Our board of trustees represents the highest tier of hospitality management. An international roster that comprises the industry’s most respected individuals.

Alastair Storey, OBE

Alastair Storey is Chairman and Chief Executive of WSH the UK’s largest independent hospitality business. WSH provides high-end catering and reception services for prestige businesses, state and private schools, and heritage organisations.

Alastair was named the most influential person in hospitality in The Caterer’s 2012 Top 100 and again in 2018. He is a fervent champion of the hospitality industry outside of his WSH activities. In addition to being a patron of the Edge Hotel School, he co-founded and acts as chairman of the trustees of the front-of-house-focused Gold Service Scholarship. In 2016 he was named president of the Institute of Hospitality and became the first foodservice operator to be inducted into the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame. He is a governor of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts.

In 2017 he was made an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to the hospitality industry.

Edward Griffiths, CVO

Edward Griffiths is Non-Executive Chairman of Searcys Limited and Portico Limited, part of WSH Limited. WSH is a leader in the Food, Service and Hospitality Industry, and includes other prominent companies such as Baxter Storey, Benugo, Holroyd Howe and Caterlink.

Edward was previously Deputy Master of the Royal Household since 2001, responsible for all internal operations, including all hospitality and entertaining delivery at home and for State Visits abroad, and for the upkeep and refurbishment of the interiors of the occupied Royal Palaces. He was a member of the Royal Household Wine Committee, which includes an external board of advisors made up of Royal Warrant Holders and Masters of Wine and in 2006, Edward was appointed to the Board of Royal Collection Enterprises Limited as a Non-Executive Director, advising on Public Opening operations and on commercial catering projects.

During his time in the Household, he was awarded Lieutenant of the Victorian Order (LVO) by The Queen in 2008 and elevated to Commander of the Victorian Order (CVO) in the 2013 New Year Honours List. He has been much involved in the training and development of young people in the Industry and has specialised in the advancement of standards and the achievement of excellence in service.

In 2014, he co-authored the first ‘Royal Cook Book’, published through the Royal Collection.

Edward is a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality (FIH), he is a Board member of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, and a Patron of the University of West London, from whom he was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2011.

Silvano Giraldin, MdL

Silvano Giraldin: Born in Italy near Padova, Silvano went to the catering school at Abano Terme, and subsequently worked in France for 5 years in various high class restaurants and hotels. Silvano joined Le Gavroche in 1971 and has worked his way up to become the General Manager in 1975; retiring in 2008 he remains as a Director of Le Gavroche and a Senior Consultant at Chez Roux. During his career Silvano has won a number of wonderful accolades including; Best Maitre D’ by Observer Magazine in 1991, winner of the Special awards Cateys in 2000, Restaurant Manager of the year 2007 – Restaurant magazine and, Cateys life time achievement in 2013. Founding member and Chairman of Les Arts de la Table, part of the Royal Academy of the Culinary Arts, instigator and chairman of the inaugural MCA in service, Maestro del Lavoro (MdL) title given by the Italian Government.

Thomas Kochs

Thomas Kochs has been the Managing Director at Corinthia Hotel London since May 2017 where he is responsible for managing Corinthia hotels’ flagship property.

Prior to this appointment he was Managing Director at Hotel Café Royal, and before that he was the well-known face of Claridge’s, where he was Managing Director from 2010 to 2015. He originally joined the Maybourne Hotel Group in 2005 and rapidly rose through the ranks, proving himself as an inspired leader, operating in key roles such as Hotel Manager, Food & Beverage Director and Head of Events & Groups across the portfolio of The Berkeley, The Connaught and then Claridge’s.

In his spare time Thomas enjoys international travel, fine food and wines and regularly working out with his personal trainer.

Sergio Rebecchi, MdL

Sergio Rebecchi was born in Emiglia Romagna, the food capital of Italy. Whilst at Catering School he won a scholarship to visit all the major European capitals and ended up moving to London at the age of 16. He was encouraged and mentored by the legendary Hotel and Restaurant magnate Lord Forte.

Starting in Restaurants, he won the first Michelin Star for the Forte Group. After moving into Hotels he became the Food and Beverage Director and Head of Banqueting Operations at the Grosvenor House Hotel. In 2000 he became the Director of Chez Nico Restaurants, running the famous 3 Michelin Star Restaurant and Brasseries. During his long career, he has been responsible for major innovations within the hospitality sector as well as the training of a number of current high profile Hotel and Restaurant General Managers.

In 1998 he was made “Maestro del Lavoro” by the Italian President in recognition of his services to the Hospitality Industry. He is a Founder Member and Trustee of The Gold Service Scholarship, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, Chairman of the Annual Awards of Excellence, co-Chairman of Master of

Culinary Arts for Front of House Service and Director of Serenata Hospitality.

Knut Wylde

Knut Wylde, originally from Germany, is a well-respected hotelier with a career spanning the globe from Europe to the Caribbean, Middle East and Asia within the luxury sector for nearly 30 years. Before his appointment to General Manager of The Berkeley in February 2016, Knut was Hotel Manager at Claridge’s and previously worked at some of the most iconic London properties such as The Lanesborough and The Savoy. Additionally, he has held senior roles with One&Only Resorts, Rosewood Hotels and the Dorchester Collection. With this wealth of experience and his commitment to the hospitality industry, Knut brings an energetic and fresh approach to hotel management as well as a true understanding of luxury in both product and service.

Knut is a Master Innholder, Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality and sits on the Board of Governors of The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts. Previously he served as President of The Savoy Gastronomes and President of the AICR. In 2020 he was named as one of the 50 Most Influential People in British Luxury on the Walpole Power List.

Married to his wife Imina they have two daughters and in his spare time Knut enjoys travel, fine food and wines and is a keen golfer.

Alessandro Fasoli, MCA

Alessandro Fasoli MCA is the Managing Director of WSH Restaurants. Originally from Verona in Italy, Alex has worked in some of the most illustrious and iconic restaurants in the world –including The Ritz London and Cliveden House, among others internationally where exceptional service is a real focus. Alex also spent time at the two Michelin-starred restaurant, The Vineyard, working for Sir Peter Michael. He launched The Woodspeen from the outset in 2014 and The Clockspire, to follow.

Through all his career, Alex worked with outstanding mentors such as Diego Masciaga MCA, with whom he launched a Service Academy for the wider company in 2018, a first of its kind in the industry. Mentoring, inspiring and delivering the highest level of service is what Alex strives for.

To date, Alex has won a number of career accolades including being awarded a Master of Culinary Arts by The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts in 2017, the UK’s highest culinary and hospitality honour.

David Battersby, OBE

David Battersby: During a successful career spanning over 40 years, David has worked with several Trade Associations, Professional Bodies and Colleges to raise standards of education and training in the Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure industry – achievements which were recognised in 1998 when he was made an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.

The early part of David’s career was spent with the statutory Hotel and Catering Industry Training Board (HCITB) where he became Director of Training, with responsibility for a National Recruitment, Training and Enterprise Strategy. David subsequently set up Hospitality and Leisure Manpower (HALM) and, over the next 25 years, led a number of initiatives as part of the government’s Tourism Strategy.

This included work with The British Hospitality Association to create and manage ‘Excellence through People’, an accreditation scheme to improve employment practices in the industry; the ‘Hospitality Skills Academy’, to drive up the quantity and quality of apprenticeships, and the ‘Best Practice Forum’ for tourism hospitality and leisure, to increase levels of productivity. Work over seven years with some 5,750 hotels, restaurants, pubs and attractions resulted in year on year productivity gains in excess of £178 million.

In 2013 HALM was acquired by the British Institute of Innkeeping and, in 2017, became part of the Institute of Hospitality. David continues to manage the Roux Scholarship, which he founded with Michel and Albert Roux, and provides the Secretariat for the Trustees of The Gold Service Foundation, which he helped create in 2012.

Educated at Morecambe Grammar School and Blackpool College of Technology, David later attended the London Business School, and was awarded a Master of Science Degree by the University of Lancaster. David was a founding Director of the Academy of Food and Wine Service, a Fellow of the Tourism Society and a Trustee of the Savoy Educational Trust. In 2000 he became President of the, now, Institute of Hospitality. He was for many years a Governor of Merton College, where he chaired the audit committee.

Lydia Forte

Lydia Forte is Group Director of Food & Beverage at Rocco Forte Hotels.

Lydia is responsible for the performance of the group’s food and beverage offerings, overseeing the overall strategy, developing new restaurant and bar concepts for the group in Italy, Germany, UK, Belgium and Russia and maintaining the quality of food and service in all the hotels. It also involves responsibility for profits in Food & Beverage.

Since joining the company nine years ago, Lydia’s efforts have also received industry recognition with Rocco Forte Nourish, a healthy eating project across all the hotels which won a Catey Award in 2017. She won Top Family Business Rising Star at the European Families in Business Awards in 2018. She is also an investor in the first season of television series Million Pound Menu on BBC2 and Netflix which aired in April 2018.

After studying Modern History at Oxford University, Lydia worked in a variety of roles from accountancy to front of house operations across a range of independent restaurants. Following this Lydia completed an MBA at INSEAD in 2013. Lydia’s native language is English and she speaks fluent Italian and French, conversational Spanish and Greek. Lydia is on the development board for her local charity West London Zone which supports children at risk. She is also on the re-opening committee of the National Portrait Gallery.