Confidence in business is one of the most powerful drivers to success. People who talk things up frequently see positive results whilst the pessimists are too often the purveyors of self fulfilling prophecies of doom.
Of course you can’t just be a thoughtless optimist without some solid evidence, but there are so many aspects of our local economy which show we can be successful in this New Year and so I hope you will join me as an advocate of what our area can achieve.
The Initiative does that in many ways. We celebrate the successes of our high tech, global businesses and delight in the triumphs of companies who lead the way in professional services. But we also do what we can to highlight the strengths in other industries, such as the ever more important catering sector.
For the last eleven years we have worked as a partner to organise and promote Chef v Chef, a cooking competition staged at Bath College. It’s a chance to gather together professional and trainee chefs, to put them to the test under the watchful eyes of masters of the art and then to marvel at their skills. The contest is a showcase of excellence and not only recognises the professional cream but it helps provide an impetus for aspiring chefs to become the best they can be. In turn this means we see an ever renewing supply of talent which will ensure the standards in all our local restaurants continue to improve, making Bath a foodies’ mecca with all the benefits that flow from that.
Over the years it has been a pleasure to see College students win prizes in the competition before going on to establish themselves in professional kitchens. Some of them have gone on to become Head Chefs who now bring their own proteges along to compete for the top prizes – a virtuous circle if ever there was one.
In some ways it is a small thing to help make a competition like this happen, but actually it can claim to have done something positive to raising standards and encouraging young people to take the food industry seriously. It’s good for them to have aspirations, it’s great for restaurants to have an ever renewing pool of top talent and its wonderful for a sector which plays a significant role in our broad and successful local economy.
More information about the competition, which will be held on February 9th, can be found at www.chefvchef.co.uk – closing date for entries is January 26th.