Paul Gayler, executive chef at London's Lanesborough hotel (pictured), has been recognised for a career that has involved more than 40 years in the kitchen, by being awarded a MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.
He was one of several members of the hospitality industry, alongside Tim Gardiner, Patrick Dempsey, Tim and Kit Kemp, Adam Peirson, Kellie Rixon, Peter Salussolia, Mary Berry, May Bliszczak, Brian Potter and Oliver Peyton to be honoured in the latest honours list.
Gayler, who was among the opening team at the Lanesborough 21 years ago, began cooking at 12 years of age for his parents' catering company. Today, aged 56, he was proud and delighted to be told that he had been recommended for the accolade for his services to the hospitality industry and charity. "Catering is a very hard business so it is fantastic to receive recognition in this way," he told Caterer and Hotelkeeper.
"I have received more than 400 e-mails from all over the world congratulating me on the award, which is truly touching. It is really quite hard to take in."
Among the other award winners, Kellie Rixon, managing director of the De Vere Academy and group brand development director of the De Vere Group, received an MBE for service to the hospitality industry.
I'm delighted and very humbled to receive such an honour," she said. "I've been inundated with amazing comments from many of my industry colleagues.
"It's a true reflection of the hard work and dedication of all the tutors, staff and apprentices at the De Vere Academy and really I can't be more proud of them all." Twelve branches of the De Vere Academy have opened over the past two years and a further three are in the pipeline.
The industry was well-represented in the honours list with Tim Gardiner, vice chair at Tourism for All, who was knighted for his work in the tourism business, particularly in promoting the needs of all customers, regardless of accessibility requirements, while Patrick Dempsey, managing director of Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants, which includes responsibility for the UK's largest hotel group, Premier Inn, received an OBE for services to the hotel industry. Dempsey said he considered the award to be recognition for everybody that he had had the pleasure of working with over many years in the industry. "This award encourages me to continue to champion our industry, in particular the work we are doing to help the long-term youth unemployed find work, and to support the various charities that we work with," he added.
Meanwhile, husband and wife team, Tim and Kit Kemp, were both honoured with an MBE, for services to hospitality and charity. Their eight-strong Firmdale Hotels group has become one of London's biggest success stories in the sector with its consistently high occupancies and stylish interiors providing inspiration for so many other operators.
Brian Potter, whose family owns Potters Leisure Resort in at Hopton-on-Sea, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, was also awarded an MBE. The resort has been owned by the Potter family since 1920.
Born on the west coast of Ireland, Oliver Peyton, founder and chairman of Peyton and Byrne, and ajudge on BBC 2's Great British Menu, received an honorary OBE for services to the hospitality industry. The award, he said, was "the icing on the cake" of a wonderful career, which has culminated in him running eight London restaurants today in public spaces, including the Inn the Park in St James's Park, the Restaurant at the Royal Academy of Arts and the National Dining Rooms. "I am hugely surprised, but am thrilled to have received an OBE," he said. "It's a magnificent honour. I want to thank my sisters, Caitriona, Siobhan and Marie, who run Peyton and Byrne alongside me, as it wouldn't have been possible without their help and support."
Other award winners include:
â- Adam Peirson, sous chef at Claridge's, MBE for services to skills in his role as WorldSkills Ambassador for Cooking at London 2011
â- Mary Berry, cookery writer and broadcaster, CBE for services to culinary arts
â- Mary Bliszczak, school catering training co-ordinator and cookery volunteer, Cambridgeshire County Council, MBE for services to school food.
By Janet Harmer
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