The Judges

Thought leaders from the worlds of design and food.

Our jury includes world-famous designers and design industry luminaries, as well as celebrated chefs. The judges will vote independently on the entries, using the criteria listed below to evaluate the value of each product concept. Once the finalists have been identified, the judges will discuss the merits of the product concepts that made the cut and select the Best of Show through a collaborative process.


A panel of brilliant and influential design and culinary stars.

Mauro Porcini

A leading figure in the design community and widely recognized for his focus on innovation, Mauro is PepsiCo’s first ever Chief Design Officer – where he is responsible for leading innovation by design across the company’s food and beverage portfolio. Prior to PepsiCo, Mauro served as Chief Design Officer at 3M. Mauro recently authored his first book “The Age of Excellence: Innovation and creativity to build a better world”

Karim Rashid

One of the most prolific and awarded designers of his generation. Born in Egypt and raised in Canada, Karim Rashid is now based in NY. His designs include luxury goods, furniture, lighting, surface design, packaging, and more. Time magazine has described him as the “most famous industrial designer in all the Americas”

Alessia Genova

Alessia Genova is the Managing Partner at Tihany Design where she brings a truly global perspective and uniquely innovative outlook. Alessia frequently collaborates with world renowned chefs, creating signature restaurant interiors for stars such as Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud and Richard Ekkebus. Other projects include The Oberoi New Delhi, Four Seasons Dubai DIFC, Amber at Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, Oro at the Belmond Cipriani in Venice, and many more. In 2019 Alessia was included in Boutique Design magazine’s Boutique 18 rising stars of hospitality design.

Kevin Bethune

Kevin Bethune is the Founder & Chief Creative Officer of dreams • design + life, a “think
tank” that delivers design & innovation services using a human-centered approach. Kevin’s background spans engineering, business and design in equal proportion over his 20+ year career, positioning him to help brands deliver meaningful innovations to enrich people’s lives. Kevin also serves as a Board Trustee for ArtCenter College of Design and the Board Chair for the Design Management Institute (DMI).

Fabio Novembre

The multifaceted Fabio Novembre designs objects and interiors, showrooms, hotels and restaurants for leading international companies around the world, from design to fashion passing through art and architecture. Since 1994, the year he established his studio, he has collaborated with important design brands like Driade and Kartell; designed showrooms and boutiques for fashion brands such as Blumarine and Stuart Weitzman, and built architectures for multi-corporates like AC Milan and Lamborghini.

Qing Yan

The winner of the Best of Show in the 2021 Parmigiano Reggiano® Design Challenge, Qing Yan is a product designer who aims to provide people with delightful and elegant experiences in their daily lives. She strives to build an emotional connection between products and users and delivers modest solutions with craftsmanship in order to refine the balance between function and aesthetics

Donald Strum

Donald Strum, IDSA, is the principal in charge of product, furniture and graphic design, at Michale Graves Design. His first project for the firm was the now ubiquitous Whistling Bird Teakettle for the Italian manufacturer, Alessi. In 1997, under the leadership of Strum, the firm began an extensive and highly successful relationship with Target stores that led to what many in the critical press have hailed as “the democratization of design.” Strum and his team have brought more than 2,000 consumer products to market in the past three decades.

Debbie Millman

Named “one of the most influential designers working today” by Graphic Design USA, Debbie Millman is an author, educator, brand strategist and the founder and host of the podcast Design Matters, the first and longest running podcast about design. The show has featured interviews with more than 500 design and culture luminaries, has been downloaded over 30 million times since its inception, and is the recipient of a coveted Cooper Hewitt National Design Award plus many other honors and accolades.

Chef Michele Casadei Massari

Besides being the US Brand Ambassador for Parmigiano Reggiano, Chef Michele is a true renaissance man who juggles being an entrepreneur, conceptual photographer, executive producer of books and music, public speaker, film advisor, and t-shirt designer just to name a few of his vocations. He is also the founder and executive chef of Lucciola in NYC, and the executive chef at Ferrari North America

Chef Michel Nischan

Michel Nischan is a four-time James Beard Award winning chef with over 35 years of leadership advocating for a healthier and more sustainable food system. He is the Founder of Wholesome Crave, a company selling responsibly sourced, plant-forward soups. A portion of the gross sales from Wholesome Crave benefits Wholesome Wave, the non-profit food equity organization that he founded in 2007 to address diet-related diseases by helping low-income Americans buy and eat healthy fruits and vegetables.

The Judging Process

How the entries will be judged.

The judges will use an online portal to evaluate the entries and vote for Gold, Silver, Bronze and Merit Award winners in each category for both the Professional as well as the Student level.

Each judge will cast their votes individually, without being able to see the votes of other judges. The winners will be calculated on the basis of the total number of votes.

The merits of the entry that will receive the Best of Show award will be discussed among the jurors. The Best of Show will be selected from all the Award Winners, including Professional and Student entries.

The Award Winners will be revealed at the Awards Gala on May 19, and the work will be featured on this website shortly after that, and will be promoted through Press Releases, Social Media and more.

Evaluation Criteria:


How did the entry interpret the inspiration provided by the dishes and the themes of Diversity, Zero Waste and Aging?


Is the design / concept of the entry unique, new and innovative?


Does the design/concept of the entry elevate the process of cooking or the eating experience?
Does it fulfill an unmet need? Or does it surprise, delight, or amuse in ways that make cooking and eating more enjoyable?