Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has been named the most powerful and influential person in the UK hospitality industry for the second consecutive year.
Oliver beat Grant Hearn, executive chairman of budget hotel chain Travelodge, and fellow celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, chef-patron of the three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck group, to the top spot in the fourth Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100 (formerly known as the Caterersearch.com 100), our list of the 100 most influential people in hospitality.
The Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100, in association with Britvic Soft Drinks, recognises key players whose actions have the greatest impact, and ranks candidates on criteria ranging from direct power, success, innovation, future potential and their wider influence across the sector.
Oliver clinched the top spot for the second year in a row because of his influence and far reach across the industry. He is a chef, restaurateur, campaigner, television star and author as well as the face of Sainsbury's. Recent years have seen a highly successful launch into the casual-dining market, with Jamie's Italian as well as the opening of Barbecoa and the forthcoming launch of a new chain called Union Jack's. Over the past year, Oliver also launched party caterers Fabulous Feasts and a new range of wood-fired ovens, while last December his cookbook Jamie's 30-Minute Meals became the fastest-selling non-fiction book of all time.
Oliver was unavailable for comment as Caterer went to press but a spokesman for the celebrity chef said he was "humbled and honoured" to have topped the list for a second year.
In at two is the highest-ranked hotelier, Hearn, who has climbed two places from fourth position last year. As well as having been credited with revolutionising the budget hotel sector, he has tirelessly fought the hospitality corner in the political and educational arena. As executive chairman he is now tasked with doubling the group's portfolio by 2020.
Hearn commented: "This is great recognition for all at Travelodge and highlights our efforts in creating jobs and making our industry a powerhouse within the British economy. Hopefully it will inspire other hotel companies to participate in trying to make the Government improve its performance in the British tourism sector and help support our industry bodies to achieve their goals."
At number three is Blumenthal, who, in addition to his flagship three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck restaurant, also operates the Hinds Head and Crown pubs in Bray as well as Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London. Commenting on his placing, Blumenthal said: "It's great to be ranked so high in what is quite a prestigious list indeed. It has been an incredible year so far with the opening of Dinner and we are still working on so many other projects, it is really nice for the whole team to have this recognition."
The Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100
The Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100 is compiled by a judging panel of industry experts and senior journalists from Caterer and Hotelkeeper. For full profiles of every business leader featured on this year's list visit www.caterersearch.com/100.
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