CESA director Keith Warren got a huge surprise at the association’s gala awards ceremony last night, which concluded its annual conference.
At the De Vere Cotswold Water Park, the record-breaking amount of attendees for the event got the chance to show their appreciation for CESA’s tireless chief, as he was presented with the Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Catering Equipment Industry.
The association’s incoming chairman, John Whitehouse, paid tribute to Warren, describing him as enthusiastic and well known throughout the industry. “Keith has a challenging schedule and works long hours,” he detailed. “He spends much time travelling to attend conferences and events to constantly promote CESA members. He is a dedicated operator that befits this award.”
Whitehouse further revealed that Warren has been voted by a panel of industry experts as one of the top 20 most influential people in catering. The CESA director has been invited to the House of Commons on 11 December to pick up that accolade.
Collecting last night’s trophy, Warren said: “I am choked and flabbergasted. There is something special about this industry, it is open, warm and inclusive.”
Reminiscing that the 18 years he spent at Reed Business Media on titles such as Catering Times and Caterer & Hotelkeeper provided him with many skills, Warren said that his directorship of CESA since 2001 has been “a fantastic job”. “It’s a real honour to be a caretaker of CESA and there is 80 years of history to carry forward.
“It’s a wide and varied role that I love, but it’s a team effort along with the CESA chairmen over the years, members and the support of my family. The catering equipment industry’s friendly approach to business is truly unique.”
Earlier in the night two further awards were presented for the first time. The inaugural Training & Development Award recognises businesses that actively support staff development. The judges were looking for commitment and an outstanding contribution to the workplace.
The winner was Falcon Foodservice Equipment, which judges felt had demonstrated a detailed and structured approach to training that has led to greater employee retention. Training has helped both those on the shop floor and office staff, and the manufacturer has employed five university graduates in the last couple of years to ensure it develops a new generation of managers.
Highly commended in this category was servicing firm McFT, which was praised for creating a team academy with a structured approach based on requirements. It is a platinum accredited Investors in People firm, with award judges noting that its commitment to training and development has enhanced group self-esteem.
The other inaugural category, the Foodservice Equipment Apprentice Award, was sponsored by John Gilbert, founder of Gilberts Food Service Equipment. Gilbert was there to present the trophy and described it as: “My way of giving something back to the industry and encouraging young entrepreneurs.” He also called for more applicants for this award next year, especially women, describing the dearth of female entrants as “a waste of talent”.
The victor of this accolade was Emrys Hughes of ventilation grease and odour treatment firm, Plasma Clean. He won a trip to a choice of major international catering equipment exhibitions, VIP access to the Professional Kitchen Show and a bursary to complete the Principles of Foodservice and Certified Food Service Professional courses.
Highly commended was HKI’s Rahul Rora, a mechanical manufacturing engineer.
The only product trophy of the night, the FCSI Sustainable Equipment Award, as voted for by FCSI members, went to Marco Beverage Systems. FSCI UK and Ireland chairman, Julian Edwards, said that the membership was impressed by the Mix UC8 water boiler due to its vacuum insulated tank design and ability to maintain a constant temperature.
Highly commended in this category were Target Catering Equipment for its TR-E+ induction range and Mechline Developments for the BaSix 300/400 hands-free push-front wash basin.