The Recipe For Success

Lecturer at TVU wins top industry prize

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Award winner Michael Coaker

(Photo courtesty of the Catey Awards)

Cooking With Heston




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A hospitality lecturer from Thames Valley University (TVU) has been awarded the prestigious Education and Training Award at this year’s Cateys – the Oscars of the catering industry.

Michael Coaker, a lecturer in professional cookery, received the award in recognition of his innovative approach to continuous learning, in particular addressing the needs of the industry. He was presented with his award at a prestigious ceremony which took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel on 5 July.

Michael is the second TVU lecturer to achieve the accolade, following in the footsteps of Professor David Foskett, who won the title in 2003. His achievement means that TVU is the only institution to have received the award twice, as well as being the only university to do so.

The Catey Awards, which are run by Caterer and Hotelkeeper Magazine, were introduced in 1984 to recognise and celebrate the individuals who shape the hospitality industry. The fact that recipients are selected and rewarded by their peers means that the awards are held in high regard.

In addition to bringing a wealth of high end experience to the university classroom Michael, who was an executive chef at the Intercontinental Hotels Group for more than 20 years before coming to TVU, is chairman of the Chef’s ‘Adopt a School’ Programme.

The scheme, which is run by the Academy of Culinary Arts, takes professional chefs into schools with the aim of fostering a respect for food and teaching cooking as a life skill.
The role also takes Michael out into the community once a week – including to The Grange Primary School, Ealing – to give cookery and lifestyle lessons to 9 and 10 year old pupils, a task that he greatly enjoys.

Of the scheme, Michael says: “Our philosophy is that well informed children make well informed choices, he says. “If children learn about cooking and growing they are more likely to try different foods”.

The judges were united in their admiration of Michael’s achievements in contributing to the development of future talent.

Julia Sibley, Chief Executive of the Savoy Educational Trust and one of the judges, commented:

“Michael is a consummate professional who is unbelievably knowledgeable about passionate and food education. It doesn’t matter if he’s talking to a class of six year olds or one of university students; he has that special gift of being able to inspire each and every one in the importance of food”.

The London School of Hospitality and Tourism is itself no stranger to accolades, having been named as a Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) by the UK government. The school, whose courses range from an Apprenticeship Diploma to an MA in Tourism Management, also shared in the 2009 Queen's Anniversary Prize, which was awarded to TVU in recognition of the world class education it offers.


14 July 2010

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