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.
Blue Apple Contract Catering
Blue Apple Contract Catering
I am the Sales and Marketing Director for Blue Apple Contract Catering Ltd, based in Wokingham. We are an independent catering company that provides fresh food services to the Business and Industry sector. My job is to keep tummies full by winning new contracts.
I previously worked for bartlett mitchell Ltd for 14 years. Initially hitting the telephones and opening the doors for them I was their 2nd employee. I experienced bartlett mitchell growing up which was a brilliant experience and great grounding for my career.
Working in the hospitality industry is the best, we get the chance to visit brilliant places and companies, meet lovely people and most importantly make a difference to how and what people eat at work. Not one day is ever the same!
I love working and playing hard with my team
Francois was born into the restaurant industry, with his parents opening their first restaurant the same year he was born. Working there from the age of 12, he quickly realised that catering was in his blood. He received a bachelors degree in business whilst managing the family restaurant, before moving to the UK where he started off in events, working with Sega World and The Tower Bridge Experience and acting as a founding member of Unique Venues of London.
Francois started his career in contract catering at the BBC with Brian Smith Catering. He went on to manage the Royal Society of Arts during their transition from contract catering to in-house, then worked with Restaurant Associates establishing their first contract in the UK at Goldman Sachs. Francois spent the next 8 years working in various roles with RA, including Gartmore Investment Management and Deloitte, whilst he went through Compass’s Meridian training programme.
In 2008, Francois joined bartlett mitchell as Operations Director for the city. As the company grew, Francois became Operations Director for the company, was promoted to Deputy Managing Director in 2013, and became Managing Director in 2014. Over the last 9 years, bartlett mitchell has grown from £12 million in turnover to £38 million with more than 90 contracts and 750 team members.
Francois is dedicated to delivering the highest standards in food and service, but above all else, his passion comes from developing teams and seeing individual careers grow and advance in this exciting industry. He looks forward to working with ACE to help raise the profile of our industry to attract our next generation of leaders.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
I have worked within the foodservice industry for over 25 years, since graduating from Surrey University with a degree in Hotel, Catering and Tourism Management. In my early career I worked for Compass but then moved into the sales environment with Brakes where I worked for several years across local, regional and national sales teams.
In 2001, I joined Bidvest Foodservice (then 3663) as Business Development Controller, working in the National Accounts team.
I am currently the Director of Sales at Bidvest Foodservice with responsibility for all disciplined multiple accounts, across both cost and profit sectors, including Business and Industry.
My membership of the ACE committee commenced in 2005.
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.
Collins King & Associates
Collins King & Associates
After successfully completing a two year Hotel Management and advanced Chef training course Gary spent three years working as a Chef in the capital before entering the recruitment industry as a Consultant with Blue Arrow Hospitality Recruitment where he spent three years.
Gary then spent a year with a Hong Kong based Search & Selection Consultancy before joining Reed Hospitality recruitment where he spent nine years before setting up Collins King & Associates with former Reed colleague Matthew Collins in July 1999.
After completing a two-year City & Guilds General Catering course, Glen moved to London and embarked on his journey within the hospitality industry commencing with ten years as a Chef working within various kitchens including the prestigious United Oxford and Cambridge Universities Club in Pall Mall, the Overseas Bankers Club in Lothbury, and the Crews Quarters Club, Admiralty House in Chatham before a move to Eurest and the Compass Group which opened the door to a career in management.
Following varying managerial roles and supporting the mobilisation of the Pfizer contract in Sandwich, Glen joined Restaurant Associates as Account Director for Reuters guiding the contract through a successful retender and subsequent mobilisation of Reuters Canary Wharf HQ. Promotion to Operations Manager followed looking after a number of prestigious UK and global clients.
Glen moved to Charlton House in 2007 initially as Operations Manager before subsequent promotions to Director of Operations and Operations Director supporting the launch of the Lusso and VIA360 brands. In 2015 Glen moved into sales as Business Development Manager and then as Business Development Director selling predominately in London and adding £12m of new business. During this time, Glen was an integral part of the team that was led by Paul Hurren which guided Lusso to become one of the most respected and dynamic city dining food service brands.
In 2018 Glen became the Client Relationship Director for CH&CO tasked with supporting retention across all the CH&CO brands.
Today, Glen is at BaxterStorey as Business Development Director for the South.
Vic Laws, MBE, FIH, FCSI
MBE, FIH, FCSI
Director of AVL Consultancy, which he set up over 28 years ago.
He is a caterer by choice having trained at, what is now University of West London, but in those days Acton Hotel School where he was taught to cook by Vic Ceserani one of the first television chefs, even before Fanny Craddock.
He worked for seven years in local authority catering, then as a director of such companies as THF, Compass , Aramark and Spinneys.
AVL specialises in strategic reviews and market testing for schools, colleges, universities and leisure complexes. AVL also provides membership and administrative services to LACA, ACE, FCSI and TUCO.
He is a Fellow and past president of Institute for Hospitality formally HCIMA. A member and on the committee of the Reunion des Gastronomes, Sabre D’or and Chaîne des Rotisseurs.
Vic is the Restaurant Ambassador for The Clink Charity, which runs public restaurants in prisons at HMP Highdown, Brixton and Cardiff. The charity is dedicated to training prisoners to become chefs and waiters so they have a career when they leave prison and thus are less likely to re-offend. He has set up a team of six trainers who help in this task, on a pro bono basis. Vic’s role is also to raise the awareness of the project within the Industry and help with the establishment of five more ‘Clinks’ in the next five years.
He has an Honorary Doctorate from UWL and is a visiting Fellow for Sheffield Hallam University. Vic was awarded an MBE in 2011 for services to the hospitality industry.
Louise Willis is a PA/Administrator with 30 years’ experience. She has worked in a variety of businesses, including a Solicitor’s practice, where she also took notes in court as part of the role, an architect’s practice and the Company Secretary’s Department of a large organisation.
She has provided the administration services to LACA, ACE and the FCSI for 16 years working. She is a keen tap dancer and badminton player.