10 | Sep | 19

Richard Johnson

Don’t Judge Me

It takes a particular type of person to judge the British Street Food Awards supported by Hellmann’s. For a start, it helps to be hungry. With 32 plates of food to taste, judges require a certain dedication. Last year, Richard Corrigan, Gizzi Erskine and Pip Lacey (see above) didn’t even need a break. But the job also requires a critical distance – that ability to approach a burger as even-handedly as bibimbap. With Matt Tebbutt, Fay Ripley, Jon Marsden-Jones and Ben Ebbrell on board, we’ve got a great lineup.

Matt is a British chef and television food presenter best known for Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped and BBC 1’s Saturday Kitchen. And (even though he hangs out with the Michelin crowd) he’s a big fan of street food. “Whether it’s a deep fried pizza speciality of Lecce, a sweet ricotta filled cannoli in Palermo or a curious octopus batter ball in Kyoto, street food is a real snapshot of a region” he says.

When he comes to London to judge this weekend, at least Matt knows what he’s getting in to. He’s an old friend of the British Street Food Awards, having judged the Welsh Street Food Awards (with his lovely family) in 2015 – “I’m only just recovering, and I still carry the extra pounds!”. So he will be sure to skip breakfast.

He’ll be sitting alongside Jon Marsden-Jones, Michelin-starred chef from the Black Rat, and Fay Ripley, best known (and Bafta nominated) for her role in ITV’s award winning drama Cold Feet. She has starred in numerous other TV hits but her proudest achievements are her three award winning cookbooks Fay’s Family Food, What’s For Dinner and Fay Makes It Easy.

She’s also an old friend of the Awards. The oldest, to be honest. Of the ten years since we started, we think she’s judged five times. “The British Street Food Awards are the highlight of my year. The whole family come along to eat, drink, dance and celebrate the best and most exciting food in the country right now. What’s not to love?”

Ben Ebbrell is the new kid on the block. He’s the co-founder and chef for SORTEDfood, one of the world’s largest food and cooking communities, centred around a genuine 20+ year friendship with entertaining, inspiring and ‘accidentally educational’ content at its core. Basically, he’s a one, and met food journalist Richard Johnson, the founder of the BSFAs, back in the day.

“A number of years have passed since I first met Richard during an interview for the Sunday Times. In that period the street food craze has exploded in the UK and both Richard and the British Street Food Awards continue to lead the charge on uncovering and celebrating the best vendors out there. I can’t wait to see and taste some all-time classics.”

We’re also hoping that Ranie Sirah, current champion of the European Street Food Awards, will pull up a stool as well. These finalists are going to be well and truly JUDGED.