The Restaurant Association Gala Dinner Celebrating Excellence in Food & Wine Service

Hospitality leaders to celebrate The Restaurant Association Gala Dinner Celebrating Excellence in Food & Wine Service on 24 February 2020 at The Savoy.

UKHospitality and The NTH Degree Global have joined together to host the third annual The Restaurant Association Gala Dinner, Celebrating Excellence in Food & Wine Service on Monday 24 February 2020. The prestigious event will be held at The Savoy Hotel in the heart of London with title sponsors Mercedes, Arla Pro, Cayman Islands, Unilever Food Solutions. Proceeds from The Restaurant Association Gala Dinner Auction will go to 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.

Pictured – Top in 2019 – Raymond Blanc OBE, Emily Roux, John Williams MBE, Albert Roux OBE, Claude Bosi, Michel Roux Jr, Diego Ferrari, Robert Walton MBE, Paolo de Tarso. Bottom – Michel Roux Jr, Albert Roux OBE & Emily Roux

The NTH Degree Global founder and President of the Restaurant Association, Robert Walton MBE, will host the event alongside speakers including Mark Lewis the Chief Executive of Hospitality Action, Kate Nicholls CEO of UK Hospitality and André Ebanks representative of the Cayman Islands.

The Restaurant Association Award for Services to Hospitality

The 2019 the first ever Restaurant Association award for Services to Hospitality went to the Roux family with Albert Roux OBE, Michel Roux Jr. and Emily Roux in attendance. For 2020, the award which is designed and sponsored by Fabergé, will be presented to a surprise guest on the night by Sarah Fabergé.


Top chefs and hospitality leaders are expected to attend including James Martin, Tom Aikens, Brian Turner CBE, Antony Worrall Thompson, Theo Randall, Ainsley Harriott MBE, Nigel Haworth, Claude Bosi, Matt Tebbutt, Ben Tish, Ruth Hansom, Chris Galvin, Ashley Palmer Watts, Adam Simmonds, John Williams MBE, Sabrina Ghayour, Atul Kochhar and Gizzi Erskine.

Our VIP guests will arrive in cars by Mercedes and Overfinch and include model and presenter Lisa Snowdon and George Smart, nutritionist Rosemary Ferguson, CNN journalist Amanda Davies, editor in chief at Hello magazine Rosie Nixon, Primrose Bakery owner Martha Swift, denim designer Donna Ida Thornton, model and stylist Angela Radcliffe with husband Colin Radcliffe plus fashion designer Caroline Sciamma-Massenet with husband Arnaud Massenet.

Sponsors & Partners

Title sponsors Mercedes, Arla Pro, Cayman Islands, Unilever Food Solutions are the perfect partners for the event. The menu at The Savoy has been crafted with Arla products including canapés of ‘CheeseBurger’ Sliders made with Arla Pro Grilling Cheese, Mushroom Ketchup, Kohlrabi & Tarragon Remoulade and Soft Poached Quails Egg with Sumac with Arla Skyr Plain Yogurt.

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 will also provide the flights and accommodation for a coveted holiday to the Cayman Islands for two lucky winners. Diners will be invited to play the game Heads and Tails by paying £30 for their entry which goes directly to the Hospitality Action Charity.

Partners and sponsors include UKHospitality, Hospitality Action, Michelin, The Watermark, Fabergé, Digicool, The Savoy, Tatler, Overfinch, American Express, Classeq, KuulEats, Young Chef Young Waiter, The Social Wine Co., Champagne Frerejean Freres, NFS Technology, Falco Capital, Discover and Nodaq.

Drinks by ChampagneFrerejean Frères

Our guests will enjoy a drinks reception from our Champagne Frerejean Frères, Avize, Brut 1er Cru, NV which is 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir with 6 years lees ageing. Plus Champagne Frerejean Frères, Avize, Blanc de Blancs, 1er Cru, NV which is 100% Chardonnay with 6 years lees ageing.

The Savoy London Menu

The menu has been designed to showcase our title sponsors with a starter of Cured Scottish Salmon with Heritage Beetroots, Arla Cravendale Milk and Wild pennywort. The intermediate courses include Black Dorset Crab & Orkney Scallop Raviolone Bisque and Sea kale or Jerusalem artichoke Tortellini Black Garlic with Jack by the hedge. The main course is either Pine Smoked Venison loin Strudel with Sprout leaves with Earl Grey Jus or finally a Tuxford & Tebbutt Stilton, Morel mushrooms and Nettle puree. Dessert is The Savoy Chocolate Orange which is Orange Compote, Roasted Hazelnut with Mandarin and Yoghurt Ice Cream. The meal will finish with Pralines en surprise.

The Social Wine Co.

Wines to accompany the meal have been selected by our partners The Social Wine Co. with the Il Palagione Hydra Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2015 accompanying the starters. For the intermediate course, diners will enjoy the Denis Bouchacourt Macon-Solutre 2014 and the main course will be served with the Vidal-Fleury Cotes du Rhone 2013. The Weingut am Kaiserbaum Lerchenspiel Rieslaner Auslese 2015 will complete the meal with dessert.


Entertainment will be provided by singer Wayne Woodward plus celebrated chef Brian Turner CBE will host the annual Auction with all proceeds going to Hospitality Action.

Quotes on the Restaurant Association Gala Dinner

Robert Walton MBE founder of The NTH Degree Global and President of the Restaurant Association: “I joined the Restaurant Association of Great Britain. It was fantastic to receive my scroll, meet like-minded people and be part of an association dedicated to such an exciting sector which I am so passionate about. In 1992, to my delight, I was invited to join the Restaurant Association committee and after 28 years I now have the great honour of being its President for the last 11 years. I look back at the past 50 years of the Restaurant Association and think of the pioneers of 1967 and how their contribution to the hospitality industry in the UK, and especially London, have been instrumental to its success. This has lead to London being recognised as the hospitality capital of the world. Tourists flock to London and the UK, not only to soak up our British culture but to dine in our world renowned restaurants.

Being part of the Restaurant Association has given me the opportunity to meet amazing people who have chaired this great Association, from Prue Leith to the present Chairman David Loewi. I also had the pleasure of spending time and sharing many ideas with one of our most dynamic Chairman and President, Roy Ackerman CBE, who sadly passed away a few years ago. There seems to be an insatiable appetite for the hospitality sector with our chefs becoming ever more popular, not only in their own establishments but also in the world of media and television. In 2019 we relaunched Young Chef Young Waiter to mark 40 years of the incredible competition. As the past Chairman of the competition from 2006 to 2012, I was delighted to revamp the concept where we were joined by Arla Pro, Magnum and the Cayman Islands as our title sponsors. I recruited the best people in the hospitality industry so our roster of judges included Theo Randall, Tom Kerridge, Clare Smyth MBE, Tom Aikens, Claude Bosi, Emily Roux, Jeff Galvin, Andy Downton, Johanna Wimmer.

It showcased the incredible young talent in the UK and Ireland and we have ambitions to replicate this concept worldwide to find the best global young chefs and waiters. It’s the only competition to link chefs and waiters working together as a team. It’s the perfect event to showcase the hospitality sector as a profession, a career and a vocation in what is the most exciting time for the industry”

Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality: “The second Restaurant Association Gala Dinner to fall under the UKHospitality umbrella comes at a time of ambiguity for the country. As we embark on a future outside of the European Union, anyone who claims to be able to read the UK’s runes with total clarity should be regarded with a degree of suspicion. A safer bet would be the proclamation that uncertainty, at the very least, breeds opportunity. The economic and political landscape of the United Kingdom is shifting and it is up to us as businesses to capitalise on potential disruption.

That is why it is more important than ever that hospitality has a strong and vocal advocate. From restaurants at the apex of fine dining to quick service restaurants catering to hungry commuters, revellers or tourist, the issues facing us are universal. We must work collectively if we hope to secure the support businesses need from government to thrive. Arguably, this has never been more important that it is currently. For UKHospitality this year, that means focusing principally on three issues affecting the entirety of hospitality. We are looking to mitigate employment cost increases, push the Government to introduce a fairer business tax system and secure the future employment of the sector. The Restaurant Association Gala Dinner is a chance to enjoy another year of success, but it is an opportunity to appreciate the breadth and scope of the restaurant sector – a vital component of the wider hospitality industry. Iconic venues, world-renowned talent and champions of British business and culture are gathered here this evening. The collective weight of knowledge and experience in the room outlines why hospitality is such an exciting and successful sector. Imagine the kind of message we can send if that collective influence can be brought together.”

Mark Lewis, Chief Executive, Hospitality Action: “We are honoured to be the nominated charity of this year’s glorious Restaurant Association Gala Dinner. Behind their smiles and slick service hospitality workers can fall upon hard times just like anybody else. As everyone here tonight knows ours is a stressful industry, with long hours, high pressure environments and physically demanding work. Injuries, mental health problems and addiction are sadly a feature of modern life in the hospitality trade. That’s where Hospitality Action steps in. We work to provide hospitality workers with financial, physical and psychological support to help them overcome adversity and get back to work as quickly as possible. We help individuals and their families stay afloat with grants to cover anything from rent payments to school uniform for their children. And for those who sadly can’t return to the industry they love, we provide ongoing support to transition them to the next stage of their lives.

For older people who have retired from the industry we provide grants to help with heating bills, home conversions or even funeral costs for loved ones. Just as importantly, we provide a lifeline to prevent loneliness and isolation and our retired ‘Golden Friends’ enjoy regular contact and local events to help them stay active and connected to their community. None of this is possible without nights like tonight and the support of our industry friends. It’s only thanks to your generosity that we’re able to help so many people in need and for this I am truly grateful. On behalf of the whole team at Hospitality Action, thank you for your support and have a wonderful evening.”

Sarah Fabergé: “There is a natural synergy between Fabergé and the Restaurant Association in our pursuit of excellence and we are once again delighted to be supporting this Gala Dinner.”

Rodolphe Frerejean Taittinger, Founder & CEO: “Whether they are chefs, maîtres de salle, sommeliers or partners, we are proud to join the celebration of all these passionate craftsmen who work with one idea rooted in themselves: to achieving excellence without comprising.”

Dale Agar, CEO, The Social Wine Co.: “We are delighted to be supporting UK Hospitality through the Restaurant Association Gala Dinner recognising the important role all restaurants play within the hospitality industry. With a portfolio of over 300 wines, The Social Wine Co. supports independently owned wineries from around the world, providing superior, handpicked quality wines at affordable prices to our customers. Enjoy the evening.”

Luis De Souza, CEO of NFS Technology Group, providers of Aloha EPOS technology: “Today’s diners are more demanding than ever before – and that’s particularly so in the refined world of fine dining. Restaurant management technology works subtly to streamline operations, creating an unbeatable diner experience and encouraging customer loyalty.”

Read more about our sponsors and partners here.

19th February 2021

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