Well I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve only just recovered from last Thursday’s Catering Insight Awards.
I’ve received wonderful messages from some of the 220 senior catering equipment executives who descended on London’s Banking Hall, and that enjoyment and appreciation really makes all our efforts worthwhile.
Our small team here really throw our heart and soul into the event each year, and we aim to try and better it each time. Personally, I think we outdid ourselves for the 2019 ceremony, which was incredibly the fifth anniversary of the awards.
I’d like to emphasise that it’s the regular Catering Insight team which organises the awards, we have no separate events department – so for instance I have to juggle this with writing all of the magazine and daily e-newsletter, while my colleague Mark Harris balances it with his role managing all the commercial aspects of Catering Insight, our sister magazine, Foodservice Equipment Journal, and any catering equipment advertising in our whole stable of hospitality magazines.
Plus my manager Andrew Seymour not only edits Foodservice Equipment Journal, he oversees all of the magazines and online content all Promedia Publishing titles puts out, as well as all events too – I don’t know how he has enough hours in the day!
But all of this means that we are embedded in the UK catering equipment industry and we have (hopefully!) demonstrated that we know what you want and like, and we can deliver that to you. From crafting the evening’s script myself (and thanks to those of you who laughed at the gags I sprinkled in there) to Mark creating the table plan to ensure that each attendee got the most useful networking opportunities possible, no stone is left unturned.
I hope those of you who were there will agree with my sentiments that this was the best event yet. The Banking Hall was stunning and the events team there were genuinely the greatest we have worked with – the service was super, the food was incredible and they really couldn’t do more to help us.
Another little extra which helped the night go with a swing was Barbara, the electric violinist we booked to play throughout the evening. She entertained guests to the max and we were all incredibly impressed with her talent.
In the awards presentations themselves, this year for the first time we gave attendees a sneak peek at the overall shape of the voting results. We revealed the percentages of the winners, but we will keep our powder dry on the rest, as we feel it can be discouraging for those who didn’t triumph. But I will emphasise that there were many first time victors, so if you were a finalist and didn’t quite garner enough industry votes to win this year, then please do try again next time because it does change every year – and we aim to generate more votes each year too, so that the results are as reflective of the industry’s views as possible.
It was a joy to see so many winners so pleased – and many who were really surprised to triumph too, so it just shows, you never know how the voting will go. You’ve got to be in it to win it, so do consider throwing your hat into the ring when the 2020 nominations come round next September.
Fingers crossed that all of our guests felt the night went smoothly, and if they did, then our job is done. We aim for everything to be serene on the surface, while underneath it’s like a duck paddling furiously. The herculean effort that the Catering Insight Awards takes continues across the whole year, from finding new main and after-party venues each year to keep the event fresh, to designing the nomination and voting forms nearer to the ceremony.
Any after-party attendees will know that I love a good old dance-up, and that is where I burn off all the adrenalin that’s built up in putting the event together. I’m like the Duracell Bunny right through to the early hours, but the next day and indeed the one after that, I was like a flat battery. Maybe that level of exhaustion means I am getting old.
Soon it will be time to drag these old bones back to the coal face of organising the 2020 awards, but I feel I have earned some downtime over the festive season before that. I hope that everyone in the UK catering equipment industry has the chance to do the same, and I will see you, rested and refreshed, next year.