Foodservice Cateys 2016: Chef of the Year – Private Site
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Steve Land, Gather & Gather
Gather & Gather's all-embracing contract at pay-TV provider Sky covers 10 locations with 24 diverse food outlets serving 17,000 people on a daily basis. The food offer includes everything from fine dining to deli bar sandwiches and the humble breakfast muffin. Steve Land is also responsible for all hospitality at Sky, ranging from two-person meetings to events on a larger scale for up to 650 people.
Land, who oversees a vast team of 75 chefs, has been hugely influential in the transformation of the food service at Sky since the start of the Gather & Gather contract in 2013, and he has been instrumental in nearly doubling the contract within the three-year period.
He is constantly evolving new food concepts, inspired by the latest market trends, and these are used throughout the Gather & Gather business. He takes full ownership of the culinary direction of the account at Sky, implementing the company's Live Well range of healthy products and overseeing the creation of a range of calorie-controlled meals.
His bosses say he is the ultimate multitasker, continuously switching attention between the various outlets at the contract from "the sophisticated grace of the Kitchen to the comforting buzz of the American-style diner".
Located at Sky's head office in Osterley, west London, the Kitchen restaurant is in itself a full-time commitment, serving what Gather & Gather describes as "AA rosette-quality food akin to any high-end restaurant". The Kitchen serves between 185 and 225 people per day.
Land has also been instrumental in the design behind the Sky Central ‘super facility' that opened in Osterley this summer, which houses a staggering 4,000 people, with 300 covers in the staff restaurant and 120 in the brasserie, juice and salad bar and three delis.
Rob Fredrickson, transition director at Gather & Gather, says: "Steve is always searching for the next innovation, new means to better the business as a whole and a way to further his personal development. He is the heartbeat of the business, acting as the very life force, motivating the rest of the team to keep moving forward, striving for fresh exciting initiatives."
Land is entirely dedicated to his team and is a keen activist in promotion from within. Throughout the growth of the Sky contract, he has only recruited an additional three members of staff, preferring to encourage and develop the existing team so that individuals feel confident to take on more adventurous roles.
Outside Sky, he is regularly involved with the Springboard Charity and this year mentored a 14-year-old entrant, Sophie Holman, through the latter stages of its FutureChef competition, a national competition that cultivates the potential of some of the UK's strongest aspiring chefs. Since the end of the competition, Land has continued to mentor his finalist.
What the judges said
"Consistently evolving new concepts, Steve runs a beast of a contract, and is dedicated to the cause."
Nigel Simmonds, Connect Catering
"Leading food standards in a challenging environment, perfection is his goal. He is clearly central to the business."
Simon Esner, BaxterStorey
- Mark Crowe Elior UK
- Simon Hellier Amadeus
- Steve Land Gather & Gather
- Andy South Holroyd Howe
(The Chef of the Year award was split into two categories this year to reflect advancement of private and public sites)
- 2015 Hayden Groves BaxterStorey
- 2014 Nick Vadis Compass Group
- 2013 Rob Kirby Lexington Catering
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