ACE Robyns 2017 winner announced

20 July 2017
- Ace News
Laura Amos, Catering Manager at Ampersand at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Association of Catering Excellence (ACE) crowned the 2017 ACE Robyns Award winner at its annual summer party held at ZSL London Zoo on Wednesday 19th July.

Laura Amos, Catering Manager at Ampersand, CH&Co Group’s specialist venue and visitor attraction catering business, was declared the overall winner in front of 250 hospitality guests (and the odd lion or two!). Marta Pegram from Lexington, Sam Roth from Baxter Storey and Rebecca Cuppit from Lusso were also highly commended.

Laura is catering manager for Ampersand at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, responsible for a range of catering functions, including the Café at the Palace and numerous formal receptions and events. She has made a real impact on the success of the catering operation.

For example, in 2016 Laura’s innovative approach in the Café at the Palace realised an increase in afternoon tea sales by an astounding 400% and her customer numbers were up by 30,000. She is respected by her client, customers and team for her verve, her forward-thinking, innovative marketing ideas, her commitment to ensuring first-class experiences across a range of catering functions, and her commitment to developing her team. 

Tim Jones, chairman of CH&Co Group, who co-founded CH&Co with his late wife Robyn Jones OBE, and ACE Robyns Award judge, said: “There is clearly exceptional young talent in our industry and it’s a privilege to be involved in the second ACE Robyns Award. The standard of entries, which came from a diverse range of roles and a broad spectrum of companies, was incredibly strong and the judges had a tough job.

“As the judging process reached the shortlist stages, ACE’s chairman Paul Hurren and I watched from the side lines to ensure the ultimate decision was impartial. The overall winner is someone that typifies Robyn’s drive, passion and attention to detail and the judges found this in Laura Amos. She excels in her role, as the results and client feedback clearly show, and contributes significantly to both the success of the business and her team members. I congratulate Laura wholeheartedly. She is a deserved winner who should be very excited about what the future holds.”

The other finalists were Sonia Carvalho of Restaurant Associates, Amanda Cox of Sodexo, Nicole Du Preez of Restaurant Associates, Teresa Gohil of Amadeus, Christopher Howard-Kraft of Blue Apple, Rob Simmons of BaxterStorey, Miguel Teixeira of Bartlett Mitchell, Adam Thomason of Restaurant Associates and David Touizer of CH&Co Group.

Paul Hurren, Chair of ACE said: “It’s very important to recognise the young talent in our industry. They are, after all, our leaders of tomorrow. It’s crucial that they’re engaged, inspired and supported in their pursuit of a fulfilling and successful hospitality career. The ACE Robyns Award is a key part of ACE’s work in this field. The entries this year were exceptional and it’s clear that our industry has a bright future.”

The ACE Robyns Award, sponsored by Troika, was created in 2016 in memory of Robyn Jones OBE, founder of CH&Co, long-term ACE Patron, and well-known and respected champion of mentoring, training and developing young hospitality talent. The award upholds her legacy and spotlights the next generation of industry talent. Open to those under the age of 35 from across the diverse range of contract catering roles – be that in operational, culinary, front of house, business development or support roles – it recognises those excelling in foodservice and going the extra mile for their clients and teams alike.

The ACE summer party took place against the unique backdrop of ZSL London Zoo. Guests enjoyed special ‘after hours’ access to the Land of the Lions, an Indian street themed village opened last year by Her Majesty the Queen. On arrival, they were escorted through Butterfly Paradise to the self-contained area that was perfect for interacting with fellow guests and experiencing fine food and drink.

Blog written by
Jane Brocklebank
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