Judges

Bernard Ricolleau

Bernard Ricolleau has been Maître d’hôtel and manager of the Paul Bocuse Institute gourmet restaurant “Seasons” since 2007. He teaches and trains the Paul Bocuse institute students in the art of tea and its service, by broadening their knowledge in food and tea pairings. His passion for tea took him to the School of Tea in Sri Lanka in 2012.

In 1992, he was the French Prime Minister’s Maitre d’hôtel in Matignon – Paris.

He carried on his work experience in prestigious starred establishments: the two-star restaurant of the hotel “Le Choiseul” **** in Amboise, the one-star restaurant “Les Terrasses de Lyon” in Villa Florentine Hotel *****, and the restaurant of the Radisson Hotel **** in Lyon.

Fabrice Sommier

Fabrice Sommier is the Head sommelier of Georges Blanc group. He has been nominated as the Best Sommelier in France by the Gault & Millau guide.

Fabrice has been travelling around the world to find the best vineyards. As technical director, he is responsible for the UDSF (union of French sommeliers) wine contests in France.

His passion for teas and especially Dilmah teas, has led him to enlighten the different characters of terroirs in tea as he has done it for wine terroirs. He hs also been named as the MOF Sommelier (Best Craftsman of France) in 2007 and Master of Port in 2010 while also being named as the International winner for the best Habanos and beverage pairing in Havana in 2013 & 2014.

Alan Palmer

Alan Palmer was born in England. His fifty-two years of work experience in the Hospitality Industry has taken him to five continents, 4 years in UK, 12 years in Switzerland, 5 years in Kenya, over 18 years in Singapore and for the last fourteen years he resides in Sri Lanka.

He is Honorary Lifetime Member of the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS), Founding Member and a Honorary Lifetime Member of the Singapore Chefs Association and a WACS Certified Global A Judge. He is also a Honorary Life Member Indian Federation of Culinary Associations (IFCA), Honorary Member South African Chefs Association (SACA) and a Honorary Member of All Japan Chefs Association (AJCA).

Recently he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Gourmet Summit Singapore 2014 and recognized with an Award for Outstanding Contribution to the FHA Culinary Challenge and Salon Culinaire in Singapore since 1984 and recently received a Life Achievement Award from WACS. He is the Project Director for the Hotel Asia Exhibition and International Culinary Challenge in the Maldives since 2002 and the Chairman Organising Committee at the Seoul Food & Hotel Culinary Challenge 2015.

He holds a Certified Cooks Apprenticeship London (UK) City, Guilds Certificates 150/151 1963-1966, Diploma in Hotel and Restaurant Management Switzerland 1974, Certified Technical Trainer Switzerland & Kenya 1975. He was a Chef in Hotels & Restaurants in Switzerland 1966-1975 Caterer Swiss Club Singapore 1994-1996 Kenya 1975-1980 Kenya Utalii College, Nairobi – Swiss Government funded project. He was part of the pre-opening team and development of programs with Tourist Consult Switzerland and was a Lecturer in Professional Cookery and F&B subjects in the Certificate & Diploma level Switzerland 1981-1982. He was Head of Department & Lecturer Professional Cookery, F&B subjects, Certificate & Diploma level Singapore 1983-1994 and at a Singapore Hotel Association Training & Education Centre (SHATEC) in cooperation with Lausanne Hotel School (EHL). He was also part of the pre-opening team and development of programs employed by Lausanne Hotel School EHL and the Swiss Hotel Association Head of Department while also serving as a Lecturer in Professional Cookery and F&B, Certificate and Diploma level.

 

Vindex Tengker (Indonesia)

Chef Vindex Tengker’s illustrious career that spans over 25 years has seen him work with many high end hospitality venues in and out of Indonesia. He is a distinguished member of the Academy of Gastronomy Indonesia, an advisor to the Association of Culinary Professionals Indonesia and a past president of the country’s Association of Culinary Professionals.  A WACS certified judge, Chef Tengker has presided as a judge at many global events including Food Hotel Asia. He also presided as the Jury President for Bocuse D’Or competition Asian Final and Global Finals. As the head Judge of SCTV’s Top Chef Indonesia Season 1 he is no stranger to the Indonesian public.

Eric Neo (Singapore)

Having started out as a chef at the age of 16, Chef Eric brings with him over twenty years of culinary and catering experience across varied cuisines. His expertise and culinary skills have earned him extensive recognition in the industry. He was appointed the Executive Chef at InterContinental Singapore in October 2011 and holds office as the Vice President of the Singapore Chefs’ Association. He also led the Singapore National Culinary Team to victory at the inaugural Dubai World Hospitality Championship defeating 11 national teams from Australia, Canada, Dubai, Germany, Hong Kong, Russia, Slovenia, Brazil, USA, Wales and South Africa. He has received many accolades and global commendations for his outstanding culinary prowess. He also appears regularly as a guest chef or judge on popular television food programmes such as “Sizzling Wok” and “Feast Fight”.

Hidde de Brabander (The Netherlands)

Owner patisserie label Dreams of Magnolia Hidde de Brabander began his career at the age of 17. He learned his trade at the premier Noordwijk patissier and chocolatier Huize van Wely – a rigorous school where discipline was obvious. For months he perfected his techniques and preparations include chocolates and macarons. After Noordwijk Hidde moved to Vught where he worked at Patisserie Bereavement. A past master in his trade and art Hidde worked as the top Pastry Chef in Michelin Star restaurants like Duin & Herb Berg , the Librije, Park Hill before leaving to start his own label. Currently he has established the exclusive and high quality patisserie ‘Dreams of Magnolia’ where exceptional , handmade nougat , macarons and a host of exquisite confectionery items are created.

 

Chef Jamnong Nirungsan (Thailand)

Chef Jamnong is the President of Thailand Chefs Association and a sought-after judge and adviser for many domestic and international culinary competitions. He is the Advisor and Head Judge for the popular Iron Chef Thailand TV Show and is also an appointed WorldChefs (WACS) Approved Judge B, Thailand Representative, and is the Chief Adviser for the Thailand Culinary Academy. With over 20 years of culinary experience, Chef Jamnong Nirungsan has honed impressive skills in both the commercial kitchen and global culinary competition arena. Having worked his way up from Commis Chef at Siam International Hotel Bangkok, to Executive Sous Chef at Swissotel Nai Lert Park Bangkok; this outstanding individual has represented Thailand in various global culinary competitions such as the 1988 Olympic of Cooks Frankfurt, Germany and the 1996 Olympic of Cooks, Berlin, Germany, where his team clinched gold medals for their country.

Christophe Megel (Singapore)

Chief Executive Officer At-Sunrice Global Chef Academy and President of Bocuse D’or Singapore, the French native’s 20 year culinary career has seen him working at top restaurants such as Le Cirque- New York, Monte-Carlo – Monaco and Ritz-Carlton- Japan as well as under culinary luminaries like Alain Ducasse. In 1997 he took up duties as the Executive Chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore.

In 2005, he joined At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy as its Chief Executive and under his leadership, the academy moved to a brand new state-of-the-art academy in 2011, housing the Integrated Continuing Education Centre for Culinary and F&B Service. In 2006 he won Best Asian Cuisine Book in the World at the Gourmand World Media Award for his culinary penman entree “Asian Tapas: Small Bites, Big Flavours”. Throughout his career, Christophe has always been actively contributing to the industry, especially in Asia and Europe. He has been conferred with many titles, honours and accolades, including being conferred the Chevalier (Knight) in Ordre national du Mérite by the President of the French Republic.

Tony Khoo (Singapore)

Currently, the Executive Chef of Marina Mandarin Singapore, Tony has over 35 years of experience in the culinary trade. A WACS approved judge, he has a string of illustrious accolades under his belt including being adjudged the Executive Chef of the Year at Asian Gastronomic Awards of Excellence last year. In 2011, he also published his own cookbook, To Be A Chef, which chronicles his journey as a competition chef. He has since raised up to S$200,000 for charity using his cookbook.
Tony Khoo is also the competitions coach for the Singapore National Culinary Team, which has garnered championships worldwide. Tony also sees it as his personal mission to help younger promising chefs attain the same merits. He generously shares his expertise and knowledge with young, up-coming culinary professionals acting as a mentor as well as an advisor at local and global culinary events.

Robert Schinkel (The Netherlands)

Robert Schinkel is a well-known bartender from Amsterdam. After studying political science, he found his true calling working in restaurants, bars and clubs throughout the Netherlands, specializing in cocktails and hospitality. After winning the prestigious International Remy Martin Bartender Style Masters in 2006, and Bartender of the year 2007 he started a consultancy agency for the bar industry called Dr. Inc, providing brands with business knowledge and skills about fine drinks, spirits and hospitality. In 2008 Robert teamed up with Johan Kersten to start Mixology brand building, a company planning marketing ideas and strategies for the beverage industry. In 2009 Robert Schinkel won the Dutch Dilmah Tea Sommelier competition and the Coffee in Good Spirits competition. Known for his passion for drinks and his all-round knowledge of beverages, he is today a speaker, trainer, motivator and an author for many in the bar and beverage industry.

Matias Palomo (Chile)

Matías was born in Mexico and moved to Chile in 1990 where he studied gastronomy at INACAP, the Technology University of Chile. Since then he has worked in many prestigious culinary establishments in locations such as Spain, New York, France, Italy and South America. Matías reviews menus at many upscale restaurants on the request of his colleagues who value his unique gastronomic taste and style. He is also regularly invited to participate at culinary festivals around the world and cook with world renowned chefs such as Juan Mari Arzak, Paul Bocuse, Alain Ducasse and José Ramón Andrés. Matías conducts classes and workshops for students and professionals at the INACAP and at the Sukalde Restaurante. He will be opening his Sukalde Gastronomical Center including Restaurant, School, Events and Catering Service in the near future.

Malcolm Goh (Malaysia)

Malaysian chef, Malcolm Goh’s infectious personality, outgoing nature and strong passion for food commands the kitchen. Whether he is cooking up a storm in France and Scotland, bringing his dinner guests the flavours of Asia or visiting local food stalls in the heart of Malaysia before returning to the kitchen to create newly inspired dishes, Chef Malcolm is a true foodie at heart. Taking the culinary scene by storm in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Chef Malcolm has won countless awards and competitions to date. In June 2004, he was a National finalist for Chaine Des Rotisseurs Best Commis of Malaysia and was the emerging champion out of eighty-six other young Chefs at Nestle’s 3rd Golden Chef Hat Awards. Other accolades include winning the silver medal for Apprentice Live Hot Cooking and Bronze Medal in Apprentice Set Menu (Cold Display) at Culinaire Malaysia 2005.In 2007, Chef Malcolm was also awarded Apprentice of the Year from Cunlinarie Malaysia and received the Up and Coming Chef Award from the Chef Association of Malaysia.

Starting his training in 2003 at the Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur, he worked for four months in various areas at the hotel such as the butchery, the coffee house and the fine dining restaurant, Villa Danielli. Working his way up, his passion for the profession and talent saw him taking doing stints at various hotels. Recognised for his culinary talent, he was also personally hand-picked by the Executive Chef to join the pre-opening team of PRIME restaurant at Kuala Lumpur’s latest international steak restaurant. Currently he holds the position of Culinary Executive/Supervising Chef, teaching practical and theory classes as well as working as a Competitions Trainer.

Chef KK Yau (Malaysia)

Chef Yau Kok Kheong is Executive Chef of Dorsett Regency Hotel Kuala Lumpur. He boasts an impressive career track record; from representing Malaysia in the 2007 International Culinary Cup in Bangkok, Thailand, and FHA Culinary Challenge, Singapore in 2008. He was elected President of the Chefs Association of Malaysia in 2001 and Vice Chairman of the Culinaire Malaysia 2003, Culinaire Malaysia 2005 and CulinaireMalayisa 2007 and Culinaire Malaysia 2009 – a prominent trade and Professional Chef Competition event organised by the Chefs Association of Malaysia and Malaysia Association of Hotel (MAH). To add on, Chef KK Yau is a prominent culinary and F&B figure, an industry advisor for Culinary Colleges in the country and Asean region. Chef KK Yau is also the National team manager of Malaysia who has won many prestigious events in the world. Today, Chef Yau remains a much sought-after judge for many domestic and international culinary competitions.

Peter Kuruvita (Australia)

Travelling Europe after completing his chef apprenticeship landed Peter his first role as a commis chef at the One Star Michelin restaurant – Rue St Jacques in London.

Now, after 3 decades as an award-winning chef and restaurateur, Peter’s career now encompasses the roles of TV presenter, author, industry speaker and restaurant consultant.

 

Well known for opening Sydney’s iconic Flying Fish Restaurant & Bar in 2004, Peter currently operates Flying Fish at Sheraton Fiji Resort, recently voted on Tripadvisor as one of the Top 10 Restaurants in the Pacific Region, and Flying Fish Tokariki located at Sheraton Resort & Spa, Tokariki Island, Fiji

His signature style of waterside locations and fresh quality seafood spiced with his cultural flavors can also be experienced in Australia at Noosa Beach House, his restaurant partnership with Sheraton Noosa Resort.

 

Peter’s childhood experiences cooking with his Grandmother in the traditional kitchen of his ancestral home in Colombo, Sri Lanka inspired his first cookbook “Serendip – My Sri Lankan Kitchen”

His next cookbook “My Feast with Peter Kuruvita” takes a culinary and cultural journey through the island communities of Asia and the South Pacific.

 

Peter has now presented 3 TV series; My Sri Lanka with Peter Kuruvita, Island Feast with Peter Kuruvita and Mexican Fiesta with Peter Kuruvita which air on many networks worldwide.

His shows combine beautiful scenery with sensational local cuisine and culture.

 

Peter also keeps busy with his ambassadorial work with Dilmah Tea, hosting food tours for World Expeditions and frequent guest chef appearances at leading hotels around the world.

Simon Gault (New Zealand)

Innovative and entrepreneurial chef Simon Gault started as an apprentice chef at Antoines in Parnell – just the first in a string of top restaurants in New Zealand and Europe where he gained invaluable and varied experience. More recently he has been involved in running several high profile New Zealand Restaurants and is currently starring as a judge on TV One’s Master Chef New Zealand. When Kevin Roberts the CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi Worldwide was asked what his favourite recipe was, he replied “Simon Gault’s telephone number”.

Uwe Micheel (Dubai)

Chef Uwe Micheel is the Director of Kitchens at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek. His culinary career began when he started helping his mother in the kitchen back home in Germany and thereafter attended cookery classes, at that time designed for young girls only. His professional career began with an apprenticeship as Restaurant Chef at the Celler Hof boutique hotel in Celle city near Hanover. Micheel also served two years in the army service as a chef in the officer restaurant.

He joined the InterContinental Hotels Group in 1981 in Germany, a year later he moved to the UK as the Chef de Partie Saucier in Hyde Park London. Since 1993 he has been working in Dubai. Micheel has a Guinness World Record for the most different desserts on display in the year 2009 as well as the Chef of the Year award at the Hotelier Middle East 2009. He headed the organising committee of the WACS (World Association of Chef’s Societies) congress in 2008 and has been the President of the Emirates Culinary Guild (ECG) since 1999. He has authored the publication Chef At Home which won several accolades at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

Dilhan C. Fernando

Dilhan C. Fernando is the younger son of Dilmah Founder, Merrill J. Fernando. The names of Dilhan and his brother Malik form the ‘Dilmah’ brand, the first producer owned tea brand. Dilhan is the Director of the Dilmah School of Tea, the first international school of tea, which has sessions in Colombo and, in partnership with the Institute Paul Bocuse, in Ecully, France. His desire to share the pleasure in tea with a new generation of tea drinkers saw the birth of the t-Series, designer gourmet teas and an entirely contemporary approach to a traditional beverage. He is described by Herve Fleury, Director of the Institute Paul Bocuse as, “A man who is passionate, totally supple in his expertise, simple and delicate in his approach and his words. In the very image of tea.” In addition to his responsibilities in tea, Dilhan also manages the humanitarian and environmental outcomes of Dilmah. These are the fulfillment of his family’s commitment to making business a matter of human service. The MJF Charitable Foundation and Dilmah Conservation utilise revenue from the global sales of Dilmah in implementing humanitarian and conservation projects in Sri Lanka.

Bernd Uber (Australia, WACS Judge)

Bernd’s culinary journey began when he walked into a commercial kitchen 50 years ago. During his career Bernd has worked passionately as a chef de Cuisine in many establishments. He has also owned two very successful restaurants and now teaches commercial cookery at various institutes in Melbourne.

Bernd is the recipient of many culinary awards, the most prestigious being the Sidney Taylor Memorial Black Hat Award, issued by the Australian Culinary Federation, Victoria. Only chefs who have made outstanding contributions to Australian culinary progress and development at the highest trade or professional level receive this honour. Over the past 25 years Bernd has been invited to judge many culinary competitions, including being the international judge for Gulfood, Dubai, Melbourne Culinary Challenge and the Dilmah Real High Tea and Tea Sommelier competitions in collaboration with the Chefs Guild of Sri Lanka and endorsed by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) at Culinary Art, 2003, 2005 & 2007.