Meet the Taste of Travel Experts

Steve Walpole

Steve has had a vast career to date including roles such as Executive Chef at Corney & Barrow Bars, Senior Executive Development Chef position at Gate Gourmet, where he developed menus for various airline clients, but predominantly British Airways First Class, Business Class and World Traveller. Teaching and training is something Steve is also very passionate about having worked as a full-time senior lecturer at Westminster Kingsway College in London where he was also course coordinator for part of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Foundation.

Steve now heads up Steve Walpole Ltd with a wealth of experience and knowledge under his belt and works with a range of clients including Royal Smilde and Fresh Montgomery. Prior to starting this venture Steve was appointed Head of Food at Ugo Foods in charge recipe development of fresh pasta and street food recipes. Steve is also a strong supporter and heavily involved in FreeFrom to help educate, inform and challenge the hospitality, retail and travel sectors to do more to embrace this area.

Steve is an active member of the Academy of Culinary Arts and was a committee member of the Craft Guild of Chefs. Regularly on the judging panel for various prestigious awards, competitions and shows such as The Annual Awards of Excellence with the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, The Craft Guild of Chefs, The Salon Culinaire International in London. Steve also has a strong presents at retail awards for the likes of Free From Food Awards, The Great Taste Awards and The Quality Foods Awards UK.

His philosophy is “food is something to love and respect. Less is more, keep it simple. Always try. Some of the best results come from making mistakes.” When not working or trying out new pasta creations, Steve is riding or racing his motorbike and spending time with his wife and two kids, with whom he is encouraging a love for food and ingredients,

Dr Rupy Aujla

Rupy Aujla is the National Health Service General Practitioner who started The Doctor’s Kitchen. A project to inspire patients about the beauty of food and the medicinal effects of eating well. He creates delicious recipes and talks about the amazing clinical research behind the ingredients he uses on YouTube, Instagram and his blog. In his role as clinical adviser to the Royal College of GPs, he has big aspirations to bring the concept of Culinary Medicine’to the profession globally and he has a cookbook published with Harper Collins called, “The Doctor’s Kitchen”.

“As a doctor, I see the effects of poor dietary and lifestyle choices every day. I got so many questions about nutrition whilst working as a general practitioner that I plucked up the courage to get behind a camera and literally show my patients how to get phenomenal ingredients onto their plate. I’m just a straight talking doctor giving healthy eating inspiration!”

Roger Williams

Roger has been in travel hospitality and catering for over 40 years, first with British Transport Hotels and Intercity, then later as Business Development Director for RG, and a Non-Exec Director of Avecra (Finland).

He is the Royal Warrant holder for Royal Train services in the UK and has managed and implemented major catering contracts with all the main UK and Ireland rail companies such as Eurostar, Virgin Trains, Stagecoach, Irish Rail and First Group as well as having experience with Thalys (Belgium), NSB (Norway) and VR (Finland).

Chairman of the International Rail Catering Group (IRCG), the trade membership association which represents rail catering businesses with a combined procurement volume of £2b, he is also a member of the Advisory Board for WTCE and is a feature writer for Onboard Hospitality Magazine.
In his spare time he runs his own commercial consultancy business.

Adele Wolstenhulme

Adele is the founder and owner of Inside Out Nutrition (UK) Ltd, incorporated in 2008, and spin-off brand, Profit from Your Health, launched in 2017.

As a fully qualified health professional (clinical psycho-neuro-immunologist) and nutrition consultant, she advises corporate clients on the immense value of building a health conscious business as well as advising a number of executive and private practice clients in Harley Street and South Molton Street in Central London.

In a rich and varied career, she previously spent 10 years in the international travel-retail industry as editor-in-chief of a market-leading trade title and director of events. She also co-founded a global consumer research joint-venture company serving the travel-retail channel, which boasted a blue-chip brand and retail client base of consumer and luxury goods brands and retailers. During her time there she was lead consultant on the largest airport consumer insight research study ‘Listening to the Global Consumer’ which spanned 32 locations worldwide and included the shopping and buying behaviour of different nationalities around health & wellness foods/beverages and related products.

Gerard Bertholon

Gerard Bertholon, chief strategy officer since 2012 joined Cuisine Solutions in 1989, as corporate chef. In 1999, he formed Fiveleaf, a concept that brought some of the world’s greatest chefs into people’s homes.

He was trained in his native France by three master chefs, including Alain Chapel who he cites as his greatest inspiration. Prior to joining Cuisine Solutions, Bertholon served as executive chef in top American and French restaurants, including La Panetière in Rye, NY, which he helped earn three stars from The New York Times. In 2012, he was named Maitre Cuisinier de France, one of the culinary world’s highest honors.

In 2013, Bertholon was named Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole Academie du Cuisine, by the French Ministry of Agriculture in and was inducted into the Académie Culinaire de France in 2014.

Beat Ehlers

CEO of RG (Rail Gourmet)
Beat joined RG as CEO in 2017, having previously worked in high profile roles in gategroup, including as MD of their global lounges, and business development in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Originally from Lucerne in Switzerland, he has worked in high-end hospitality and travel throughout his career, having trained as both a chef and a flight attendant and undertaking many different operational and commercial roles.

Enhancing his culinary knowledge through Swiss Hotel Management School, he later gained an MSc in Marketing and is passionate about food, its presentation and the use of the freshest ingredients for every dish.

His vision is for RG to show just how much value can really be added for customers through great cuisine, improved retail products, brands and concepts.

Jenny Greenhalgh

A chef with over 15 years of experience in travel, hotels, charities and Michelin starred restaurants, Jen currently leads new product development for RG, the leading railway catering and hospitality provider. This includes working with the James Martin and Virgin Trains teams on the development of the menus and products for Virgin Trains East Coast.

Before joining RG Jen worked as research and development chef for Lonestar food co. with Executive chef Brad McDonald, and prior to this spent two years working for Fergus Henderson at the Michelin starred St John restaurant and hotel.

Whilst teaching cookery at the London branches of Jamie Oliver’s Recipease, she became Head Chef of the Clapham store, along with undertaking other roles for the Jamie Oliver group and The Jamie Oliver Foundation in the UK and San Francisco.

Jen also helped launch and writes for “The Dinner Set”, the new go-to site for people entertaining at home!

Valentina Harris

Award winning author of over 40 books on Italian food, Valentina is a well known celebrity chef. She is also working with a group of eminent food experts, scientists and medical professionals on an initiative called Food Values, which began at the Pontifical Academy of Science at the Vatican City. As co-founder and outgoing President of the London Chapter of Les Dames D’Escoffier, Valentina is committed to strengthening the position of professional women in the world of food, beverage and hospitality, and uses the experiences of her long career in the food business to mentor young women who dream of a career within it.

Alan Hayes

Alan Hayes is the In-flight Retail & Managed Services Director for Alpha LSG and possesses over 15 years’ experience in varying retail, aviation and customer account management roles.
Alan manages a diverse service portfolio across numerous customers of the Alpha LSG business with a multi-million pound annual turnover. Programmes include end-to-end retail programmes, market analysis studies, managed services, new product development, and customer satisfaction measurement to name but a few.

Having previously started out in Cabin Crew management at First Choice Airways – Alan joined the business in 2011, from Thomson Airways, where he was responsible for the commercial performance of the retail range development, marketing, space planning and in-flight entertainment; playing a major role in the successful integration of the in-flight retail businesses between Thomsonfly and First Choice following the merger of TUI AG and First Choice Holidays PLC in 2008.

Lance Hayward

Lance Hayward is the MD and founder of The Hayward Partnership – a group of independent experts providing management consultancy and interim management services to the Travel Catering and Retail sector. He is also a Non-Executive Director with Ireland Craft Beers, Gastro Culinary Innovation and Heinemann-Scorpio International Holdings.

He has had over 30 years of airline catering and retail experience with a proven track record in a wide range of disciplines including, Mergers and Acquisitions, Post-Merger Integration, Strategy, Support Services, International Sales & Commercial management, Business Development, Customer Services and Operational roles. Notable positions held include spells as Business Development Director and Sales and Commercial Director for an International Flight Catering business; and Strategy and Integration Director for a UK Joint Venture which effectively brought the number 1 and 2 players in the region together.

His focus is now helping small, medium and large organisations to succeed. Since its launch in June 2014, The Hayward Partnership has helped IAG, IFS, BoxPro, Deluxe Private Jet Catering, Ireland Craft Beers, Wine Traders, Chikas Foods, Gastro Culinary Innovation, Estechoc, the Macaw Group and Scorpio-Heinemann International Holdings.

Iris Anna Groenweg

Iris has just celebrated 10 years with Icelandair. She has a master’s degree in project management (MPM) from Reykjavik University. She has always worked in in-flight service and is now lead for the in-flight service experience team.

Says Iris: “The aviation industry is one of constant change, modification and advancement. I feel proud that through my role at Icelandair I am able to be at the forefront of managing this development. I am also very proud of Iceland and its culture. I therefore see my position as a great privilege, it has allowed me to design, develop and integrate the culture of Iceland into the passenger experience but in step with the demands of the modern world. My role within Icelandair has allowed me to express my love for food, wines, cooking, art and design to bring innovating changes in the total concept of the offerings on board. One cannot fail to be inspired as you hike, ski, swim and fish on an island of natural beauty and stark open countryside – balanced by the busy town of Reykjavik with excellent selection of restaurants and entertainment.”

Simon Hurley

Simon is MD at Olives Et Al, a producer of healthy warm climate foods and snacks supplying the likes of M&S , Mitchel and Butlers, Fortnum and Mason and Alpha LSG in the UK. He has run his own food and drink consultancy working with the likes of Tyrrells, Jamie Oliver, Australian Wagyu and Barts and with local education authorities, advising on healthy eating.

Simon has been a judge at the Great Taste Awards and the World Cheese Awards and written features for Fine Food Digest, Speciality Food Magazine and The Grocer.

Martin Janura

Martin Janura has been in marketing for 20 years and was instrumental in the successful implementation of a new brand strategy in one of the leading Czech Republic’s financial institutions. He has been working for JLV since 2015, responsible for marketing management of all JLV brands, and focusing on brand strategies. He participated in the innovative project of Train Shop, an on-board non-food offer which was awarded the above Most Innovative Caterer prize in 2016.

Miroslav Kubec

Miroslav Kubec is the President of the Association of Chefs of the Czech Republic. At an international level he is Director of the Central European branch of the World Association of Chefs’ Societies (WACS) and he has held the position of Chef at the InterContinental Hotel, Prague. He has also created menus for Czech Airlines (ČSA). He is the holder of the St. Laurence’s Cross Prize – the highest award for chefs in the Czech Republic, and since 2016 he has overseen the ‘Real Restaurant on the Track’ project, a joint project of AKC ČR and JLV, and the creator of seasonal menus for Czech Railways.

Sheelagh Mahoney

Sheelagh Mahoney is Head of Commercial Strategy for Portfolio Partners, market leaders in the sourcing and supply of food and drink products especially developed for the competitive travel arena – from airlines, to trains and everything in between. She brings over 25 years’ experience working in the global travel and hospitality world, having been part of senior management teams at Cathay Pacific; Eurostar and EasyJet.

Sheelagh has a laser focus on developing Portfolio’s global Food and Beverage vision and works in close consultation with airline and travel partners to deliver trendy and tasty food and beverage products designed to deliver improved customer satisfaction levels and in flight revenue goals.

Robin Padgett

Robin Padgett heads up dnata’s Catering division – a global caterer operating from 63 locations around the world, in 13 countries.

As well as traditional inflight catering, dnata specialises in end-to-end management of onboard retail programmes and duty-free, and operates more than 40 food and beverage outlets across the globe.

Prior to leading dnata’s catering division, Robin was Senior Vice President Aircraft Catering at Emirates Airline, where he was accountable for delivering over 55 million high-quality meals across Emirates’ global network each year.

Originally trained as an economist, Robin has 23 years of experience in aviation; prior to which he worked in a diverse range of industries, including insurance and retail.

James Strawbridge

James lives in Cornwall where he runs the Posh Pasty Co producing award-winning gourmet pasties using the finest Cornish ingredients. James’ TV debut was in the BBC2 series It’s Not Easy Being Green which followed his family as they attempted to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Following three series, James featured in the BBC2 Paradise or Bust (2008) when he managed an eco tourism project on an island in Fiji and presented a cookery series called Saturday Farm for ITV1. Recently James presented two popular ITV series of The Hungry Sailor featuring a coastal journey with his father aboard a wooden sailing ship to explore the food of Britain’s coastal towns.

James co-wrote Practical-Self Sufficiency: The Complete Guide to Sustainable Living with his dad in 2010 and has written a series of books on artisan skills; including Cheese & Dairy, Preserves, Breads and Poultry. James is currently writing his eighth book a Smoking and Curing Manual. James now runs an innovative NPD & Marketing agency and works as the Executive Development Chef at The Bake Factory in Cornwall.

Will Torrent

Award-winnning Pastry Chef, Chocolatier, Author and Presenter. Will began his career with a week with Heston Blumenthal at the age of 16. He has since worked with a host of top chefs including Gary Rhodes, Jamie Oliver and Yolande Stanley CBE and made a load of TV appearances. He is currently a consultant pastry chef to Waitrose and host to a number of culinary theatres including Speciality Chocolate Live. He has designed two exclusive pieces of patisserie that were sold in The Tea Room at Harrods. His latest book, Afternoon Tea at Home, was released in 2016. “Will is one of the most exciting, creative talents of the world of Patisserie and Chocolate” : Mich Turner MBE.

Jan Vales

Jan Valeš has worked in tourism and hospitality for over 25 years and has been working for JLV since 2006. Having started in the position of Catering Manager, he was promoted to Sales Director in 2010. He initiated Czech Railway’s successful catering concept: New Gastronomy and under his leadership the catering services have gone through continuous innovation. They have been awarded awarded the Most Innovative Caterer prize several times by the International Rail Catering Group.

Ariane Van Mancius

Ariane completed her studies at the Hotel Management School in Maastricht in 1999, with the spotlight on food trends. With her NowNewNext agency she focuses on food, beverage, packaging and hospitality advice and innovations for an impressive four channels, each differing substantially in their approach: retail, airline, petrol and food services. Many of her innovations have garnered awards and her clients include illustrious names such as KLM, Sligro and Shell Retail. She is also much sought after to sit on juries for design.

Sturla Birgisson

Sturla Birgisson,is one of Iceland’s most highly respected chefs and has prepared gourmet meals for the President of Iceland at many public celebrations.

He is a past-competitor, prize winner and current judge of Bocuse d’Or in France and he has recently designed an ambitious new menu for Icelandair’s Saga Class.

Marc Warde

A restaurateur and culinary consultant, Marc runs gluten-free restaurant group, Niche, in London and owns a special meals manufacturing business. He has worked in the onboard sector for many years advising the likes of Alpha LSG.

Raymond Kollau

Raymond is the founder of market research agency, which monitors the global aviation industry for product and service innovations launched by airlines in response to consumer behaviour. Based in the Netherlands.