In the new role, Fort, who was the Guardian’s food and drink editor for 15 years and acted as a judge on BBC2’s Great British Menu, will work with the station’s owner HS1 to develop the quality of the food and drink on offer.
Wendy Spinks, commercial director at HS1 ltd said: “We are always looking for new and exciting ways to make sure that our retail offering continues to exceed consumer’s expectations.
“Matthew brings over 20 years of culinary knowledge to the station both from a consumer and business point of view. His expertise and passion will provide valuable support so we are delighted to welcome him on board.”
Fort said: “For me there is no better way to start a journey than sipping on a coffee with a sandwich or a delicious slice of cake while watching people walk by. Train travel is one of the most romantic ways of seeing the world and with its amazing Barlow Shed Roof; St Pancras International has to be one of the most visually stunning stations in the world.
“There are over 24 food retailers at the station meaning that consumers can get their hands on a vast selection of products, sample the latest seasonal produce and enjoy their favourite tipple – all on the go. I’m excited to start working with the retailers to showcase the amazing food that is available at commuter’s fingertips whether it’s a panini for a trip to Paris or a cupcake for the journey home to Corby.”
As report released by National Rail earlier this year revealed that station trading is performing strongly and outpacing the high street in terms of sales growth, with food and drink outperforming retail at stations.
The company said like-for-like pubs and bar sales at its owned stations increased by 13.9 per cent in Q4 2013, with dining sales up 14.1 per cent in the same period.
Late last year, Fuller’s chief executive Simon Emens said railway stations were offering ‘new opportunities’ for the pub group, and there were plans to open new outlets in transport hubs in the near future.
St Pancras International currently features restaurants from Carluccio’s, Searcys and Fortnum & Mason, as well as casual dining chains Fine Burger, YO! Sushi and Chop'd.