General Manager at Touchwood Shopping Centre in Solihull, Tony has a rich and varied hospitality and leisure background working in and operating health clubs, bars, restaurants, family entertainment centres and hotels. He also runs his own events business, The Wine Events Company, hosting tastings, pop ups, collaborations and dinners across the region.
Tony is an active ambassador for the region, President for the Solihull Chamber, Deputy Chair for Solihull BID, Board Member of the Midlands Retail and Hospitality Forum, Head Judge for the Midlands Food, Drink and Hospitality Awards, Birmingham Awards and the Midlands Education Awards, Board Member for Solihull Shopmobility and the Solihull Employment and Skills Board whilst also representing retail for the WMCA Economic Impact Group.
An active ambassador for the region, Tony is a trustee for the Birmingham Civic Society, sits on the Board for the Solihull BID (having recently relinquished his position as Board Director for the Colmore BID), is a patron for Cure Leukaemia and Judge for the Midlands Education Awards. Tony is a qualified Sommelier and self-proclaimed wine geek, hosting wine events around the city. He was also recently named in the Birmingham Post Power 250 as one of the region’s top influencers.
A supporter of the Midlands, Food, Drink and Hospitality Awards since their inception, Tony is quoted as saying how excited and honoured he is to Judge the incredible wealth of talent at this year’s awards.
Conrad is undoubtedly one of our biggest champions of the food, drink and hospitality scene in Birmingham. Conrad entered the catering and hospitality industry at the age of 14 when he started working as a pot wash in a local pub. This led on to basic kitchen prep, restaurant service and eventually bar work. Conrad always held down part-time jobs while at school and college including working at ‘Simpson’s’ (1 star Michelin) and ‘Bank’ (2 Rosette) as a waiter. His passion for the industry led him to study and gain a 1st class BA (hons) in Hospitality and Food Management, a four-year degree, at UCB (Birmingham College of Food). His course included a year in industry which Conrad spent training as a chef in a 1 Rosette kitchen, he also carried out 8 weeks of work experience at the 3* Michelin, No 1 restaurant in the world – The Fat Duck.
Having joined ‘Mitchell and Butlers’ trainee manager programme and placed in a very busy gastro pub Conrad advanced to deputy GM quickly and implemented standards of procedures which were rolled out across the group. Having been headhunted for his first GM role and completed the preopening of Après Bar Broadway Plaza, Conrad identified a gap in the market in Birmingham for a top-quality, modern British takeaway, which specialised in fish and chips and he opened 'Great British Eatery’ (GBE). In February 2010 GBE was named England’s No.1 fish and chip shop – the highest accolade that any shop can achieve.
He made the move into hospitality and catering recruitment in 2012 and started Tonic Talent in June 2018. Conrad and his team recruit the best talent for Hospitality and Catering business's across the UK.
Conrad is Birmingham born and bred, his knowledge of the Birmingham Food and Drink scene is second to none, and he is proud to champion all things 'Birmingham'.
Nitisha Patel is an award-winning chef, food consultant and company director from Birmingham who has dedicated her life to exploring food and flavour.
Background & Education
From a young age Nitisha spent a lot of time in the kitchen with her Mother and Grandmother which is where her love and passion of cooking stems from. She inherited a wealth of knowledge from watching how they married flavours and ingredients together to create family favourite dishes, sometimes from the simplest of ingredients.
Having a burning desire to learn more about the culinary world, Nitisha chose to study A level food technology in order to establish an academic background for her chosen career path.
When the time came to go to university, Nitisha decided to further her education in food and set her sights on the globally renowned University College of Birmingham. After a 4 year degree, Nitisha graduated from the College of Food at University College Birmingham in 2011 and has a Bachelor Advanced degree in Culinary Arts Management.
Whilst studying, Nitisha worked in hospitality as a chef de partie, sous chef and kitchen manager. After graduating, Nitisha started working in product development for global food manufacturers. In 2012, after just a year of working in product development, Nitisha was asked by supermarket giant Tesco to be the face of their ready meal campaign.
After establishing herself in the recipe product development industry by winning sizeable business contracts for her employers, Nitisha craved to attain more personal achievements and to make a name for herself in the wider culinary world.
In 2015 Nitisha started working on a manuscript for a recipe book to showcase her style of modern Indian cuisine. For the next 12 months, Nitisha approached multiple publishers with her manuscript only to receive rejection after rejection until London based food and lifestyle publishers, Ryland Peters & Small, gave Nitisha the opportunity of a lifetime. Nitisha launched her first cookery book, My Modern Indian Kitchen in 2017, and her second cookery book, The Delicious Book of Dhal in 2019. Both books are available globally and can be found in high street retail book shops.
Having launched her first cookery book, Nitisha created herself a platform to shout about her style of food and cooking. Following the success of the launch of her first book, Nitisha started to receive lots of interest from food companies reaching out for her expertise in recipe development.
In 2017, having launched her first cookery book, Nitisha decided to become her own boss and start her own food consultancy business. As the company director of Nitisha Patel Foods Ltd, Nitisha independently runs every aspect of her business from research and conception, product development, menu creation, marketing, admin, accounts and so much more.
Nitisha works with clients across various sectors from hospitality to food manufacturing to innovate and develop and innovate first to market products across a variety of categories from ready meals, recipe meal boxes to even restaurant menus.
In addition to her cookery books, Nitisha has various other achievements under her belt.
In 2017, Nitisha was recognised as the Black Country’s ‘Master of Food’ and was awarded as the ‘Rising Star’ at the Midlands food, drink & hospitality awards.
Having won awards for her career as a chef, Nitisha now closely works with regional organisations and events to participate in and judge food and hospitality awards.
Liam Dillon is Chef Patron of The Boat Inn, Lichfield, Staffs (20 mins outside Birmingham).
Formerly of Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley and Story, Liam has worked in some of the UK’s most prestigious kitchens (as well as Michelin star restaurants abroad). In 2017 he took ownership of (and transformed) The Boat Inn in his hometown of Lichfield in Staffs. Within weeks of opening, The Boat was featured in the Michelin guide, and is the only restaurant to hold 3 Rosettes in Staffordshire.
Jaimon Goerge with over 28 years of experience in hospitality has worked with various cuisines and opened over 25 restaurants in various countries; He was responsible for the successful launch of Asha's restaurants in the UK and is currently director of Zen Metro, an award-winning Thai restaurant and bar in Birmingham city centre.
Midlands Food Drink & Hospitality Awards - A recognition & celebration of the great work done within the industry