In recognition of his longstanding dedication to the foodservice industry, Winterhalter's former commercial director Andy Blake was given The Caterer and CESA's Outstanding Contribution to the Catering Equipment Industry award at the CESA Conference 2019,.
Blake retired in April this year after 30 years in the business. The award, presented in front of his peers at the Renaissance London Heathrow hotel last week, was a chance to celebrate his lifelong career and acknowledge the effect he has had on the industry.
Blake was visibly shocked when the award was announced and said: "I feel so privileged to be recognised by the industry. The award was totally unexpected – I never saw it coming. I still don't know what I have done to deserve it but, I'm not going to think too much and just enjoy it. It's a great feeling!"
Blake caught the food industry bug as a teen in 1973, studying a diploma in catering and hospitality at High Peak College in Derbyshire. He began as a chef, but in 1987 geared himself towards the business side of the industry, becoming an area sales representative for Hobart. He eventually became an airline catering manager, where he secured the biggest warewash order for Hobart Worldwide, for a project worth £3.75m at Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok airport.
He joined Winterhalter as sales director in 1998. During his 18 years in the role, he helped to develop a wide range of the brand's divisions, from chemicals to machines, and was well known for his mantra of ‘sell a system, not just a machine'. It was this mentality which saw him become commercial director in 2011.
He also worked with the FCSI and became a member of the CESA council in 2016. John Whitehouse, chair of CESA, added: "Andy's commitment to the food industry has been huge, and without his support and contribution we couldn't do the work we do. Indeed, CESA identifies the universe of installed equipment in the market using the ‘Andy Blake approach'."