Judging Panel

Our cosmopolitan, multicultural, globetrotting, gender-balanced panel of restaurant experts includes 37 different nationalities. We've brought together star chefs and restaurateurs; influential figures in old and new media; book publishers, filmmakers, food system scientists, activists and campaigners.  


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Karen Leibowitz

Other United States

Karen Leibowitz is the Executive Director of The Perennial Farming Initiative and a co-founder of The Perennial, Mission Chinese Food ,and Commonwealth. She is the co-author of Atelier Crenn: Metamorphosis of Taste (2015) with Chef Dominique Crenn and Mission Street Food: Recipes and Ideas from an Improbable Restaurant with Anthony Myint. Her writing has been published by Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, The New York Times, Lucky Peach, and other publications.

Konstantin Filippou

Restaurateur Austria

Konstantin Alexander Filippou, born in Graz, Austria, is the son of a Greek father and an Austrian mother. Early driving forces for his future professional career were the multicultural marriage of his parents and the Mediterranean influence he has experienced since his childhood. He desires to reproduce all the tastes and palatable experiences he has discovered in Austria and the Mediterranean region. Since 2013 Konstantin Filippou has run his own Restaurant Konstantin Filippou in the heart of Vienna - awarded with 2 Michelin Stars.

Kyoko  Nakayama

Media Singapore

Kyoko Nakayama is an ex-news anchor turned food journalist. She spent nearly 20 years working in the TV industry in Japan, covering the news whilst also hosting a live cooking show. After moving to Singapore 5 years ago, she worked as radio DJ for Mediacorp. Now she has regular column at a radio station and in renowned magazines in Japan, such as Forbes Japan and Cuisine Kingdom in Japanese. She also writes features in English for culinary magazines in Singapore like Tatler Dining, Cuisine & Wine Asia, and Salt magazine.

Laura Lazzaroni

Media Italy

As New York Correspondent for D-La Repubblica delle Donne between 2003-2008, Laura oversaw the relaunch of the U.S. edition of La Cucina Italiana. In 2015 Laura was named "Journalist of the Year" by Identità Golose. In 2017 she co-founded "Bread", a boutique agency specializing in content creation, communication and strategy for food/wine/hôtellerie/design companies. Bread has gradually become the main focus of her personal and professional life and she now consults with bakeries and restaurants to help them set up a more efficient/specialized bread program. Laura has recently become Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine Italia.

Laura Centrella

Media Belgium

Laura is a food journalist based in Brussels, writing for LLB and Trends Tendances. She is an art and cocktail lover, a globetrotter, a tomatillo queen and schnaps girl.

Liliana Lopez

Media Colombia

Liliana Lopez is a colombian food and travel journalist based in Mexico City since July 2017. She is the former Editor in Chief of Cocina Semana, former International Editor of Avianca inflight magazine and former Editor in Chief of Food & Wine en español. Currently she is freelancing for Eater, Travesías, Reforma daily newspaper, Diners Magazine, Food & Wine en Español, Gourmet Magazine, Gastrónomo and organizing gastronomic tours.

Lorenza Fumelli

Media Italy

Lorenza Fumelli was born in Rome and raised among music, food, art and writing. Through her passion for writing and her obsession with eating out and drinking good wine, she launched a blog. The narration takes on life as an online personal diary, where she describes every restaurant, every journey and every gastronomic experience that matters. Today she travels all over the world looking for new flavors while directing her magazine, agrodolce.it, currently one of the top food magazines in Italy.

Luca Fantin

Chef Japan

Luca believes that success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.

Manoella Buffara

Chef Brazil

Manu Buffara hails from Paraná, Brazil, where she is chef-owner of Manu restaurant in Curitiba. It is here where she experiments with native Brazilian products for her home region, handling ingredients with strict care and attention. The result is an indisputable technique that reflects contemporary gastronomy and the bounty of the Curtiba area.

Marco Bolasco

Media Italy

Marco is the director of food and wine and Giunti Editore and a board member at Slow Food Editore.

Margot Janse 

Chef South Africa

Margot Janse is a Chef, Creator and Facilitator. She is Dutch by birth, South African by choice. A self-taught chef, she rose to become Executive Chef of The Tasting Room, Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek, South Africa for 21 years until April 2017. Currently Margot is judging convener for the Eat Out annual restaurant awards in South Africa, and feeds 1500 township school children nutritious meals every day through her charity ISABELO 'Feeding Hungry Minds'

Marie Elena Martinez

Media United States

A former literary publicist, Marie Elena Martinez became a leading travel and food writer contributing to publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and Condé Nast Traveler after a 50-country/6-continent trip around the world. Subsequently tapped as Founding Editor of The Latin Kitchen in 2012, she launched her first brand, Meets NYC, in 2014, producing mini-food festivals Baja Meets NYC and Puerto Rico Meets NYC. She is also the co-founder of New Worlder, a Latin American culinary travel website collaboration with Nicholas Gill.

Marie-Claude Lortie

Media Canada

Marie-Claudie is a restaurant critic, business columnist, feminist. She is currently a journalist at La Presse in Montreal, Canada, where she has been since 1988.

Andreja Lajh

Media United Kingdom

Andreja is an ex-art director in visual communications who fell in love with food at a very young age. After 18 years in advertising, she exchanged the world of visual communication for the wonderfully colourful and passionate world of food. Andreja is founder and editor of Haut de Gamme, a web-zine that features some of the greatest culinary talents, as well as in charge of international collaborations, events and communication for some very exciting restaurants around the world. She is also building up JRE UK & Ireland supporting young talents in the food world.

Argot Murelius

Media Sweden

Argot is a gastronomy and travel writer for all major Swedish outlets (daily newspapers, glossies and trade press). She profiles culinary innovators and chefs for White Paper, the magazine tied to White Guide (Scandinavia’s premier restaurant guide). She has also written numerous articles for the international press and frequently provides photographic content to accompany her words. She is a core member of the White Guide group, the executive editor of the groundbreaking restaurant guide/app 12forward, a translator and the project manager for the Global Gastronomy Awards.