The Judges

The Outstanding New Zealand Food Producer Award judges are a distinguished panel of Kiwi experts from food, media, nutrition and design led by New Zealand’s Lauraine Jacobs.


Lauraine Jacobs – Head Judge

Internationally respected food writer, author and editor of nine cookbooks Lauraine Jacobs heads the judging panel. She is a Past President of the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) and Food Writers NZ and a regular speaker and contributor on New Zealand food and wine.

Sam Mannering

Enzo Bettio

Enzo Bettio comes to the judging panel with the belief that believes that New Zealand’s market edge is in niche products. He would know, he established Delmaine in 1980 growing it to be one of the country’s leading deli brands before selling it in 2002. These days he runs a deer farm, boutique winery and restaurant in Clevedon. Vin Alto, the restaurant showcases his venison products, wine made from traditional Italian grape varietals and his family’s warm Italian hospitality – not to mention his lemon liqueur!

Anna Tait-Jamieson NZ Life & Leisure Food Editor

Anna Tait-Jamieson

Food Editor of NZ Life & Leisure, Anna Tait-Jamieson brings hands-on experience to the judging panel as a former restaurant owner and co-founder of a fresh food manufacturing and distribution company. She has worked as an agricultural journalist for Radio New Zealand, made food and farming features for broadcast and profiled many of the country’s artisan producers for newspapers and lifestyle magazines.

Chef Sam Mannering

Sam Mannering

Sam Mannering loves good food and cooking with beautiful, fresh ingredients. He is a food columnist for Sunday Magazine and chef and co-owner of Homestead and Company in Auckland. His first cookbook, A Year’s Worth: Recipes from Dunsandel Store, focusses on the seasonality of food. His latest book, Food Worth Making, is an eclectic collection of recipes from home and abroad. Sam is a talented actor and a graduate of London’s Central School of Speech of Drama, with a Masters in Film Acting. In 2016 he appeared in the series Hillary on TV One. He’s passionate about New Zealand food and a member of Food Writers NZ.

Lucy Corry

Lucy Corry

Lucy Corry is a Wellington-based journalist, food writer and communications consultant. She loves to cook, eat, read and write about food and the people who make it and as such is ideally qualified to contribute to judging New Zealand’s most outstanding food producer. Lucy contributes to NZ Life & Leisure.

NZ Food Producer Awards judge

Tamara Rubanowski

Tamara was born in Europe and moved to New Zealand 30 years ago. She is a passionate Foodie, has a Science degree from Auckland University, is a member of the New Zealand Foodwriters. She is head of Content at FMCG Business and experienced industry awards judge, assessing everything from chocolate, to cheese and sausages.

Trudi Nelson one of the judging pane;

Trudi Nelson

Long time broadcaster Trudi Nelson is the voice of TV3 and More FM New Zealand. A passionate foodie, Trudi launched Fresh in 2004. In 2016 she founded Saturday Fresh on Radio Live. With husband, Mark Nelson, Trudi has launched The Fresh Factory, a studio and event space in Auckland’s Eden Terrace. Trudi is a Past President of Food Writers NZ.

NZ Food Producer Judge Mat McLean

Mat McLean

Mat McLean is Head Chef and Owner of Hamilton’s Palate Restaurant. He has won numerous awards including Best Regional Restaurant in the Cuisine Restaurant of the Year Awards (2011 and 2012). He is a great supporter of artisan producers in the Waikato and committed to cooking with fresh seasonal, local produce. Mat is regarded as one of this country’s best red meat chefs and is a lifetime Platinum Beef & Lamb New Zealand Ambassador.

Judge for the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards

Kathy Paterson

Kathy Pateron’s career spans Cordon Bleu teaching in London and New Zealand, running her own successful catering business and co-authoring cookbooks. Kathie is a food writer and food stylist for the New Zealand Herald Bite Magazine and the New Zealand Beef + Lamb Magazine. Kathy is Immediate Past President of Food Writers NZ.

Judge for the judging panel for the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards

Emily King

Emily King (nee Dowding-Smith) is the Founder of Spira, a social enterprise that is cultivating change in our food system. Emily is an environment lawyer and scientist (MSc/LLB) specialising in food systems. She works on projects with community groups, councils, and businesses across New Zealand that improve the sustainability of our national food system. She ran the Sustainable Business Network’s food project for three years and has worked and studied around the world on food systems, from the gardens of Havana, Cuba to global food systems and sustainability in Europe. She convened the 3rd and 4th Resilient Cities conferences in Bonn, Germany and in 2013 she created (along with the FAO, RUAF) the Resilient Urban Food Systems Forum. Emily grew up on a dairy farm in Taranaki, is a permaculture practitioner, and like most foodies enjoys growing, cooking, and eating good food. She brings a wealth of sustainability practice knowledge to our panel.