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ACE:- What can I say….Association of Catering Excellence!! Sounds pretty good doesn’t it!!
I was asked to write a blog on what it’s like getting involved with ACE and how the expertise throughout catering and hospitality can help you.
I’m Chris and I’m a catering manager for Blue Apple contract catering. I have been with them for 3 years now taking my tally up to 17 years of catering experience. That makes me feel old but I’m still young and fresh at 32!
I joined Blue Apple to get away from the 60+ hour weeks in restaurants so I could start a family with my wife, not really knowing what to expect. I was quickly given the opportunity to run my own unit within 3 months of being there.
My efforts were recognised by my peers at Blue Apple and as a team we won unit of the year at the company awards in 2016, which was closely followed by a nomination for the ACE Robyns award at London Zoo in July of 2017. Not knowing too much about ACE I was still very excited to be a part of what was going to be a night to remember- there’s not too many opportunities you get to spend the evening with people who have the same views and passion as I do and it was a privilege - the knowledge of some of these guys is overwhelming. You can only stand back and admire what they have achieved as individuals and what they have brought to their companies. I didn’t win that year but the fact that I was nominated and got to the final 13 in the UK gave me such belief in self-achievement and to have my wife there too was also a plus.
2017 continued to be a great year with a nomination for Chef Manager of the year from the CATEYS. I got to the final 3; this was turning out to be a pretty special year for my career. I also achieved a gold award for healthy eating by the local government.
2018 came round quickly as work and home life was pretty hectic, I wanted to know what I could achieve this year, (little did I know another nomination for Chef Manager of the Year and ACE council where looming)
How could I better my career and myself? How could I get myself in to a position of something so different but still helps me with what I do day in and day out? I absorb knowledge and thrive on it. I like not knowing what is going to happen as you live for today but what you do is going to benefit you tomorrow.
I was I given a chance to put my name forward to try and get onto the ACE council, something that was absolutely unthinkable a few years ago, I had to give it a go. I was voted on to the council by my fellow council members so I must have done something right, I was shocked that I had even been asked. To be selected for the ACE council Is by far my greatest achievement to date.
It’s great to think about next generation and how you can get involved but to experience it first hand from just doing my job is a privilege. The support I have had in my career is so very well received and to get the chance to enhance my knowledge through ACE is even better received.
Networking isn’t my biggest thing in life but I do like to talk about work a lot when I’m not there, it’s my hobby so I could talk about it all day, this is why ACE is so good for my career not only am I learning there is someone that might be learning from me (well I hope)
Throughout the year we have so many charity events that you can get involved with from ACE Robyns to Quiz night and my personal favourite Ready Steady Cook (it’s great to see all the talent out there competing against one another)