Winterhalter’s former commercial director, Andy Blake, has collected the CESA Outstanding Contribution Award to the Industry Award in recognition of his longstanding dedication to the food service industry.
After over 30 years in the business, Mr Blake retired in May 2019, but CESA celebrated his career by ensuring that his lifetime’s work is properly acknowledged.
Thanks to various subterfuges, he had no idea that he had won the award, and as a result was visibly shocked when it was announced at the annual CESA Conference last week.
“I feel so privileged to be recognised by the industry. The award was totally unexpected – I never saw it coming,” he said. “I still don’t know what I have done to deserve it but, I’m not going to think too much but just enjoy it. It’s a great feeling.”
Mr Blake entered the foodservice industry in 1973, studying a diploma in catering and hospitality at High Peak College in his native Derbyshire.
He began as a chef, but then in 1987 geared himself towards the business side of the industry, becoming an area sales representative for Hobart.
He eventually became Airline Catering Manager, where he secured the biggest warewash order for Hobart Worldwide, for a project at Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok Airport worth £3.75m.
Mr Blake joined Winterhalter as sales director in 1998. During his 18 years in the role, he helped to develop a wide range of the brand’s divisions, from chemicals to machines, and was well-known for his mantra of ‘sell a system, not just a machine’. It was this mentality which saw him become commercial director in 2011.
He also worked with the FCSI and became a member of the CESA council in 2016.
“Andy’s commitment to the food industry has been huge, and without his support and contribution we couldn’t do the work we do,” said John Whitehouse, chair of CESA. “Indeed, CESA identifies the universe of installed equipment in the market using the ‘Andy Blake approach’.”