Hospitality figures sweep up honours in New Year list

The 2024 New Year Honours List recognised a number of leading figures in the hospitality industry.

Among those to receive the rank of Knight Bachelor in the list was Tim Martin, the founder and CEO of pub group JD Wetherspoon in recognition of his services to hospitality and culture.

Reacting to the news, British Beer and Pub Association CEO Emma McClarkin said: “It is wonderful news that Sir Tim Martin, such a stalwart of the great British pub, has been awarded a knighthood for his amazing contribution and achievements to the pub sector and wider hospitality, especially given the recent challenges of the Covid pandemic and cost of living crisis.”

UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls dubbed Martin a “tireless advocate for the pub, a fair tax regime for the sector and for the people – team and guests – who make it the heart of the community”.

However, Martin’s knighthood has proved controversial due to his role as a campaigner for Brexit, with several leading hospitality figures, including Michel Roux Jr., criticising the decision.

Martin wasn’t the only pub figure to be recognised in the list. Micropub Association founder and landlord of the UK’s first micropub (The Butcher’s Arms in Herne) Martyn Hillier was among those to receive the status of a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). In 2015, Hillier was named by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) as Campaigner of the Year.

Also gaining an MBE was Adam Handling, the chef and owner behind Frog by Adam Handling and Eve Bar (both in Covent Garden), Cornwall’s The Ugly Butterfly, and The Loch and The Tyne in Old Windsor.

On Instagram, Handling described receiving the MBE as his “proudest achievement”: “I am so overwhelmingly happy – this is, to date, the most heartwarming, humbling recognition I’ve ever received in my 20 years of cooking.”

Other new hospitality industry MBEs are Jeremy Lee of Quo Vadis fame, who said that he was “humbled and deeply honoured” to be named, and Simon Rogan, the restaurateur behind, among others, chef’s table experience Aulis and the three-Michelin-starred Cartmel restaurant L’Enclume.

While Rogan now has restaurants as far afield as Malta and Thailand, he used the announcement of his MBE to show support for UK produce: “The British dining scene has changed a lot in the last 20 years, and it has been invigorating to be a part of that, namely raising the profile of the ‘farm-to-fork’ way of growing and eating, and hopefully inspiring others to follow suit. I believe that promoting our incredible produce and farmers in the Lake District has an important, long-lasting effect on the whole industry which will support British agriculture for years to come.”

It wasn’t just hospitality business owners who were recognised – Professor David Foskett, who was previously head of the London School of Hospitality and Tourism at the University of West London and now serves as a consultant for the industry, was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), having received an MBE in 2005. Gordon McIntyre, founder of Scotland-based charity Hospitality Health, which supports workers in the sector, was also named as an MBE.

This article originally appeared on the drinks business.

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