Meet the judges of the Yorkshire Evening Post's Oliver Awards 2022 celebrating Leeds best restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes

The judging panel for the Yorkshire Evening Post's Oliver Awards 2022 has been unveiled.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 1:00 pm

Highlighting the best the city's food and drink scene has to offer, in what has been a turbulent year for hospitality businesses, the awards are the 13th hosted by the YEP.

Making the all important decisions is an expert panel of judges who will determine the winners and shortlisted businesses this year.

Chef consultant Stephanie Moon, wine writer Christin Austin and award-winning blogger Stanley Dru will join YEP business and lifestyle reporter Abbey Maclure in reviewing the entries, before the winners are announced during a ceremony at Queens Hotel on March 28.

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Clockwise from top left: Chef consultant Stephanie Moon, award-winning blogger Stanley Dru, wine writer Christin Austin and YEP business and lifestyle reporter Abbey Maclure

Businesses can enter across a range of categories at Entries close on February 16.

Here's everything you need to know about this year's judging panel:

Stephanie Moon

Chef consultant Stephanie Moon has travelled all over the world working in top kitchens, including her time as executive chef at Rudding Park Hotel.

Highlighting the best the city's food and drink scene has to offer, the award ceremony will take place at the Queens Hotel on March 28

She has worked at The Dorchester under world famous chef Anton Mosimann, where she cooked for the Royal State banquet attended by the Queen.

Stephanie has also worked in St Moritz, Munich, Sydney, Hayman Island and Chicago but is delighted to be living back home where she loves spending time with her family exploring Yorkshire in her converted Sprinter camper van.

As well as being a regular chef demonstrator at food festivals and shows including The Great Yorkshire Show, Stephanie runs a consultancy business, All Things Food, which is now in its twelfth year.

She works with businesses large and small to help realise their potential in all areas of food and supports young chefs coming into the industry.

Yorkshire Evening Post editor Laura Collins pictured at the Oliver Awards 2020

"I'm delighted to be back on the judging panel," Stephanie said.

"It's so important to celebrate what is happening in Leeds and its vibrant food and drink scene following a tough few years.

"We have some of the finest food and drink offerings in Leeds so let's celebrate them and their success. It's time to party!"

Christine Austin

Christine has written a weekly wine column in The Yorkshire Post for more than 20 years and writes for national publications such as The I newspaper, Good Housekeeping, Prima, Olive and other magazines.

Full of up-to-date wine knowledge, gathered from a lifetime of experience and travel, Christine can open up the world of wine – from an appreciation of simple grape flavours to the complexities of climate, soils and winemaking.

With books, TV and radio to her credit, as well as several awards for wine writing, Christine is also an international wine judge for wine competitions in London, Chile, China, Italy, Portugal and South Africa.

Usually, Christine is busy travelling at this time of year, but the pandemic has kept her at home for nearly two years. Despite her love of getting out to vineyards around the world, she is always delighted to be back in her native Yorkshire.

Christine said: "It is great to see the Oliver Awards are back to celebrate all that is best in hospitality.

"I am delighted to be involved this year and I will be keeping a keen eye on the drinks scene.

"Hospitality has had a really challenging time and congratulations to everyone who has battled through it all.

"Now it is time to step up to the new challenge of getting customers back through the doors and recreating the vibrant, excellent food and drink scene that Leeds is famous for.

"I am particularly looking for establishments who have put thought and care into their menus and lists to make an eating out experience enjoyable and different."

Stanley Dru

Award-winning blogger Stanley Dru has lived in Leeds for almost 11 years.

Boasting almost 60,000 followers on Instagram, Stanley is a content creator and has worked with the likes of Sky, Penhaligons, ARLA, ASOS and H&M.

He is also a writer for H&N magazine, covering fashion, food and travel.

“I eat out a lot," Stanley said.

"Whether it's for an article I’m writing or just out to enjoy a good meal. Leeds has a huge variety of amazing bars, restaurants and pubs which offer so many delicious choices.

"Since switching to a vegetarian diet more than two years ago it’s been amazing to see the plethora of delicious options Leeds has to offer.

"I’m so excited to be part of the panel to offer my thoughts and experiences along the way."

Abbey Maclure

Abbey Maclure is a reporter for the Yorkshire Evening Post with a focus on business and lifestyle.

She writes for the title's Big Leeds Weekend supplement which celebrates Leeds' food, drink and hospitality scene.

From interviewing the city's most accomplished chefs to trying out new street food start-ups and party hotspots, she is passionate about giving businesses across the sector a platform to shout about their achievements.

Abbey is part of the YEP’s Little Oliver and Barfly teams, which review restaurants, bars and pubs every week, and has developed an intricate knowledge of the restaurant scene from the city centre to the suburbs.

She said: “I’m thrilled to be on the judging panel for the Oliver Awards, which has taken on a new importance this year.

“I've had the honour of speaking to many Leeds chefs and business owners as part of my role as a business and lifestyle reporter and I've been blown away by their creativity and determination during an incredibly challenging time.

“From innovative use of outdoor space to adapt to Covid restrictions, to creating vibrant new menus to get customers back through the doors, restaurants, bars and pubs have gone above and beyond to rise above unimaginable pressure - as well as giving back to their community.

“I hope you will join us on March 28 for a fabulous celebration of Leeds’ food and drink sector.”

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