16th Dec 2011 - 00:00
Independent contract catering group CH&Co has announced that Chris Holden (75) a breakfast chef at Regents College in Regents Park, London, has been named its Employee of the Year.
He received an engraved plaque, a bottle of champagne and Â£500 worth of High Street vouchers at a surprise award ceremony held on site. Singled out from almost 2,000 CH&Co employees nationwide, the citation said he won the title because of his "outstanding performance at work". He was nominated by six of his team members. He was first employed by the college in 1984 as a kitchen porter. Although now 75, he has continued a passion for learning that saw him, for example, complete an NVQ Level 1 & 2 in Food Preparation & Cooking at Hammersmith & West London College at the age of 68. Simon Warren, executive head chef at the college said: "Chris starts his day at 6am every morning and takes full responsibility for breakfast production, which he operates with military precision and always a smile on his face. "He is an absolute gentleman and has time for everyone. He is at the heart of our team and the respect he commands and gives is a lesson to us all." The catering contract at Regents College is operated by Charlton House, the niche staff catering brand within the CH&Co group. A team of 45 caters for up to 2,500 students each day, as well as managing extensive hospitality services. Another member of the Charlton House team, Robert Mulholland, health & safety manager said: "Chris, through his natural style of working, brings a sense of calm to the kitchen. "He is well-organised and junior members of the team whom he has mentored have learned from him. He always takes time to instill professionalism and good grounding. "He shows patience and wisdom in a pressurised kitchen environment. He is a joy to work with and an inspiration to all." Chris himself added: "I really appreciate this award and I was taken completely by surprise. CH&Co is a large company with many good people so to be chosen as Employee of the Year is quite something."