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QEII Centre appoints new head chef to focus on banqueting events

Jean Michel Viala
Jean Michel Viala has been appointed head chef at QEII Taste, the in-house catering department at London’s QEII Centre.
Jean Michel joins QEII from The Dorchester, where he spent eight years as Head Chef of Banqueting in the five-star hotel managing a team of 20 chefs working across eight function rooms.

A classically trained French chef, Jean Michel’s 26-year career has taken him from Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris to some of London’s finest five-star hotels, including The Langham and the Four Seasons Park Lane.

The appointment of a new head chef comes as QEII celebrates its 30th year as one of the UK’s leading conference and events centres and follows the £12 million refurbishment and rebrand which has allowed the centre to host a wider variety of events, including more awards ceremonies, evening receptions and dinners.

Speaking after his appointment, Jean Michel Viala said: “I was looking for an opportunity where I could put my stamp on the food and the menu. The QEII Centre is a spectacular, iconic events venue hosting hundreds of big events every year. I wanted to be a part of that and to be able to support the growth of the business by creating a fantastic food offer. On top of the amazing events the centre already hosts, the development plans for this year mean we will be creating a dining space with some of the best views in London. Come and see for yourself – I look forward to welcoming you into my kitchen.”

Catering at the QEII Centre is provided by QEII Taste by Leith's, an award-winning caterer that offers innovative, fresh, uncomplicated and contemporary food, to provide guests to the centre with exceptional memories. Food is a key ingredient to the centre’s hosting of more than 500 successful events annually, for groups of between two and 2,500.

Matt Williams, general manager of QEII Taste added: “Jean Michel brings years of five-star luxury experience to the team and he will play a pivotal role in creating new and exciting menus to drive forward our banqueting offer at QEII. Planned refurbishments for this summer will further increase our ability to host dazzling banqueting events and awards ceremonies with the wow factor and with Jean Michel at the helm, QEII Taste will have the creative menus to match.”

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