My colleagues Dan and Emma have already given a flavour of this year’s Cateys night. As they rightly point out in their posts, the room looked superb, the Grosvenor House did us proud with their food and service, and the energy and excitement in the room was nearly palpable. Three things in particular made the night a success for me:
- The event was a celebration of where the industry is going, but also of where it has come from, and the make-up of the audience reflected this fact. I sometimes feel that young, contemporary hospitality hotshots lose sight of the heritage of the UK hospitality scene, and I was determined to make sure we paid our dues to the industry’s heavyweights as well as its newest stars. Guests like Roy Ackerman, Willy Bauer, Raymond Blanc, Ramon Pajares, Terry Holmes, Anton Mossimann, Richard Shepherd and Brian Turner have all worked tirelessly through the life of the Cateys to create the hunger for good hospitality we all benefit from in 2008, and it was great to have them all with us on the night. Talking of paying dues, I was thrilled that Joe Hyam, one of my predecessors as editor of the Caterer and a central player in the creation of the Cateys, was present on Tuesday night.
- The emotion on display truly tugged on the heart strings. Springboard’s Anne Pierce was visibly moved when she received the Special Award. There was a look of real shellshock on Vineyard chef John Campbell’s face when he realised that he had won not one but two Cateys on the night – in the Education training and Chef categories. And the awarding of the Silver Catey to Michel and Albert Roux and the Lifetime Achievement Catey to Harry Murray brought the house down.
- I had a microphone that worked, unlike last year!