Geoff Booth to Leave Westminster Kingsway College after 12 Years
After 12 years of dedicated service to Westminster Kingsway College, Geoff Booth, Centre Director for the School of Hospitality, will be leaving at the end of the academic year to pursue a number of projects and concentrate on his Chairmanship within the PACE network (Professional Association for Catering Education).
Geoff joined Westminster Kingsway College as Centre Director of School of Hospitality in 2004 and very quickly became instrumental in the school’s success.
During Geoff’s time at the College the number of full-time students to the Chef and Restaurant Service Diplomas has doubled in size and part-time students trebled. He broadened the spread of apprenticeship training offered for the hospitality sector, introducing the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy to the College and modernising the College’s Higher Education offer, supervising three successful QAA HE inspection visits as well as introducing a new HE Culinary Arts and Science programme. He also developed a commercial element to all training programmes across the Hospitality portfolio valued at around £1m. This commercial acumen resulted in the development of a series of Realistic Work Environments, including the student Atrium cafe, the Vincent Rooms Restaurant as well as building a banqueting trade operated by staff and students.
His achievements culminated this year, with Westminster Kingsway College being honoured with the Queen’s Award for Further and Higher Education.
Andy Wilson, Principal at Westminster Kingsway College and CEO Designate of CLCG – the City & Islington and Westminster Kingsway Colleges Group, said: “Geoff Booth has led the School of Hospitality at Westminster Kingsway College for almost 12 years. During that time the College has reinforced its position at the forefront of training for the hospitality sector in London, the UK and internationally. Geoff has worked tirelessly on behalf of the College and, more widely, across hospitality training, to ensure we continue to provide what generations of recruits need to succeed in the industry and employers with the skilled workforce required to sustain their business”.
Geoff has held leading roles in the hospitality sector, developing external partnerships by creating closer links with, among others, the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, the Academy of Food and Wine service, the Institute of Hospitality and the British Institute of Innkeepers.
He created bespoke partnership projects with the Savoy Hotel, Hilton, Accor, Hyatt, Compass, Baxter Storey, Harbour & Jones, D&D restaurants, the IOD, Sloane Club and RAC to establish customised Apprenticeship training schemes.
Internationally, Geoff established curriculum links with Institute Culinaria de Mexico which has seen Westminster Kingsway College students travel annually to Mexico to learn about Central American cuisine – this year students were involved in discovering and working with insect protein. Geoff was also key in establishing Entente Cordiale links with Michel Bourdain and Michel Escoffier , building links with colleges in the south of France which has been running for over a decade (and now features an annual Escoffier challenge competition between students from 12 institutions across the UK and the Côte d’Azur) and links with CREA and Cuisine solutions in Paris and Washington to enable work on food development and molecular gastronomy training projects for industry based chefs at Westminster Kingsway College.
Geoff Booth said: “As I look back on what has been an incredible journey here at Westminster Kingsway, I am proud to have played a part in growing this great institution. The School of Hospitality & Business Enterprise in Vincent Square is now poised to benefit from the stunning refurbishment of the Centre, and the experience and dedication of the people striving within it.”
The School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts will continue to be managed by Gary Hunter, Head of Faculty for Hospitality and Culinary Arts. Gary will build on the College’s successes, working with employers to continue to create real-life learning environments that expose students to the future demands of a challenging and fast-paced sector, preparing them for their careers.
Geoff said: “I am certain that Gary Hunter, and the remarkable team around him, will continue to make exceptional things happen. As I move on to explore new opportunities in the world of food and hospitality, I wish everyone at Westminster Kingsway College the best of success in the future.”
Gary Hunter said: “I have worked closely with Geoff for the Hospitality team throughout his tenure at Westminster Kingsway College. We are all sorry to see him leave the corporation but he will always be part of our inspiring family. Geoff entrusts a formidable legacy, which I will continue to sustain and develop for the benefit of our alumni, future students and the hospitality industry.”