could offer new venues any advice, what would it be?
Advice for new venues. Be true to yourself and not over stretch the kitchen by trying too hard. Keep it simple – I’ve awarded stars to really very simple cafés, but the quality of the food and the effort put into preparation shines through.
Q: What do you enjoy about reviewing venues?
It’s vitally necessary to have an open mind. It’s the anticipation of what’s to come, possibly awaiting the unexpected. It could be likened to sifting through a sea of sand to discover the occasional diamond. When you discover one the sense of elation is mind-blowing.