Judging Process

The judging process is anonymous and confidential.  To ensure anonymity in judging, no names of applicants or collaborating parties may appear on submitted images, drawings or written support materials.

Jurors and their practices are not permitted to enter the Eat Drink Design Awards in the year they are participating in the program. Jurors must declare any other perceived conflict of interest regarding an entry and step down from the panel for assessment of that entry.

The Jury reserves the right to re-classify the project to a more appropriate category, if deemed necessary.

Jury decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into.

2019 Jury

Besha Rodell is a James Beard Award-winning food writer and the restaurant critic for the New York Times' Australian bureau. Prior to that she was the restaurant critic for LA Weekly. She is Australian by birth, but has spent most of her life and career in the USA. In 2017 she returned to her hometown of Melbourne, where she lives with her husband, teenage son and a conure named Chobi.

Nathan Toleman is CEO and founder of The Mulberry Group, an innovative hospitality group known for creating some of the most award-winning cafes in the world's most competitive cafe market – Melbourne. Before opening his first cafe in 2003, Nathan had run hotels and managed restaurants, where he developed a vast body of knowledge and expertise in all facets of the hospitality industry. He also worked as an architectural design consultant for a shopfitting company and now his daily professional life sees his love of design and hospitality combined in a hands-on approach to the set-up of his venues.

Nathan recently sold his three award-winning venues (Top Paddock, Higher Ground and The Kettle Black) to focus on a recently opened project, Liminal at 161 Collins Street, Melbourne, and a soon-to-be-opened restaurant and basement bar at 164 Flinders Lane. His award-winning venues have been at the forefront of sustainable food, recycling and composting practices. He is also currently setting up a social enterprise, Common Ground Project in Geelong, that aims to connect chefs with farms, allowing them to be involved in growing their own produce, as well as focussing on mental health and wellness initiatives in the hospitality industry.

Nathan has a strong commitment to social and environmental causes, speaking regularly on both topics, and is an ambassador for Scarf. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his wife Sarah and their four children at his farm in Merricks.

Graham Charbonneau is an Adelaide-based architect and co-founder of Studio-Gram, designer of Osteria Oggi, Shobosho, St Hugos, Mr Goodbar, Abbots + Kinney.

Graham came to study in Australia after years spent working as a carpenter in Canada. He graduated from the University of South Australia with a Masters of Architecture in 2009, and subsequently co-founded Studio-Gram in 2014 alongside Dave Bickmore. Studio-Gram’s work is about creating memories, and those memories are often borrowed from a lifetime full of experiences. Graham has mastered toeing the line between the fun and the frantic, his work is able to adjust, and create the world desired by the project.

Phillip Schemnitz is a Melbourne architect and interior designer who has worked in the hospitality sector since graduating from RMIT University in the early '80s and working in Manhattan for several years. He is best known in Australia for the body of work that includes Revolver, Cookie, The Toff in Town and Magic Mountain. Cookie was inducted into the prestigious Eat Drink Design Awards Hall of Fame in 2018.

He is mainly interested in the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk, in which each discrete part of a design is shaped toward creating a unity of whole. He believes that it is essential that a design be informed by a deep understanding of history, deeply rooted in context and responsive to the demographic that it is to serve, if it is to remain relevant and successful. 

Cassie Hansen is the editor of Artichoke, Australia’s interiors and design magazine. She has a degree in creative industries, majoring in journalism. Cassie has written for a range of publications, including Houses, Landscape Architecture Australia, and Kitchens + Bathrooms. She has served as juror on many national and international design awards, including the Asia Pacific Interior Design Awards.