CGOC People’s Choice Award - voting closes today!

03/05/2018 - 10:40
Don’t forget to have your say and vote for the Craft Guild of Chefs 2018 People’s Choice Award, before voting closes 5pm today (3 May).

Voted for by Guild members and other industry colleagues, the People's Choice Award was open to all chefs from any part of the hospitality and catering industry, and celebrates either a specific achievement or long-term commitment to the sector.

This year’s nominees are as below, and you can make your selection for the 2018 People’s Choice Award here.

Amanda Afiya - Former Editor, The Caterer

Amanda has been the chef’s friend for the last 27 years, during which time she has championed our industry and the people in it for over a quarter of a century. As editor of The Caterer, controlling the most influential trade magazine in the industry, Amanda has managed to give credit to all sectors of the diverse kitchen environment. A tough call when every chef feels their story is the most important.

She managed to make sure everyone had a voice, the important issues were discussed and the less recognised from our industry were not forgotten. Never afraid to tackle the big issues and always forward thinking, making sure the magazine covered controversial topics as well as showcasing the talent we have in the kitchens of this wonderful country.

Amanda never lost her energy and commitment to creating a platform for the topics of the day and is responsible for so many ‘big conversations’ which have ultimately changed the industry we work in.

She has given many hours of her time hosting focus groups and advising industry bodies on both PR and Marketing as well as helping associations, including the Craft Guild of Chefs, to achieve more from associating themselves with publications.

She also gave a great deal of personal time to Hospitality Action and the Adopt a School projects, heading up both, as Chairman of their fund raising committees. 

Amanda has provided the voice of our industry and deserves recognition from those within it.


Stephen Frost, Divisional Executive Chef – Sodexo Sports and Leisure

As regional executive chef for Sodexo Sports and Leisure Scotland, Stephen Frost’s role – which he has held for the past 12 years – covers a broad spectrum of the industry, from menu development and sourcing ingredients to managing teams and mentoring young chefs.

Having played “a key role in developing and driving the Sodexo business throughout the UK” – named Best Group Contract Caterer in Scotland for three years in a row a testament to this – Frost is praised for his “focus and passion” for both the food he serves and the people he works with.

Drawing upon his commercial and culinary expertise, Frost is heavily involved in Sodexo's entire Scotland portfolio of sports, leisure, workplace and events dining operations, with everyday tasks ranging from:

  • Devising “memorable” menus for clients, including The Open Golf Championship and RHS Chelsea Flower Show
  • Co-ordinating training and development of chef teams
  • Managing an on site-team of 22 and chef-teams of up to 60 onsite at Sodexo’s venues and major events
  • Sourcing “outstanding” ethical, locally-produced food at a high volume
  • Helping young chefs develop their skills and characters - working with the Springboard charity, students at local colleges, and judging numerous industry competitions
  • Delivering quality and driving the business
  • Reviewing and developing food offers to “meet and exceed” client expectations

Described as a “humble, generous and inspiring personality that is unanimously recognised” by staff, clients and peers alike, colleagues added: “Stephen is one of the most talented and committed individuals in the Scottish food and drink scene, an unsung hero who has, for many years, played a key role in the on-going success of the industry. He is fully deserving of recognition at the highest level.”


Adrian Silaghi, head chef and catering manager at Princess Christian Care Centre (Nellsar Care Homes)

Adrian Silaghi has worked at the Nellsar Care Homes-owned centre for two years, where his hard work, cooking and passion has earned him the title: “master chef with a compassionate heart.”

Catering for its 93 elderly and dementia patients and their families, Silaghi goes the extra mile to meet each person’s dietary requirements – from working with the company nutritionist, nurses and care workers to speaking to clients themselves.

As well as managing the eight-man kitchen team, he also runs a regular cooking club to engage and entertain residents, as well as a restaurant within the home where diners can chose their own meals from an extensive menu. Not only has this increased the number of family members joining loved ones for meals “tremendously” but also earned the home additional income.

In line with Silaghi’s aim to “lighten the life of Princess Christian residents with flavours from around the world,” he ensures each guest is celebrated on their birthday with his signature cake, which “makes clients feel special.”

Princess Christian Care Centre added: “All our clients are 100% satisfied with Silaghi’s cooking and the presentation of meals, and even family members now request to join their loved ones for meals. I would strongly like to nominate Chef Adrian Silaghi for this year’s People’s choice category.”


Jozef Youssef - founder of Kitchen Theory, a gastrophysics research and design studio

Combining his love for gastronomy and psychophysics, Jozef Youssef founded Kitchen Theory in 2014 to gain a better understanding of how the senses impact the perception of taste and flavour.

Since then, Youssef has devoted his time, efforts and creations to researching the field of gastrophysics – funded by the multisensory dining experience he runs - working alongside professor Charles Spence (head of Crossmodal Research group at Oxford University) to disseminate his findings.

Having discovered that flavour is created in the brain and not the mouth, Youssef and Spence wanted to explore as many avenues as possible, which has therefore seen them:

  • Work with children at local schools and the Science Museum to see how sensory play and interactions can encourage them to eat new healthy foods
  • Hold workshops at Le Cordon Bleu and Basque Culinary Centre (Spain), as well as talks at talks OI forum, Brainy Tongue, Grand Designs and Taste London   
  • Publish open papers and articles on the Kitchen Theory blog and third party sites
  • Write a book: ‘Molecular Gastronomy at Home’ and also contribute to professor Spence’s ‘Gastrophysics the new science of eating’ book
  • Work with Imperial College’s astronomy department to help explain astronomy through food
  • Launch Project Gastronomia in London (April) in partnership with the Basque Culinary Centre to discuss how we can create a more sustainable food system

Final words: “With all of Youssef’s work and contribution, he has never applied for any awards and accolades. A true leader and inspirational force to the Kitchen Theory team and all of those around him - from collaborators to clients - he is most certainly an unsung hero.”

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