Julian Edwards, owner of consultancy GY5, has returned as the chair of Foodservice Consultants Society International UK&I (FCSI UK&I), handing over from Matthew Merritt-Harrison, managing partner of Merritt-Harrison Catering Consultancy.
Edwards previously chaired the foodservice consultant trade body between 2016 and 2018. During his forthcoming tenure, he aims to drive membership and bring new blood into the organisation.
He has had a long and successful career in hospitality. He was a head chef at the age of 17 at the Ship Inn, Gower in Swansea. This was a summer job that inspired him to go to Neath Technical College. He then went to London and worked his way up the ranks in contract catering and in 1996 became a consultant, using his extensive experience of the education sector.
At GY5, Edwards manages the day-to-day operations and is responsible for managing projects, for everything from single schools through to multiple site contracts. He is also responsible for one of the leading Allergen Accreditation programmes for catering organisations UK-wide.
As part of his role as chair, he has already introduced some engaging activities for members. This includes the new Taste-Learn-Connect Zoom events which are due to be held monthly throughout this year.
A workshop has already taken place with pastry chef and chocolatier, Sarah Hartnett. She ran an online sensory chocolate tasting whilst the first ‘learn’ element gave members the chance to hear about the FCSI UK&I’s input into a government paper on procurement in foodservice.
Last week, members enjoyed a risotto cooking demonstration from National Chef of the Year and new chef consultant, Hayden Groves, as well as learning more about refrigeration and freezing from Liebherr Great Britain.
At the end of each event there is time for members to connect and freely discuss the latest issues in the industry. More engaging, informative and thought-provoking sessions are planned over the next few months.
Edwards said: “My main aim is to build on our membership, especially encouraging new consultants into the society. We would like to get some young blood into the organisation and that’s more important than ever, especially with the pandemic creating many new ways of working.
“The world has changed a lot over the last 12 months, and we need to look at diversifying our method of operating and our new consultants need to reflect the modern times of foodservice. However, the expertise, knowledge and guidance of more experienced consultants remains as important as ever. FCSI is an important organisation which really supports consultants, and I can attribute a large part of my work from being a member.”