In recognition of his longstanding dedication to the food service industry, Winterhalter’s former commercial director Andy Blake has collected the CESA Outstanding Contribution Award to the Industry Award at the CESA Conference 2019. After over thirty years in the business, Andy retired in May 2019, but CESA celebrated his career by ensuring that his lifetime’s work is properly acknowledged.
Thanks to various subterfuges, Andy had no idea that he had won the award, and as a result was visibly shocked when it was announced. “I feel so privileged to be recognised by the industry. The award was totally unexpected – I never saw it coming,” he said. “I still don’t know what I have done to deserve it but, I’m not going to think too much but just enjoy it. It’s a great feeling!”
Andy caught the food industry bug as a teen in 1973, studying a diploma in Catering & Hospitality at High Peak College in his native Derbyshire. He began as a chef, but then in 1987 geared himself towards the business side of the industry, becoming an area sales representative for Hobart. He eventually became Airline Catering Manager, where he secured the biggest warewash order for Hobart Worldwide, for a project at Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok Airport worth £3.75m.
Andy joined Winterhalter as Sales Director in 1998. During his 18 years in the role, he helped to develop a wide range of the brand’s divisions, from chemicals to machines, and was well known for his mantra of ‘sell a system, not just a machine’. It was this mentality which saw him become commercial director in 2011, leading to Winterhalter products become a staple across the estates of some of the nation’s best known establishments.
He also worked with the FCSI and became a member of the CESA council in 2016. “Andy’s commitment to the food industry has been huge, and without his support and contribution we couldn’t do the work we do,” says John Whitehouse, chair of CESA. “Indeed, CESA identifies the universe of installed equipment in the market using the ‘Andy Blake approach’.”