Chef Cyrus Todiwala has picked up the top accolade at the 2005 Springboard Awards for Excellence, in recognition of his work in encouraging youngsters to enter the industry.
The awards, held last night at the Brewery conference centre in Chiswell Street, London, celebrate and reward inspiring people, organisations and initiatives that raise the profile of the industry as an employer to attract new talent.
Todiwala, proprietor and executive chef at London's Café Spice Namaste, won the Special Award, which honours the most outstanding contribution to the industry over the past 12 months.
Todiwala, who also won the Catey Education and Training award earlier this year, said he was shocked to have won.
"Winning this award came as a big surprise as I didn't know I was in for it. I'm really happy and consider myself very fortunate," he said.
Springboard chief executive Anne Pierce said: "Cyrus recognizes that we need to change perceptions and he puts a lot of time, effort and enthusiasm into this.
"His work with schools, colleges and disadvantaged people is greatly appreciated and he always leaves you with a wealth of knowledge, pride and passion that cannot always be gained in the classroom."
Further awards last night included: the Ambassador's Award, which went to Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh; the Young People Award, which was given to Compass Group UK & Ireland; the Best Employer Award, which went to the Novotel London West; and the Recruitment Award for Hospitality and Leisure, which was sponsored by Caterer & Hotelkeeper and presented to Corus Hotels.
by Kerstin Kühn
Best Regional Initiative: Compass Group UK & Ireland
Web Award: The People Tree
Education Award (large organisation): Glasgow Hoteliers Personnel & Training Forum
Education Award (small organisation): Asian & Oriental School of Catering
Best Student Placement Provider (large organisation): Mitchells & Butlers
Best Student Placement Provider (small organisation): The Goring
Diversity in Employment Award: Marriott Hotels, Scotland Cluster
International Award: Macdonald Aviemore Highland Resort
Best Career Progression Award: Malmaison & Hotel Du Vin Hotels
Retention Award: Red Carnation Hotels
Recruitment Award - Travel & Tourism: Thomas Cook
Corporate Citizenship Award: Gala Group