Tributes paid to Sara Jayne Stanes OBE, CEO and trustee of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Friends, family and fellow hospitality professionals have paid their respects to Sara Jayne Stanes OBE, the CEO of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts who sadly passed away aged 75.

After stumbling into the world of food from a career in TV and documentary production, Sara forged a relationship with the country's most ambitious chefs in the late 1980s, from Raymond Blanc to Nico Ladenis, the Roux brothers, Richard Shepherd, Brian Turner and Michel Bourdin.

After being invited to lead the Meilleurs Ouvriers de Grande-Bretagne (which later became the Master of Culinary Arts) programme in 1987, Sara spent 30 years at the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, during which time she fought for the improvement of hospitality education and in the provision of true career opportunities in the sector, improving each year on the RACA's apprenticeship programmes as well as the Annual Awards of Excellence and the Master of Culinary Arts, 

As well as being named director, then CEO of the RACA, she was the chief executive of the institution's Adopt a School charity, which under her guidance helped educate and inspire passion in several generations of young people about the importance of food, from provenance and sustainability to nutrition and cookery skills. 

She was passionate about all things cocoa and in 1999 wrote 'Chocolate, The Definitive Guide' for which she received the Guild Food Writers' Jeremy Round Award in 2005.

That same year, Sara was named Chairman of the Academy of Chocolate, a body dedicated to the promotion of sustainable, ethical cocoa production, helping to drive greater awareness of the difference between fine chocolate and mass-produced chocolate confectionery. She wrote extensively on the topic, gave lectures and spoke about it on numerous radio appearances.

Among her many awards, in 2007, Sara's services to the hospitality industry were recognised in the Queen's Birthday's Honours List, and in 2013, was awarded an honorary doctorate at the University of West London.

Upon the RACA's announcement of her passing, many came forward to express their condolences to Sara's family, friends and colleagues and share their gratitute to Sara for shaping the UK's culinary landscape, instilling everyone she met with the same passion that drove her. 

Dan Newman, managing director at The Staff Canteen said: "I had the pleasure of meeting Sara on a number of occasions and she was always so passionate about everything she did for the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and the culinary world; she was committed to progress and always thinking several steps ahead. The Staff Canteen has maintained a strong relationship with the RACA since its inception and Sara was a driving force of that bond. Put simply, Sara was a lovely, kind, approachable person and she will be sorely missed by us all."

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 27th July 2021

Tributes paid to Sara Jayne Stanes OBE, CEO and trustee of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts