The Caterer

Minute on the clock: Jonathan Raggett, managing director, Red Carnation Hotels

18 May 2016 by
Minute on the clock: Jonathan Raggett, managing director, Red Carnation Hotels

On 6 June, Jonathan Raggett, managing director of Red Carnation Hotels, will be one of many industry figures to take part in the ‘Tour de Cuisine', the Cotswold Cycle Challenge, in aid of Hospitality Action. He tells Neil Gerrard more about what is involved and why it is important to take part.

First of all, what is the Tour de Cuisine and what is involved?

The Tour de Cuisine, sponsored by Zenith Hygiene Group, is a cycle ride which will pass through picturesque Cotswold villages and countryside on Monday 6 June. It starts and finishes at the beautiful Beaufort Polo Club in Tetbury and there are four routes to choose from. There's a short route at 20 miles; two mid routes at 40 and 60 miles; and if they're not tough enough, there's a 100-mile route.

Along the way there will be feeding stations, offering an array of delicious delights, kindly arranged by local hotels. The event will be a fantastic way to get out, get active and support the industry's charity.

How challenging do you expect it to be?

Any long-distance sporting event is tough if you don't prepare properly. I cycle to and from work when I am in the UK and also try and get out and do extra miles in the early mornings in the summer. When I find time I really enjoy a ride out to the Surrey Hills.

How many are taking part?

We have 160 participants, with employees from many companies taking part, including Red Carnation, Chewton Glen, the Capital Hotel Group, Zenith Hygiene Group, Calcot Manor, Lucknam Park, Exclusive Hotels, Bespoke Hotels, Caterlink, Whatley Manor, the Pig and Rocco Forte Hotels.

Why cycling?

Cycling is the new golf! Over the last few years every man I know has bought a bike and become a Mamil [a middle-aged man in lycra]. The great idea with the Tour de Cuisine is that there are different length rides to give everyone an opportunity.

How much money do you hope to raise collectively and how does that compare to last year?

Last year 112 participants raised a phenomenal £35,000 for Hospitality Action. I really hope we can double that amount this year and Team Red Carnation will be out in force to help make it happen.

Why is it important to support Hospitality Action?

Hospitality is a very enjoyable but, at times, stressful job and Hospitality Action provides a safety net for those that fall on tough times. It gives back to this fantastic industry and I am a proud trustee of the charity. Last year we spent £632,650 supporting 2,021 people. This is a 6% increase in money spent on 2015 and we have seen demand for help continue to grow this year.

Who are hospitality's fastest cyclists?

There are no fast cyclists in hospitality that ride the Tour de Cuisine! I have my domestiques who sacrifice everything for their team leader! These unsung heroes toiling away are Julian Tomlin and Danny Pecorelli from Exclusive Hotels and Venues, Erick Kervaon of the Bingham, Chris Horn of Gold Key Media, Ashley Palmer-Watts from Dinner, Andrew Stembridge from Chewton Glen and my water carrier, Gareth Sefton from SeftonHornWinch.

To sign up for the ride, visit

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