Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has been named the most powerful and influential person in the UK hospitality industry in 2010.
Oliver beat Andrew Cosslett, chief executive at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), and fellow celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, chef-patron of the three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, to the top spot in the third Caterersearch.com 100, our list of the 100 most influential people in hospitality.
The Caterersearch.com 100, in association with Bisto, recognises key players whose actions are having the greatest impact, and ranks candidates on criteria ranging from direct power, success, innovation, future potential, and their wider influence across the industry.
Oliver clinched the top spot because of his influence and reach across the industry. He is a chef, restaurateur, campaigner, television star and author as well as being the face of Sainsbury's. His reputation of being a "cheeky chap" has been superseded by his astonishing success in managing to change Government policy on school meals and the diets of families both here and in the USA. Recent years have also seen a highly successful launch into the casual-dining market, with Jamie's Italian.
Oliver told Caterer he was delighted with the award. "It's always such an honour to receive praise from your peers and from brilliant people within the industry who I respect," he said. "Innovation and influence are always at the heart of what we do but there's got to be a social element too, whether it's through the work of the Jamie Oliver Foundation or through opening more Ministries of Food to help more and more people to embrace great food and cooking. Thank you for this. It means a lot to me."
In at two on the list is the highest-ranked hotelier, Cosslett of IHG, the world's largest hotel operator by bedroom numbers, who has overseen a number of initiatives that have helped keep IHG at the top of the industry.
Cosslett said: "I haven't got TV shows, best-selling books or a magazine behind me, but I have got an incredible team who are the real reason I can accept this accolade on behalf of IHG. Together we've remained focused on what gives us our competitive edge - our people and our brands and it has made a big difference, particularly during these difficult economic times."
The Caterersearch.com 100 is compiled by a judging panel of industry experts and senior journalists from Caterer and Hotelkeeper.
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