The cost sector is often seen as the somewhat unglamorous slide of the catering world, but if you were lucky enough to be at the Hilton Metropole on Thursday night it certainly didn’t look that way. The annual Cost Sector Catering awards from Cost Sector Catering Magazine celebrate the amazing work across contract catering, education, healthcare and much more and it has to be said everyone scrubbed up rather well for the night.

As the leading foodservice agency we were of course in attendance, enjoying catching-up with old friends and new. Along with the awards, we enjoyed a fabulous meal prepared by the team at the Hilton Metropole along with the humorous musings of Lucy Porter, who did a great job later in the evening as awards host. The main event was of course the awards themselves and looking around the room you could see the anticipation etched on faces. With nominees gathered, it was time to put them out of their misery and see who would be heading home with one of the stunning trophies.

Winners included The Royal Navy, TNS Catering, Sodexo, Mellors Catering Services, Elior, Manchester Metropolitan University, Barking and Dagenham, Amadeus, Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, Red Kite Learning Trust, NACC, Artizan, Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, Harrison Catering Services, Sodexo Defence and The University of Brighton. Lifetime achievement awards went to two most deserving individuals, Hillary Witt for the Public Sector Lifetime Achievement Award, recognising her outstanding work in school catering with LACA and William Baxter CBE, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Contract Catering after a long and distinguished career building a number of hugely successful businesses in this sector.

With the awards concluded, it was time to draw the raffle in aid of Hospitality Action (sadly we didn’t win the £500) and then to hit the dance floor as the band ‘Score’ got everyone up and on their feet – with some excellent Dad dancing on show. However, as the night wore on, all too soon it was time to wend our way home. Well done to Andrew Archer, Stuart Barnett and the team at Dewberry Redpoint on another great event and of course to all the nominees and winners, not forgetting the sponsors, who included our lovely client Hobart (who sponsored both Lifetime Achievement Awards), without whom the night would not be possible. Here’s looking forward to next year’s awards which will be the awards 25th anniversary year.