Show Your Support For A Minister For Hospitality and Seat At The Table!

Chefs and front of house celebrities voice their support for a hospitality minister as chorus for more signatures grows.

The hospitality industry continues to voice its support for a dedicated Government Minister with some big names rallying behind the cause. A debate has been tabled to be addressed in Parliament on the 11th of January.

The priority for those bringing their support is to get an overwhelming list of signatures that cannot be ignored. The Chef’s Forum fully supports this initiative.

Robin Hutson, the game-changing hotelier behind Limewood and The Pig is working tirelessly with his team of talented management trainees and prominent industry voices to engage more industry professionals in the campaign to appoint a Minister for Hospitality.

The petition, originally started by Claire Bosi of Chef Magazine gained around 30,000 signatures.  Robin felt that this really needed a boost given the number of people involved in the industry as a whole.

Robin gathered around 150 industry movers and shakers on a Zoom call, including Tom Kerridge, Angela Hartnett, Paul Heathcote and Harry Murray, to encourage more industry professionals to fight the cause and drive further sign-ups to the petition and ‘Seat at The Table’ was born.

In an interview with The Chefs’ Forum Robin said

“It has been amazing to see a significant uplift in signatures as a result of the group effort to raise the profile of the petition, but we need to keep going. The overriding concept in my eyes was to establish a little more respect for the hospitality industry within the government.  We’ve been pushed and pulled in all directions, based on unquantified science, especially the 10pm curfew, introduced on the hoof, which had a devastating effect on an industry already on its knees –   Nobody really thought about how much damage this would do to operations.”

“I have no idea whether whether we, (Seat At The Table) have been successful in reinforcing the case for the appointment of a government Minister for Hospitality, if nothing else, we’ve collectively helped to raise the profile of the sector.  Even if we lose this battle, there’s still a war to be won.”

Thankfully, the number of people who have signed the petition now stands at over 180,000 (30,000 more since our last article) and we need your help to keep this going.

Click here to sign the petition.

Catherine Farinha of The Chefs’ Forum said:

 “We wholeheartedly support this powerful petition. Not only does the hospitality industry need its own Minister but it also needs a voice in Government that draws attention to the need for more education for hospitality workers – especially chefs. The UK has some of the best restaurants in the world and we need to make them a shining example.”

Chefs’ Forum Educational Consultant, Neil Rippington is working to galvanise catering lecturers and hospitality teaching professionals on a national level, heading-up a range of Continual Professional Development conferences for UK colleges throughout 2021, he said

“The industry is vitally important to the success and standing of the nation on a global stage. We need a voice not only to represent the industry but to protect an aspect of life that we all rely on and perhaps have taken for granted in the past. Support from a minister would demonstrate the seriousness in which the government views the situation and provide a renewed confidence for the industry’s current workforce and those considering a future career in a fantastic and creative sector.

As an educator and chef, I feel it is essential to continue to develop collaboration between education and industry. In my role as Education Consultant for The Chefs’ Forum, alongside the work we are doing to promote continuing professional development during a very difficult time, I would relish the opportunity to have a seat at the table.”

Here’s a round-up of what the chefs have had to say in response to the campaign for a Minister for Hospitality and the status quo of the industry as a whole:

Gary Usher, of Sticky Walnut restaurant, expressed the mood of many in a tweet:

“I think by now you all know how devastatingly ****ed my industry is. Restaurants, pubs & bars are closing every day… for ever. A catastrophe of job losses in hospitality is here… now.

We need a voice in government. “

Fred Sirieix, who has become a champion of good service in hospitality in his various TV shows, and once worked for The Galvin Brothers at their restaurant at The London Hilton, said:

“Right now the hospitality industry is bearing the brunt of the restrictions and it’s virtually on its knees. We need more signatures.”

Cyrus Todiwala of Cafe Spice Namaste, which has been a victim of the two lockdowns commented:

“We need to make the voice bigger, stronger, better and more successful.”

Michelin star chef and Masterchef: The Professionals judge, Marcus Wareing posted a video on twitter to voice his concern and to pledge his support. He said:

“The hospitality industry is n a dismal place right now. 2021 is going to be tough. There is a huge mountain to climb. We need your help. We need a seat at the table. Hospitality touches everyone in many different ways. It is everywhere. In hospitals, care homes, the high street. The people who make your coffee. It’s in the supply chains, the farmer, the grower. I could go on all day long. We need signatures. The more the better. “

Angela Hartnett tweeted:

“We need more than ever a minister for hospitality …. the date for the debate has been agreed…. the more signatures the bigger the influence on our MP ‘s…  ….. this is for all areas of hospitality…… please forward /sign!”

Paul Ainsworth said:

“This brilliant industry has endured heart-rending adversity this year and it’s time to give the people working in it a voice.”

The petition is being championed by Robin Hutson and his team of management trainees to reinforce the petition and appoint a Minister for Hospitality with a personal crusade to fight the corner for hospitality and tourism.

Steve Double is the Conservative Party MP for St Austell & Newquay in Cornwall, a region heavily reliant on the hospitality pound for eight months of the year in normal times.  Steve is a member of the All Party Group (APPG) For Hospitality and Tourism and is wholeheartedly in support of the campaign.  As an MP, Steve would be a great example of somebody who could become a Minister for Hospitality in the UK.

Seat at The Table are a group of young hospitality professionals who were encouraged to start a movement to drive support for the hospitality industry.  Here’s what is says on the website:

In parliament, representation for hospitality is currently split between two crowded government departments: the department for business, energy and industrial strategy and the department for digital, culture, media and sport. As the UK’s 3rd largest employer responsible for 3 million jobs directly and a further 1.8 million indirectly, our industry needs a clear and strong voice.

This year especially we have seen many examples of poorly thought out and disjointed thinking. Many of the restriction challenges we have faced might have been avoided if our representation in government had operational experience and a deeper understanding of the sector.

Our campaign showcases a broad range of hospitality venues throughout the country who feel strongly about this issue. Pubs and restaurants are more commonly referred to when the hospitality industry is discussed in the media or in parliament, but there are so many more elements that make up this wonderful industry. Hotels, cafés, bars and B&Bs are often overlooked in the narrative. We share a seat at our tables, we deserve a seat at the top table.

A petition calling for a Minister for Hospitality needs 100,000 signatures to be debated in parliament. We reached that target on Saturday 12th December… and the number of people signing is still increasing.

The Chefs’ Forum will continue to report on this campaign and have our fingers crossed for the desired outcome of the appointment of a Minister for Hospitality.  If we don’t win now, we will fight until we do, shining the spotlight on our wonderful industry and the crucial need for a greater level of support and respect from the government.

For more information on Seat at The Table visit