Hotelympia which takes place at the Excel exhibition centre in Docklands London is the UK’s biggest and brightest food service and hospitality event with almost 1,000 exhibitors and more than 300 exciting new companies representing all sectors of the Industry.
I have just returned from 2 days at the exhibition and can report that the Industry is as innovative and exciting as ever! There were countless networking opportunities with activities on ‘The Stage’ and ‘Seminar pod’ which offered programmes packed with leading lights and the very latest insights and trends in the Hospitality industry.
The show held the Industry Innovation awards which showcased creativity in the sectors of Design, Equipment, technology and Food and Drink. All those shortlisted, 26 finalists in total, as well as the 4 winners proved the future of the Industry is embedded in the development of the 4 areas identified and that Innovation is crucial to success and can transform any business.
Amongst many highlights of my 2 day visit was the Lifetime achievement award to Sir Terence Conran, the design guru behind Habitat the design studio and of course in terms of Hospitality such business icons as Quaglino’s and Bibendum. His contribution to the world of Hotel and Restaurant design was long overdue and even at 82 years of age he is still working with a current project in east London where he talked of the development of ‘Hotel Rooftops’!, his quote was that any Hotelier with a roof must consider it as another revenue steam… certainly food for thought?
For those who follow current F&B trends the name of Tom Kerridge is one which will be recognised and his session on the ‘Stage’ was memorable for its honesty and straight forward approach to business strategy toward a complex business such as Hospitality. It was refreshing and enlightening to hear such a basic ‘back to fundamentals’ approach from someone with successful 2 Michelin starred business and an ever growing media career.
One area of the show was set aside to ‘Careers in Hospitality’ and dedicated to both education institutions and leading hospitality employers to discuss and showcase their opportunities. It was great to see that Laureate Education had a significant presence in this part of the exhibition and was the only International education group to have a presence. It was also good to see colleagues and students from our London branch campus both at the laureate stand and around the show generally.
My personal involvement in the F&B aspects of hospitality and my interest and passions for this aspect were more than met with a world class Salon Culinaire, Live theatre competitions, ‘Les Parade des Chefs’ offering live lunch service under competition conditions, ‘The skillery’ where celebrity chefs explained food trends in their sector and the Drinks innovation theatre run by the Wine and spirit Education trust.
Overall the event lived up to and exceeded all expectations and my ‘take aways’ are numerous and I look forward to working with colleagues and students on many of these ideas.
Paul Chappel Head of APii unit (Academic Product innovation and initiatives)
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