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James Buckley wins ‘Banqueting/Event Chef Award’

James Buckley, executive chef at ExCeL London Hospitality
James Buckley, executive chef at ExCeL London Hospitality, has taken home the prestigious Craft Guild of Chef’s ‘Banqueting/Event Chef Award’, held at the Lancaster Gate Hotel on Wednesday, June 1. Also known as the ‘Chef’s Oscars’, the awards recognise the crème de la crème of the UK chef industry, and is voted for by fellow industry peers

James joined ExCeL in 2014 and is executive chef at ExCeL London Hospitality, the partnership between ExCeL and Levy Restaurants UK which delivers a fresh, modern vision of venue hospitality.   

There, James is responsible for overseeing all kitchen operations- leading a team of eight full time chefs and a brigade of 60 plus chefs at a large event, designing event and retail menus and ensuring all conference and event catering is delivered to the exacting standards set by ExCeL London Hospitality. Over 95% of all food served is made from scratch.  

Recent events which James has worked on have included the River Cottage Canteen at Grand Designs Live, Tom’s Kitchen at Adobe Summit and the BBC Good Food Show.  

This year, James has also been overseeing the retail developments on ExCeL’s central Boulevard; the result of a £15m investment to make food and drink an enabler of great event outcomes. This has included the opening of new restaurants and outlets including The Bridge, E16 Bakery and most recently, the white label units of Spice and Blend.  

Jeremy Rees, Executive Director at ExCeL London said: “The breadth of James’ talent can’t be underestimated. Operating in such a diverse venue, James really is the driving force behind our culinary operation – he’s involved in many different aspects, from logistics to operations to the managing of a large team. I can think of no more worthy winner than James – it’s a hugely deserved accolade and we are delighted to have him working on the events that we host at ExCeL.”  

James Buckley adds: “This award is testament to the incredible hard work that the whole brigade have put in over the past twelve months, transforming the food and drink offering at ExCeL London and delivering a modern vision of banqueting and event catering. I am incredibly proud to have won this award and look forward to continuing to deliver innovative and exciting food for our visitors.”

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