A lunch in honour of a foodservice equipment legend

The career of Keith Warren, the former chief executive of the FEA, was recently celebrated at the House of Lords

With a guest list comprising a who’s who of the foodservice equipment industry, a lunch to commemorate Keith Warren’s retirement was held in the House of Lords on September 27th 2023. After more than 21 years as chief executive of the Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA), and CESA before it, Keith retired from the role in April 2023.

FEA chairs past and present rose to thank him for his outstanding contribution to the industry and for his achievements for FEA.  Meanwhile his successor as chief executive of FEA, John Cunningham, admitted that his were huge boots to fill.  The Rt Hon the Lord Trefgarne, FEA’s patron, who hosted the lunch in the Cholmondeley Room and Terrace, also spoke of Keith’s commitment and his willingness to go the extra mile.  In fact, the long hours that Keith put in were a common theme, with several speakers making a point of thanking his wife, Melanie, for her patience (tested on so many occasions by the endless phone calls and emails, the interrupted evenings and weekends) and her boundless support. 

Former FEA chair Steve Hobbs CFSP took a slightly different approach to Keith’s career, unveiling a few hidden gems.  They ranged from his role as a cartographer for the MOD (mapping sites beyond the Iron Curtain) to selling advertising for the trade magazine Rubber and Plastics News (a niche title offering ‘insight in all areas of rubber, latex and silicone’). 

The 70 plus captains of the industry who gathered for the lunch gave Keith a standing ovation as he thanked them and his team at FEA for the support he had received over the years: “I couldn’t have done it without all of you,” he said.  

 “He truly is an absolute legend of the industry,” says John Cunningham.  “His impact has been huge and his dedication unconditional.  For me personally it’s been a privilege to work with him and I know every person involved in foodservice equipment, and many of those in the hospitality industry as a whole, will wish him the very best for the future.” 

Keith will continue to work part time on special projects for FEA until March 2024. 

You may also be interested in…