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BREAKING NEWS: TAG takes top title at CEDA Grand Prix Awards

TAG Catering Equipment scooped both the Project Over £300,000 and the overall Sir Donald Thompson Cup at Friday night’s CEDA Grand Prix Awards.

Concluding the CEDA Conference 2019 at Heythrop Park Resort in Oxfordshire, the event saw TAG triumph for its work on a five star central London hotel, for which it overhauled the kitchen design to make it more efficient and install cutting edge equipment.

The other shortlisted projects in the over £300,000 category comprised C&C Catering Equipment’s Gravetye Manor scheme in Sussex, Catering Design Group’s five spaces for the University of Sunderland, and Vision Commercial Kitchens’ Greek Street Hotel design for the Soho House chain.

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In the Projects Between £100,000 and £300,000 Award, CHR Food Service Equipment’s Mana restaurant for chef Simon Martin in Manchester claimed top spot for its open kitchen design. Runners up were CNG Foodservice Equipment for The Trading Room in Halifax and Vision Commercial Kitchens for Bristol Cathedral School.

While the Projects Under £100,000 category was won by CNG Foodservice Equipment for Lucio’s brasserie, where the distributor transformed an existing cellar into a purpose-built kitchen. TAG Catering Equipment’s Wild Food Café project in Islington was also nominated in this category.

In the Outstanding Customer Service category, Whitco ran out the victor for its Oxfordshire County Council projects, which it picked up and swiftly completed following the collapse of Carillion. Runners-up for this award were Gratte Brothers’ Simmons Bakers Cafes in Hertfordshire, Tailor Made Catering Equipment Services’ Loungers projects nationwide, and Vision Commercial Kitchens’ set of kitchens for Hickory’s across the country.

However, Vision did celebrate a win in the Project Management Excellence category for its work in five areas of luxury hotel Silversands on the Caribbean island of Grenada. The dealer claimed victory ahead of fellow nominees C&C Catering Equipment for L’oscar in central London, GS Group’s Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn in London and TAG Catering Equipment’s Beck at Brown’s in Mayfair.

All project awards were reviewed and chosen by judges John Savage and Ron Neville, who reported that they were “overwhelmed with the standard of entries”.

CEDA switched up its individual awards provision this year, replacing the previous Industry Personality Award, which had been running since 1997, with a set of Legacy Honours. Past chair Jack Sharkey detailed to the assembled delegates: “CEDA and the industry have now reached a level of size and maturity which suggest that giving one award every year to an ‘Industry Personality’ means that there are a number of individuals worthy of such recognition who would normally have been missed.”

Therefore the Legacy Honours went to three recipients who have ‘played a role in creating a tangible legacy that has made a considerable positive difference, provided professional furtherance, enriched lives, served with dedication, passion and commitment, shown great altruism and philanthropy, and have cast and indelible history with the industry’.

Going forward, anyone in the industry can make a nomination for an individual to be considered for a Legacy Honour, and a committee will be set up to review those nominations with future presentations taking place both at the Conference and an Annual Legacy Lunch.

One of this year’s three trophies went to Gratte Brothers Catering Equipment’s retiring finance director, Ian Bass. Dedicating 20 years to service CEDA, as treasurer and then honorary treasurer, he was described as being ‘instrumental’ in getting the association to where it is today. At Gratte’s itself he began in the accounts department aged 26 in 1974. Sharkey revealed that Bass has been a great mentor both inside the distributor and to the wider industry.

The other two honours were sadly presented posthumously. The first went to former Whitco CEO, Jeff Whitaker. Sharkey said: “Jeff’s career was characterised by an eye for business, self-reliance and initiative. For 22 years, he set and exceeded his own demanding sales targets at Whitco whilst developing its team.

“He built a successful business and a reputation as a gentleman, which is rare. He believed you treated people – customers and suppliers – fairly, and worked hard.”

Jeff’s wife and Whitco commercial director Vita Whitaker picked up the trophy on the night.

The other posthumous Legacy Honour went to Andrew Humble, owner and director of consultancy Humble Arnold Associates, who passed away last year following a 2-year battle with cancer. Sharkey paid tribute: “Andrew Humble has been described by many as the most professional, honest, and decent person you could know, his determination, integrity, and the high bar of quality is how most people will remember him.

“The Humble Arnold name has been synonymous with some of the most prestigious projects in the foodservice community. Andrew designed and was involved with several projects that have gone on to win various categories of the CEDA Grand Prix Awards by CEDA member companies.”

Andrew’s wife Steph and Ed Bircham, director of Humble Arnold, collected the accolade on Friday.

CEDA also looked ahead to the next generation of distributor talent with its Rising Star Award, presented to any CEDA member personnel with less than 5 years’ experience in their current role.

James Austin, project account manager for Tailor Made Catering Equipment Services won for taking on the responsibility of managing a newly-acquired chain account through 20 projects. Also shortlisted were Carlisle Hartley, operations manager at ABDA Creative Design & Build and Macauley Knight, project support at Archer Catering Systems.

Suppliers also got their time to shine in three categories, all voted for by CEDA members. Maidaid Halcyon beat Meiko UK and Rational UK to the Heavy Equipment accolade, while First Choice Group won in the Light Equipment, Accessories & Spares Award, ahead of Commercial Catering Spares and Mechline.

Both First Choice and Maidaid then shared the spoils in the Outstanding Customer Service category, ahead of Mechline. First Choice MD John Whitehouse commented: “I want to thank everyone who voted for us, we are very humbled in our 20th year in business.”

Activities during the night including a raffle and an auction collectively managed to raise £5,400 for CEDA chair Derek Maher’s nominated charity, Hospitality Action.

Tags : awardsCEDACEDA conferenceeventGrand Prix Awards
Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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