Vic Laws and Willy Bauer recognised in New Year's Honours

31 December 2011 by
Vic Laws and Willy Bauer recognised in New Year's Honours

Catering consultant Vic Laws and hotelier Willy Bauer are among the hospitality stars to be named in the New Year's Honours list awarded by The Queen for 2012.

Laws, founder of AVL Consultancy, has been made an MBE for his services to the UK hospitality sector.

His industry career began in the kitchen when he went to Acton Hotel School (now part of University of West London) where one of his chef instructors was renowned catering educationalist Victor Ceserani MBE.

His first full-time role was as a trainee manager at the Mount Royal Hotel in Oxford Street, part of Grand Metropolitan Hotels, before he opted to move into restaurants and banqueting in local government, at St Albans, Coventry and Southend.

In order to broaden his skills base, Laws then moved into sales, selling prepared foods to institutional establishments such as colleges, prisons and hospitals.

He then spent time in airport catering at Luton Airport, THF and Grandmet before joining contract caterer Aramark as managing director for B&I and leisure, where he successfully won the catering contract at the old Wembley Stadium from the long-term incumbent of 57 years.

Laws founded AVL Consultancy in 1986 and was instrumental in setting up the catering companies of Mediclean (now ISS) and Taylorplan (which later became part of Sodexo). Two years later he became heavily involved with local authorities when Compulsive Competitive Tendering (CCT) was introduced.

AVL was later appointed to take over the administration of the Local Authorities Caterers Association (LACA) and subsequently added the Association of Catering Excellence (ACE) and Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) to its portfolio.

Laws is also the restaurant ambassador for the Clink, the public restaurant set up inside Her Majesty's Prison High Down, in Sutton, as well as an active member of a number of industry associations including the Institute of Hospitality and the Academy of Culinary Arts.

He said he was delighted to be granted this honour and accepted not just for his services to the hospitality industry but also as recognition of the "ever increasing important role that consultants play in the sector".

Bauer, the chairman of AB Hotels, has been made an OBE for services to hospitality. He embarked on his hotel career in his home country of Germany, where he undertook management training at Hotel Rad Biberach in 1957, before continuing his on the job education at Lausanne and Geneva, Switzerland.

He moved to the UK in 1962 when he joined the team at the Grand Hotel Eastbourne, before moving to the Grand Metropolitan Hotel in London.

Among his many achievements was the rescue of London's Hyde Park hotel in the 1970s. Appointed general manager of the ailing hotel aged just 38, Bauer transformed the fortunes of the property in five years to become Trust House Forte's flagship hotel.

He followed this with a similar achievement at the five-star Grosvenor House before being appointed general manager and managing director of the iconic Savoy hotel. During his eight-year tenure, he was described by the board as "having brought the Savoy back to past glory".

In 1989, Bauer became chief executive of the Wentworth Group, which under his leadership became the blueprint for many golf and country clubs in the UK.

He is a staunch supporter of charities and among other notable efforts, he co-founded the Ark Foundation, which provides help to those in the hospitality industry who become reliant on drink or drugs.

Bauer's services to the hospitality industry have been recognised before, when he was honoured with the Outstanding Contribution Award at the 2009 Hotel Cateys.

Other recipients in the New Year's Honours list included:

  • Anna Hansen, chef proprietor of the Modern Pantry, who was recognised with an MBE for services to the restaurant industry.
  • Paul Gould, group executive head chef of the NEC Group's catering business Amadeus, who was made an OBE for services to hospitality.
  • Jeanette Orrey, school meals policy adviser for Food for Life and the former dinner lady who inspired Jamie Oliver's school dinners campaign, awarded an MBE for services to food in schools.
  • Bajloor Rashid, restaurateur and president of the Bangladesh Caterers Association, who was awarded OBE for services to Bangladeshi catering.

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By Janie Stamford

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