On Monday the 17th of June, Tonic Talent MD and co-founder, Conrad Brunton, won ‘Hospitality Personality of the Year’ award at the Midlands Food Drink and Hospitality Awards 2024.

The Winning Formula

Building a Hospitality Network in the Midlands

Creating the Midlands Hospitality Network (previously, C.H.E.F)  has been Conrad’s journey of connecting and empowering hospitality professionals across the West Midlands. His platform serves as an industry hub, fostering meaningful collaborations and driving positive change.

Commitment to Charity and Sustainability

Conrad’s involvement with charities like the Drinks Trust and NCASS reflects his dedication to uplifting the sector, while promoting sustainability with the Sustainable Restaurant Association showcases his commitment to a greener future.

Recognition and Ambassadorship

Being recognised for his contributions to Chef and Restaurant Magazine, and as a judge for previous MFDHAs, reinforces his passion and expertise in the industry. He is also proud to be an ambassador for Springboard and Hospitality Action, supporting the community’s welfare.

Giulliana Vittiligo from Hospitality Action said, “Conrad’s unwavering dedication to the hospitality sector is second to none. Hosting the annual Walk for Wellbeing in Birmingham, Conrad exemplifies the spirit of collaboration and community involvement, raising over £200,000 in the past five years.”

Fostering Connections and Supporting Inclusivity

Creating the CHEF/Midlands Hospitality Network has been a labour of love for Conrad, bringing together key figures in the industry. He has extended personal invitations to influential individuals, fostering connections and collaborations. His panel discussions on Birmingham Business TV and judging roles for the Otolo OPRA awards highlight his dedication to supporting and recognising outstanding contributions within hospitality.

Supporting Be Inclusive Hospitality during its launch in Birmingham was a significant step in promoting inclusivity and diversity within the sector. Lorraine Copes, founder of Be Inclusive, recently spoke at the Midlands Hospitality Network, sharing invaluable insights on diversity, equity, and inclusivity.

The Birmingham Food Revolution

Announcing the Birmingham Food Revolution through the Midlands Hospitality Network and participating in the city’s food system strategy dinners have been pivotal. Justin Varney, Director of Public Health for Birmingham City Council, praised Conrad’s efforts in connecting and engaging the food and hospitality industry in the Birmingham Food Revolution.

Fundraising and Community Outreach

Partnering with Birmingham Children’s Hospital for Dine and Donate, Conrad has used the network to raise vital funds. Completing a 100-kilometre walk in a day was a personal challenge to further support the hospital. Helen Miles from Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity said, “Conrad is a true ambassador, inspiring the local hospitality community to support our young patients.”

His team’s efforts in cooking and serving Christmas lunch for clients at SIFA Fireside highlight his commitment to community outreach. Melissa Roche of Sifa Fireside said, “Conrad’s passion and enthusiasm for supporting charities in Birmingham are truly commendable.”

Walk for Wellbeing and Shaping Discussions

Leading the Birmingham leg of Walk for Wellbeing, Conrad fundraised for Hospitality Action, supporting hospitality professionals facing challenges. 

Speaking with Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty about Birmingham’s food system underscores his network’s pivotal role in shaping crucial discussions.

Spotlighting Local Independent Establishments

In the wake of the pandemic, Conrad launched “Back to…” with Switch, spotlighting and uplifting local independent hospitality establishments. Nicky Burston from The Drinks Trust praised his efforts in bringing bespoke services to the Midlands.

Sharing Insights and Giving Back

Conrad has had the privilege of joining esteemed platforms like the Breaking Bread Podcast and the Ceres Podcast, contributing to broader conversations within hospitality. Sharing insights with UCB students and donating his speaking fee to Hospitality Action is a way for him to give back and support aspiring talents.

Lewis Walker from University College Birmingham said, “Conrad’s influence and positive contributions to the Midlands Hospitality sector and Birmingham food culture are immense. He is an incredible ambassador for our city, the region, and the thriving hospitality industry.”

Acknowledgement and Future Vision

On winning the award for Hospitality Personality of the Year at the Midlands Hospitality Food and Drink Awards, Conrad said, “I’m honoured to have been awarded Hospitality Personality of the Year at the Midlands Hospitality Food and Drink Awards. This recognition is a testament to the collective effort and passion of the entire team at Tonic. Together, we strive to elevate the hospitality industry, foster meaningful connections, and drive positive change. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and the team on this journey. Let’s continue to make a difference!”

Through initiatives, collaborations, and relentless dedication, Conrad continues to drive positive change, empowering professionals and fostering a vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable future for the hospitality industry in the West Midlands.

Read more about Conrad here. 

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