The financial backer behind Lime Wood and Home Grown Hotels, the owner of the Pig brand, has been knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2018.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, chairman and chief executive of Ineos, the giant chemical company which has an annual turnover of £45b and employs more than 18,500 people across 22 countries, has been ennobled for his services to business and investment.
In a list that bestowed honours on 1,057 people aged between 20 and 103-years-old, other recipients from the hospitality industry included Norman Springford, former chairman of Apex Hotels; William (Willie) McCurrach, City of Glasgow College’s head of food; Entrepreneur Arjun Waney; Mohammed Ishaq, of Punjab Kitchen; Nur-ur Rahman Khandaker, former president of the Bangladesh Caterers Association; Chef Paula McIntyre and Ian Payne, chairman of Stonegate pub company.
For Sir Jim the announcement of the honour comes a month after he topped The Sunday Times Rich List 2018 with an estimated fortune of more than £21b.
Born and brought up in a Manchester council estate, his involvement in the hospitality sector came about when he bought a 50% share in Parkhill, a three-star hotel in the heart of the New Forest near Lyndhurst, Hampshire, with chef Alex Aitken. Ratcliffe bought out Aitken soon after the hotel opened following its £40m transformation into Lime Wood as a five-red-AA-star, 32-bedroom hotel. By then, industry stalwart Robin Hutson had been brought on board to run the business. Ratcliffe had met Hutson when their children were at school together.
With the financial support of Ratcliffe behind the venture, Lime Wood has become renowned for offering laid-back luxury that has been a hit with critics and customers alike since opening in 2009. Today the Lime Wood Group also includes Le Portetta in Courchevel, France.
In 2011, Hutson launched Home Grown Hotels with the opening of the first of what has gone on to be the five-strong Pig collection of hotels. Ratcliffe owns 50% of Home Grown Hotels, with Hutson holding 26% and the remaining 24% in the hands of three other shareholders. With its strong focus on produce grown in its own kitchen gardens, the Pig is one of the most successful hotel brands to launch in recent years and is now on the verge of expanding to eight properties with openings lined up in Kent, West Sussex and Cornwall.
Norman Springford, former chairman of Apex Hotels, received an OBE for services to the Scottish tourism industry.
Springford founded what is today a 10-strong hotel company with properties in London, Bath, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee in 1996. He stepped down from the family-owned business in 2014 to be replaced by his son Ian.
An accountant by training, Springford told The Caterer on his retirement that he “could not run a hotel to save my life”, stressing that the success of Apex Hotels had been due to his appointment of the best operators, such as CEO, Angela Vickers. Springford remains a board member of Apex Hotels and continues to work on capital projects for the company.
Reacting to the news, Norman Springford said: “Our company was founded on the principle of good old fashioned hospitality and service with a smile. Fast forward 22 years and we still remain as committed as ever to extending a warmer welcome to every guest in all of our hotels.
“The success of the Apex brand comes down to the tremendous work of the amazing, talented and dedicated people working across the group. I am humbled to receive this honour which is testament to a huge team effort.”
Willie McCurrach, City of Glasgow College’s head of food, has also been awarded an OBE for services to education in the hospitality industry.
The winner of the Education and Training Award at the 2016 Cateys, he has worked tirelessly for the college for more than 40 years and when lauded by The Caterer was described as “a natural leader with a passion for, and commitment to, the success of his students, staff and the college”.
Known for creating innovative ways to fill skills gaps in the industry his many achievements include working with the Prince’s Trust to create short programmes that encourage disadvantaged young people into full-time employment in hospitality.
Entrepreneur Arjun Waney will also receive an OBE for services to the restaurant industry.
Waney has been wowing the hospitality sector since launching Knightsbridge’s Zuma in 2002, with chef Rainer Becker. He went on to open Roka and Merkai, both in Fitzrovia; Oblix, in the Shard as well as Coya and La Petite Maison, in Mayfair. He is also a co-owner of private members’ club the Arts Club.
Waney’s restaurants have been lauded by critics with concepts exported around the world, but he is equally praised for his charitable work having established the Savitri Trust in 2001, which works with some of the poorest rural communities around the world.
Ishaq has been honoured with an MBE for services to innovation and the economy in Tyne and Wear, through his work as director of the Punjab Kitchen.
Launched in 1996, the Punjab Kitchen initially supplied halal and Asian meals to in-patients. The venture was inspired by Ishaq’s own stay in hospital during which time his wife and business partner Yasmine had to bring him meals from home.
Today Ishaq’s business has expanded to meet a number of dietary requirements, including supplying NHS hospitals and care homes with pureed replicas of meals for patients who have difficulty swallowing. The company’s success has seen its products served in every hospital in the country.
An MBE has also been awarded to Nur-ur Rahman Khandaker Pasha, better known as Pasha Khandaker, former president of the Bangladesh Caterers Association (BCA).
In his role with the BCA Khandaker spoke to policy makers to promote business opportunities between Bangladeshi caterers and the government.
He is now the chairman of restaurant group Reliance West Malling and principal partner of Ghandi Tandoori Restaurants.
McIntyre will also receive an MBE for her services to the food, drink and hospitality sector in Northern Ireland.
She opened the Undrie restaurant in Manchester in 1993, but in 1998 returned to Northern Ireland taking up a number of head chef positions.
Numerous television and radio appearances have followed, as well as cookery books and judging appearances. McIntyre is director Northern Ireland on the Slow Food UK board as well as being a member of the Craft Guild of Chefs and the Irish Food Writers Guild.
Payne, chairman of Stonegate pub company, has been awarded an MBE for services to the hospitality and pub industry after more than 40 years in the industry.
Stonegate may only be the fourth-largest managed pub player, but it is far and away the specialist in its sector. Having been formed in 2010 with the acquisition of 333 pubs from Mitchells & Butlers, through a series of mergers and takeovers, it has built a portfolio of brands and formats that includes Slug & Lettuce, Yates’s, and Walkabout, along with everything from traditional pubs to student bars and late-night venues.
Payne can often be heard campaigning and was vocal in calling for the appointment of a pubs minister stressing the contribution of the sector to the economy.