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"He's the quiet, genuine guy who makes the training happen. He's innovative with his staff - particularly with chefs"
The past winners of the Food Service Caterer of the Year Catey are all people who have demonstrated innovation, sound financial performance and motivational skills.
Last year's winner, Mike Smith, was singled out as a fantastic motivator of people who put great emphasis on training and stability in the workplace. One judge and competitor said: "He's the quiet, genuine guy who makes the training happen. He's innovative with his staff - particularly with chefs, taking them, for example to workshops at Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant."
Judges said that much of the consistent quality of BaxterSmith's delivery was down to the way its managing director inspired and involved his staff.
It was Smith's decision to make BaxterSmith (now part of the recently merged company BaxterStorey) the first company to use the talent toolbox, a training package developed by Learnpurple that gives staff being appraised the right to reply and encourages them to be proactive and pass on their knowledge.
Another initiative set up by Smith, the chef's forum, saw 16 senior chefs hold bi-monthly meeting to share purchasing information, menus and recipes. "No managers sit in on that forum," Smith said. "The chefs feel they have a voice in the company."
Judges agreed that this bottom-up approach had given employees a sense of empowerment and stopped regional managers getting bogged down by training needs across multiple sites.
All past winners of this award have shown the ability to combine innovation with sound financial performance, as well as being able to demonstrate clear achievements during the past 12 months.
In 2003, Linda Halliday was praised for her inexhaustible championing of the sector. The judges hailed her as "the energy behind Springboard", a "very good" chairman of the BHA, and a "tireless fundraiser" for charities such as Kids Out and Hospitality Action.
The year before, Bill Toner, chief executive of Aramark UK, was praised by the judges for having put a rocket under his company's competitors through his example. Toner's strength was seen as his ability to build business.
This year's winner will almost certainly be running a successful business, but not necessarily at managing-director level. If you know someone who is empowering staff, using innovative training methods, giving a lot back to the industry or "putting a rocket" under their competitors, nominate them.
Use the form on the back page. All nominations must include a supporting statement of no more than 200 words. The closing date is Friday 4 February and judging will take place on 27 April at the Cumberland hotel, London.
Judges' criteria - The Food Service Caterer of the Year Catey will go to an individual working within the private sector who has made an outstanding contribution to the food service sector.
- The winner will possess the ability to combine innovation with sound financial performance, as well as being able to demonstrate clear achievements during the past 12 months.
All nominations in this category MUST be accompanied by a supporting statement.