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Judges 2022

James O'Brien

James O’Brien
James O’Brien is an award-winning writer and broadcaster whose journalism has appeared everywhere from the TLS to the Daily Mirror. Best known for his daily current affairs programme on the radio station LBC, with over 1.3 million weekly listeners, he has also presented and appeared on a variety of TV shows including ‘Newsnight’ and ‘Have I Got News For You?’ His first book, How To Be Right, was a Sunday Times bestseller and won the Parliamentary Book Award for Best Political Book by a non-politician after selling over 200,000 copies across all formats. He is often found on Twitter where he has over 780,000 followers.

Katy Balls

Katy Balls
Katy Balls is the Spectator‘s deputy political editor. She is a regular columnist for the i newspaper. She was shortlisted for Political Commentator of the Year at the 2017 Press Awards. She is a host of the Spectator‘s daily politics podcast Coffee House Shots and also presents her own Spectator podcast Women With Balls – with interviews of women leading the way in their field from Liz Truss and Dame Helena Morrissey to Dame Joan Collins and Emma Barnett. Katy is a regular on broadcast and television and has appeared on a range of current affairs programmes including Newsnight, the Andrew Marr Show and Have I Got News For You.

Steve Turner

Steve Turner
Steve Turner is Assistant General Secretary at Unite the Union where he has responsibility for 400,000 members in manufacturing industries alongside the unions community and retired members strategies.

Samson Sohail

Samson Sohail
Samson Sohail has been working with Cobra Beer for the last 25 years. He has been instrumental in the success of Cobra’s reputation as the best beer to complement food and as one the most loved beer brands in the country.

Greg Jackson

Greg Jackson
Greg is the founder and CEO of Octopus Energy Group, the green energy tech pioneer based in the UK with over 3.1 million customers, further operations in 12 countries and over 20 million accounts licensed worldwide to its green technology platform, Kraken.

Adil Ray

Adil Ray
Today, Adil Ray OBE is best known as the star and creator of the hit BBC1 sitcom Citizen Khan. After five series, the show has become one of Britain’s much-loved sitcoms and is now broadcast worldwide.

Abena Oppong-Asare MP
Abena Oppong-Asare is the MP for Erith and Thamesmead, Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and Chair of the Labour Women’s Network. Previously, she served as Opposition Deputy Leader and Education Spokesperson on Bexley Council and worked for the Greater London Assembly.

Sophia Idjer

Sophia Idjer
Working in the tech sector for restaurants and takeaways and hospitality for over 12 years means that our judge Sophia is exposed to the many different types of Kebab establishments in the UK and some locations in Europe, in her role at Kbox Global who are pioneers in their space she focuses on quality and innovation in not only the brands and dishes but also operational excellence through their tech stack for host kitchens, which results in high incremental revenue for their host kitchen partners, and is very passionate about our sector. As such Sophia is delighted to join our judging panel this year and has publicly voiced this is her favourite award ceremony!

Shany Gupta

Shany Gupta
Shany Gupta is founding director and C.E.O of Duncan Lewis Solicitors, whose ethos of “giving people a voice”  has seen it grow from one office in Hackney to a nation-wide operation.

Harris 2

Carolyn Harris MP
Carolyn Harris is the Labour Party Member of Parliament for Swansea East, first elected in May 2015. She is also the Deputy Leader of Welsh Labour.

Alison Thewliss, MP

Alison Thewliss, MP
Alison Thewliss has been the SNP Member of Parliament for Glasgow Central since the May 2015 general election. Before being elected to Westminster, Thewliss was a Glasgow City Councillor for the Calton ward, first elected in 2007.

Nadhim Zahawi MP

Nadhim Zahawi MP
Nadhim Zahawi is a Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Stratford-on-Avon since 2010.

Angus MacNeil MP
Angus MacNeil is the Scottish National Party Member of Parliament for Na h-Eileanan an Iar and has held the position since 2005. He is also the current chair of the International Trade Select Committee.

Mustafa Topkaya

Mustafa Topkaya
Mustafa Topkaya has more than 40 years experience in the hospitality and catering sector, and is a pioneer of the kebab restaurant business having opened his first shop in 1984. He now runs several successful restaurants and has continued to lead the industry through the introduction of several modern innovations.

Altan Kemal

Altan Kemal
Altan Kemal is a Chartered Accountant. He came to the UK in 1973, graduating in Business Management before qualifying and working in accountancy. He subsequently founded his own firm of accountants in 1983, namely Alton & Co.

Lucy Horobin
Lucy Horobin is host of host of the Heart Dance drive time show and former presenter of the British Kebab Awards.

Mike Theodorou
Mike Theodorou is one of the directors of Big k Charcoal Ltd.  He has over 23 years experience supplying quality restaurant grade charcoal to the kebab industry nationwide.  Big K Products is a family run business first started by Mike’s grandfather Theodoros Kleanthous in 1964, so Big K  know a good kebab when they see one!

David Warburton MP
David Warburton is the Conservative Party Member of Parliament for Somerton and Frome and has held this position since the 2015 General Election. Prior to entering politics, he was keen businessman notably, the founder, chief executive and chairman of Pitch Entertainment Group and taught and composed music

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP is the Labour MP for Tooting and is the Shadow Minister for Mental Health. Rosena has previously served on Labour’s frontbench as Shadow Minister for Sport and finished runner-up in Labour’s Deputy Leadership election 2020. Before entering politics, Rosena worked around the world as a humanitarian aid doctor and as an A&E doctor at St George’s Hospital, Tooting, where she continues to work shifts.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP
Llyod Russell-Moyle is the Labour Party Member for Parliament for Brighton Kemptown and is Shadow Foreign Office Minister for the Americas, Overseas Territories and East Asia.

Darren Bown
Darren Bown is sales Director for Makro/Booker and a former judge of British Takeaway Awards.  Darren has been in food wholesale for 30 years in a variety of roles and enjoys spending time with customers understanding their business.

Nigel Streeter
Nigel Streeter is Managing Director of Ace4Kebabs, leaders in the kebab Industry, with a real passion for meat. Ace4Kebabs has been manufacturing doner kebabs for the past 25 years, and both import and export all lamb products

Matt Browne
Matt Browne is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington DC, where he leads the organisation’s work on populism, the transformation of progressive politics and the renewal of democracy. Matt is the founder of Global Progress, an international network of progressive leaders, policy analysts, strategists, think tanks and foundations. He co-chairs the Berggruen Institute’s project on the “Renewal of Democracy in the Digital Age”, and sits on the board of a number of progressive foundations including; Policy Network (UK), Canada 2020, VoltaItalia, Terra Nova (France), and the Duesto School of International Relations (Madrid). Formerly, Matt served as executive director of Policy Network, and as an advisor to former European Commission President Jacques Delors. He continues to advise a host of progressive leaders, parties and movements around the globe. His recent publications include: “Insurgents – Inside a New Generation of Progressive Leadership” and “In the Pandemic’s Wake: Rethinking the Future of Progressive Politics”.

Resul Atalay

Resul Atalay
Resul Atalay is the owner of award-winning Atalay’s Kebab Van in Thame. He has been in the trade since 1988 and always endeavours to give back to the local community by providing honest food and excellent customer service. He is also a commentator on trade-related issues on many regional and national media outlets.

Metin Pekin
Metin Pekin is the founding director of Paragon Quality Foods. His hard work and passion for producing the highest-quality products have led Paragon to become the leading burger and kebab manufacturer, supplying Cash & Carries, Foodservice Wholesalers and Pub Groups across the UK and Europe.

Sharon Hodgson
Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, has been an MP since 2005 and is the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Keir Starmer MP. Previously, Sharon has served as Shadow Children’s Minister, Shadow Public Health Minister, Shadow Veterans’ Minister and was a Government Whip under Gordon Brown. Prior to becoming an MP, Sharon worked as a book-keeper, a Labour Party organiser and a Political Officer for UNISON.

Nick Falla

Nick Falla
Nick began his career managing pubs and restaurants before taking a side step into hospitality technology. He now heads up Quandoo for Restaurants in the UK, a restaurant booking software provider and marketplace designed to match diners with restaurants.