The dust will have settled on Cateys night, which took place at London's Grosvenor House hotel on Tuesday, but for the winners the evening will live on for some time to come as they reflect on winning one of the hospitality industry's most sought-after award.
There were 17 categories at this year's Cateys, covering every sector of the industry, from hotels to restaurants, and from contract catering to pubs and bars. Having introduced a shortlist category for a couple of awards last year, in 2006 we celebrate achievement on a broader scale with shortlisted categories for all but five awards.
Two elements in particular combine to make a Catey such a desirable accolade: peer-group recognition and a meticulous judging process. Candidates in each category are nominated by the readers of Caterer. Winners are chosen by judging panels selected for their expertise and industry knowledge, and honoured before an industry audience. Nothing beats winning praise from your colleagues - those who know the industry inside out and who can spot quality (or a bit of spin) a mile off.
As for the rigour of our selection process, this year the tough task of judging was again assisted by consultancy PKF, which prepared detailed dossiers on the nominated candidates.
In 2006, as has been the case throughout the Cateys' 23-year history, our winners represent excellence in hospitality. All are exemplar of great operations or hard-working individuals, dedicated to raising and upholding standards. By honouring their success, we also offer the industry as a whole a yardstick against which it can gauge its own accomplishments.
We should applaud our winners' success, be inspired by it and seek to reproduce it in our own enterprises and professions.
Mark Lewis, Editor, Caterer and Hotelkeeper