Heartfelt thanks

It’s that time of year again when we step back from the commercial obsession with the bottom line and remember that people at the heart of the industry. Inside this issue you can meet all the winners of the 2015 Cost Sector Catering Awards.

Some have, indeed, been responsible for bringing business success to their companies and organisations, but that rarely seems to be the primary motivation.

Their stories are more likely to be liberally sprinkled with words like ‘passion’, ‘dedication’, and ‘innovation’.

These are the workers who bring warmth, creativity and good humour to the work they do and it is sometimes too easy to take that for granted and rely on efficiency and results to measure business performance.

We’ve all heard chief executives recite the mantra ‘our people are our business’ and awards nights offer us a chance to show that this cliché is more than words.

So, congratulations to all the winners of the 2015 Cost Sector Catering Awards, and it was lovely to see so many teams supporting nominees at the event.

So many, in fact, that the 825 people who joined us on the night at the Hilton Metropole on Edgware Road enjoyed what can only be described as a ‘very cosy atmosphere’ on a very happy night.

Our two Lifetime Achievement Award winners merit special mention.

Geoffrey Harrison was a very deserving winner in the contract catering category, having enjoyed a full career working for other people before branching out at the age of 50 to set up his own company.

Now nearing 70, he has built up an enviable family business in Harrison Catering that turns over £57 million a year serving 100,000 meals a day across 270 different locations.

Along the way, he set up the Geoffrey Harrison Foundation that promotes training for young people coming into the industry and 200 have benefitted from this initiative already.

Our other winner, Dianne Jeffrey, has proved herself a human dynamo in taking up a series of high-profile roles in the public sector over the last 20 years.

Most notably, she has combined chairing Age UK with heading the Malnutrition Task Force and, more recently, the Hospital Food Standards Panel.

I thank all the awards night sponsors as well, because their support allows caterers in the cost sector to step out from behind the balance sheets for at least one night a year and take a deserved bow in the spotlight.

Heartfelt thanks

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