“A generous mentor and truly an industry expert” – tributes paid to former FEA technical director Bryan Whittaker

Bryan Whittaker, technical director

The Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) has announced the death of its esteemed former technical director, Bryan Whittaker MBE.

Mr Whittaker passed away on Saturday 2 April after a short illness. He was 84-years-old.

Mr Whittaker was technical director of FEA (formerly known as CESA) until 2001, when he ‘retired’ to serve as the CESA Technical Consultant, from 2001 to 2017.

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He was hugely instrumental in key events in CESA’s history, including the merger of CEMA (the Catering Equipment Manufacturers Association) and CEIA (the Catering Equipment Importers Association) in 1996, and the negotiation of the sponsorship agreement with Reed Exhibitions for the Hotelympia and Hospitality exhibitions.

He was also secretary general of EFCEM (European Federation of Catering Equipment Manufacturers) from 1995 to 1997 and the chair of its Technical Board.

Concurrent with his work for CESA, he was a director of Metcom (Mechanical and Metal Trades Confederation) providing technical representation and support services to fourteen engineering trade associations. He was also secretary to the Engineering Industry Forum.

The FEA said Mr Whittaker had an open, convivial and multifaceted character, with a great depth of knowledge. He was able to talk knowledgeably on many aspects of life. He had an engaging personality and was at ease with all he met, regardless of their role or status.

As a mechanical engineer, his extensive skill-set and knowledge were put to great effect in the catering equipment industry and the wider engineering industry. Hailed as “truly an industry expert”, his span of knowledge included gas, electrical, machinery, environmental and ventilation policy and standards development.

The FEA described him as a “generous mentor” and said he “used his knowledge to support companies with expert technical advice”.

In 2005 he received the MBE for services to the industry, which included the extensive revision of the Machinery Safety Directive to ensure its clarity and relevance to manufacturers. His strong attention to detail and commitment to clarity meant he was highly respected by standards and policy makers.

In 2007 Mr Whittaker received the  Outstanding Service to the Catering Industry Award. In 2017 he was honoured by the British Standards Institute (BSI) with a Distinguished Service Certificate, in recognition of his decades of dedicated and professional service.

Keith Warren, chief executive of FEA, said: “Bryan will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege of working with him and who were fortunate to know him as a friend.”

Mr Whittaker is survived by his wife, Joyce, his four children and 14 grandchildren.

His funeral service will take place at Colchester Crematorium, Mersea Road, Colchester CO2 8RU on Thursday 28 April at 1.15pm.

Catering equipment technical guru has ‘done more than anyone’ to shape kitchen standards

Tags : Bryan WhittakerCESAFEA
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour


  1. Such a great man, Brian made such an impression on me as a young engineer, he and Keith are one of the reasons I stayed in the industry all those years ago.

    It was a privilege to have known him, condolences to his family for their loss at this time

  2. Bryan was a wonderful friend and colleague. He helped me to settled in to the new CESA Council when we at CEIA merged with them in the mid 90’s..
    Latterly, when I became involved in EFCEM he, Keith Warren and I spent many a happy hour on the EFCEM Express (Eurostar) travelling between London and Brussels for meetings.
    Despite the sometimes arduous nature of the negotiations between several European Associations the days were never wasted nor dull with Bryan and Keith for company.
    Never mind Europe, we put the whole world to rights and Bryan had a steadfast view on everything under the sun.
    I will miss him greatly.

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