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our chefs

cooking for you all day

Alan Paton.PNG
Alan has looked after the cooking of breakfast and lunch for all our delegates, exhibitors, visitors and crew since the very first Universal Cookery Food Festival. Alan and his team take a lot of pride working with some of the producers and suppliers who exhibit with us to showcase their products to you for breakfast and lunch. Although, if left to Alan’s decision you would be eating pork and only pork!
He is now the Executive Head Chef of Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa in Oxfordshire after spending the last 15 years in Suffolk.
In some of his spare time he mentors young chefs for Springboard FutureChef, getting two chefs to the national finals in consecutive years. Alan serves on the committee of the Craft Guild of Chefs and recently set up his own chef consultancy Paton&Co delivering a full bespoke service to restaurants, hotels and industrial units.
Like Matt and James, Alan is also involved with A passion to inspire, working with catering lecturers and students across East Anglia.
Matt Wilby - Conference Guiide.PNG
Executive chef for Chartwells Independent at the Royal Hospital school in Holbrook Suffolk. Matt has a broad career from time in fine dining, large hotel operations & restaurants both in England as well as time spent working in the USA. 
Actively involved with the guild supporting on events including the CEDA conference  and Universal cookery & food festival. Matt also dedicates time to 'Passion to Inspire' where he stands as head judge & mentor for the students at Colchester Institute.
James Carn - conference guide.PNG

James is the newest member of Alan’s team.

James can currently be found doing various pop ups acrosss Suffolk, since departing from the angel hotel in Bury st Edmunds earlier this year, he has had a varied career from bib gourmand neighbourhood restaurants, to large boutique hotels. 

In 2016 he won Suffolk chef of the year.

James is very active with his local college  taking lectures and classes throughout the year as well as volunteering with passion to inspire mentoring students in the competition.

Michael Eyre - Conference Guide.PNG

Introduced to the culinary world aged just 15, Michael Eyre began his career in his local pub kitchen. Keen to learn more, Michael enrolled into West Kent College in Tonbridge, where after two years, he graduated with his City & Guilds level 1 and 2 in Hospitality and Catering. Developing and refining his technique under the guidance of experience head chefs in a number of restaurants, pubs and even hospitals across the south of England, Michael quickly gained experience in a variety of different kitchen environments. 

In 2005, Michael joined fellow director, Ben Dale and owner, Martin Beesley, as the three founded Jestic Foodservice Equipment. With a philosophy for distributing some of the finest equipment in the industry and a passion for helping customers to produce outstanding dishes, Jestic has grown to become one of the industry’s leading brands. Now Jestic’s Culinary Director, Michael continues to put his creativity and experience to use, managing the in-house culinary team, hosting product demonstrations, menu development sessions and even developing Jestic’s own educational programme for operators, dealers and distributors alike.


Most recently, Michael became a Craft Guild of Chefs General Committee member in 2016, in doing so becoming the first chef from the equipment supply side of the industry to hold the role. In 2017, Michael gained his CFSP Accreditation, an industry specific qualification for the UK foodservice industry. Michael’s continued contribution of equipment and time to UCFF and Alans team is invaluable and highly appreciated

Chris Brennan - Conference Guide.PNG

Chris enjoys the role of being Michaels right hand man.

Finding his feet in foodservice at the tender age of just 12, Chris was destined for a career in hospitality. Learning the ropes in his parents’ private golf club kitchen, he quickly honed his skills behind the pass to become a key part of the brigade. Chris then spent a number of years behind the bar at the golf club, adding front of house knowledge to his culinary expertise.

A variety of stints at hotels, bars and restaurants across the region followed.

Joining the newly formed, Jestic Culinary Team, in 2011, Chris has put his prior experience to good effect, managing the company’s Development Kitchen in Paddock Wood, regularly holding product demonstration sessions and working with customers to develop new, innovative menus using some of the finest kitchen equipment from leading brands.

Marc Dennis.PNG

Marc is the owner of award winning Duchy Charcuterie based in Cornwall.

Having been in the Meat Industry in various different roles for the last 30 years  He demoed at UCFF in Padstow and on the back of that he was quickly snapped up by the Kitchen team after learning that he loves to cook over Fire and has been part of a couple of teams that have cooked at Meatopia .

Ben Bartlett - conference guide.PNG
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