The Hospitality Industry has the opportunity to real take a leading role in communities, in schools and in workplaces by bringing people together.

On Thursday evening, we were delighted to co-host – along with the OxfordCultural Collective and Barings – a dinner which brought together 150 guests to listen to the views of Yasmin Khan and taste some of the foods from her books. It was a genuinely excellent evening with a vibrant atmosphere where many came together to just talk and socially connect. This is of far more important today than many realise.

Yasmin Khan is a well-known author, broadcaster and human rights campaigner. Her critically acclaimed books, The Saffron Tales and Zaitounuse everyday stories to challenge stereotypes of the Middle East. At a time of Brexit, it is important for people to come together and just celebrate the great food styles that are in the UK and just how migrants have positively impacted on our daily lives. Yasmin spoke with rare candour about her own challenges which served to engage the audience.

Our aim is to take such examples and create more and more opportunities for people to simply come together around great food. In a time which is appears full of almost constant drama, it is important that we still do all enjoy coming together and “breaking bread”. It has been arguably the one constant of all the ages and still is today.

Hospitality does have a genuine opportunity to really stand tall and have a social impact that does really play a positive role across communities, in schools and in workplaces.

We do genuinely believe this and it is this belief that drives our work with EPCIS – creating a focus on the great work in Scotland in nurturing the young and fighting both obesity and mental health issues. It lies behind our work in Fuelling Productivity which argues that great food service does impact in far greater ways than many realise and understand and it lies behind our work with a number of key bodies – whether RACA’s Adopt a School programme, UKCC’s rise to prominence and the work of the European Hotel Managers Association. This is a moment when the Industry really can take a step forward and make a difference.

We will certainly strive to this goal as it is core to our beliefs. It is important that the industry is both inclusive, accessible and shows genuine leadership. Then it will not need to ever argue again whether it is a profession to be respected for it will be. How we act will determine that.