The Catering Insight Lifetime Achievement Award pays homage to an individual who has devoted their entire career to the catering equipment sector and given outstanding service to the industry.
That can certainly be said of this year’s recipient, Phil Martin.
Starting his career in the hotel sector and swapping into the catering equipment side of things in 1985, his first company in the industry was WM Stills.
This was followed by stints on both sides of the supplier and caterer fence at major companies including Hobart, the Compass Group and the Aga Group, before setting up his own business, called Catering Contacts.
For the past 6 years he has been buying consortium Cedabond’s executive director, and over that time he has completely transformed it, by taking the volume of business processed from £20m to £80m.
Martin received a standing ovation and came to the stage to say: “Well thanks very much – it’s a bit of a surprise,” joking that “because it normally means that your career’s f**ked! Because you’ve either already retired or you’re going to retire very quickly. But I am going to retire at the end of next year so I suppose if I was going to get one it was going to come now.”
Looking back on his career, he said: “It’s been a ride. I’ve worked for some fantastic people, I’ve worked for some f**king idiots as well!”
He concluded by encouraging the industry to invest in people, with attendees applauding these sentiments. He detailed: “I am really worried that we haven’t got enough young people and women coming into our industry. If everybody in this room took on one apprentice, a young kid that needs a chance and is going to learn, that would help.”
Martin continued to quip: “When I came into this industry I’d never sold anything – people said I never did! But they gave me a chance as a chef – I was a s**t chef – that’s why I had to come out of the industry and get a job in sales!”
He concluded: “Organisations like CEDA and CESA and companies like Marren are doing fantastic training. So therefore, invest in people.”