Tomorrow's Caterer Awards recognise industry best

Preparations underway for an event like no other, says Caterer editor

Caterer Middle East editor, Hannah Abdulla.
Caterer Middle East editor, Hannah Abdulla.

I am buzzing with excitement writing this on the eve of the annual Caterer Awards 2012.

While we here at ITP HQ are running around finalising the order of the presentation, editing the script and getting those last minute tables booked at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers, many of you are rummaging through wardrobes, picking your outfits and accessories, and arranging transport to the venue.

It’s a very exciting time for me, this being my first Caterer Awards ceremony since I joined the magazine three months ago. It was particularly interesting to note the differences between a mainstream F&B magazine’s awards ceremony and one that is hosted by a business title. While I, as a consumer, could roll out a list as long as my arm of favourite restaurants to eat at, the demands from a business to business point of view are completely different. While I look for good food, great service and excellent value, these awards demanded this from the nominees and then some...

One of the areas judges strongly focused on was where outlets and individuals have clearly demonstrated improvement in the last year; whether this be improvement in covers, profit growth or by candidates doing something totally out of their job remit to improve their own development, the development of fellow colleagues or to boost the profile of the outlet.

With over 300 particularly strong nominations this year, judges were certainly given food for thought, spending well over four hours debating and deliberating over the final shortlist.

The awards for the beverage categories: Bartender of the Year and Bar Manager of the Year caused the biggest stir among the judges as did the two chef awards which were all exceptionally strong.

But what is in the awards? What’s the point? Speaking to last years’ winners, we found many have moved on to bigger and better positions, either within their own outlets or venturing out to new ones. The awards give us an opportunity to stop and take stock of what’s actually going on behind the scenes in our own restaurants, bars and kitchens analysing the finer details and justifying why many of us are the best in the region, or even the world. For a lot of us it gives us an opportunity to look at what the winners are doing, find out what makes them so successful and establish where we can make changes and potentially steal the winning title next year.

So far the events team has told me over 250 of you are attending tomorrow. I’m looking greatly forward to meeting some of the industry’s finest, many of you for the first time, celebrating your successes over the past year and discussing what’s next for yourselves and the industry. I've even heard a certain Michelin starred-celebrity chef will be in the audience...

Until then, best of luck for tomorrow!

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