Royal chef Mark Flanagan and top contract caterer and businesswoman Robyn Jones are among hospitality’s leading lights to be recognised in the New Year’s Honours List awarded by The Queen for 2011.
Flanagan, who took over as royal chef in 2002 from Lionel Mann, has been awarded the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) for his work as assistant to the household (catering). Pastry sous chef Timothy Mark Doncaster, RVM, of the Royal Household, was also made an MVO.
Jones, who founded CH&Co with her husband Tim in 1991 on a Government Enterprise Allowance, has been made an OBE.
Royal chef Flanagan heads a brigade of about 20 chefs and is responsible for the catering for both the Royal Family and the staffs in all the royal palaces – Windsor, Sandringham, Balmoral and Buckingham Palace.
He trained at Thames Valley University on a three-year day-release course while working at brasserie Le Mange Tout in Kew, west London. A move to the original Le Petit Blanc in Oxford, working under John Burton-Race, was particularly inspirational. Brief stints followed at Chez Nico in Shinfield, Berkshire, and 90 Park Lane in London, before he returned to work for Burton-Race, this time at L’Ortolan in Shinfield.
Flanagan boosted his international experience by working in Australia, at the Regent in Sydney and the Hilton in Perth, before returning to London, where he worked at Martin’s restaurant, the Mirabelle and the Regent hotel (now the Landmark).
He then went abroad again to work at the Grand Hotel, Amsterdam, as executive sous chef and then as head chef for Albert Roux. He returned to England to take up the position of head chef at Surrey’s exclusive Wentworth Golf Club in 1998.
Within two years of launching their company – and in the height of a recession – Robyn and Tim Jones’ company had won the Booker Prize for Excellence as Best Young Business and Best Caterer. CH&Co now has a multi-million pound turnover, employs almost 2,000 people and holds 140 contracts nationwide.
Robyn Jones, who came fifth in the food service ranking of the TheCaterer.com 100 earlier this year, is a patron of the Association of Catering Excellence and a trustee of the PM Trust. She is a guardian member of the charity, Hospitality in Action, a winner of the Foodservice Catey award, and was named the Credit Suisse Most Outstanding Woman in Business in 2007.
Jones, who was born in 1961, started as a graduate trainee for GrandMet Catering (now Compass) in 1981, rising to chef-manager at a private school in Suffolk by 1983. She then spent two years with Gardner Merchant as catering manager for two big London clients before serving as catering advisory officer for the Potato Marketing Board from 1985 to 1987.
She spent the next year with High Table (now Avenance) as operations manager for 12 directors’ dining room contracts. From 1988 to 1990 Jones worked for Compass, first as operations manager, then senior operations manager.
Jones then took the role of business development manager at Gazeway Catering, a subsidiary of construction company Higgs & Hill. After being made redundant she set up Charlton House Catering Services in July 1991.
In 2007 the firm made its first acquisition, high-end caterer Chester Boyd.
In May 2010, now operating under the parent company name of CH&Co, the firm divided into five specialist divisions: the Charlton House brand will focus on staff catering and the business and industry sector; Lusso will provide fine-dining services in the City of London and beyond; Chester Boyd, which was set up by Charles Boyd and acquired by Charlton House in 2007, will continue to operate in London’s livery halls and private venues; while Ampersand will look after the catering at iconic venues such as the Law Society, the Royal Institute of British Architects and London Zoo. The Agency, which was part of Chester Boyd, has been relaunched as a venue-finding service covering the entire business.
Other recipients in the New Year’s Honours list included Alastair John Sykes, former chairman and chief executive of Nestle UK, who was awarded a CBE for services to the food industry, Kathleen Bailey, formerly judges’ lodgings manager and chef at HM Courts, West Midlands Ministry of Justice, and Jackie Patricia Waterhouse, for voluntary services to catering and the local Government in Salisbury, Wiltshire, who were both made MBEs.
By Amanda Afiya
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