Catering Insight Awards 2021 winner: Lifetime Achievement Award

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The winner of the Catering Insight Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 was Cathy Wilcox.

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, Cathy Wilcox. Starting at Compass Services in 1980 following a higher national diploma at Oxford Brookes, she was an administrator in Compass’s design and planning department before being spotted by Staines Catering. After working for them for several years, Wilcox then joined Masters and Andren.

She then moved to Staines Catering as general manager before switching to the projects side, working for Prisma before joining the Carford Group in Bournemouth, spending a 10-year stint there honing her skillset.

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Subsequently heading to McFarlane Telfer in 2010, Wilcox only worked for around a year there before the design department unexpectedly closed and redundancy beckoned. However, taking the plunge with her colleague Michael Burchmore and co-founding their own distributor business, Wilcox Burchmore, in 2011, Wilcox spent the last 10 years enjoying what she describes as the best years of her working life, impressing clients with incredible designs and an open, honest, no nonsense attitude, and building a loyal following with a faultless reputation.

During the pandemic though, this self-confessed workaholic realised she enjoyed having more spare time, and decided to retire, though she remains an adviser to her former firm.

Wilcox took to the stage last night amid a standing ovation and addressed guests, saying: “I’m absolutely overwhelmed, thank you so much. It’s such an honour to be among such luminaries.

“There are certain people in this room who I respect and admire and who I’ve had a really good snog with!”

On a more serious note, she added: “I’m honoured to be part of an industry that’s given me the most incredible career. I’ve truly, truly loved my job and I think it really is an industry where there is no glass ceiling, if you like. It doesn’t matter where you come from, what school you went to, what sex you are, if you really care and you’re really passionate then the world’s your oyster.”

Wilcox then paid tribute to her business partner, saying: “I’d like to make a big thank you to Michael Burchmore, who in the last 10 years really has been the most fantastic business partner and I wish him every success in taking Wilcox Burchmore to the next level.”

She concluded: “And to the catering industry, onwards and upwards – you’re all marvellous!”

Tags : awardsCatering InsightCatering Insight Awardscathy wilcoxeventlifetime achievement awardWilcox Burchmore
Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls


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