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Lecture to celebrate 100th birthday of culinary legend Ron Kinton

Ron Kinton

Westminster Kingsway College (@Westking) and the Institute of Hospitality are to host a lecture to celebrate the 100th birthday of culinary legend Ron Kinton.

The Ron Kinton Anniversary Lecture is being held in recognition of the chef, author and educationist’s huge influence on the catering profession and his lifetime of dedication to the industry.

The lecture, which is to be an annual event, will feature inspirational talks from leading industry figures including alumni from the college’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts.

It will be streamed live online from the college’s Victoria Centre on Wednesday 28 April at 3pm.

Ron Kinton, who turned 100 in January, recognised along with fellow chef Victor Cesarani that there was a need for a dedicated cookery book for catering students.

Writing everything in longhand, they would go on to produce the first 10 editions of Practical Cookery and the first 11 editions of The Theory of Catering, with later volumes being co-written by Professor David Foskett, a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality (FIH).

Both books are widely regarded by the industry as culinary bibles and are still used by catering students throughout the world.

He is also the co-author of several other leading textbooks including Advanced Practical Cookery, Contemporary Cookery, Kitchen & Larder Work and Patisserie & Confectionery.

Ron Kinton trained at the college, then Westminster Technical Institute, in 1936 and began his culinary career at the Waldorf Hotel and Claridge’s. He joined the Army Catering Corps at the outbreak of the Second World War, working his way up to the ranks of Sergeant Instructor at the Army Catering School of Cookery.

After the war, he returned to Claridge’s and then worked in catering for industrial giant ICI. He then trained to become a teacher and was one of the founding members of Acton Hotel School, which would later move to a new location and become Ealing School of Hotel Keeping and Catering, and subsequently the University of West London. In 1978 he graduated with a BEd (Hons) from Garnett College.

Speaking at the first lecture will be Wendy Bartlett MBE FIH, founder of contract caterer Bartlett Mitchell; Frederick Forster, Head Chef of Read’s restaurant in Faversham, and Sal Gowili FIH and John Williams MBE, General Manager and Executive Chef of The Ritz London, respectively.

Gary Hunter FIH, interim principal of Westminster Kingsway College, said: “Ron Kinton’s story is still hugely inspirational and just shows just where a career in hospitality can take you.

“The fact students here at WestKing and around the world still use The Theory of Catering as part of their learning, is testament to how influential he has been in education and how respected he remains within the industry.

“Ron’s work has had an impact on so many, which is why we and our good friends at the Institute of Hospitality wanted to celebrate his life, passion and commitment in this way.”

Peter Ducker FIH, outgoing Chief Executive of the Institute of Hospitality, said, “The Institute of Hospitality is delighted to be launching the inaugural Ron Kinton Anniversary Lecture with Westminster Kingsway College.

“Ron started training for his career at Westminster Technical Institute aged 15. I picture him then, when he could not have thought in his wildest dreams where his career would take him, or what a massive impact he would have on future generations. I read his book The Theory of Catering as a student in the 1970s and it’s still in print today. 

“I hope that Ron’s remarkable story, and the amazing journeys our speakers at this event have had, will strike a chord with students today and inspire them. I love the thought that perhaps many decades from now a student, inspired by our speakers and Ron’s example, will be celebrated in a similar way.”

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