The UK hospitality industry staged its own Oscars, The Cateys, at the Grosvenor House, Park Lane on 7th September 2021 to celebrate the achievements and excellence that the sector has seen over the last 12 months.
This was the first time that many from the industry had gathered together since March 2020, certainly in such large numbers, and over that relatively short period so much has changed for each and every organisation and individual.
Over the prior 18 or 19 months COVID-19 has hit the industry particularly hard with countless jobs lost, organisations going into hibernation or worse, businesses needing to redesign their structures and models overnight, and huge uncertainty at every turn.
Hospitality and its teams, however, are hugely resilient and although the Great Room resonated to significant amounts of conversation relating to the impact of COVID-19, there was even more relating to the drive towards a strong and lasting recovery and the pleasure of re-connecting with colleagues and friends in a more social environment after so long.
In and amongst the old friends however, were delightfully and noticeably many new faces which positively reflected the changing shape and dynamic nature of the industry. Organisations such as Flipdish, Travelzoo and 4C Associates were all recognisable as new sponsors helping bring a healthy and vibrant energy to proceedings.
The awards themselves are very significant both to the sector and the winners, as recipients are nominated, selected, and rewarded by their peers ensuring that recognition reaches those that genuinely deserve it. We, however, must not forget this year that so many more awards could have been handed out at this event. In hospitality, our primary purpose is to look after others and the pandemic has brought those skills to the fore. At a time of adversity, human nature is often to look inwardly, however the hospitality sector once again has gone above and beyond in reaching out to its communities and particularly those in need during COVID-19 to ensure that as many people as possible continue to experience the compassion and caring that the industry exudes – the industry should be genuinely proud of its achievements in such harsh conditions.
During the evening itself, many very worthy award winners were announced including accolades going to Allister Richards of CH&CO (the Foodservice Caterer Award), PPHE Hotel Group (Best Employer Award) and Andrew Wong (Chef Award). Notable awards were also given to the chairman and chief executive of Westbury Street Holdings Alastair Storey (Lifetime Achievement Award) and a special award was made to Murano chef, Angela Hartnett for her accomplishments as a restaurateur, chef, TV personality, author, and philanthropist.
The real winner at this stunning ceremony on the night though was the industry itself. In a year like no other, they have proved yet again what strength, innovation, and agility there is in the hospitality sector and although not out of the woods quite yet, there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel. Only time will tell if the Catey’s 2021 will go down as a positive turning point for the sector however, if nothing else, the night was a glowing success, the organisers from the Caterer did us proud and the industry once again, if only for a night, had a collective smile on their lips.
4C Associates are proud to have been part of the celebration, and having the opportunity to present Sue Williams, General Manager at Whatley Manor with the Sustainable Business Award for leading the way in best-practice environmental and social sustainability, by Gavin Bowen-Ashwin, Managing Partner at 4C Associates.