Meet the Caterer Middle East Awards 2015 judges

Ten judges on board the expert jury to pick the winners of the Caterer Middle East Awards 2015

Last year's Awards ceremony
Last year's Awards ceremony
Michael Kitts
Michael Kitts
Rebecca Sturt
Rebecca Sturt
Duncan Fraser-Smith
Duncan Fraser-Smith
Aidan Kean
Aidan Kean
Daniel Morgan
Daniel Morgan
Andy Campbell
Andy Campbell
Robert Willock
Robert Willock
Devina Divecha
Devina Divecha
Parinaaz Navdar
Parinaaz Navdar

The judges for the seventh annual Caterer Middle East Awards 2015 have been announced, with a distinguished panel of industry experts set to cast their vote.

How we pick the judges for the Awards is something that we are often asked. Caterer Middle East is committed to a fair and transparent process, and the expert panel is picked on the basis that they are members of the F&B industry with sector knowledge, who do not have a bias towards the entries, and are not directly related to them.

In addition, should there be a conflict of interest with any nominations, judges are asked to declare this immediately, with their vote not being counted for that particular category. Once all the judges have read the nomination entries, a final judging session takes place to determine the deserving winners from each category.

The editorial team has shortlisted the entries into the top six in each category, which have been sent to the judges. A judging meeting will be held this month, where the winners will be decided based on their merits.

The shortlist will be announced starting mid-May on www.hoteliermiddleeast.com.

ITP Business Hospitality Group senior editor Devina Divecha said: “I am really pleased about how the judging panel has shaped up. It is a mixture of veterans of the judging process, as well as newcomers, and it is really exciting to have a stellar cast on board.”

To meet the judging panel, click through to the next page...

Michael Kitts is a respected chef and is the award-winning director of culinary arts at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management in Dubai. Well known in this region, Kitts joined the school as executive chef in 2001. He is a fervent promoter of F&B training and education.After graduating from Thanet Technical College, Kitts began his career at Claridge’s Hotel, and has worked in some of the UK’s leading establishments, including Les Ambassadeurs Club, The Swallow Royal Hotel Bristol, Hotel InterContinental London, and The Ritz Casino.

Rebecca Sturt has worldwide experience in the beverage and hospitality industry that spans nearly 20 years across multiple territories including London, Beirut, Singapore, Australia, UAE, Africa and the Maldives. Her in-depth knowledge of the business comes from having worked in a variety of venues from high-end boutique cocktail bars to large volume international night clubs whilst participating in various competitions, to now running The MMI Bar Academy for the last nine years as international bar development and training consultant.

Duncan Fraser-Smith is managing director of The Cutting Edge Agency, which he launched in 2013. The company specialises in developing and creation of benchmark F&B concepts through conceptualisation and training, as well as sourcing and partnering with international brands and high profile chefs to successfully establish their presence in the Middle East. Prior to his current role, he was group director of design, food and beverage for Middle East, Africa and Asia at IHG.

Aidan Keane is the founder and creative director of Keane Brands, one of the world’s specialist design houses based in London, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. His professional experience spans across clients as diverse as Virgin, Emirates, InterContinental Hotels, Jack Daniels, Whitbread, Nandos, Costa and Pret. He is a former club owner, operator, DJ and promoter — which explains his outlook towards design, which has a much more inclusive framework.

Daniel Morgan is the F&B development & operations general manager at Roya. After graduating from Westminster College of Food in London, Morgan embarked on a career focused on opening and managing high quality standalone restaurants and bars. With over 15 years’ senior management experience, he has operated venues for Conran Restaurants, Oliver Peyton and Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck Group. He relocated to the UAE in 2006 and has worked on various F&B projects for a number of developers.

Andy Campbell began his passion for food from an early age, after training at Westminster College; he opened his first restaurant at 23. He was head chef at many of London’s fine dining restaurants including Marco Pierre White’s Café Royal, Anthony Worrell Thompson’s Ménage a Trois and Soho’s French House, and was chef du patron at 23 Romilly Street. Now in the Middle East, he is consulting for Arabian Health Care Group, pioneering new goodies for hospital food, health care and diabetic clinics.

ITP Business editorial director Robert Willock leads the teams of journalists that produce some of the Middle East’s foremost trade publications, websites and events, including Hotelier Middle East and Caterer Middle East, Construction Week, Oil & Gas Middle East and Arabian Travel News. An award-winning editor and publisher with more than 20 years’ experience, he has managed business magazines, online and face-to-face media in many sectors, including transport, construction, sports, HR and retail. After latterly working at William Reed Business Media — which publishes market-leading UK hospitality titles The Publican’s Morning Advertiser, Restaurant Magazine and M&C Report — he recently moved to Dubai to gain international experience. In 2013, Willock was awarded an MBA with distinction from the University of Leicester.

Devina Divecha is the senior editor of ITP Business’ Hospitality Group. This group includes: Caterer Middle East, a trade publication for the F&B industry in the Middle East; Hotelier Middle East, a B2B magazine for the Middle East hotelier industry; and, Arabian Travel News, the essential guide for the region’s travel agents and tour operators. She has written for a number of other magazines under ITP Publishing since April 2011, covering sectors such as interior design, architecture and facilities management. She holds a BSc in Business from the London School of Economics and an MA in Magazine Journalism from the University of Sheffield. She has lived in the UAE since 1989, and retains a significant online following and is also routinely ranked among the top 100 non-resident Indians on social media.

Parinaaz Navdar is the features editor of Hotelier Middle East, having joined in April 2013 as a staff writer. Prior to joining ITP, Navdar headed up the PR team at Indian Expressions, an event management and publishing company, where she was tasked with planning and executing the PR strategy for a number of high profile business events. Navdar is also a project manager with Volunteer in UAE.

For all the latest hospitality news from UAE, Gulf countries and around the world, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page.

Most Popular

Newsletter