New FCSI UK&I chair gives opening address

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Matthew Merritt-Harrison FCSI succeeds Julian Edwards FCSI at AGM and Christmas lunch

The new chair of FCSI UK & Ireland, Matthew Merritt-Harrison FCSI, used his opening address at the country unit’s annual general meeting (AGM) and Christmas lunch, held at The Law Society in London, to call on the Society to be “more inclusive” in the future. He also stressed that FCSI must “deliver benefits” as well as being “open, transparent and deliver value from every Pound.”

In taking over the reigns from former chair Julian Edwards FCSI, Merritt-Harrison highlighted the uncertainty created by the UK’s exit from the European Union and the unknown effects these will have on the profession. “We are living in uncertain times,” he said. “We don’t know the outcome of Brexit, but I suspect very few of us will benefit from it.”

For Merritt-Harrison this simply compounds the need for FCSI to work closely with its sister industry partners, notably CESA, CEDA, UKHospitality and the Institute of Hospitality. He also stressed that former members of FCSI who had left the Society would be very much “welcomed back”, providing they can demonstrate professional standards. “FCSI members must robustly uphold the code of conduct,” he said.

Merritt-Harrison thanked Edwards for his service and continuing support in the role, saying he had: “built bridges and brought the Society forward”.

At the event FCSI UK & Ireland announced a series of events for members in 2019, including a strong presence at the Professional Kitchen Show at the NEC in Birmingham on 22-23 January and the Commercial Kitchen Show at the same venue on 4-5 June. The unit will also host Education Afternoons on 28 February at 110 Rochester Row, Westminster, and in September (date TBC) at the School of Artisan Food in Nottingham. A food tasting evening will take place at Mercato Metropolitano in Mayfair, London, and the inaugral FCSI Foodservice Forum & Ball will take place at St John’s College, Cambridge on 17-18 July.

Technical guidance

It was also announced at the AGM that FCSI UK & Ireland is to produce the next CIBSE Guide to ‘Energy Efficiency in Commercial Kitchens’. CIBSE Guides offer comprehensive technical guidance on key areas of building services engineering and are provided free of charge to members of the Chartered Institute of Building Service Engineers (CIBSE). Non-members are also able to purchase guides from CIBSE.

Created to provide impartial best practice guidance, guides are drafted by leading industry experts and have to be fully assessed by CIBSE’s Knowledge Programme sub-Committee.

The new Energy Efficiency in Commercial Kitchens Guide will cover a broad range of topics including kitchen design, project considerations, refrigeration, warewashing, lighting and connectivity, and environmental considerations.

Twelve working groups have been set up and the FCSI has been delighted with the response its received from organisations asked to support the creation of the new guide which will combine the extensive experience and knowledge of FCSI members, equipment manufacturers and technical advisors.

“The FCSI and its members pride themselves on providing impartial best practice advice to clients and other organisations operating within the foodservice sector. We look forward to sharing our knowledge and expertise with CIBSE members and to working with CIBSE going forward,” said Merritt-Harrison.

Michael Jones