Celebrating 30 years of delivering expert hotel and catering advice 1992 – 2022

In 1992 the world of business was a very different place. The country was just coming out of the recession of the early 90s. Margaret Thatcher, who had ruled with a rod of iron, re-inventing British business culture and notoriously weakening the grip of the unions, had handed over to John Major who would lead the country through to 1997.

The Internet had been invented but the worldwide web and its required infrastructure had yet to come.

It was against this challenging background that MYA founders Margaret and John Young found themselves with the opportunity to reshape their careers. They were both excellent motorcyclists, accomplished competition glider pilots and RYA yacht masters. They made a brave and inspiring team as they started a new consultancy based on Margaret’s industry knowledge, John’s forensic logistics capability and their proven dynamic energy. In the early days of any business, it takes tenacity and sheer determination to set your values, open doors, and sell your proposition. Pre-Internet, research was completed at local libraries, journeys were planned using map books, appointments were made by phone or letter – the world moved at a slower pace.

Initial contracts were in the independent education sector. The recession had left its mark, and many schools were needing to remodel their proposition from predominantly boarding to day schools. The sector was ready to improve food and the value on the plate. Early clients were Elstree school, North London Collegiate, Marlborough College and Bootham School in York. We remain grateful to the Bursars Nicholas Grenfell-Marten and Susan Meikle who were amongst our early clients and have continued to support MYA across the years which followed.

Since that time our education division has provided advice to over 500 clients across independent and state education, and some of the country’s finest universities.

Today MYA education thrives under the knowledgeable and impactful leadership of Bev Lusty and Maria James.

Bev says “MYA is an incredibly exciting company to work with. Its founding values have held us in good stead throughout these challenging times.

Impartial advice has never been more important to our education clients; advice which seeks to clearly define new opportunities, gain great value from their catering operations, improve costs and reduce their carbon footprints. Our specialist consultants have been supporting clients to bring great insight and innovative solutions. I am proud to be part of the team leading MYA education into the future.”

In 1993 Carla joined MYA as a partner. Carla’s career had been exceptional in its times. Senior roles with Hilton hotels, P&O Ferries, the Royal Festival Hall, Wembley Lord’s and the Oval had led to a strong industry oversight at 31 years old.

Carla’s focus was on the commercial opportunities. Within three weeks Coventry City football club had appointed her to oversee the move of their catering operations to in-house.

Renowned for her creativity, vision, and leadership, Carla went on to create the MYA studio, delivering industry-leading designs.  She also expanded the consultancy into new markets. Today you will find MYA consultants working in the arts, government, healthcare, technical companies, business and Industry, leisure, travel, retail as well as supporting entrepreneurial companies to grow.

Carla has inherited the sense of adventure from Margaret and John.  She is an accomplished motorcyclist on and off the road, raising thousands for military charities in the process. At the cutting edge in both her work life and personal life. Carla is an advocate of new technology. Her most recent adventure was riding her Californian Zero electric motorcycle from London to Paris off road, retracing the routes of some of the early pioneers.

Carla says:

“I am immensely proud of MYA. Our team have unrivalled creativity and capability. The essence of great consultancy advice is to understand the potential in your client organisation and to develop strategies which turn this potential into measurable organisational benefits. Our team is involved in many different areas from acquisitions and mergers to starter company advice. We advise on operational models, nutritional outcomes, branding, food strategies and the climate emergency. No two days are ever the same and it is this which keeps the organisation vibrant and energetic. Our clients feel this energy.”

MYA will be celebrating its 30 years in business by investing in creating a sustainable future, which seeks to help us on our mission to Net Zero carbon and creates a better place to be.’

Here are some to the things we have planned for 2022:

  • Planting 30 trees
  • Sponsorship of university research project to look at how the carbon footprint can be lowered in a catering environment
  • Development of ‘totally vegan’ culinary courses
  • Complementary greener kitchen business plan courses
  • Design support for charitable organisations seeking to deliver truly sustainable kitchens
  • Carbon offset commitment- whatever we use we will put back.

The future for MYA is a green one.

  • The team, led by Carla McKenzie, were meticulous in every detail. They modelled the cleaning requirements to deliver the optimum solution for the facilities across EMEA, and really took time to understand the culture of our business. I have no hesitation in recommending MYA and its team – they are dedicated and innovative, and always go the extra mile.

    Natalia Ros Vargas, Office Team Leader,
  • Carla and her team have broad experience in the industry. Apart from being very supportive in inventing (new) concepts, they also make use of their many years of experience when implementing these concepts. Their ultimate goal is to let people enjoy honest and good food.

    Marcel Bisselink, Owner, Daily Fresh Food, Galeen, Netherlands
  • Carla and her team worked tirelessly with us to ensure our very international and cross-cultural needs were met with great creativity and skill. They listened to us, responded to our needs and delivered above expectations.

    Angela Hencher, Director of Business Administration, Dulwich College, Shanghai Pudong
  • They are brave enough to challenge others in pursuit of the ultimate solution, whether it be behind the scenes with kitchen flow and catering management, or front-of-house service and design.

    Richard Russell, Catering Equipment Distributor Director, Western Blueprint
  • If all companies who serve the independent school sector had your breadth of vision and openness of mind, I have little doubt that the sector would be a richer and more exciting place to be.

    Phillip Godfrey, Bursar, Halliford School
  • During the negotiation process, Carla’s knowledge and expertise enabled our company to achieve a very strong commercial outcome, and some significant savings were yielded from the exercise.

    Penny Arnold, Commercial & Operations Director, Fusion Lifestyle