Hackney born chef trainer Leon Seraphin has been awarded the Community Award at a prestigious black-tie Awards evening by foodservice provider BaxterStorey.
Working for social enterprise Beyond Food, which operates out of Brigade restaurant, owned by PwC and managed by BaxterStorey, Leon has trained over 1200 homeless people in the local London community and brought 120 people into full-time employment as chefs during his 14 years as a chef trainer.
Seraphin, who was also recognised with the 2018 Rising Star Chef Mentor Award at the inaugural H&C EXPO Mentor Awards, was nominated for his work in helping people gain meaningful employment if they are at risk of, or have experienced homelessness.
The judges were captivated by his passion and drive to use food as a catalyst to help people out of homelessness, by equipping them with the culinary skills needed to help improve their skills in the hospitality industry, as well as giving them the emotional and practical support they need as they adjust to working life.
Ricky Wilmont, director of operations at Brigade said: “A natural life coach and trainer, Leon has a talent for seeing the best in people and helping them find their strengths. He has proven to be the perfect role model for those in vulnerable situations and has contributed to the success of a social enterprise that makes the hospitality sector about more than profit.”
BaxterStorey provides tailored hospitality services through deli operations, restaurants, cafés and executive dining rooms for a wide range of customers across the UK, Ireland and Northern Europe. Established in 2016, the BaxterStorey Awards recognise outstanding talent within the hospitality organisation.
Noel Mahony, co-chief executive at BaxterStorey, added: “The Awards showcase the remarkable talent in our business, including Leon and the admirable job he has done in providing training to support vulnerable adults in gaining meaningful employment”.
“This award is a real testimony to his passion, leadership and dedication.”
Leon said: “When you love what you do, nothing will stop you from reaching the top”.