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Cateys 2012: Lifetime Achievement Award – Dick Turpin

06 July 2012
Cateys 2012: Lifetime Achievement Award – Dick Turpin

Sponsored by Matthew Clark

Long considered an unsung hero in hospitality, Dick Turpin has vast experience in catering that in recent years he has employed in altruistic fashion to further the industry through charitable works and advisory roles.

His career has spanned hotels, high-street restaurants, food service management, department stores, airports and railway stations. In fact, there is very little in hospitality he hasn't done.

Having started his career in the Army Catering Corps, he moved into retail via hotelkeeping at Park Hall Hotel in Wolverhampton. In a distinguished career he spent time as managing director for the Berni Inn Group, where he oversaw 285 steakhouses and 21 million meals annually.

Turpin then merged three catering companies owned by Grand Metropolitan and in 1981 was the founder managing director of Compass Services Catering and Vending, employing 18,000 staff across 2,000 locations in his role as managing director, before being appionted chief executive of Letheby & Christopher (then owned by Delaware North) where he handled clients including Ascot racecourse and Arsenal Football Club.

More recently, he has been known, along with Peter Smale, as the founder of Turpin Smale Foodservice Consultancy, where the pair managed over 350 assignments.

What sets him apart as an individual is the way Turpin has confidentially advised so many in the industry. To this day he continues to influence the careers, and lives, of junior staff through to the leaders of major companies.

Now semi-retired, Turpin's roll-call of duties is enough to kep most people in full-time work. Despite his advancing years he continues to travel the country, working for industry bodies such as Hospitality Action, for whom he was vice-chair, the Ark Foundation and Ark for Business and the Savoy Educational Trust. In addition he is adviser to the castle and gadens of Mey in Caithness, chairman of CV Check, a pre-employment screening specialist, and adviser to eight agricultural shows.

These days he is probably best known for his education work, both as a trustee of the Savoy Educational Trust and in alcohol and drug awarness with the Ark Foundation in his role as chairman.

Part of charity Hospitality Action, for which he is a trustee and vice-chair, the Ark Foundation educates students (some 89,000 have attended Ark seminars), managers and employees about alcohol and drugs through educational seminars and work with individuals in "collaboration, not confrontation". The phrase might well be applied to Turpin, too, since through his work he has touched so much and so many in the industry. Few can boast such continued commitment to hospitality over such a long period, with such a commendable list of achievements.

The Judges Nominations for the Lifetime Achievement Award were compiled from recommendations by Caterer and Hotelkeeper readers and from suggestions from each of the Catey judging panels. The judging panel was made up of members of the Caterer and Hotelkeeper editorial team.

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