With longer hours and busier service periods, it’s understandable that those in hospitality have a very different festive experience to those they are serving. With this in mind, Bidfood launched a campaign to find and recognise those who work on Christmas or Boxing Day and who go the extra mile to make the season special for others.
From more than 100 nominations, a panel of leading industry influencers including Andy Kemp, Bidfood’s Group Sales & Marketing Director; Anne Pierce, Chief Executive at Springboard; Peter Hancock, Chief Executive at Pride of Britain Hotels; and Andy Jones, Chair of the Public Sector 100 Group, selected eight winners across six industry sectors.
The winner of the hotel sector was Caroline Whitney, Head Chef at Vincent House, a friendly residential hotel in the heart of Notting Hill, London. Speaking about her win Caroline says: “I had absolutely no idea I had even been nominated so it was a complete shock to hear I’d won Bidfood’s Christmas Gift. During the festive season, Vincent House is all of our residents’ and staffs ‘home away from home’ while they are studying or learning a new trade. I know how difficult it can be to spend Christmas away from your loved ones which is why I put so much effort into making them feel as at ease as possible. I cook for them in the same way I cook for my own family – filled with love and a whole lot of goodness.”
“I’m really looking forward to spending my second Christmas with my children and husband – it will be such a treat.”
Each winner will be treated to a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings for them to enjoy with family and friends, as well as a Virgin Experience Day voucher worth £150.
Andrew Selley, CEO of Bidfood says: “We know that around 92,000 chefs, kitchen assistants, waiting and bar staff work in hotels, pubs and restaurants on Christmas day, and many more across the whole foodservice industry will give up time with their friends and family. From care homes to restaurants, the kitchen and serving teams are all too often the unsung heroes at this time of year and we wanted to thank them for their efforts by gifting them back a dinner for them to enjoy with loved ones.
For more information about Bidfood’s Christmas Gift campaign and to hear about the winners please visit: www.bidfood.co.uk/bidfood-christmas-gift
The full list of winners and categories are as follows:
- Hospitals – Ian Smart, Kitchen Porter, Taunton & Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, Taunton
- Care Homes – Bev Wernham, Kitchen Assistant, Thistle Court Nursing Home, Monmouthshire and Kate Bagwell Head Chef, the Laurels, Weston Super Mare
- Restaurants – Juanita Yansen, Restaurant Manager, The Blue Boar, Abridge
- Pubs and pub restaurants – Janet Conaghan, Head Chef, The Gretna Inn, Gretna
- Hotels – Caroline Whitney, Head Chef, Vincent House, Notting Hill
- Other (including schools, universities and OOH) – Rachael King, Store Manager, Subway, Wilmslow and Marc Carpenter, Head Chef, CTC Kingshurst Academy, North Solihull
Facts about Christmas in the hospitality sector:
- Almost 14 million Brits intend to visit the pub during the festive period, making it the most popular place outside of the home to spend Christmas.
- Recruitment in the hospitality industry is up 47% up on average during November and December.
- Hospitality staff will work an average of 28 hours’ overtime over Christmas. In the equivalent time behind the bar or in the kitchen, a member of staff could pour 840 pints of Guinness or cook 168 steaks .
 TUC (2015)