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27th October 2022

Be Inclusive Hospitality Spotlight Awards – Winners including David Jesudason

From David Jesudason:

On Monday night I won Writer of the Year at the inaugural Be Inclusive Hospitality Spotlight awards after being shortlisted alongside Great British Bake Off contestant Chetna Makan, food writer Melissa Thompson and cocktail expert Emanuele Mensah. 

The award ceremony took place in Percy’s Kensington and was expertly organised by Lorraine Copes who held an event that showcased the rich talents of people of colour who work in the hospitality industry. My award was totally unexpected but is a tribute to the many often ignored voices I have been able to give a platform to. I would like to thank the judging panel, which included chef Andi Oliver, and my peers who nominated me for the award.
Most of all I would like to thank the publishers of my work, which includes Pellicle, Good Beer Hunting, CAMRA Learn and Discover and Ferment. I hope my award will inspire others to send pitches to these great platforms. 

Last night, Be Inclusive Hospitality (BIH) proudly announced the winners for its BIH Spotlight Awards – the first ever awards to celebrate diverse talent within the hospitality industry in the UK. The glitzy awards ceremony was held in London at Percy’s Kensington and was hosted by TV presenter, author and pastry chef, Ravneet Gill.

The BIH Spotlight Awards celebrated winners across 11 categories selected by industry leaders and peers from a shortlist of 44 finalists.  There were also 2 People’s Choice Awards, chosen by the public.

The BIH Spotlight Awards judging panel was co-chaired by industry luminaries, TV presenter and celebrity chef Andi Oliver and co-founder of D&D London, Des Gunewardena.  Alongside food and diversity consultant Mallika Basu; Masterchef winner and restaurateur, Shelina Permalloo; author and chef, Mike Reid; global rum ambassador, Ian Burrell; wine and sake educator, Shane Jones; CEO and founder of Umbrella Training, Adele C Oxberry; Co-owner of Tayēr + Elementary, Monica Berg; and chef consultant, Jay Morjaria.

Andi Oliver says: The nominees have been amazing and inspiring – it’s so wonderful to get an insight into how the cross cultural creative culinary minds are ticking across the country. I am so hopeful for the future of our industry and the potential for true growth and inclusion.  Congratulations to everyone see you all next year! 

Des Gunewardena remarks: Reviewing, judging and scoring the 44 finalists was a formidable task…like a business version of the Eurovision Song Contest! I loved doing it. I was really impressed and touched by the stories behind so many of the people showcased here.

We need more business leaders and successful entrepreneurs from Black, Asian and other minority backgrounds to serve as role models in order to encourage more young people from BAME communities to enter our industry. I think that Lorraine Cope’s excellent initiative in establishing the BIH Spotlight Awards will help do that.

Lorraine Copes, founder of Be Inclusive Hospitality comments: I am absolutely overwhelmed by the sheer exhilaration and joy that I experienced last night during our first BIH Spotlight Awards Ceremony.  When launching these awards, my mission was to shine a much-needed spotlight for our community and to celebrate the individual brilliance, dedication and passion that exists in our industry.  I want to thank the public for their nominations and our esteemed panel for their support and selection of our winners.  My heartfelt congratulations go to our 13 winners on their resounding and continued success.

The winners are as follows:

Chef of the Year 

Babatunde Abifarin – Farin Road – Edinburgh

African Food

Maria Bradford, Shwen Shwen – Events caterer – Kent

Caribbean Food 

Lara Luck, Food by Lara Luck – food stylist and recipe developer – London

East and South East Asian Food 

John Li, The Dumpling Shack Group – London

South Asian Food

Priya Deshingkar, Deccan Tiffin – Maharani Supper Club – Hove 

Middle Eastern Food

Ayesha Kalaji, Queen of Cups – Gastro Pub – Glastonbury

Bar/Pub of the Year

The Dodo Micropub – Lucy Do, London

Drinks Professional of the Year 

Imie Augier – Soda and Friends, London

Writer of the Year 

David Jesudason

Head Office Impact 

Tasneem Sharrem, Professional and Engagement officer – Fat Macy’s – London

Rising Star 

Reuben Nehikhare, founder – The Parlor – London


People’s Choice Person of the Year

Henna Zinzuwadia, founder and director of Wine for AYỌ Collective – London

People’s Choice Restaurant of the Year

Cue Point – London

For further information or to interview the winners or Lorraine Copes founder of Be Inclusive Hospitality and the BIH Spotlight Awards please contact or


Press release from Be Inclusive Hospitality.

For further information or to interview the winners or Lorraine Copes founder of Be Inclusive Hospitality and the BIH Spotlight Awards please contact or