The winner of the Outstanding Service to the Industry Award is Michael Jessop, kitchen platforms manager at Whitbread.
The recipient of this award is an individual who has given tremendous service to one of the hospitality industry’s largest businesses behind brands such as Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Cookhouse + Pub and Premier Inn.
Initially responsible for delivering chef training for new-build sites and conversions, Mr Jessop quickly gained additional responsibility for food safety and operational compliance.
Over the years, he has been involved in delivering end-to-end menu processes for all group brands from strategic brief to execution, managing cross-functional teams to deliver their tasks within agreed timelines.
His understanding of the inner workings of a kitchen from a chef’s point of view gave him the ideal skill-set to move deeper into the kitchen specification side of the business and into a role that he is perhaps best known for now.
Today, he has ownership for kitchen template designs across all brands within the estate, including new sites, conversions and refurbishments. He is responsible for creating new kitchen designs for emerging brands, ensuring they optimise the latest equipment developments within the industry.
With an annual Capex budget of more than £15m to manage – and a focus on sourcing equipment that ensures longevity, energy efficiency and operational functionality – Mr Jessop truly lives and breathes an industry that he has served for more than three decades.
He said: “I don’t know what to say really. I’m absolutely shocked. I was listening to what was being read out during the announcement and thought, that sounds familiar. I really appreciate it.”