Yesterday was a busy day at the CESA Conference, held at the Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel.
Not only did the organisation present its annual awards, but it announced that it is re-branding to become the Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA).
The association put the decision to a vote at yesterday’s AGM, and the motion was passed.
CESA worked with GCA Management’s Graham Veal on the project, who detailed to delegates that an April 2018 membership survey had revealed that a majority of members didn’t feel the association’s name accurately represented their interests.
They preferred the term ‘foodservice’ to that of ‘catering’, as they feel that it reflects a broader service provided – not only in catering.
Veal explained that the new name represents the breadth of membership, including aftermarket services, beverage products and emerging technologies, as well as supporting the association’s international reach.
The association will officially re-launch as FEA during next year’s HRC show at London’s ExCeL on 3-5 March.
Later in the day the association crowned the winners of its annual awards at the conference’s gala dinner in front of 141 guests.
Chief among the victors was Andy Blake, winning the Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Catering Equipment Industry. The ex-Winterhalter commercial director retired earlier this year.
CESA chair John Whitehouse told the assembled crowd that Blake had dedicated his life to the foodservice industry for over 30 years. Blake first studied a diploma in catering and hospitality at High Peak College in Derbyshire in 1973.
In 1987 he joined Hobart, initially as an area sales representative in Lincolnshire, then subsequently Birmingham, Bristol and Bedford, moving from regional positions to national accounts sales manager. In 1995 he was promoted to airline catering manager and was responsible for securing the biggest warewash order for Hobart Worldwide for a project at Chek Lap Kok Airport in Hong Kong, worth £3.75m.
Then in 1998 he switched to Winterhalter as sales director, overseeing accounts such as Whitbread, Sainsbury’s and Mitchells & Butlers. During his 18 year tenure he had a hand in developing everything from the chemical division to machines. In 2011 he became commercial director of the firm, overseeing the delivery of Winterhalter systems across the entire estates of many famous brands such as Costa, Nando’s, Wagamama and Pizza Express.
Blake exclaimed that he was “absolutely shocked” to be presented with the trophy. “I’ve been so lucky to be in this business – I was only selling dishwashers!” he joked.
Earlier in the night, Marren Group was victorious in the Training & Development Award for its comprehensive approach to staff training. Its bespoke and targeted programmes reflect a continual learning and improvement culture. Plus the firm was recognised for its onsite support delivered through smart AR glasses for its engineers, who are able to directly connect with office-based managers for back up, seeing exactly what the field technician is viewing.
Highly commended in this category was Laurie-Anne Douglas, HR manager at Falcon Foodservice Equipment, for being instrumental in identifying and addressing the issues relating to mental health in the workplace. She has introduced the ACAS mental health e-learning course into new employee induction at the manufacturer and has herself completed the Scotland Mental Health First Aid Course.
For the Foodservice Equipment Apprentice of the Year Award, sponsored by founder of Gilberts Food Service Equipment, John Gilbert, Victor Manufacturing’s fabrication and welding apprentice Brooke Lawford scooped the gong.
As well as being the only female in her workplace’s shop floor, she has proved her value by contributing overtime on weekends. She is directly involved in making framework for large operators such as Wetherspoons and Costa Coffee, where she demonstrates a high understanding of engineering drawings and can identify what is needed to produce a product to its full potential.
With this victory, Lawford receives a bursary to cover the cost of participating in CESA’s CFSP course, an all-expenses-paid trip to either NRA or GulfHost, VIP access to the Professional Kitchen Show and a complimentary place at the CESA Conference.
The highly commended nominee in this category was Jordan Roberts, Trak Catering Solutions’ business administration apprentice. Joining the firm in March 2018, he has supported staff across all functions internally as well as engaging with customers externally, demonstrating an ability to be extremely flexible and adapt to perform any task he is given.
Prior to this, the FCSI Sustainable Equipment Award was presented to two companies. FCSI chair, Matthew Merritt-Harrison, revealed that the judges found it extremely difficult to separate the high quality entries in this accolade and so used a points system – which still resulted in a draw.
Therefore the association presented trophies to both Mechline for its HyGenikx HGX air and surface hygiene amplification system and Hobart for its Two Level Washer.
Plus two further companies received high commendations: European WaterCare for the IX water filter system and Fri-Jado for its custom chilled serve over counter.