A fantastic year for a fantastic industry

21 December 2012 by
A fantastic year for a fantastic industry

I've been reflecting on this extraordinary year. Here are just a few of my memories.

As 2012 began, 600 hoteliers sat, captivated, as Philip Howard spoke frankly to me about his battle with drugs on stage at the Master Innholders General Manager's Conference.

A month later I interviewed Raymond Blanc before a packed crowd at Hotelympia. (I asked him what drew him to the UK. "Fish fingers," he replied.)

The BHA held its inaugural Hospitality Summit in May, and Ufi Ibrahim's stirring address left delegates believing that, at last, we might convince Government of hospitality's power to create jobs and economic growth.

Ufi was again present at June's Big Conversation, a Springboard initiative to match-make employers and jobseekers. This time, the stars of the show were the apprentices who addressed guests so eloquently from the stage.

By June, my ears rang to the sound of Boris Johnson warning me against travelling into London from a thousand tannoy systems. Like the rest of the nation, I shall long remember the first-class customer care delivered by the games makers.

Other memories? Assia Riccio-Smith's impassioned speech at the Olive Barnett Award. Meeting the legendary Nico Ladenis. Guest-editor Raymond Blanc occupying my office desk. The faces of Arnold Fewell and Dick Turpin when they won their Cateys in July.

So many winners: Adam Smith at the Roux Scholarship; Alyn Williams at National Chef of the Year; Simon Merrick at Lexington Catering's Lexchef; Westminster Kingsway at the Nestlé Toque d'Or…

In the autumn, I clapped as Stuart Johnson was piped into the Hotelier of the Year luncheon. And I roared as Fred Sirieix and Marcus Wareing knocked seven bells out of each other for charity at the Rumble in the Kitchen.

Mark Lewis, Group Editor, Caterer and Hotelkeeper

E-mail your comments to Mark Lewis here.

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