Steve Land, group executive and senior development chef for Gather & Gather at Sky, has won the Chef of the Year award (at a private site) at the 2016 Food Service Cateys, organised by The Caterer (on Friday, 14 October).
Steve is responsible for all food related business for Gather & Gather’s Sky contract in the UK and Ireland. This covers ten locations with 24 diverse food outlets serving 17,000 people daily.
The food offer that Steve leads includes everything from fine dining – The Kitchen serves AA rosette quality food with around 200 covers per day – to deli bar sandwiches, leading a team of 75 chefs. He also looks after all hospitality at Sky ranging from two person meetings to events on a larger scale for over 600 people.
Steve has played a central role in the transformation of food service at Sky since the start of the Gather & Gather contract in 2013. In 2016 he was instrumental in the design for food service within Sky Central, a stunning new building that opened during the summer. In particular, The Dining Room, uses a fast-food format with a tight, focused menu that allows for a high throughput without compromising quality. On average, Steve’s team serve 1,400 people at lunch daily from this one outlet.
Working closely with the team, Steve has designed, developed and opened numerous new concept restaurants, including an American Diner and an Italian restaurant within the last year – increasing the number of outlets from 13 to 24 across Sky’s estate. Other highlights for Steve have been partnering with Sky to develop an in-house cooking competition alongside “My Kitchen Rules” presenters Jason Atherton and Lorraine Pascale.
Steve is not just a dedicated chef with a commitment to great food, he also works hard to promote the industry and cultivate young talent. He is regularly involved with the Springboard charity, an organisation that helps and encourages young people to consider careers in the catering industry. This year Steve mentored a 14-year-old apprentice, Sophie Holman, through the later stages of Springboard’s Future Chef competition, a national competition that cultivates the potential of some of the UK’s strongest aspiring chefs.
The Food Service Cateys are the Oscars of the contract catering sector and Steve’s recognition highlights not just his personal achievements and skill, but the ongoing success of the Gather & Gather business. His Chef of the Year title is the fourth award won by the business in a single week, after securing the brand impact category at the BIFM Awards (10 October) and its team contributing to the best awards venue and best corporate venue at the London Venue Awards for The Brewery (14 October).
Allister Richards, managing director of Gather & Gather said: “This is a fantastic reward for all of Steve’s hard work and skill. He really deserves this. His impact on what we do goes much further than just Sky and he is like the heartbeat of the business, invigorating food service at Sky and across the rest of the organisation. He is a great example to all of us and he epitomises the chef ideals we champion across Gather & Gather. Well done Steve!”