Tributes have been paid following the passing of the Craft Guild of Chefs immediate past chair Andrew Bennett.
Andrew Green, chief executive of the Craft Guild of Chefs, leads the tributes to our former chair. Green said: “He was a friend, colleague and an industry luminaire who will be extremely missed.
“A much loved chef and friend to many, he had a successful and full career, mentored many people along their chosen path, and was always full of life, cracking jokes, whilst at the same time being an inspiration to the youth. Andrew undertook much charitable work over the years, raising large sums of money for good causes.”
With more than 40 years’ hospitality experience across restaurants, hotels and outdoor events, he was also a keen judge, and in 2017 judged the ITQI Superior Taste Awards in Brussels and received a Special Award from the Craft Guild of Chefs for services to the Guild. Andrew spent 22 years as executive chef & food & beverage director of the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel.
He was involved with our association for more than 13 years, and he was appointed as chairman in 2018. During his tenure of chair, he played a vital role in formulating and shaping the strategy for the association that would drive a significant change and growth.
Steve Munkley, vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, added: “Andrew was not only a giant in stature but also one of the giants in our industry, he has sadly been taken from us at such a young age and he’ll be sorely missed.
“Andrew was someone you could rely upon 100%, his sharp wit and great sense of humour had everyone gripped. He spent all his life developing young chefs and when he wasn’t doing this, he was raising funds for various charities close to his heart.
“A true professional in our industry, when I asked him to think about standing for the chairmanship of the Craft Guild of Chefs, he was truly humbled. Like everything Andrew did in life, he stepped forward and made an amazing success of this role.”
A keen supporter of encouraging young people into the hospitality industry and committed to training and extending the chefs’ network, he helped launch notable initiatives such as the Guild Lunch Clubs, Mentoring Scheme, Membership Engagement Programme and its College Accreditation Scheme. During his time as chair, he also helped drive digital change through launching an improved, refreshed website and a brand-new app.
He dedicated 22 years of service to the Park Lane Hotel and was presented with an MBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace for his ‘exceptional services’ for his charity work and to the hospitality industry
David Mulcahy, also vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, said: “We will miss our great friend, Chef Andrew Bennett very much. A brave man and inspiration to so many of us. Andrew’s passion and determination will be a lasting legacy. As chair of @Craft_Guild and #NCOTY Judge for so many years, we will not forget.”
He will be sorely missed, and our thoughts and remembrances are with his family at this time.
Industry reactions to the passing of former Craft Guild of Chefs chair Andrew Bennett:
- Chef Cherish Finden: “A great loss. We will cherish and miss you forever.”
- Hrishikesh Desai: “Another great personality has gone away to heavens and above and will be missed a loft. Soft spoken, no ego, extensive knowledge, and a great man. Judging won’t be the same without you CHEF! Heartfelt condolences to your family.”
- Chef Gary Hunter: “His leadership, friendship, endless wise words of wisdom and great knowledge of the industry was incredible. I will personally miss Andrew and treasure many memories of good times.”
- Craft Guild of Chefs Chef member Conor Godfrey: “This is a massive loss to the industry but the passion and love he put back into it has inspired so many to continue his work to make the Guild everything it can be.”
- Many Chefs complimented Andrew on his gentlemanly approach with Chef Brian Turner concluding he was “one of the culinary worlds true gentlemen.”
- Hayden Groves: “I’m deeply saddened to hear the passing of Andrew Bennett MBE. Chef, Mentor, friend & one of the industries true gentleman. As a judge he always pushed me to be the very best version of myself, & a man I always turned to for advice.”
- Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala released a statement which said: “We are all very saddened to lose this great man who was everything a young budding chef would want and aspire to be. Andrew was a stalwart amongst chefs and had a glorious career whilst being ever generous with his skills and knowledge. Such was his character too that he would always help others along the road to success.”