Council Members and Patrons

The ACE Council members are made up of prominent individuals who work in the foodservice sector.

The entire council meet roughly 4 times per year although there are additional planning meetings which take place by sub committees who are essential in the organisation of the individual events.

If you would like to get involved then please speak to one of the existing council members.

Council Members

  • Jeni Edwards (Chairman)

    Jeni Edwards


    Bartlett Mitchell

  • Paul Hurren (Vice Chairman)

    Paul Hurren

    Vice Chairman


  • Kevin Colclough-Noble

    Kevin Colclough-Noble


  • Ruston Toms (Past Chairman)

    Ruston Toms

    Past Chairman

    Blue Apple Contract Catering Ltd

  • Sean Valentine (Past Chairman)

    Sean Valentine

    Past Chairman

    The Aspire Group

  • Norman L. Deas (Past Chairman)

    Norman L. Deas

    Past Chairman

    GSS Catering Management Services Ltd

  • Jon Hewett (Past Chairman)

    Jon Hewett

    Past Chairman

    Hewett Associates

  • Cathy Wilcox

    Cathy Wilcox

    Wilcox Burchmore

  • Sue Thompson

    Sue Thompson

    Restaurant Associates

  • Sarah-Jayne Gandy

    Sarah-Jayne Gandy


  • Graham Eveleigh

    Graham Eveleigh

  • Tony Ball

    Tony Ball


  • Carol Borhani

    Carol Borhani

    Angel Human Resources PLC

  • Gaye Bullard

    Gaye Bullard

    Eat With Your Eyes

Jeni Edwards (Chairman)

Jeni began her career in hotels, working for an international 5* hotel group in South Africa. She moved to London in 1986 and worked for Leadenhall Wine Company, managing 3 of their restaurants and wine bars in the City.

In 1989, she joined Leith's Management to run the catering contract at a prominent City Law Firm and in 1997 went on to launch and manage the food service operations for Sutcliffe Catering at Barclay's Capital in Canary Wharf, a prestigious contract that set a new and exceptional standard in contract catering.

In January 2000, she moved to a sales role at Holroyd Howe and was appointed Business Development Director, taking their business from 18 contracts to 135. Jeni became Sales Director for Holroyd Howe Independent, when the company merged with BaxterStorey in 2008 and continued to contribute to the successful growth of their business for 3 more years.

She then joined Bartlett Mitchell as UK Sales Director before starting up her own business in October 2013. IJEss Consulting provides catering consultancy and strategic business development support for a number of corporate clients in the foodservice sector, with services ranging from transition management projects through to specialist food tours.

Paul Hurren (Vice Chairman)

Paul Hurren is Managing Director of Lusso; the niche city and fine dining specialist business within the CH&Co catering group which delivers fine food to the employees of law, accountancy, insurance and banking firms both within the Square Mile and also in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.

Paul joined Lusso in 2003, having previously worked at Avenance and since his arrival the company has experienced significant growth, as well as a four fold increase in clients.

Paul's passion for his role and for the industry and his single-minded dedication to making every dining experience memorable sets him apart. With Paul at the helm, Lusso has become one of the most respected and dynamic companies within city dining food service, with a well-deserved reputation for innovative and exquisite food, beautifully presented and faultlessly delivered with great service. Paul's team of professionals serve 8,000 meals each day to the hard working, demanding city workers at Blue Chip companies such as Investec, SJ Berwin LLP, Mulberry and Norton Rose.

Lusso's 2011 turnover was £16.5 million and the group employs 420 people across London and beyond.

Paul lives in East London and has three children. His interests include gardening, the theatre and great food and wine.

Kevin Colclough-Noble

Kevin trained at Westminster College, London and qualified with an OND in Hotel and Catering Operations and later the HCIMA membership qualification.

Kevin then trained with the Savoy Hotels Group and undertook their Management Training Programme for a 2 year period.

He then moved to the Bank of England where he remained as Senior Catering Manager for almost 20 years. After a period with Harrison Catering and Chamberlain Restaurants, Kevin joined Elior in 2003 and has held Operation and Brand Manager positions and is currently working with the Marks and Spencer organisation in London.

Kevin is a past Chairman and a Fellow of ACE as well as being a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality.

Ruston Toms (Past Chairman)

My career in this fantastic industry started when I took a part time job as a Hall Porter at Pennyhill Park Hotel, Surrey. This led to becoming a Commis Chef at the same hotel. Whilst at Pennyhill I completed a four year City and Guilds day release course at Westminster Kingsway College.

I made the transition from the kitchen into catering management with Gardner Merchant and benefitted from numerous training courses at the Kenley Training Centre. As with many people in this industry the operational experience I gained over my ‘formative’ years was very varied. This included catering management positions at Heathrow Airport, an Insurance company in Surrey, Syon Park, Twickenham, retail food courts with M&S, hospitality at Wimbledon, etc.

I then spent some time in business development with Pall Mall and then left a business development position at Initial Catering (Autograph) to set up a foodservice business called Blue Apple in 1998. Blue Apple has grown to an £8M company and has become an established business and industry operator.

As well as my ACE Chairmanship, I am one of the founding trustees of The PM Trust. This is a charity whose purpose is to provide financial assistance to young people embarking on a career in foodservice.

I was recently made a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my teenage kids, ‘researching’ leading restaurants, cooking at home and sailing when I get the time.

Sean Valentine (Past Chairman)

Sean is one of the industry's young leaders with a career structure that has encompassed major business development for client and employer alike. Before taking on the role of Managing Director and shareholder of the Aspire Group, Sean was Managing Director and shareholder of a retail focused hospitality company. He has also been Sales and Marketing Director for the second largest catering organisation in the world developing such keynote projects for Ascot Hospitality where he scored high success for his company via the creation of the Ascot Racecourse direct sales network. This innovation subsequently transformed the way in which catering was managed at Ascot — and in the process added several millions to the earning programme for both parties.

Norman L. Deas (Past Chairman)

Throughout all of his working life Norman has been associated with all aspects of the Catering Industry.

Having graduated from the Scottish Hotel School at the University of Strathclyde, Norman gained practical hands-on experience with several companies within the then Trust House Forte Group including the Cafe Royal, Russell Hotel and various airports, before moving into Food and Service Management, holding various senior management positions within the Compass Group, Russell & Brand and the Pall Mall Services Group.

In between these moves Norman also managed to gain considerable experience of the Supply Industry having been Managing Director of AFE On Line — a national catering equipment wholesale distribution company.

Norman then went on to set up his own Food & Service Management Company, Goodfellows CMS Ltd, and developed the company to such a level that it was ultimately purchased by the Compass Group in 2004.

Since the acquisition Norman has been managing his own Catering Consultancy, GSS, as well as taking up a non-executive directorship role with Pride Catering Partnership Ltd.

Norman is a Past Chairman and a Fellow of ACE as well as being a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality and an Associate Member of the FCSI.

Jon Hewett (Past Chairman)

Jon trained at Brighton Polytechnic and qualified with an HND in Hotel and Catering Management before entering a two year management training course with Whitbread.

A move to London lead to a seven year spell working with Sutcliffe Catering as General Catering Manager in a number of individual locations and finally as an Area Manager looking after a high profile group of City business.

It was during this time that Jon met Stuart Everson and the company they formed; Everson Hewett grew to become one of the strongest and recognisable niche independent caterers in London. The company continued to grow following its acquisition and integration into the Compass Fine Dining Division in 2005.

Following five years in the position of Business Development Director for Restaurant Associates, Jon formed Hewett Associates, a business focused on advising companies on their growth and client retention strategies.

Married to Cathryn with two young children, William and Anabelle, Jon lives in Hampshire and when not working, looks after animals including his loyal rescue donkey, Bertie.

Cathy Wilcox

Cathy often describes her work life as “If it wasn't my job, it would be my hobby”. Since her first job at a Saturday waitress in the ‘Orange Grove’ in Southampton to now owning her own company ‘WilcoxBurchmore’ designing and installing commercial kitchens and restaurants.

Following my HND at Oxford Brooks, I worked in hotels until my first foray into staff catering, with what was then Grandmet Catering Services. I swiftly moved into the Design and Planning department and loved the fact that I could advise clients based on my own experience in kitchens, serveries and restaurants.

I have worked with some fantastic clients over the years — some who have become firm friends and stayed in touch, worked together as our careers have spanned the years.

I met Michael, my business partner in my last job and at 27; he brings youthful spirit, computer savvy and innovative design to our business. I've been introducing him to our truly wonderful business that engenders passion, enthusiasm and excellence; what a combination.

Being a committee member of ACE means I can give something back to the industry that I've been fortunate enough to work in during my career, and I love getting involved in the organising of the events and seeing the enjoyment it brings to our members.

Sue Thompson

Sue is a strong leader with a real belief in delivering innovation and the highest standards in food and service possible, whilst building strong relationships with her clients and teams. She started her career working with Brian Turner as Manager for his restaurant Turners in Knightsbridge. She then ran Albert Roux's city restaurant, Le Poulbot in Cheapside.

Sue was promoted to General Catering Manager for the Roux Restaurants account for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 1993. During this time she has worked with many senior chefs, including Gordon Ramsay, Albert Roux and Roger Naylor.

In January 1995, she took up the position of Operations Manager with Roux Fine Dining, a role that developed into Business Director managing key strategic clients such as Merrill Lynch, Coutts, Morgan Stanley and UBS. Whilst in this role Compass UK & Ireland brought the Restaurant Associates brand to the UK and Sue has played a key role in the ongoing development of the Restaurant Associates brand in the UK.

Today, Sue works closely with the Restaurant Associates associate chefs Albert Roux, Michel Roux, Jr. and Jason Atherton. Sue is responsible for Michelin Starred Restaurant, City Social, and Roux at Parliament Square, as well as a significant number of the Restaurant Associates Business & industry clients.

Sarah-Jayne Gandy

Sarah-Jayne started her career in this industry working for Nelson Hind Catering at the tender age of 18 as a Trainee Chef Manager. Keen to move out of the kitchen and into sales, SJ started her sales career in the Nelson Hind Head office working for many of the future independents in our industry, burning the midnight tender deadline oil on more than one occasion!

In 1996 she joined Brakes in the junior ranks, and was promoted to National Account Manager initially in the Education Team, and then in the Contract Catering Team.

In 2003 she worked for Acquire, for 3 years, before returning again to be a National Account Manager but working for 3663 this time, mainly on the Prison Service Tender.

She is currently the Sales Controller for KFF, the largest, and longest standing SE based independent food wholesaler, and is a member of the Senior Management Team, reporting to the MD Chris Beckley.

Graham Eveleigh

Graham Eveleigh is Head of Skills Development for BaxterStorey. Based in Reading in Berkshire and in London, but working across the UK, Graham oversees a dynamic team of trainers who run extensive ‘in house’ training and development programmes through a series of highly valued and award winning academies.

Graham joined the company in 2006 when Holroyd Howe was acquired by BaxterStorey having been a part of the management team that saw a sustained growth of that business over 7 years.

His career in the contract sector began whilst working for Prue Leith, as Head Chef for Leith's Management at the prestigious Allen and Ovary law firm, at the time their largest City contract. With the acquisition of Leith's by Compass, Graham was promoted to Executive Chef for the Contract Division working in a team closely associated to Roux Fine Dining and Eurest under Ian Mitchell.

Tony Ball

Tony has been working within the Foodservice industry for over 25 years. He graduated from Surrey University with a degree in Hotel, Catering and Tourism Management. In his early career he worked for Compass but then moved into the sales environment with Brakes where he worked for several years in local regional and national sales teams.

In 2001 he joined 3663 as Business Development Controller and is working in the National accounts team.

He is currently Director of Sales and has responsibility for the Cost Sector including the Business and Industry channel and for Swithenbank Foods the specialist fresh division of 3663. Tony has been a member of the committee for ACE for the past 8 years.

Carol Borhani

Studied in South East London College for my City and Guilds and an OND.

After leaving college I started work for Gardener Merchant as a Chef Manager at the Commercial Union building in the Barbican. Then moved on to work for the Civil Service Catering organisation at the Ministry Defence.

During the early 80's I moved to America and worked in the family restaurant.

On returning to the UK in the mid 80's I briefly worked for Allied Lyons in Charing Cross as an Assistant Restaurant Manager before joining Angel as a Recruitment Consultant.

I live in South East London with my husband Keivan and have 3 grown up children.

In my spare time I help run a supplementary school and am a volunteer with the Scout and Guide organisations.

Gaye Bullard

Gaye has been a ‘foodie’ since qualifying in Hotel Management and enjoys nothing more than creating new concepts and bringing them to life for customers' enjoyment.

Joining Garner Merchant as an Executive trainee, Gaye quickly progressed through operational management until as a Client Account Executive managed a portfolio of business worth £13 million in her mid twenties.

From operational management, Gaye moved into marketing spending 7 years with ARAMARK as UK Marketing Manager for both B and I and Education building market leading value propositions and go to market brands.

As marketing director for Eat with your Eyes, Gaye focussed on retail catering, exploring high street brands and exploiting revenue generating opportunities.

More recently Gaye has converted this cross market experience and joined Sodexo Prestige in Business Development, responsible for Venues, Sports, Stadia, B and I and global client FM strategies.

Gaye is a very keen ambassador for ACE and believes that it is the only association that puts members interest at the core of its purpose.

“Meeting quarterly to meet new people and extend your network is a fabulous opportunity to get the every best from our fabulous and exciting industry.”


Our Patrons are all eminent members of our industry and we are grateful to them for all their support

  • Sue Harrison

    Director, Hospitality & Leisure Consulting

    read Sue’s profile…

    Sue first worked in hotels as a schoolgirl in Derbyshire before studying for a degree in Hotel and Catering Management at the University of Surrey. Her desire to train in 5-star hotel food and beverage operations led to an international career, culminating in opening new properties for a leading hotel group in South Africa, where she met her husband, Richard.

    Returning to London in 1986, Sue worked for the legendary Michel and Albert Roux, initially as Contracts Operations Manager before also taking on responsibility for their restaurant operations as Group Operations Manager. During her five years with the Roux Brothers, she had the privilege of working with and helping to develop a rare pool of young, talented chefs, including Philip Howard, Michel Roux Jnr and (briefly) Gordon Ramsay.

    In 1992, Sue was appointed to head the in-house catering team at the House of Commons as Director of Catering and Retail Services, a position she held for 20 years. During this time, Sue oversaw the expansion of catering services into 3 new buildings and a multi-million pound modernisation of the kitchen and back-of house premises in the Palace of Westminster, more than doubling customer numbers to over 8,000 a day. Growth of commercial services – particularly banqueting and retail souvenirs sales – led to Sue's appointment as Director of Business Strategy, responsible for developing income streams for the House of Commons and preparing the way for services to open to the public.

    After a career spanning hotels, restaurants, foodservice operations and public sector, Sue decided in 2013 that the time was right to set up her own business. Hospitality and Leisure Consulting offers discreet and tailored services to businesses wishing to improve their operational effectiveness and individuals taking on new, strategic responsibilities within their organisation.

    Sue has been a Trustee of the industry's benevolent charity, Hospitality Action, since 2004, was an external examiner at Manchester Metropolitan University for 4 years and is a qualified Programme Manager.


  • Chris John


  • Robyn Jones, OBE


    read Robyn’s profile…

    Robyn Jones, OBE, is co-founder and chief executive of CH&Co, an independent catering group with five specialist brands: Charlton House (staff catering at B&I sites), Lusso (City and fine dining), Chester Boyd (livery halls and private venues), It's the Agency (venues and events booking agency) and Ampersand (public and private event catering at iconic venues).

    It is one of the most respected, vibrant, cutting edge companies within the food service sector today. The company has a reputation for fine food, unrivalled service and a passion for making each and every eating experience a memorable one. Current annual turnover stands at approximately £75 million and the group employs almost 2,000 people nationwide.

    With its roots historically in staff catering within the business & industry sector, CH&Co has a growing portfolio of clients in the commercial sector, venues, public catering and most recently, in the highly prized City livery hall sector.

    Clients include Her Majesty's Treasury, The RIBA, the Law Society, Hogan Lovells and Sony. The company also manages The Garden Cafe at Buckingham Palace and public catering at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

    As well as creating employment for almost 2,000 people and growing the business into a vibrant catering group with a diverse client base, Jones is a trustee of the PM Trust, a patron of the Association of Catering Excellence and she is a guardian member of Hospitality In Action, a benevolent organisation for people within the hospitality industry.

    Robyn is also a Catey winner, the industry's equivalent to an Oscar, and she won the Booker Prize for Excellence in Catering in 1993.

    She was named the Credit Suisse Outstanding Woman in Business at the National Business Awards 2006, and has been short-listed for many high profile awards, including the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year in 2003. Earlier this year, Robyn Jones appeared in 5th place in the CatererSearch 100 league table of the UK's 100 most influential people in hospitality.

    For further information please see


  • Rosemary A. Osbourne

    Rosemary Osbourne Consultancy

  • Ian Sarson

    Compass Group UK & Ireland

  • Chris Sheppardson

    Chess Partnership

    read Chris’s profile…

    Chris is the founder of Chess Partnership and Chess Executive, which is one of the Industry’s leading executive management recruitment concerns, with offices in London, Geneva, Edinburgh, Manchester and Nottingham. Chris was inspired to start his own business by a belief in the importance of individuals and in the principle of cultural fit within organizations.

    “Most recruitment companies evolve around a database system, which is absolutely fine but in my eyes there is more to appreciate and understand. Recruitment is really about understanding culture, people and the market. Sounds simple but is really quite complex and ever changing, which makes it a fascinating business to lead.”

    Chris is also the editor and publisher of En Passant Magazine, which is circulated on a bi-monthly basis to over 6,000 industry professionals.

    “The Hospitality Industry is never ever dull. It is full of the self-made who have worked via to success through trials and tribulations, of great creative talents, of extrovert and charismatic characters who are passionate and committed to the Industry. So often, the Industry talks itself down and let it actually has so much to talk about. Over the years, I have heard many marvellous tales of courage, of dedication, of humility and of belief. It is an Industry that can inspire.”


  • Alastair Storey


  • Marc Verstringhe

    MESV Consultancy International

    read Marc’s profile…

    • 1951 – 54 Apprentice Norfolk Hotel, Knokke, Zoute, Belgium
    • 1957 – 59 Restaurant Manager - The Lygon Arms, Broadway, Worcestershire
    • 1960 – 75 Sutcliffe Catering Group - Managing Director
    • 1975 – 99 Founder Chairman Catering & Allied Services International Ltd, London – Amsterdam
    • 1985 – Date Chairman – Trustees Advanced Management Programme International
    • 1991 – Date Member of the advisory board of the Centre for International Business and Management - The Judge Business School, Cambridge University
    • 1993 – 2001 Chairman – Digby Trout Restaurants>
    • 1993 – Date Founder Member and Director – The Quality Catering Partners – Zurich
    • 1995 – 2001 Director – Eurocater Limited
    • Honorary President – European Catering Association International
    • Fellow Hotel Catering & Institutional Management Association
    • Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce
    • Catey Award Winner – London 1989
    • Recipient of the Special Distinction Award for Development of Foodservice Operations in Europe – Paris November 1992
    • Recipient of the Blue Ribband Award 1997 – Cost Sector Catering
    • Recipient Millennium Medal of Honour – American Biographical Institute
    • Mention in the Who’s Who in the World and Who’s Who in Finance and Industry – published by MARQUIS Who’s Who, New Providence NJ 07974 USA — since 1984 (
    • HCIMA – Best International Award for Personal Achievement in the Worldwide Hospitality Industry (1999)
    • Honorary Fellow of the Academy of Food and Wine Services (13.5.2000)
    • “Co-author of Managing to Serve – learning from Catering & Allied” written by Sally Heavens and Professor John Child (2002)

    Thoughts on the foodservice industry:

    In the service industry people are clearly the most important asset. It is very much a “people business”.

    In any organisation every member of staff – no matter what position – has a point of view concerning the running of the business. Sensible management will find ways to coordinate and consider these views and bring them together, just as a conductor will draw his musicians together to perform a symphony. In doing so the management are likely to discover changes which can be made to make the business more effective. Successful companies use a team approach, drawing at the brainpower that exists at every level of the workforce, rather than only where it is institutionalised, at the top levels of management. “At the end of the day we would lock our team in the safe at the risk of leaving one’s wallet on the kitchen table!”

    In 2002 Sally Heavens and Professor John Child, members of the Centre of International Business and Management at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, wrote a case study book about Catering & Allied (the company we founded some 30 years ago). In it they relate how the determined application of two core values lead to business success i.e. “Total Commitment to Client Satisfaction no ifs no buts” and “People Working With You and Not For You” centred on imagining what should be rather than accepting what is possible and by not changing what is, but creating what is not.


  • Tim West

    Lexington Catering

    read Tim’s profile…

    Tim realises that there is more to business than just managing your own – there is a responsibility to contribute to the industry at large. Thus Tim is a Fellow of the HCIMA, past Chair of the Food & Service Management panel of the BHA, always a keen supporter of the ECA (now ACE), Springboard the aims of People 1st, and remains closely associated with Oxford Brookes.

    In January 2006 Tim joined Lexington – and sees Lexington has great potential. It has a culture of excellence embracing a ‘can do’ culture where everyone is focussed on delivering superb service.

    Previously Tim was CEO though in the last year Chairman of Avenance and Elior UK. The business is recognised as a major player, and an industry leader. In 1987 Tim had joined High Table as a Director, with prestige business concentrated in London. In 1991 Elior acquired High Table and soon after Tim became Managing Director. Contracts opened in Leeds and Manchester, business flourished. A proud moment was being awarded a Catey in 1998.

    A flurry of acquisitions followed with Nelson Hind, Brian Smith and Catering & Allied all subsequently merged to create Avenance UK.

    Tim spent 5 fantastic years with Compass initially as an Operations Manager in the City, working with excellent people, managing superb business – finally acting as Regional Manager.

    Prior to contract catering Tim had spent 5 action packed years in the NHS in major teaching hospitals – latterly acting as District Catering Manager for Guys.

    Tim started work with Barclays Bank. However he soon undertook an HND in Hotel & Catering at Oxford Brookes.

    Tim is a Freeman of the City and a livery man. Other interests include golf and fishing.