A number of individuals from the hospitality industry were recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours this weekend.
World champion sommelier Gerard Basset, Judy Hargadon, chief executive of the School Food Trust, Stephen Magorrian, managing director of Botanic Inns, and Namita Panjabi, co-founder of Masala World were awarded OBEs, with award-winning pastry chef Claire Clark receiving a MBE.
GERARD BASSET OBE
2010 Catey Special Award winner and owner of Hotel TerraVina in the New Forest, Gerard Basset has been awarded the accolade for changing perceptions of wine service while also training and mentoring a generation of young sommeliers.
Basset is the only individual ever to have completed the Master of Wine, Master Sommelier and MBA (Wine) qualifications, and has represented Great Britain and won every major sommelier award. A co-founder of Hotel du Vin Group, Basset runs the 11-bedroom boutique Hotel TerraVina together with his wife, Nina.
Commenting on the award Basset said: "This is a great honour for me: to have my achievements recognised in this way gives me enormous pride. I am indebted to many within the industry for their support, but not least my family who have stood by me as I indulged my ambitions."
JUDY HARGADON OBE
Judy Hargadon has been recognised for services to children's wellbeing. She joined the School Food Trust in 2006 after a 30-year career in healthcare management, with a special focus on innovation and improvement.
In 2004, she was appointed Visiting Professor in Healthcare Workforce Innovation at London South Bank University, and was a visiting fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in the USA. As chief executive of the School Food Trust, a national charity, she acts as a specialist adviser to Government on school meals, children's food and family cooking skills.
School Food Trust chairman Rob Rees commented: "Judy has inspired our staff and our national, regional and local partners on the journey of transforming school food for our young people today. Her leadership has steered our work to help schools introduce tough national standards for food and nutrition, which in such a short time have already made a big impact on the food that children eat at schools around the country."
STEPHEN MAGORRIAN OBE
Stephen Magorrian is the managing director of Belfast-based pub chain Botanic Inns, which currently owns 16 outlets within Northern Ireland and is regularly featured in the Sunday Times list of best companies to work for.
Magorrian started his career with the Belfast Telegraph as an assistant accountant and joined Guinness Northern Ireland as company accountant in 1988. He enjoyed a number of roles at Guinness, including contracts manager in charge of loans, eventually progressing to sales director for Northern Ireland. He joined Botanic Inns in 2003 as commercial director and took up the position of managing director in 2004.
NAMITA PANJABI OBE
Namita Panjabi, her husband Ranjit Mathrani and her sister Camellia are the masterminds behind the award-winning Masala World restaurant group that specialises in authentic regional Indian cuisine prepared by specialist chefs. Masala World owns three upmarket restaurants in London - Chutney Mary, Veeraswamy and the Michelin-starred Amaya - and also operates in the midmarket with the Masala Zone brand.
The restaurants all offer a different slant. Chutney Mary, in Chelsea, serves cuisine from diverse regions, while Veeraswamy focuses on food from the north and west of India. Amaya, in Belgravia, is based around ancient grill techniques, while Masala Zones are hip cafés offering street food and thalis for less than £14 a head
Namita said: "This is a heartening acknowledge of our effort to bring real Indian food to the UK. It is also a tribute to the role and teamwork of our 500 employees at Masala World. It is, however, a pity that this work is going to be eroded by the misguided immigration policy of the British government."
CLAIRE CLARK MBE
Pastry chef Claire Clark has received an MBE for her services to the food industry.
Clark's career has encompassed working as Thomas Keller's head pastry chef at the three-Michelin-starred French Laundry in Napa Valley, California and being part of the launch team for London's highly successful Wolseley in 2003. Most recently, from September to November 2010, she ran a pop-up tea restaurant at exclusive London department store, Harvey Nicholls.
The first British female pastry chef to win a Master of Culinary Arts (MCA) award in 1997, Clark has had a long association with the Academy of Culinary Arts and was one of the first recipients of the latter's respected Annual Awards of Excellence. She is also a two-time winner of the Craft Guild of Chefs' Pastry Chef of the year.
Commenting on the award Clark said she was thrilled but surprised by the recognition. "I got the letter about three weeks ago and I really thought it wasn't for me because it was addressed ‘Dear Madam'. I put it aside for 10 minutes, then had another look, saw my name at the bottom and realised it actually was for me. It's fantastic and a great honour."
By Kerstin Kühn
E-mail your comments to Kerstin Kühn here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.caterersearch.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Caterersearch.com jobs