Express & Star

Zara scoops ice cream’s rising star award

Zara Taylor says she could never have imagined scooping a prestigious industry award when she picked up a Saturday job selling ice creams as a teenager.

Zara and Eddie Johnston – Production Manager at Morellis Ices

But that is exactly what a delighted Zara has done almost three decades later by winning the Guido Morelli Rising Star 2024 accolade at this year's Ice Cream and Artisan Food Show.

Zara was thrilled to come out on top as the great and the good from the country's ice cream world came together in Harrogate, North Yorkshire to celebrate their 80th anniversary with their biggest-ever jamboree.

Makers and sellers of the family favourite treat gathered at the Yorkshire Event Centre to showcase the best of the best with an award ceremony capping the three-day expo, organised by the Ice Cream Alliance, the trade body for the UK’s £1.4 billion a year ice cream industry.

Karl Simcock and Zara Taylor of Tony's Ices

Zara, age 41, from Stafford, first set out in the industry when she joined Tony's Ices, a family-run enterprise established in 1992, and has risen to the role of director. Now her primary focus revolves around acquiring new business opportunities and effectively managing the company's financial aspects.

She said: "I am absolutely delighted to be recognised with this fantastic honour and in many ways it’s a dream come true. I started in ice cream as a 13-year-old doing a Saturday job and I’ve worked really hard over the years and now have four vans.

"Everyone wants to be recognised for doing something in life and doing well at something and this is my thing and I really couldn’t be happier.

"Just being nominated was great and a real achievement so when I won you can imagine I was absolutely thrilled. Frankly, I didn't expect to win so when I went to pick up my award I just didn't know what to say.

"It was a brilliant event and I'm just so happy to be recognised in this way and now I can't wait for the season to get underway."

The Ice Cream Alliance president Katy Alston, owner and founder of Pinks Vintage Ice Cream in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, was delighted with this year's event and paid special tribute to Zara.

She said: "To win the Guido Morrelli Rising Star 2024 award is a fantastic achievement and Zara is a worthy winner. This year’s expo was a big one for us as it’s our 80th anniversary and we couldn't be more delighted. We've had so many more visitors this year at the conference centre.

"It shows the ice cream industry is thriving in the UK and is very much the best in the world.

"It’s our biggest award ceremony ever and shows that ice cream is very much at the heart of Britain's heritage.

"For me the biggest reward is seeing so many happy children tucking into their favourite treat and we're committed to seeing it continue.”

The Guido Morelli Rising Star award is announced annually by the Ice Cream Alliance (ICA), the UK’s ice cream industry trade association. The Rising Star award was created in 2014 in memory of ICA’s Past President, Guido Morelli, a member of the family that runs the world-famous Irish ice cream company. It recognises young talent, or someone new to the industry, who is going to make their mark.

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