10 October 2002 by

Simpler competition guidelines needed

With regard to the judging of the Knorr National Chef of the Year competition and Amanda Afiya's Opinion (Caterer, 3 October, page 17) and, indeed, for the judging of any cookery competition, I would suggest the following guidelines.

When tasting the food, the judges should not make comments to their fellow judges or the competitors. They should make up their own minds and mark accordingly.

When judging is completed, marks should be handed in and added up, and then the chairman of the judges should sit down with his team, announce the provisional results and invite comments for discussion.

If there are differences of opinion, these should be discussed and, if necessary, judges should return to the dishes of food so that specific points can be tested.

If, after all this, there are still differences of opinion, a simple majority vote would resolve the issue.

VICTOR CESERANI, Isleworth, Middlesex.
Quite right - it's that simple. Ed

Why not come on board?

In response to George Robertson's letter (Caterer, 3 October, page 18), can I draw your attention to the University of Plymouth's new qualification - the BSc (Hons) Cruise Operations Management.

The course was approved earlier this year and we expect to recruit our first students with a view to starting in September 2003.

A lot of planning has gone into designing the programme and we have been delighted to receive quality support from the major cruise companies, including P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Cunard and Saga Cruises. Issues we have explored are options for internships, research opportunities and professional development.

The university, in conjunction with its own hospitality and tourism teams and the Institute of Marine Studies, will deliver a range of modules that will develop knowledge, understanding and skills for those seeking careers as pursers or hotel services managers on board cruise ships.

The course content includes food and drink management, facilities operations, passenger service management as well as a number of business and tourism modules. Students will have an option for a one-year placement which could be on board a cruise ship.

Prospective students can find out more by contacting the university on 01626 325607 or visiting the Web site, www.plymouth.ac.uk.

PHILIP GIBSON, Senior Lecturer Hospitality Management, University of Plymouth, by e-mail.

A new ‘gold standard'

Over the past four years, I have been privileged to help introduce Hospitality Assured to our industry - a "standard of best practice" designed to help organisations consistently deliver excellent service to customers.

However, it was reported in Caterer (15 November 2001) that the industry had become confused by the plethora of standards, and, as a result, an industry forum meeting held by the HCIMA in January 2002 challenged Hospitality Assured to not only address service delivery, but also business excellence in a bid to become the undisputed "gold standard".

A revised Hospitality Assured standard has now been endorsed by the British Quality Foundation as meeting all the requirements of the internationally respected Business Excellence Model (EFQM 1999 version).

Hospitality Assured has now been repositioned as "the Standard for Service and Business Excellence" in hospitality. Organisations that achieve accreditation will be regarded by customers, employees and shareholders as being of "the very best".

I hope this will encourage more Caterer readers to contact me, on 01344 893857, to find out how their organisation can achieve the industry's "gold standard".

TONY LAINCHBURY, General Manager, Hospitality Assured, Ascot, Berkshire.

Spare time for homeless

Every year, hundreds of homeless people without friends or family are welcomed by the Crisis network of Christmas shelters.

The shelters are run entirely by volunteers, and Crisis is currently recruiting people with experience of working in a kitchen.

We need workers with kitchen experience and a quartermaster for any day between 23 and 30 December. Hours and days are flexible and can be arranged to suit the volunteer.

Chefs are required for the shelters, which will be in central London.

For more information, contact Crisis on 0870 011 3335, or e-mail volunteering@crisis.org.uk.

PAULA COZMA, Crisis Press Officer, by e-mail.

Remembering Douglas

It is with much sadness that I read of the death of Douglas Barrington (Caterer, 3 October, page 12). As a former employee of the Lygon Arms I was privileged to work for him as a junior manager.

DJB, as he was known, was an innovator who, with a simple filing system, ensured that every guest returning to the hotel was greeted with a handwritten "welcome back" card and, wherever possible, accommodated in the same room.

I am certain that there are many successful hoteliers who have benefited from his very firm but fair manner with staff and for that we should all raise a glass to his memory.

*David Petherbridge, Ardsley House Hotel and Health Club, Barnsley.

If other readers have memories of Douglas Barrington that they would like to share, please write and let us know. Ed*

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