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Speaker Biogs


Professor David Hughes

Known as Dr Food around the world, David speaks to senior agribusiness and food industry managers about global food industry developments that are and will affect their businesses and industry. Energetic, engaging, humorous and insightful, David gains the very highest evaluations at seminars, conferences and Board level discussions in every continent he visits.
Subject: The debate about Tomorrow’s Marketplace, what will the psychology of the consumer be.
Looking at the difference in access points to produce, modes of delivery of information, sales communication, the need for large scale retail outlets – will be High Street be just discounters?
Who will supply the lowest earners, what will their access to fresh food be like? Are we creating disengagement with a proportion of society with aspirational campaigns?


Stefano Cuomo

Stefano is the 6th generation of his family to run Macknade and the second to lead the Food hall that was first established, as a tent on the family farm, by his father, in 1979.
Macknade now trades from its 10,000sqft site and includes wholesale to pubs, restaurants and caterers in East Kent, as well as a growing on line and food service business. Stefano is a committee member of the Guild of Fine Foods and has extensive experience in the independent, speciality food and drink sector.


John Farrand

It was probably the force-feeding of obscure foods (especially cheese) that compelled John to study Agriculture & Food Industry Management at Wye College, University of London. An oddly named course, but one that covered farming and production as well as sales and marketing.

After graduating, John joined Burnham International, a niche freight and distribution business, managing the distribution of financial and annual reports across the globe. Following an MBI in 2000, he remained as a non-equity director until 2002.

Since then, John has worked with the Guild of Fine Food and have been closely involved in the development of the Guild’s trade magazines Fine Food Digest, Great Taste Book and Good Cheese as well as the Fine Food Shows and the Guild’s two major food awards, Great Taste and World Cheese. He has developed cheese and charcuterie training programs for Fortnum & Mason and Harrods and launched the Guild’s School of Fine Food, established to help aspiring retailers across all disciplines.

John heads up the steering group that represents the Guild of Fine Food trade association and sits on the Independent Retail Confederation’s committee, alongside other trade bodies waving the flag for independent retail and the preservation of the high street.

John was staging cheese at the World Cheese Awards when he was just 13 and has therefore spent his whole life in fine food, always connected to the family business. That’s a great advantage in a sector that has a high percentage of family farms and enterprises producing food and drink. Understanding the fabric of the entire trade and having a pretty good contact list is useful to any fledging food producer or retailer.

He has a unique perspective on publishing, exhibitions, training and award schemes within the fine food trade.

Caroline Hudson

Carolyn spent almost two decades working in the media, enjoying a variety of roles both in the press and in radio.
She joined the England Marketing Team 11 years ago – The original plan was that she would stay for a couple of weeks just to help out with a specific project – but somehow still finds herself part of the team!
England Marketing is known for working extensively in the food and agriculture sector and Carolyn has developed a love of the industry with a flair for identifying what research can do to support business growth.

Tudor Price

Tudor is the Deputy Chief Executive at Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce.
Tudor has worked for the Chamber of Commerce since 2011 having joined them from a national role within the recruitment and logistics sectors. He is responsible for the development of non-subscription revenue, international trade and business support. He is also the primary bid writer for the Chamber and has secured several significant contracts that include the Kent & Medway Growth Hub.
Tudor was born in Wales, is married with two children and was once a professional actor.


 Steve Sampson

Steve Samson is Trade Development Manager within Kent County Council’s Economic Development team. The role aims to develop ways to encourage more Kent companies to consider exporting as a way of growing their business.

After graduating with a degree in modern languages, Steve spent a year working in the private sector in the travel industry in a commercial role which involved liaising with international suppliers. Since joining Kent County Council in 2002, he has held a number of different posts focusing primarily on European co-operation within the International Affairs team and in particular facilitating European projects across a range of sectors.

From 2009, his focus has shifted to international trade promotion and he is currently co-ordinating the Kent International Business (KIB) partnership and programme. He has worked on 4 EU funded projects which help Kent businesses to access overseas business opportunities including the Innovative Sector Exchange (ISE) project which connects Kent companies to opportunities in Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Steve also delivered a project as part of the government’s “Food is GREAT” campaign. With experience of organising trade missions and trade show stands for various sectors including food & drink, Steve has become familiar with international trade and works closely with a range of organisations in the UK and abroad to provide support to local businesses for exporting.

At the Food & Drink Conference, Steve will be running a workshop session looking at how Kent food & drink firms can prepare their business to access opportunities in overseas markets.

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Salim Somjee

Salim is a partner in the Cripps corporate team with expertise in M&A and private equity transactions, as well as crowdfunding and capital markets. Fluent in Spanish, Salim advises Spanish citizens and businesses in respect of their interests in the UK. A career highlight is leading the Chapel Down Group plc crowdfunding which was, at the time, the first crowdfunding carried out by a quoted company in the world.

Cripps has been a major contributor to the Brexit research undertaken by the Centre for European Studies at CCCU and Salim is a member of the SME working group. Salim has also appeared on KMTV to discuss the Government’s paper on the customs union and has spoken on the new legal landscape for foreign investment in the UK post-Brexit, at a seminar sponsored by the British Chamber of Commerce in Madrid.


Sarah Sturt

Kent Life is headed up by home-based editor Sarah Sturt, who took over the magazine in 2005. The multi-award-winning magazine was established in June 1962 and is the only paid-for glossy monthly magazine in Kent, covering the entire county.
Its coverage of the food sector, gardening and the arts has spawned successful awards that promote good work across the county, including the Kent Life Food and Drink Awards and the Kent Life Garden of the Year Awards.
The magazine introduced a Short Story Competition in 2015 and ran a Kent Landscape Painter of the Year Competition in 2016. In 2018 it is running the first Kent Collector of the Year Competition.
Sarah, who was born in Maidstone, grew up in Somerset and lives in Tonbridge, is mother to a grown-up daughter and lists gardening, cooking, theatre and keeping fit as her main hobbies. She completed her RHS Level 2 in Practical Horticulture at Hadlow last year.