Alliance Disposables made it an incredible three consecutive victories in the CESA Light Equipment and Tableware Distributor Cup during the association’s awards dinner last night.
Part of the Light Equipment and Tableware Forum being held at Whittlebury Hall, Northamptonshire, the ceremony began with the hat-trick announcement. The Distributor Cup recognised the dealer which has done the most to support the promotion and sales of light equipment and tableware in 2018, as voted for by members of the CESA Light Equipment and Tableware Group.
Alliance triumphed over fellow shortlisted dealers, Lockhart Catering Equipment and Parsley in Time. General manager Steve Abbott collected the trophy, commenting: “Thanks so much to the members for voting for us, we really appreciate it.
“This is one of the best events in the industry and our thanks go to the CESA team for organising it so well.”
The next accolade was for Sales Professional of the Year. This category rewards the distributor salesperson who has contributed most to the sales of utensils and smallwares over the last year.
Brakes Catering Equipment’s national account manager non food, Antony Chaplain, beat Alliance’s local account manager Ben Clarke into runner up spot. As well as the trophy, Chaplain won a £500 cash prize and a free place on CESA’s CFSP training course. He commented: “Thanks very much; I’m shocked and surprised to win but I’m going to enjoy it.”
Chaplain’s colleagues praised him, detailing that he re-joined Brakes 2 years ago with little knowledge of the light equipment sector. But since then, he has immersed himself in that world, providing good value to the dealer’s customers offering regular market insight through customer innovation days, a responsive approach to customers and instituting new processes that enable alternative routes to market.
The ceremony concluded with the Donald Bird Award, for an individual who has shown dedication and passion to the industry and has ‘gone the extra mile’. Former Gilberts of Greenford MD, John Gilbert, scooped the honour, which was a huge surprise to the nonagenarian, who believed he was presenting the award, not accepting it.
Gilbert spent decades serving the catering equipment industry, joining his father’s small business in 1961. Even then, Gilberts of Greenford was growing, following contract wins to represent several German catering equipment companies including Gustav Emil Ern chefs’ knives and Westmark kitchen tools.
Within a few years Gilbert’s wife Pam had also joined the business, providing him with support and inspiration throughout.
Aside from the family business, Gilbert was instrumental in the formation of the Catering Equipment Importers Association in the early 1990s, which later merged with the Catering Equipment Manufacturers Association to form CESA – a move in which Gilbert also played a key role.
Within CESA the Catering Utensils Association was formed to represent light equipment members (now known as the Light Equipment and Tableware Group), Gilbert participated in many of the group’s early forum events and continued to champion the trade.
Although he officially retired in 1998, he continues to support the industry, sponsoring CESA’s Apprentice Award, presented at the association’s annual conference.
The CESA Light Equipment and Tableware Forum involves 19 groups of distributors meeting the same number of suppliers in focused 20-minute slots in a round-robin format. The 2019 event concludes today.