- NEWS & CHAT
The year has gone so fast and I can’t believe I am writing an end of year article already. It’s been action-packed and as soon as we’ve completed one exciting event, the next one is soon upon us. We recently completed our final event of the year, ACE Ready Steady Cook and, as we begin to make plans for 2019, it seems the perfect time to reflect on what’s happened this year.
My aims as ACE Chair
When I took over the reign of ACE Chair, my goal was to encourage wider activity from the next generation community. Former Chair, Paul Hurren got this project off to a fantastic start by introducing the ACE Robyns Award. I’ve moved this event on by building the alumni and inviting two of the finalists onto the ACE council to give us a fresh and young perspective at meetings and events. It’s about encouraging these talented young stars to talk amongst themselves and push themselves into the spotlight. I always say “Don’t wait to be nominated for ACE Robyns. Talk to your management and push yourself forward to be nominated, have the confidence to go for it and use these opportunities to build your network and raise your own profile.”
Another aim of mine is to ensure young people in our industry can use ACE as their network too. We want them to feel that they can contact any one of us for advice, knowledge and inspiration, regardless of the companies we work for. Something else that’s important to me is to encourage all hospitality workers to get away from behind their email and get people to talk and build relationships. Social media is great as it’s so instant, but it is also forgettable and disposable, and I want to encourage people to build more meaningful work relationships in the longer term via face to face networking.
The main thing I love about being ACE Chair is the connectivity. Whilst we are all in a competitive industry, ACE is a level playing field as we simply focus on working together to add value to our industry. From seeing the young chefs’ faces as they win Ready, Steady, Cook to watching consultants having fun together at the annual quiz, ACE is one of the few vehicles for getting people together. There’s no hidden agenda and I love how much trust there is amongst those who attend our events, even if we’ve spent weeks competing against each other for new business.
It’s tough for me to pick out just one highlight as every event has brought something special. However, for me the ACE Robyns on the Bateaux Cruise was just incredible. We had an amazing evening celebrating fresh talent but also the scenes of London provided the perfect backdrop to network and have fun. In the days following the event, I had so much positive feedback about the evening. Also, ACE Ready, Steady, Cook continues to go from strength to strength, year after year and I love how we now provide a way for young chefs to take that step onto the competitive stage. Graham Eveleigh heads up this event and always does an amazing job to pull it altogether.
This year also saw us adapt our annual wine dinner, now known as the ACE Charity Dinner supporting my charity Wiggley Worm. We constantly look for ways to move our events on, keeping the good but twisting them slightly so guests learn to expect something new and a little different each year. This keeps guests coming back to ACE events, time and time again.