In case you haven’t heard, this year Caterer and Hotelkeeper launches a new set of awards, the Hotel Cateys, to recognise and reward the unsung heroes of the hotel industry.
Do you have a housekeeping team that really delivers? Does your conference and banqueting team offer an outstanding level of service? Or is your hotel chef hitting ever higher standards of culinary excellence? If so, we want to hear about them. As with the Cateys, recipients of Hotel Cateys will be nominated, selected and recognised by their industry peers.
Our website, www.hotelcateys.com, will help you to understand more about the Hotel Cateys, and enable you to enter employees across our 15 categories.
The deadline for entries is June 1st, so there’s no time to waste.
Monday was a happy-sad day for hospitality and tourism. Londoners awoke to the bad news that the Cutty Sark, one of the capital’s top tourist draws, was ablaze.
But then, at noon, around one hundred lucky individuals met at 43 Upper Brook Street to celebrate the forthieth birthday of one of London’s most iconic restaurants, Le Gavroche.
As editor of the Caterer, people often ask me if my working life is an endless whirl of champagne and Michelin-starred cuisine. Sadly, the honest answer is “no”. But sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and admit that you’re a very lucky boy.
Lunch was a triumph, and on hand to enjoy it was a happy throng of guests that included critics Matthew Fort, Jay Rayner and Giles Coren and chefs and restaurateurs Richard Shepherd, Richard Corrigan, Rowley Leigh and Simon Hopkinson.
I haven’t met Bill Marriott, but I have a hunch that if I did, I’d rather like him. Bill is the chairman and CEO of Marriott International, and therefore a very busy man.
He is also 75 years old, and therefore unlikely to have his finger on the pulse of internet technologies. Yet Bill found the time and the inclination to launch his own blog, Marriott on the Move, in January of this year. Go Bill!
True, some of his postings are too syrupy for comfort – witness his Mother’s Day posting, Remembrances of Mom, which makes The Waltons seem like a gritty docu-drama – and one can’t help imagining there’s a team of script writers on hand to ensure he’ll never get RSI from hammering the keyboard on his PC. Still, you have to applaud his efforts to communicate with staff and customers around the globe through the medium of web.
Beside a headshot of a perma-tanned, immaculately coiffured Bill, his latest blog describes his company’s commitment to social corporate responsibility. As Bill puts it:
I feel it’s our company’s duty as a good corporate citizen. But we’ve also found that doing the right thing adds to the bottom line.
He’s right, of course. Encouraging employees to take part in activities aimed at protecting the environment and assisting the disadvantaged is a great means of building a positive brand image and a healthy team spirit. Check out Bill’s blog to learn more about Marriott’s community projects.
Better still, let us know what your business is doing to salve its moral conscience.
This week, London’s Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel hosted the 2007 Caterer and Hotelkeeper Chef Conference. Here are a few of the memories buzzing around my head, in no particular order.
* Jumeirah Executive Chef, Simon Young and his team deserved all the plaudits they received in the bar after dinner for pulling together a spectacular conference lunch and a magnificent dinner. As I was speaking to Simon, two other chefs approached him to tell him they had just enjoyed the greatest banqueting dinner of their lives. Praise indeed …
[By the way, Simon is hosting a dinner in July in support of the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation, set up by Executive Chef at the Mandarin Oriental, David Nicholls. The event is a sell-out, but you can find other ways of supportig the charity at http://www.nichollsfoundation.org.uk/.]
* Chris Galvin, our roving reporter in the kitchen, whose chef interviews were beamed to diners through the evening, can look forward to a thriving career in TV, if he ever decides to step away from the stove.
* Prue Leith, chair of the School Food Trust, made an interesting point when she said she had never known a child who didn’t enjoy cooking. She’ s right – I, for one, fondly remember helping my mum mixing dough for Welsh cakes when I was a nipper. So why don’t more kids go into catering careers later on in life?
* Charles Boyd of Chester Boyd was proudly sporting a Charlton House lapel pin – interesting!
* Agar is made of seaweed and sets at room temperature.
* English asparagus is spectacular this year.
* Santes des chefs rarely run smoothly …
* The guy that won the Villeroy & Boch canteen of cutlery was on a motorbike – I hope he managed to get home okay.
* I want to sample a gull’ s egg, having seen Phil Howard of two-Michelin-starred the Square add one to his wonderful plate of asparagus and wild salmon belly.
* I just remembered that I am provisionally on the guest list for Rob Kirby’s spring fishing trip to Scotland! Will I survive to tell the tale?
* Researching our speakers before the conference, I spent a happy hour reading through Rowley Leigh’s FT columns online – especially his interview with Fergus Henderson.
Do you have any recollections you would like to share? If so, why don’t you respond to this posting?
When thirty of hospitality’s highest achievers get together at a five-star hotel for a weekend of fun and networking, it can mean only one thing: the Caterer and Hotelkeeper Acorn awards have come around again.
This year, Surrey’s luxurious Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa provided a suitably spectacular backdrop to the 2007 Acorn Awards, which celebrated the career successes of thirty individuals under the age of thirty.
Make no mistake: our winners are all destined to graduate to even greater successes in the years to come. To learn more about these future captains of industry, check out Caterersearch’s Acorns coverage now.
Next Monday (May 14th) sees Caterer and Hotelkeeper’s Chef Conference at London’s Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel.
The event kicks off with a keynote speech from restaurateur and head of the School Food Trust, Prue Leith, after which there’ll be demos from the likes of Tom Aikens, Jason Atherton, Marcus Wareing and John Campbell of the Vineyard at Stockcross.
The evening’s gala dinner promises to continue the star studded theme, with courses from Simon Young of the Jumeirah Carlton Tower, Gleneagles’ Andrew Fairlie, Hywel Jones, executive head chef at Lucknam Park in Wiltshire, Nigel Haworth of Northcote Manor in Lancashire and Andrew Turner of Pennyhill Park in Surrey.
As well as the chance to sample dishes from these stellar chefs, there’ll be plenty of opportunity for networking with other delegates and catching up with old friends.
So click here now, and book your place. You know it makes sense …
O dear. Just when everything was going so well, I had to go and blot my copybook.
This weekend saw the climax of the 2007 Acorn Awards. For the twenty first time, Caterer and Hotelkeeper celebrated the achievements of thirty high achievers under the age of thirty from across hospitality, first with a day of networking, and then with a more formal awards lunch.
The Acorn weekend was played out against the stunning backdrop of Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa, whose GM, Julian Tomlin and his team left no stone unturned to ensure that our winners were wonderfully welcomed, magnificently lunched, dined and accommodated.
Given such generosity of spirit on the part of all at Pennyhill Park, one might have thought the least the Caterer editor could do would have been to settle his bill on leaving.
Sadly, in the blur of thank yous and goodbyes after the awards lunch, I managed to negotiate myself through the front door of the hotel, into my car and onto the M3 without troubling the front desk staff.
Apologies have, of course, since been made, and accounts settled. Still, guests, eh? Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.