Industry Leaders

Michael Reid

Michael trained in two of London’s definitive fine dining restaurants, Le Gavroche and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, where his skills were honed under the tutelage of celebrated chefs Michel Roux Jr, Simone Zanoni and Gordon Ramsay. He went on to join the team at Gaucho restaurants, eventually promoted to the level of Executive Chef for the entire Gaucho Group.

Since then Michael has worked extensively around the globe before settling back in the UK as the executive chef of M Restaurants. He also make regular appearances on television (such as BBC Two’s Great British Menu and Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch), and released his first cookbook in April 2016.

Steve Walpole

Steve Walpole has been passionate about food and cooking since he started a Saturday job in a local restaurant at the age of 15.

He went on to gain a whole host of qualifications, diplomas and awards including ‘Awards of Excellence’ winner in 2000, ‘Parade de Chefs’ medals, ‘Roux Scholarship’ finalist and ‘Advanced Culinary Arts’ diplomas. Steve now runs his own chef consultancy business; Steve Walpole Ltd where he has covered roles such as Executive Chef at Corney & Barrow Bars as well as Executive Development Chef for Gate Gourmet where he developed menus for British Airways and many other leading airlines. Steve also hosts many Hospitality events.

Claire Clark

Claire Clark has worked at some of the most prestigious establishment in England the Ritz, Claridges, Intercontinental and Westbury hotels to the more diverse Sir Terence Conran’s Bluebird, to the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute. Claire also worked in 2005 at the legendary French Laundry in California, under the watchful eye of Thomas Keller, the first American restaurant to obtain three Michelin Stars. Claire was awarded an MBE in the Queens Birthday honours list: July 2011.

As well as the title of “Best Pastry Chef” by the well regarded industry publication, Restaurant Magazine.

Shaun Hill

Since working for Robert Carrier in the late 1960s, Shauns accolades include: holding a Michelin star for 20 years, Egon Ronay guide chef of the year 1993, the Caterer chef award 1990, its restaurateur award for 2001 and AA restaurant guide's chef’s chef of 2003.

In recent years he was head chef at Gidleigh Park in Devon for 9 years and chef patron of the Merchant House restaurant in Ludlow for 10 years. In December 2007 he reopened The Walnut Tree in Abergavenny where he currently holds a Michelin star & 3 AA rosettes. He is also as accomplished a food writer as he is a cook.

Giorgio Locatelli

Considered by many to be one of the best Italian chefs in the UK, Giorgio is chef patron of the acclaimed restaurant Locanda Locatelli – one of the most sought-after restaurants in London.

Giorgio came to England in 1986 to join the kitchens of Anton Edelmann at The Savoy. He also spent time working in Paris at Restaurant Laurent and La Tour D’Argent.

He won a Michelin star in 2003 for Locanda Locatelli which he has since retained.

Terry Laybourne

Chef Terry Laybourne has built a formidable reputation over 25 years and was awarded an MBE for services to the restaurant and tourism industries in 1998.

He won a Michelin star for his restaurant, 21 Queen Street,in 1988, and opened Jesmond Dene House in 2005 which was voted AA Hotel of the Year 2008.

As well as consulting for Newcastle United, Marks & Spencer, and the Ministry of Agriculture, he has written ‘A Quest for Taste’ – his book promoting seasonal and regional produce.

Mark Edwards

Mark is one of the most respected and recognised chefs in the UK and has worked all over the world including renowned establishments such as Le Richmond Hotel in Geneva and the George V in Paris.

In 1994, pursuing an interest in Asian foods he returned to London as head chef of Vong London before teaming up with Nobu Matsuhisa to open Nobu London in February 1997 as head chef, winning a Michelin star in 1998. Nobu Berkeley St repeated this success in 2006 and both restaurants still retain a Michelin star today.

Lisa Ackerley

Since the acquisition of her successful food safety consultancy business, Hygiene Audit Systems Ltd by Acoura in 2015, Dr Lisa Ackerley has undertaken a number of strategic and advisory roles. She is Food Safety Adviser to the British Hospitality Association, Non-Executive Director of Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Ltd, and Strategic Adviser to the Acoura Board. She is also visiting Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Salford and a regular media expert spokesperson on hygiene issues.

A Professorial Fellow of the RSPH and winner of “The most Significant Contribution to Food Safety” from the SFH. Lisa also works as a high profile expert witness.

Mark Hix

Mark is a celebrated chef, restaurateur and food writer known for his original take on British gastronomy.

After 17 years as Chef Director at Caprice Holdings, he opened his first restaurant, Hix Oyster & Chop House in Smithfield in 2008. Since then he has opened five further establishments including Hix Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis, Mark’s Bar, plus the latest Tramshed – all to great critical acclaim.

Damian Brown

Damian Brown

Damian Brown, 38, has been Executive Chef at the historic Chesil Rectory in Winchester since 2008.

He trained for 5 years at Northcote Manor under Michelin starred Chef Billy Reid, followed by positions at amongst others, Marco Pierre White’s L’ Escargot & The Vineyard at Stockcross.

Whilst he was working in London as Head Chef at Fortnum & Mason, Damian was contacted by an old friend with an exciting proposal to re- open the historic Chesil Rectory with the aim in becoming the city’s best independent modern British restaurant.

As a stakeholder in the business, he believes that being one of the share holders as well as the Head Chef “ galvanises things for me & I give everything I can to it.” His passion for cooking is infectious. “I was taught never to over complicate things & to keep it simple. I create re-worked British classics, & call it upmarket comfort food which is ingredient- led around seasonality.

Damian has natural ability , drive & enthusiasm. He hasn’t looked back & The Chesil Rectory has become hugely successful thriving, busy restaurant.

Rob Kirby

Rob Kirby

Rob Kirby is one of the guiding lights of the culinary world. With over 35 years’ experience in various operations. He is also a leading member of The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts.

Rob has worked with Great Ormond Street Hospital School, something he has now been engaged with for over eight years. He has witnessed first-hand just what a difference fun interaction with food can make to the lives of children.

With huge restaurant and catering experience behind him, he is a well-respected figure within the business, with many appearances on TV from BBC Breakfast Time to Saturday Kitchen.

Cook with Kids was his first book, and in 2013 he wrote The Family Kitchen.

Delicious Gifts will be available in March 2017.

Author of 3 Award winning cookbooks, fellow of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts various television, BBC Breakfast and BBC radio drive time Chef.

Cyrus Todiwala

From ‘chef of genius'ʹ and 2014 ‘BBC Food Personality of the Year’ this Bombay-born Parsee Chef Patron of Cafe Spice Namaste, has been called all manner of good things. In 2011, with Pervin Todiwala he opened Mr Todiwala's Kitchen, the signature restaurant at the Hilton London Heathrow T5 and in 2013, The Park Cafe at Victoria Park East. A new restaurant is planned in Canary Wharf in late 2017. Cyrus Todiwala also teamed up with Scottish Chef Tony Singh in the hit prime time series on BBC2, ‘The Incredible Spice Men’. He also manages to make regular media appearances, and is a popular guest chef on BBC Saturday Kitchen.

He is a member of the Asian Restaurant Skills Board, which aims to raise the prestige and profile of the Asian cuisine industry as a career choice. Ever the innovator, in 2013, Cyrus launched Zest Quest Asia, a first, to help introduce Asian cookery to a new generation of ‘homegrown’ talent.