Head to head with Glenn Roberts, CESA

Tell us a little bit about CESA…

CESA (the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association) is the authoritative voice of the catering equipment industry. We represent and link together the elements of the equipment supply chain, including manufacturers, importers, service providers and designers. Our aims are to keep our members informed about issues that will impact on them; to keep foodservice operators informed about catering equipment; and to influence those that legislate on catering equipment. If all that sounds a bit worthy, it's not. It's a fascinating, challenging and dynamic industry.

As Chair of CESA, what do you see as the most important element of your role?

We really have to push the evolution of the supply chain into a value chain. That involves better integration between different parts of the supply chain - in other words, making sure manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, consultants and designers work together to understand and match our customers' requirements.

If you could promote one key message, what would it be?

In a changing and challenging economic climate, CESA is an extension of our members' management team. We keep members up to date with the latest facts, comment and insight on issues that impact their business. We offer access to unique information on catering equipment, which can't be found via a google search.

What's the biggest misconception when it comes to purchasing kitchen equipment?

Buyers still don't get it that the lifetime running cost of (powered) equipment is going to be much greater than the purchase cost. Energy-saving equipment is the cheapest option, even if it costs more initially.

What would you say CESA's biggest achievement is?

To have led the industry, influenced the legislators and met our members' needs on technical and policy issues. I'm hugely proud of our education initiatives, too, especially CFSP and the new PFS (Principals of Food Service) course.

What's the most obscure thing you've eaten during your time in the industry?

On a trip to Copenhagen with the National Chef of the Year winners I did have a 45 course tasting menu that featured some very challenging dishes including insects, earthworms and unmentionable animal parts. But it would take a lot to compete with some of the hotel 'staff meals' from when I was a caterer…

If you were snowed in, what five things would you absolutely have to have?

If food and water is a given then access to the internet, a bottle of Talisker Dark Storm single malt, my wife and two sons, a roaring fire and a very good shovel...

You've won tickets to the Rugby World Cup or the Football Word Cup, which do you choose?

I'd sooner have tickets for Brighton and Hove Albion's first Champions League final.

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