Interview with Andy Kemp – Winner of EDUCatering Awards “Lifetime Achievement Award”

As part of our sponsorship of the EduCatering Excellence Awards 2018 we were privileged to present Andy Kemp, group sales and marketing director of Bidfood, with his Lifetime Achievement award. Congratulations Andy!

Andy also set up The One And All Foundation, to help every individual, whatever form their talent comes in, to fulfil their potential in an open, diverse and dynamic hospitality industry. As Andy is one of the most important players in the foodservice industry, we quizzed him about his experience, motivation and vision.

  • With over 30 years in the industry what has been your most memorable experience?

My most memorable experience was working with Ken Hom when he started to launch his products in the UK in 1996. I toured China with Charlie Thelleson, the renowned chef, and also visited Hong and the family Lee Kum Kee. I learned about international cuisine at a completely different level, and appreciated that even in a country that at that time had so little disposable income, great cuisine could be created. It inspired me tremendously.

  • How do you spend your down time?

What’s that?! I love to travel, and am lucky enough to have been able to travel across the world. I love experiencing people and cultures and nothing relaxes me more than spending time with my wife, my daughter, my son in law and my granddaughter at their farm or my friends. I am very much a family man.

  • What is your favourite style of cuisine and why?

I don’t have a favourite style of cuisine – variety is my spice, I love all freshly created food.  The style of food I like to eat is shared food: for me food is all about eating together and sharing.

  • The initiatives you’re involved with bring you in touch with a broad spectrum of people; who has given you/gives you inspiration?

I can honestly say I am naturally self-motivated and am inspired by people who want to learn and develop: I love to support them and am inspired by their passion. Whether it is a student that I am mentoring who has nothing, to the support teams within Springboard, to amazing chefs like Michael Caines or Jason Atherton, both of whom have ignored any element of adversity and strive for excellence in every way.

  • What’s the ingredient you can’t live without?

Water is my first thought. In a food context, I would also mention fresh fish which I love to eat several times a week. The most important ingredient of all are my friends and family.

  • What do you foresee for the hospitality industry over the next ten years?

People-power: the consumer driving the agenda for healthier, more sustainable food, free from preservatives, additives, or any nasties, packaged in sustainable materials.

  • How can people get involved with the One and All Foundation?

By embracing diversity in its total sense, within your own businesses. The One and All Foundation is about celebrating diversity and equality by looking for the best in people.

  • What’s you top tip to make the best culinary impression?

To me the best culinary impression is achieved when you really understand your consumer or customer, and serve their needs with dishes that really bring out the true taste of the food.  Japanese food is a great example of this.

  • Our industry relies on young talent choosing hospitality as their career of choice. What advice would you offer prospective employers to seek out that talent?

Listen to those who are coming through the business, recognise that they know your future customer better than you do and give them every opportunity to express themselves. Keep on supporting them in their training and development, and respond to their thirst for knowledge and change. Never forget to thank them for their contribution.

What an inspiration, and a very deserving winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award. With it being awards season, we recently presented Sunil Varma with his Unit Chef of The Year award at the FSM Awards. Read our interview with him here.

2019 Fretwell-Downing Hospitality