Three Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal has become the principal patron of hospitality industry charity Hospitality Action.
Meanwhile, three top industry figures have been appointed patrons: Jason Atherton, chef-proprietor of Pollen Street Social; Nigel Haworth, chef-proprietor of Northcote; and Phil Hooper, corporate affairs director of Sodexo.
Blumenthal, who replaces outgoing principal patron Sir Rocco Forte, has supported the charity since becoming a patron in 2004. During this time, he has been a particularly vocal advocate of the work of the charity's Ark Foundation, which educates the industry's students, employees and management about the dangers of alcohol and drug misuse.
He said: "I'm honoured to be representing Hospitality Action. The work that it does in terms of raising awareness of key issues and providing vital support to those in our industry facing hardship through illness, bereavement, poverty or addiction, is invaluable."
Speaking about the Ark Foundation he said: "As a chef I know first hand how tough the long hours and aggressive working environment can be. In some cases, it can lead to some finding an escape in alcohol and drugs. Many have nowhere to turn and need mentoring and help, which is why the charity's work is so incredibly important."
Penny Moore, chief executive of Hospitality Action, added: "We are thrilled to have Heston as our new principal patron. His constant support of Hospitality Action and the Ark Foundation over the past few years has been second to none - his appointment will be a real asset. We are incredibly grateful to Sir Rocco Forte for all he has helped us achieve in this role. I would finally like to welcome our new trio of patrons; we are looking forward to very exciting times ahead."
By Neil Gerrard
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