UKHospitality and The Nth Degree Global joined together to host the third annual The Restaurant Association Gala Dinner, Celebrating Excellence in Food & Wine Service on Monday 24 February 2020. The prestigious event was held at The Savoy Hotel in the heart of London with title sponsors Mercedes, Arla Pro, Cayman Islands, Unilever Food Solutions.

The Restaurant Association Award for Services to Hospitality for 2020, designed and sponsored by Fabergé, was presented to Brian Turner CBE by James Martin. The event raised £25,000 for Hospitality Action, which works to provide hospitality workers with financial, physical and psychological support to help them overcome adversity and get back to work as quickly as possible.

RA Gala Dinner

 

RA Gala Dinner

Top: Ready Steady Cook reunion: Ainsley Harriott MBE, Antony Worrall Thompson, James Martin & Brian Turner CBE | Bottom: Brian Turner CBE with the Restaurant Association Award for Services to Hospitality with James Martin who presented the award which was designed by Fabergé and created by Joey Richardson

Quotes on the evening:

Brian Turner CBE said: “It has just been such an exciting night and what a privilege to hold this award. I hold this award for lots of people, it is all about the hospitality industry and looking after people with food and drink. I’ve had such a good time in the industry and I can’t tell you how lucky I’ve been. Thank you to everyone at the Restaurant Association for the award for Services to Hospitality and to my friend James for coming to present it.”

 

RA Gala DinnerTom Aikens

RA Gala DinnerAnsley Harriott MBE

RA GalaClaude Bosi

James Martin said: “If anybody knows service, it’s Brian. I actually first met Brian Turner when I was nine years old in a kitchen. Brian was doing a dinner at a place called The Mallyan Spout in Goathland. As a young nine year old chef, keen as mustard, with a brand new starch jacket on, that’s when I walked into a professional kitchen for the very first time. He’s taught me a lot about life ever since then and he deserves this award for Services to Hospitality big time.”

RA Gala Dinner

Robert Walton MBE and Donna Ida Thornton

RA Gala DinnerJodie Kidd and partner Joseph Bates

The award, presented on stage by James Martin was designed by Sarah Fabergé and Joey Richardson. Sarah Faberge said: “This unique egg objet award, created by Joey Richardson for Fabergé, represents many elements of Brian’s life. If we look closely, amongst the many symbols and illustrations, we can see references to the Yorkshire Rose, his father’s cafe, fish and chips, the Tuba, the Salvation Army, rugby, cricket, the London Marathon and Brian’s charitable interests including the Anthony Nolan Trust. Joey has paid homage to the opening of Turners of Walton St, his many TV appearances and books and of course his Michelin star and Presidency of The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts. The colourful butterfly (the artists symbol) here represents Brian and the smaller butterflies are his trainees. The base of the egg references both Yorkshire’s sandy coast and woodlands. The emeralds (kindly donated by Gemfields) not only represent the green forests of Yorkshire but the “Emerald” Headingley Stadium. A look inside the egg reveals one of Brian’s legendary recipes, a stack of Yorkshire puddings! Brian’s career and his many interests, documented on this bespoke egg objet are “crowned” by a chef’s hat”.

 

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The Restaurant Association Gala Dinner raised £25,000 through a live auction hosted by Brian Turner CBE plus a Heads or Tails competition with a prize from the Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands provided provide the flights and accommodation for a coveted holiday to the Cayman Islands for two lucky winners. Diners paid £30 for their entry which went directly to the Hospitality Action Charity.

RA Gala Dinner Young Chef Young Waiter

Young Chef Young Waiter Winner Richard Henderson, Darren Tierney, Senior Responsible Owner for the UK at Expo 2020 Dubai, Kate Nicholls CEO UKHospitality, head waiter judge Simon King, Young Chef Young Waiter Winner Alessandro Calzavacca and The Nth Degree Global’s Robert Walton MBE

RA Gala Dinner YCYW Dubai Expo

UK Pavilion. Expo 2020

It was also announced that the awards for Young Chef Young Waiter 2020 will be held in the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai in November, in partnership with the Department for International Trade. Expo 2020 provides a global platform to showcase British innovation, creativity and collaboration to over 15 million visitors across the six months, from students and families to celebrities and heads of Government. Under the UK’s participation theme ‘Innovating for a shared future’ the topic of how we grow, consume and provide food sustainably will be a key point of discussion across the six months. Previous UK pavilions at World Expos have featured curated menus from some of the UK’s top chefs including Tom Kitchin, Angela Hartnett, Ken Hom and Tom Aikens. 

 

RA Gala Dinner Overfinch

Designer Donna Ida Thornton and model and presenter Lisa Snowdon arrive in an Overfinch car

RA Gala dinner

Presenter Amanda Davies

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Arnaud Massenet, Caroline Sciamma, Angela & Colin Radcliffe

Guests

Top chefs and hospitality leaders attended the event including James Martin, Tom Aikens, Brian Turner CBE, Antony Worrall Thompson, Ainsley Harriott MBE, Nigel Haworth, Claude Bosi, Matt Tebbutt, Ben Tish, Ruth Hansom, Chris Galvin, Ashley Palmer Watts, John Williams MBE, Sabrina Ghayour and Atul Kochhar. Entertainment was provided by singer Wayne Woodward.

Brian Turner CBE was excited to reunite with famous faces exclaiming: “Lots of old friends, some great chefs and the old Ready Steady Cook team–we’re almost all here. Can’t wait. Come on, Green Peppers!”

Ainsley Harriott MBE said: “I’m excited about tonight because it’s an opportunity to get together with lots of old faces, supporting some really good charities too and people who care passionately about what they’re doing. That sort of transcends right across the board. We’re talking about passionate cooks, passionate women that are married and passionate men that are married to passionate women, that are all cooking together! We’re in for a fabulous treat this evening.

Also coming to an event like this, the real beauty of it is that you get together with old friends. I’m talking about the Ready Steady Cook days, which started, believe it or not, in 1994. It’s about to come back and we’re wishing it all the success in the world. But for me, the success I had was with the likes of Britain Turner, Anthony Warrell Thompson and James Martin, who are here this evening. It’s just lovely to see them, get a bit pally and just say hello, reunite that bond, reunite that energy!” 

Our VIP guests arrived in cars by Mercedes-Benz London and Overfinch and include model and presenter Lisa Snowdon and George Smart, model Jodie Kidd and partner Joseph Bates, CNN journalist Amanda Davies, editor in chief at Hello magazine Rosie Nixon, denim designer Donna Ida Thornton, model and stylist Angela Radcliffe with husband Colin Radcliffe plus fashion designer Caroline Sciamma-Massenet with husband Arnaud Massenet.

 

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Lisa Snowdon

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Caroline Sciamma and Angela Radcliffe

RA Gala dinner

Lisa Snowdon said: “I’m here at The Savoy, one of the most exquisite hotels in London and celebrating the Restaurant Association’s Gala Dinner. I’m literally ready to pop! The most incredible food, four delicious courses and I ate every single one. All for a great cause too, Hospitality Action, an incredible charity raising money for people who have worked in the hospitality industry who have fallen onto hard times and less fortunate than us. So an amazing night raising lots of money and celebrating amazing chefs. Well done to Brian Turner who won his award tonight, it was very emotional and very sweet.”

I love food and I’m always really keen to try new restaurants. For me I try to experiment more and more. I went pescatarian recently and I quite like vegetarian food. So for me a good restaurant has a varied menu, lots of local and seasonal produce and a good ambience.”

Jodie Kidd, co-owner of The Half Moon Inn Kirdford said: “I’m happy to be here tonight to celebrate, amazing people in the industry. I think it’s really important because it’s hard, hard, hard work and the amount of hours and these chefs and all the people behind the scenes and front of house, it’s lovely that they get put on a roster and get congratulated and given lovely awards. We all get together, have a good natter, a good catch-up all, have a good moan and then back to it tomorrow.”

Sponsors & Partners

Title sponsors Mercedes-Benz, Arla Pro, Cayman Islands, Unilever Food Solutions are the perfect partners for the event. The menu at The Savoy was crafted with Arla products including canapés of ‘CheeseBurger’ Sliders made with Arla Pro Grilling Cheese, Mushroom Ketchup, Kohlrabi & Tarragon Remoulade and Soft Poached Quails Egg with Sumac with Arla Skyr Plain Yogurt. 

Partners and sponsors included UKHospitality, Hospitality Action, Michelin, The Watermark, Fabergé, Digicool, The Savoy, Tatler, Overfinch, American Express, Classeq, KuulEats, Young Chef Young Waiter, The Social Wine Co., Champagne Frerejean Freres, NFS Technology, Falco Capital, Discover and Nodaq.

Drinks by Champagne Frerejean Frères

Our guests enjoyed a drinks reception from our Champagne Frerejean Frères, Avize, Brut 1er Cru, NV which is 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir with 6 years lees ageing. Plus Champagne Frerejean Frères, Avize, Blanc de Blancs, 1er Cru, NV which is 100% Chardonnay with 6 years lees ageing.

The Savoy London Menu

The menu was designed to showcase our title sponsors with a starter of Cured Scottish Salmon with Heritage Beetroots, Arla Cravendale Milk and Wild pennywort. The intermediate courses included Black Dorset Crab & Orkney Scallop Raviolone Bisque and Sea kale or Jerusalem artichoke Tortellini Black Garlic with Jack by the hedge. The main course was either Pine Smoked Venison loin Strudel with Sprout leaves with Earl Grey Jus or finally a Tuxford & Tebbutt Stilton, Morel mushrooms and Nettle puree. Dessert was The Savoy Chocolate Orange which is Orange Compote, Roasted Hazelnut with Mandarin and Yoghurt Ice Cream. The meal finished with Pralines en surprise.

RA Gala dinner Arla

‘CheeseBurger’ Sliders made with Arla Pro Grilling Cheese, Mushroom Ketchup, Kohlrabi & Tarragon Remoulade

RA Gala dinner Arla

Heritage Beetroots, Arla Cravendale Milk and Wild pennywort

RA Gala dinner ArlaTuxford & Tebbutt Stilton, Morel mushrooms and Nettle puree

The Social Wine Co.

Wines to accompany the meal were selected by our partners The Social Wine Co. with the Il Palagione Hydra Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2015 accompanying the starters. For the intermediate course, diners enjoyed the Denis Bouchacourt Macon-Solutre 2014 and the main course was served with the Vidal-Fleury Cotes du Rhone 2013. The Weingut am Kaiserbaum Lerchenspiel Rieslaner Auslese 2015 completed the meal with dessert.

Quotes on the Restaurant Association Gala Dinner


Robert Walton MBE founder of The Nth Degree Global and President of the Restaurant Association:
“I joined the Restaurant Association of Great Britain. It was fantastic to receive my scroll, meet like-minded people and be part of an association dedicated to such an exciting sector which I am so passionate about. In 1992, to my delight, I was invited to join the Restaurant Association committee and after 28 years I now have the great honour of being its President for the last 11 years. I look back at the past 50 years of the Restaurant Association and think of the pioneers of 1967 and how their contribution to the hospitality industry in the UK, and especially London, have been instrumental to its success. This has lead to London being recognised as the hospitality capital of the world. Tourists flock to London and the UK, not only to soak up our British culture but to dine in our world renowned restaurants.

Being part of the Restaurant Association has given me the opportunity to meet amazing people who have chaired this great Association, from Prue Leith to the present Chairman David Loewi. I also had the pleasure of spending time and sharing many ideas with one of our most dynamic Chairman and President, Roy Ackerman CBE, who sadly passed away a few years ago. There seems to be an insatiable appetite for the hospitality sector with our chefs becoming ever more popular, not only in their own establishments but also in the world of media and television. In 2019 we relaunched Young Chef Young Waiter to mark 40 years of the incredible competition. As the past Chairman of the competition from 2006 to 2012, I was delighted to revamp the concept where we were joined by Arla Pro, Magnum and the Cayman Islands as our title sponsors. I recruited the best people in the hospitality industry so our roster of judges included Theo Randall, Tom Kerridge, Clare Smyth MBE, Tom Aikens, Claude Bosi, Emily Roux, Jeff Galvin, Andy Downton, Johanna Wimmer.

It showcased the incredible young talent in the UK and Ireland and we have ambitions to replicate this concept worldwide to find the best global young chefs and waiters. It’s the only competition to link chefs and waiters working together as a team. It’s the perfect event to showcase the hospitality sector as a profession, a career and a vocation in what is the most exciting time for the industry”

Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality: “The second Restaurant Association Gala Dinner to fall under the UKHospitality umbrella comes at a time of ambiguity for the country. As we embark on a future outside of the European Union, anyone who claims to be able to read the UK’s runes with total clarity should be regarded with a degree of suspicion. A safer bet would be the proclamation that uncertainty, at the very least, breeds opportunity. The economic and political landscape of the United Kingdom is shifting and it is up to us as businesses to capitalise on potential disruption.

That is why it is more important than ever that hospitality has a strong and vocal advocate. From restaurants at the apex of fine dining to quick service restaurants catering to hungry commuters, revellers or tourist, the issues facing us are universal. We must work collectively if we hope to secure the support businesses need from government to thrive. Arguably, this has never been more important that it is currently. For UKHospitality this year, that means focusing principally on three issues affecting the entirety of hospitality. We are looking to mitigate employment cost increases, push the Government to introduce a fairer business tax system and secure the future employment of the sector. The Restaurant Association Gala Dinner is a chance to enjoy another year of success, but it is an opportunity to appreciate the breadth and scope of the restaurant sector – a vital component of the wider hospitality industry. Iconic venues, world-renowned talent and champions of British business and culture are gathered here this evening. The collective weight of knowledge and experience in the room outlines why hospitality is such an exciting and successful sector. Imagine the kind of message we can send if that collective influence can be brought together.”

Mark Lewis, Chief Executive, Hospitality Action: “We are honoured to be the nominated charity of this year’s glorious Restaurant Association Gala Dinner. Behind their smiles and slick service hospitality workers can fall upon hard times just like anybody else. As everyone here tonight knows ours is a stressful industry, with long hours, high pressure environments and physically demanding work. Injuries, mental health problems and addiction are sadly a feature of modern life in the hospitality trade. That’s where Hospitality Action steps in. We work to provide hospitality workers with financial, physical and psychological support to help them overcome adversity and get back to work as quickly as possible. We help individuals and their families stay afloat with grants to cover anything from rent payments to school uniform for their children. And for those who sadly can’t return to the industry they love, we provide ongoing support to transition them to the next stage of their lives.

For older people who have retired from the industry we provide grants to help with heating bills, home conversions or even funeral costs for loved ones. Just as importantly, we provide a lifeline to prevent loneliness and isolation and our retired ‘Golden Friends’ enjoy regular contact and local events to help them stay active and connected to their community.
None of this is possible without nights like tonight and the support of our industry friends. It’s only thanks to your generosity that we’re able to help so many people in need and for this I am truly grateful. On behalf of the whole team at Hospitality Action, thank you for your support and have a wonderful evening.”

Rodolphe Frerejean Taittinger, Founder & CEO: “Whether they are chefs, maîtres de salle, sommeliers or partners, we are proud to join the celebration of all these passionate craftsmen who work with one idea rooted in themselves: to achieving excellence without comprising.”

Dale Agar, CEO, The Social Wine Co.: “We are delighted to be supporting UK Hospitality through the Restaurant Association Gala Dinner recognising the important role all restaurants play within the hospitality industry. With a portfolio of over 300 wines, The Social Wine Co. supports independently owned wineries from around the world, providing superior, handpicked quality wines at affordable prices to our customers. Enjoy the evening.”

Luis De Souza, CEO of NFS Technology Group, providers of Aloha EPOS technology: “Today’s diners are more demanding than ever before – and that’s particularly so in the refined world of fine dining. Restaurant management technology works subtly to streamline operations, creating an unbeatable diner experience and encouraging customer loyalty.”

View all our photos from the Restaurant Association Gala Dinner on Facebook from our Media Board here and to our Ballroom here.