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Meet our Judges: Nigel Barden, National food and drink broadcaster

Head Judge

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It’s great to be able to champion a county I know really well. There are fantastic food and drink producers, and a great culinary heritage in the county. I’m lucky enough to be head judge this year, it’s a real privilege. I know the awards have been going on nearly 20 years and its marvellous be able to champion artisan food and drink producers, alongside some of the great retailers. It’s tough out there for hospitality right now, it’s more important than ever to pull together.

I always like to taste blind; I don’t want to be too skewed by the packaging, good to see that of course, but afterwards. Really its all about taste. Its Kent, and you have some great traditional tastes and flavours which I love, and and we want to see the really good versions of those traditional flavours, but also what’s new, what’s the innovation, what’s the new flavour combinations. It’s a matter, for me, of tickling my palate and exciting my taste buds with great flavours. I can’t wait to judge these awards.