UKHospitality and The Nth Degree Global co-hosted the fourth annual The Restaurant Association Gala Dinner, last night Monday 22 November 2021, at The Dorchester Hotel in the heart of London.
Celebrating Excellence in Food & Wine Service the prestigious event was hosted by President of the Restaurant Association & Nth Degree founder, Robert Walton MBE. The evening brought together leading hospitality figures for this special dinner with title sponsors Dojo.
The Restaurant Association Award for Special Services to Hospitality 2021, designed and sponsored by Fabergé, was presented to UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls OBE by Robert Walton MBE.
Dojo, NEFT Vodka, Fabergé, InvestCayman, The Craft Irish Whiskey Co., The Fork, Amex, ! Formula 1, Arsenal Football Club, Wine&Something, Oldenburg GREAT, Harbottle & Lewis, Old Head Golf Links, Veo Events, Wealth Matters, Champagne Frèrejean Frères, Discover Global, The Michelin Guide, UKHospitality, UK Restaurant Association, Young Chef Young Waiter, Hospitality Action.
Kate Nicholls OBE was presented with a Fabergé Heritage Yelagin Rose Gold Diamond & Red Guilloché Enamel Petite Egg Pendant.
Sarah Fabergé said “At Fabergé we champion and celebrate creativity, craftsmanship & collaboration and tonight we are delighted to collaborate with the hospitality industry with whom we share so many values.”
UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls OBE said: “It has been my absolute honour and privilege to be your face and voice through the last 18 months. It has been the most difficult time for the hospitality industry but it is the passion and hard work that has pulled us through. Your dedication to looking after your teams and your communities has been inspiring. The hospitality industry has always helped those in their darkest hour by putting their hands in their pockets to house the homeless, to feed the NHS, hospitality heroes and looking after all of us. The hospitality industry is now bringing back the life and light to all town centres, high streets and communities. The Fabergé egg is very fitting because they are a symbol of new life. We are at the point where we are turning a corner and we can look forward to a renaissance in the hospitality industry.”
As in previous years, the event raised money 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.
The gala dinner raised £28,604 for Hospitality Action via a live auction hosted by Brian Turner CBE and a Heads & Tails Competition with a prize donated by The Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands has a relationship with the UK that goes back to the first British settlers who arrived on the uninhabited Islands in 1658, and enjoys and is proud of continued close ties to Britain today. The Cayman Islands provided the flights and accommodation for a coveted holiday for two lucky winners. Diners were invited to play the game Heads and Tails by paying £30 for their entry which went directly to the Hospitality Action Charity.
The auction also included The Taoscán from The Craft Irish Whiskey Co. which is the world’s first single malt to be finished in French Chestnut and Tawny Port. The Taoscán was crafted from a world-class distillate and matured for over a decade in White Oak American Bourbon barrels and Sherry Oloroso butts. For its final two years, it was split and finished in virgin French Chestnut and French Oak Tawny Port casks before the two single malts were reunited in an impeccable balance of flavour and aroma. Triple distilled. Triple casked. Four types of wood. A revolutionary new whiskey.
Top chefs and hospitality leaders attended the event alongside other VIP guests including Brian Turner CBE, Claudi Bosi, Sanjay Dwivedi, Adam Handling, Adam Byatt, Jeff Galvin, Chris Galvin, John Williams MBE, Cyrus Todiwala OBE, Theo Randall, Ching He Huang and Dipna Anand. Entertainment was provided by singer Wayne Woodward.
Guests enjoyed drinks from world-renowned Champagne house Frerejean Frères including Champagne Frerejean Frères, Blanc de Blancs and Premier Cru. The winner was presented a special magnum of Frerejean Frères on stage. The independent craft house of Champagne was created in 2005 by the three brothers Frèrejean Taittinger, Guillaume, Richard and Rodolphe. They grew up with love and respect for the Champagne tradition, and taking from family heritage and local expertise, they produce artisanal champagnes inspired by modern luxury. Rooted in the terroir of the Côte des Blancs, they use small-scale production methods that respect the land.
The menu was designed especially by the Dorchester Hotel’s top chefs and included Seabream tartar with NEFT Vodka, radish & mushroom tea; Cornish seafood ravioli, chervil root, bronze fennel & blue lobster bisque; Dry aged Angus beef, potimarron, truffle mushroom & Oldenburg red wine jus; and Chocolate, hazelnut praline & yuzu. Guests were served a special cocktail “The Londoner” with their amuse bouche, which was created especially for the evening by sponsors NEFT Vodka.
Wine was provided by sponsors Wine&Something and Oldenburg Vineyards. Guests enjoyed a Oldenburg Vineyards CL° White Blend 2018 which is a Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay Blend with notes of white peach and apricot, zesty acidity and slight buttery texture. This was followed by a Oldenburg Vineyards Syrah 2016 which is bold, luscious and supple with dark fruits. Finally a Chateau La Rame Les Coteaux De La Rame 2018 was lacy and fresh with notes of candied yellow plums, mandarin, pineapple and honey.
Robert Walton MBE founder of The Nth Degree Global and President of the Restaurant Association said: “It is an honour for me as President of The Restaurant Association over the past 12 years to host the fourth Restaurant Association Gala Dinner this evening. It has been an incredibly challenging couple of years for our industry, we are here tonight to celebrate our successes and to look to better times ahead. The Restaurant Association has helped shape the future of the UK hospitality industry, serving the interests of the people that really matter; the restaurateurs on the front line, businesses large and small, who make, and have made, the industry what it is this today.
The reality of the hospitality industry as we are all aware, is that we are facing unprecedented challenges. We are at crisis point with the huge shortfall of restaurant staff, particularly chefs. Spiralling payroll costs, combined with rising inflation and changes to VAT and business rates make a running a restaurant or hospitality business incredibly hard. We all knew Brexit would be a challenge for restaurants, but the combination with Covid has left us in very difficult times. And unfortunately, we have seen some wonderful UK restaurants close.
The growing number of challenges, and navigating trading in a post-Brexit, post-Covid Britain leaves many more businesses in difficult waters. Now, more than ever, we need government support for businesses. Over the past two years we have seen UKHospitality become a powerful new voice for the industry. Lead by the fabulous Kate Nicholls OBE and her amazing team, we are all in good hands for the future. Employment and skills have always been core values for the Restaurant Association, and we require the valuable support to safeguard the industry and deliver new talent, training and education whilst facing head on the challenges and changes.
Tonight’s Gala is once again a key event to celebrate the achievements and amazing successes of our industry. The UK Hospitality business are the creators for new hospitality experiences, we ‘See Things Differently’ that’s why we are the world leaders and innovators in this space. The UK has the best produce in the world and that’s why I am so proud that I can play a key role in promoting our hospitality sector of which London is recognized as the hospitality capital of the world. Thank you again for your support.”
Mark Lewis, Chief Executive of Hospitality Action said: “We are honoured to be the nominated charity of this year’s magnificent National Restaurant Association Gala Dinner. Hospitality Action provides financial relief to alleviate poverty for people who work or have worked in UK hospitality. We’re here for the chefs, waiters, housekeepers and managers. We’re here for the concierges, receptionists and kitchen porters. And we’re here for every sommelier, bartender, catering assistant and cook across the UK.
Since March 2020 we have worked hard to help thousands of hospitality households in crisis. We have provided countless grants to aid those whose finances have been affected by loss of employment and we have assisted vulnerable industry retirees access local support. We’ve also provided mental health resources for those who have struggled.
Our assistance comes in many shapes and sizes, but none of it would be possible without the generosity of our supporters. Here is the story of just one person we’ve been able to help in recent times:
“Thank you very much for all the help and concern you have shown me over the last few weeks. I truly appreciate it, just when my luck in life was well and truly down, I’d given up hope on humanity, was living in a tent in the park and shoplifting for food. I was on the brink of despair. Your kind approach and willingness to help a complete stranger has restored my faith in society. I’ve bought a new bed for my flat and a small TV, I’m allowed to stay here while my application is finalised. So for the first time in months I’m clean, safe, warm and fed. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’ve even reached out to my family who I’ve been estranged from for years, because I feel more confident as a person. You truly have saved my life.”
Since 1837 we have worked tirelessly for any one in hospitality who finds themselves in crisis and since the on-set of the pandemic we have steadfastly, and successfully, adapted our services to meet the demands of an industry on its knees. With this in mind I ask you to please dig deep when taking part in the evening’s fundraising.”23rd November 2021