Members’ News

November 2015

Two thirds of consumers judge a restaurant on the quality of its coffee #

New research revealed that two thirds of consumers judge the quality of a restaurant, pub or hotel based on the quality of its coffee.

The survey of over 1,000 consumers by UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, also found that 77% of diners say a good coffee makes the difference between a mediocre and an exceptional dining experience. And, with less than 50% expecting to get a great cup of coffee when they eat out, there’s a significant opportunity for operators to put quality coffee on the menu.

Phil Smith, head of category and insight, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, comments: “With coffee on the high street going from strength to strength, it’s time for eating out operators to take their coffee seriously. Our research shows that consumers are demanding quality whenever they are eating out and this could be the difference between a satisfactory experience and surpassing expectations.

“Consumers are looking for specific attributes when choosing whether to purchase a coffee with a meal. Quality is the most important factor, but this is closely followed by consistency and choice. Operators need to get the basics right and deliver a coffee experience that consumers will remember and can rely on every time they visit.”

Other results revealed:

•         Three quarters of consumers prefer high street to restaurant coffee
•         48% of people choose to drink coffee with lunch, compared with 40% with dinner
•         The five most important factors when choosing a coffee are taste, strength, freshness, brewing method and the roast
•         Eight out of 10 consumers have chosen a coffee over a dessert when eating out…with 5% always choosing coffee
•         Coffee quality is deemed highest at fine dining restaurants, followed closely by independent restaurants, then branded restaurants and hotels with pubs deemed the lowest quality by consumers

The research of 1,112 UK consumers was conducted by Allegra Insight in August 2015 on behalf of UCC Coffee UK & Ireland.

Lay the hustle aside with UCC Coffee UK & Ireland and at the European Coffee Symposium #

“Hygge was never meant to be translated, it was meant to be felt”
ToveMaren Stakkestad (Danish blogger)

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland will once again be a headline sponsor of the European Coffee Symposium held this year in Copenhagen, 23-25 November.

UCC Coffee will be embracing the Danish concept of Hygge (pronounced Hoo-ga) to showcase its latest equipment innovation and coffees. Hygge represents relaxation, contentment and cosy times spent with friends and family, which includes drinking coffee. It’s all about taking pleasure in everyday living and enjoying the simple moments in life.

UCC Coffee will be bringing Hygge to life at its meet the buyer sessions and has also specially developed a signature, The Mørk Vinter (translated to Dark Winter) – a warming winter drink reminiscent of mulled wine to counter the cold Danish Autumn. The coffee has been created with both a double shot espresso and drip filter of White Label Collection Rwanda Nyungwe, brewed with whole flower cloves, Ceylon cinnamon and organic orange zest.

Throughout the event its specialist baristas will also be serving a range of coffees on its brew and espresso bars including its conceptual White Label Collection Rwande Nyungwe coffee, brewed through Chemex, Orang Utan Coffee and ThreeSixty Rainforest Alliance blend. The latest innovations from UCC Coffee equipment partners – Victoria Arduino, Eversys, Dalla Corte, Nuova Simonelli and Thermoplan – will also be in action.

Elaine Higginson, managing director, UCC Coffee & Ireland, said: “Coffee is a key part of the Hygge way of life. We’re looking forward to embracing it and brewing some exceptional coffees for some of the key players in the coffee market.”

UCC Coffee will expand its out of home range with the launch of Grand Crü version 2.6. The new coffee is a premium blend made up of speciality seasonal coffee from Nicaragua Finca La Argentina, Costa Rica Finca Santos and Ethiopia Rocko Mountain Reserve. The three high-quality coffees were specially selected by UCC Coffee’s specialists following a blind taste test of some of the world’s best coffees before being carefully blended to create a distinctive taste. 

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland's Gayan Munaweera scoops UK cup tasters championship #

Gayan Munaweera, coffee development manager and Q Grader, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland has beaten strong competition to win the SCAE UK Cup Tasters Championship 2015.

The competition, which tests the ability of the competitors on speed, skill and accuracy in distinguishing the taste differences in speciality coffee, attracted entries from 24 of the UK’s top and most distinguished coffee tasters.

Gayan Munaweera, coffee development manager, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland comments: “To come out on top when competing against a field of such talented and successful coffee professionals is brilliant. I was especially proud to be the only contestant to get full marks in the final two heats, and I’m already looking forward to pitting myself against the world’s best at the finals in Shanghai next year.”

Elaine Higginson, managing director, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland comments: “I’m delighted that Gayan is this year’s UK Cup Tasting Championship. We’re dedicated to delivering coffee excellence to all our customers and Gayan embodies the talent and passion for coffee that exists within our business. Every coffee that we source and roast is cupped and graded by Gayan and his team, ensuring it’s always of the highest standard. This win is testament to his ability to identify the best coffees for our customers.”

The 2015 UK Cup Tasters Competition, which took place at Cup North on 7 November, is made up of eight rounds of coffee cupping. In each round three cups are placed in front of each competitor. Two cups contain identical coffee and the third a different coffee. Competitors use smell, taste and experience to identify the odd cup as quickly as they can and whoever wins the most rounds is awarded the championship.

Gayan will now compete against coffee tasters from across the globe for the world title at the World Cup Tasters Championship in Shanghai from 29 March-1 April 2016.

BaxterStorey recruits record number of graduates #

A record-number of new graduates were welcomed onto BaxterStorey’s Momentum Graduate Programme, after completing a rigorous assessment day. 

The 18 new recruits, double the intake of the previous year, joined senior members of staff at an introductory ceremony held at the Blue Fin building in Southwark.

Launched in 2010, the rapidly-growing initiative is designed to help university graduates enter the hospitality and catering profession and develop their understanding of the industry.

The nine-month programme also aims to address a growing skills gap in the hospitality industry, whilst helping to fill BaxterStorey’s pool of senior manager and operational roles, with a focus on training and developing staff from within.

This grassroots methodology nurtures the business’ new young recruits into passionate managers, helping each of them to kick-start a career within BaxterStorey’s growing business.

As part of the programme, the graduates will also spend time in the kitchen, front of house, hospitality and support services and will learn all of the aspects of site management. They will then move on to mobilisations, site projects and operations.

WSH head of skills development Graham Eveleigh said: “Now entering its fifth year, I am delighted that our Momentum Graduate Programme has commenced for 2015/16 by doubling its intake to 18 new participants.

“The programme reflects our commitment to graduate employment and the training and career development of talented team members.

“With graduates able to experience placements in BaxterStorey, Caterlink, Holroyd Howe and Searcys, we can offer the very best entry into the world of hospitality.

“With a 100 per cent retention from the previous two years of the programme, we are looking forward to a bright future for our talented new joiners.”

BaxterStorey crowns its 2015 Barista Champion #

BaxterStorey crowned Derek Buckley as ‘Barista Champion 2015’, after a record-number of competitors from across the UK, Ireland and Europe entered the hotly-contested competition this year.

Buckley won the title after showcasing his latte art skills, creating a signature drink and performing a 10-minute routine, which saw him make six hot beverages against the clock. Derek has now won the coveted title for the second year running, after also being named as Barista Champion in 2014.

Buckley also scooped awards for ‘Best Cappuccino’ and ‘Best Espresso’ at the competition, at London’s Hospitality House on 8 October, will now join a growing group of elite BaxterStorey baristas, who have gone on showcase their skills on a broader stage. These include previous finalist, Jana Slamova, who was named as one of the top three baristas in the UK at the national Barista Championship 2014.

Tim Sturk, head of coffee training and development at BaxterStorey, said: “This year, the BaxterStorey Barista Championships have welcomed more talented people than ever before, with over 50 of our baristas pitting their skills in a bid to be named as the winner.

“Few people understand the true complexities of creating excellent coffee – the bean to cup journey is certainly not an easy one – but Derek has demonstrated immense skill throughout this competition. He has proven himself to be one of our industry’s best baristas and a deserving winner of our 2015 Barista Championships.”

Buckley will now go on to compete in the UK Barista Championships, with the acclaimed competition scheduled to take place in 2016.

Academy course achieves Approved Centre status #

The Leadership Academy, supporting BaxterStorey, Holroyd Howe and Caterlink, has achieved Approved Centre status from the Institute of Hospitality for its Foundation Course.

The course, which delivers the Institute of Hospitality Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management, was initially approved in 2014 and after a recent thorough inspection, official status from the Institute has been awarded again for 2016. 

Graham Eveleigh, head of skills development at WSH, said: “Achieving Approved Centre status from the Institute of Hospitality again is a wonderful endorsement of our Leadership Academy and the training we provide to our team members. They are the potential leaders of the business and the wider foodservice industry, so our Academy is fundamental in nurturing and developing this talent from within, helping us to fill our pool of senior manager and operational roles as our businesses expand.

“We are delighted with the recent inspection result, which further underpins our commitment to the career development of our current and future managers across WSH.”

Over 80 applicants have completed one of the two levels within The Foundation Course since 2010, with a further 18 students due to graduate on the level three course and nine students on the level four course. It aims to develop talent from within the businesses, providing the knowledge, skills and understanding of leadership and management for managers in their current role, as well as preparing those who wish to progress further in their career.

Anne Harper, head of professional development at the Institute of Hospitality, added: “WSH is unique in being the only employer-based provider of the Institute of Hospitality's qualifications. Our relationship with WSH is hugely important to us. Working with a fantastic team of dedicated professionals, we are proud to be supporting their commitment to growing the next generation of managers and leaders in hospitality.”  

Elior and Carillion achieve Food for Life Accreditation at Barts Health #

Elior UK and support services company Carillion celebrated achieving the Soil Association’s Food for Life Accreditation at Barts Health. The Bronze Catering Mark was awarded in recognition of Elior and Carillion’s drive to provide fresh, healthy and sustainable food at its retail catering outlets.

The Food for Life Catering Mark is an independent endorsement, backed by annual inspections for food providers who are taking steps to improve the food they serve including the provision of fresh, sustainably sourced and ethical food, the ability to make healthy eating easy and the championing of local food producers.

Lyn Winnard, contract director at Elior UK, said: “We’re delighted the Soil Association has recognised our commitment to serving fresh, sustainably sourced food for hospital environments. It’s fantastic that we have achieved the prestigious Food for Life Accreditation. But we’re not content to rest at Bronze: our sights are now firmly set on achieving the Silver standard.”

John Bacon, chair of Barts Health, said: “The health and wellbeing of our staff and visitors to our hospitals is a priority for the Trust. Food is an important part of all of our daily lives and has a direct impact on our health. Our partners, Elior and Carillion, have risen to the challenge and are playing their part by making healthy locally prepared food available at food outlets in our hospitals.”

In May this year, Elior with Carillion secured the Gold Food for Life Catering Mark for Patient Dining and Retail respectively at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. This site was the first site to be awarded Gold for Patient Dining and is the only major Acute hospital in England to have secured Gold for a second successive year.

Elior secures contract with St Albans Cathedral #

Elior UK secured a new contract worth over £300,000 per annum to run Abbott’s Kitchen, a popular café at St Albans cathedral. After giving it a visual makeover, Elior took over the operation of the café at the beginning of September and has experienced some busy trading during its first few weeks.

Ruth Lomax, sales director, Elior UK, said: “We were delighted to have been awarded this contract. The cathedral chose Elior because our ethos is to offer a truly inspiring range of menu options, use nothing but the finest quality ingredients from local suppliers and to provide exceptional service. At Elior we believe it’s the whole experience that matters.”

Open six days a week from 10am – 4.30pm (12.30pm – 16.30pm on Sundays), Abbot’s Kitchen is located in the cathedral’s Chapter House and is proving a popular place to enjoy lunch, afternoon tea and refreshments. The café attracts a steady stream of tourists during the week, many of whom stop off on coach tours to the cathedral. Ruth said: “The café has a regular customer base and we’re looking to build on this by attracting new customers during the different day parts. In particular we want to attract families with young children to visit at the weekend by offering family-style meals.”

Ruth said: “We’ve got some exciting plans for Abbot’s Kitchen in the pipeline, including a Christmas market and other events. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy a good family meal or relax over a hot drink with friends – it really does have something for everyone.”

Feeling Peckish? Elior UK hatches new chicken concept #

Elior UK launched a new street food inspired chicken concept in response to the rising popularity of street food and ‘chickenisation’ on the high street. Chicken now accounts for 31% of all out of home meals[1] and with this in mind, Elior has developed Beak Street Chicken as an exciting opportunity for catering outlets to upscale their chicken offering.

Beak Street Chicken, an innovative casual dining concept, allows customers to choose from three world flavour profiles, Piri Piri, Deep South and Mexican Mole. This is added to the diner’s choice of either a half chicken, breast, leg or wings, they can then pick from a selection of sauces to suit their spice preference and add a side.

The concept has been introduced at 250 business and industry and higher education sites across the country. It has proved a big hit with diners and has increased on-site sales by 30% in the first month.

Matt Joblin, offer development manager, Elior UK, said: “Chicken is the UK’s favourite protein group in the casual dining sector. With this in mind, we wanted to offer our customers an innovative chicken concept in their workplaces and higher education campuses that is on a par with high street chicken restaurants. This is an exciting addition to the unique range of concepts that we offer our sites to attract customers. Its popularity with diners is evidence that customers appreciate the innovative flavours and flexibility of Beak Street Chicken. Feedback so far from our sites has been very positive and all have seen an uplift in sales.”

Beak Street Chicken is the third new concept to be launched this year by Elior UK. It follows the introduction of Purple Pepper, a vegetarian offering influenced by the growth in flexitarianism, and Shimmy Shakes, a year-round iced drinks concept.

[1] Source: Allegra Eating Out report 2015

Pelican Procurement Services achieves Investors in People standard #

Assessors highlight evidence of strong core values as key driver in achievement

Pelican Procurement Services (Pelican), has been awarded Investors In People (IiP). As the UK’s leading people management standard IiP helps organisations to improve business performance through their people. In its report of Pelican, special reference was made to its strong framework of customer and people focused values and the physical evidence of these in practice throughout the business.

The accreditation, which included interviews among 20 members of its 60-strong team at the Elstead-based business, was awarded following a two day on-site assessment of key business areas. This included strategy, learning and development, and management and effectiveness of performance. 

Christine Stimpson FCIPD, director at Pelican Procurement Services said: “Forming client and supplier relationships is central to our business so looking after our people and ensuring that they are motivated to perform is essential. For me, that’s what makes achieving Investors in People status such a great accolade.

"We have worked hard to ensure that our core values are echoed right across the business and for this to come through so strongly in the report is praise indeed for all employees who embody our values in all their day to day interactions. As well as recognising the talent and commitment of people across the business it also symbolises the first step of our journey to continuing the development of our business as we pursue additional levels of accreditation”, adds Christine.

Pelican provides a comprehensive range of procurement services and web based systems, which enables organisations in the food service, hospitality, leisure, education and private healthcare sectors to achieve significant cost savings, improve back office processes and gain financial control and visibility over food, beverage and non-food product purchasing. 

People 1st launches campaign to prepare industry for the new wave of retention and profitability-boosting apprenticeships levy #

With the biggest shake-up of apprenticeships in recent memory set to take place in Spring 2016, workforce development charity, People 1st, is launching a campaign to help hospitality businesses understand and prepare for the new employer-driven standards, while reaping the staff retention and profitability benefits.

With the hospitality and tourism industries requiring a combined 229,000 skilled and managerial staff by 2022*, People 1st is hailing the seven new hospitality apprenticeship standards – created by trailblazer employers and led by Hilton Worldwide, to be more robust, clearly defined and fit for purpose – as being truly transformative for those businesses that choose to use them.

Simon Tarr, chief executive of People 1st, says the new standards offer a range of benefits and People 1st is providing support to help businesses understand how they can meet their specific needs.      

He says: “Research indicates that 80% of companies that invest in apprentices report an increase in staff retention, but that’s just the beginning – there is also compelling evidence that progressing your brightest and best talent can significantly boost the bottom line;  typically an apprentice working in hospitality contributes up to an impressive £5,200.

“Across the industry we are faced with a number of challenges, not least a £274m annual retention bill and a dearth of managerial staff. Apprenticeships provide an excellent solution to this challenge and we encourage organisations to utilise the new standards to help them tackle retention.”

Whitbread has seen the benefits of apprenticeships and the contributions they can make to the bottom line. The company’s head of education, Sandra Kelly, said: “We’ve found that upon completion of training, a third of our level 2 apprentices move into a management role within two years and turnover of these apprentices is 45% less than the average in our business.

“It is clear from these figures that apprenticeships provide real benefits to both the business and the individual employees. We’re excited to be a part of the new standards, which will help boost retention even further.”

The new apprenticeships can work just as well for small and medium-sized businesses as they can for larger enterprises.  Bristol tapas restaurant, Bravas, a small family-run business keen to safeguard staff retention, recently took on two apprentices, a decision that the company’s Imogen Whaite says she’ll never regret, she said: “We first heard about the apprenticeship scheme through our local college and spoke to People 1st to see which scheme was right for us. The opportunity sounded like one we couldn’t pass up so we decided to give it a go. It’s one of the smartest business decisions we’ve made. The experience has been overwhelmingly positive and we would definitely recommend apprenticeships to other small businesses.”

People 1st is working in partnership with employers in showing how businesses large and small can access apprenticeships to drive themselves forward. The charity can help them choose the right apprenticeship for their size and type and also provide concise and relevant information for those that choose to offer the new standards. In addition People 1st can also recommend accredited training providers and share best practice from across the industry while helping employers to understand the government’s plans for apprenticeships and how they might impact a business.

Simon adds: “The government is in the midst of a consultation over the proposed apprenticeship levy, set to cost our sector over £100m, which will affect all UK employers, whether they use apprenticeships or not. Our role is to help the hospitality, travel, retail and passenger transport industries, sectors that have long been built on offering fantastic career pathways, through apprenticeships – to understand, navigate and, benefit long term from such legislation.”

Over the next six months, People 1st will be regularly updating an apprenticeship portal with all the relevant tools and information needed to start accessing the new apprenticeships. The charity is encouraging businesses to visit today and register to receive the latest updates and practical advice ahead of new standards launch in the spring. 

Follow this link to see an animated infographic on how the new apprenticeships can change your business 

“The show just gets better every year” – lunch! 2015 wows food-to-go sector #

Award-winning lunch! show welcomes over 6,000 attendees

Food-to-go buyers from across the UK demonstrated their appetite for lunch! in September with the multi-award winning trade event for the food-to-go sector enjoying another successful edition.

The 2015 show, which took place at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London, on 24-25 September, featured an unprecedented 350 exhibiting companies (up 25% for 2015) showcasing an eclectic mix of food, drink, packaging, catering equipment and technology.

As in previous years, queues of enthusiastic visitors marked the start of the show.  By the time doors closed, it had welcomed over 6,000 attendees, including key buyers and decision makers from many of the UK’s biggest food-to-go operators, food retailers, contract and travel caterers, distributors, wholesalers, venues, attractions, plus thousands of independent and multiple cafés, coffee houses, tea rooms, and sandwich shops.

Among them were well-known brands such as Pret, EAT., Costa, Greggs, Starbucks, Subway, Boots, Tesco, Waitrose, Ocado, M&S Food, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Asda, SPAR, Carrefour, Harrods, Gate Gourmet, Road Chef, Elior, Baxterstorey, Sodexo, Brakes, Bidvest Foodservice, Compass Group, Booker Group, Eurostar, Virgin Atlantic, and British Airways.

Vibrant, innovative, buzzing and enjoyable – are just some of the words attendees have used to describe lunch! 2015 so far.

“We talk about lunch!’s fantastic buzz and unique atmosphere every year but it really was incredible for 2015,” says Chris Brazier, group event director of lunch!.  “We are delighted that our eighth year of lunch! was our biggest and best show yet.  The venue was full of senior decision makers and a record number of innovative exhibitors, and their feedback has been phenomenal.  It really does cap a brilliant year for lunch! – thanks must go to all our visitors, exhibitors, media and association partners for helping us put on the best lunch! we’ve ever had.”

Getting “better” every year is exactly what lunch!’s organiser Diversified Communications UK has been achieving since the show launched in 2008.  lunch! is frequently cited by food-to-go retailers and buyers as their key annual event for discovering innovative new ideas and concepts, and many are already looking forward to their next visit.

Show highlights for 2015
The Working lunch! Theatre and new Menu Innovation Theatre (sponsored by Magrini) enjoyed a host of standing-room only sessions – from powerful Keynotes and insightful panel discussions, to interactive demos – across the two days.  The 2015 line-up included some of the most innovative names in food-to-go, such as Roger Whiteside, CEO of food-to-go giant Greggs; Helen Higgins, food ambassador at EAT.; Mark Palmer, group marketing director of Pret A Manger; Paul Ettinger, development director at Caffè Nero; Guy Meakin, trading manager – food on the move at Marks & Spencer; and Mark Lineham, managing director of The Sustainable Restaurant Association.

The popular live finals of the annual British Smoothie Championships (sponsored by Magrini) was another big draw.  Having built an exciting reputation for keeping lunch! show audiences firmly on the edge of their seats, this year’s nine competitors certainly didn’t disappoint.  The 2015 champion – Alejandro Madrid from Funky Juice in Fulham Broadway station in London – won over the judges with his Fiber Boost creation (which combined avocado, lemon, apples and spinach); with Nicola Simons from Vital Ingredient and Martina Kurvcova from ShakeTastic runners-up.

Audience participation was also key to the results of the prestigious Innovation Challenge Awards.  Designed to promote and celebrate new ideas in the market place, it attracted over 50 entrants this year.  The 17 short-listed finalists, decided by popular vote at the Innovation Challenge Showcase on lunch!’s opening day, were invited to pitch their new innovations to a panel of industry judges in the Menu Innovation Theatre on Friday 25 September.

This year’s trio of buying experts – Sandy Tchilinguirian, head of innovation (Int) at Compass UK&I, Martin Hambleton, head of procurement at En Route International (and a former senior buyer from Elior UK and EAT.), and Angelina Harrison, food & commercial director at Tossed – applauded the high standard of entries, commenting on the “incredible range of food-to-go innovations” for 2015.

The following companies received Innovation Challenge Awards at lunch! 2015:

• Panvas: Eller foodPackaging
• Super Bites: Good4U
• Just Bee: Just Bee Drinks
• TAPPED Organic Birch Water: TAPPED Organic Birch Water
• Organic, Gluten-Free Pizza: The White Rabbit Pizza Co.

• Love Bone Broth: Love Taste Co
• Merrychef eikon e2s: Manitowoc  Foodservice UK
• Nana Nice Cream: Nana Nice Cream
• Cold Pressed Birch Water: Sibberi  Birch Water
• TreeVitalise Birch Waters: TreeVitalise Birch Water
• The Oval Eco Street Bowl: Tri-Star Packaging

• Sparkling Apple and Rhubarb: Cawston Press
• Chaat: Gourmosa
• Go Soup: Go Soup
• PERK!ER Quinoa Bar:  PERKIER Foods
• URBAN eat Beach Hut Sandwiches: URBAN eat

Exhibitors celebrate successful show
It wasn’t just the lunch! award winners that were celebrating after the show.  Looking ahead to 2016, lunch!’s organiser Diversified Communications UK says “rebooking for lunch! 2016 has smashed all previous records”.

“There has been substantial rebooking across every part of the show, including the A area and new F area, with the ground and mezzanine levels already sold out – that’s before booking has even opened to new companies for 2016,” explains group event director Chris Brazier.  “Given the waiting list ready to book their stands, lunch! 2016 is already off to a fantastic start.”

Save the date for lunch! 2016
lunch! will return to Business Design Centre in Islington, London, on 22-23 September 2016.  For further information, visit

“Casual Dining is the place to be” – industry leaders back new casual dining awards #

Casual Dining, the award winning trade show for the pub and restaurant sector, revealed its founding judges for the launch of the Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards 2016. 

The award ceremony will take place on the evening of 24 February 2016 at The Grange St. Paul’s Hotel in London, following the first day of Casual Dining.  Not only will they form an important highlight of next year’s event, but aim to become the leading celebration of the growing multi-billion casual dining sector.

The judging panel will include some of the sector’s best known business leaders, consultants, influencers and entrepreneurs, including Karen Forrester, CEO of TGI Friday’s UK, Kate Nicholls, chief executive of The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, and Anthony Pender, chairman of the British Institute of Innkeeping. 

"Our own trade show and now our own awards, Casual Dining is the place to be,” says TGI Friday’s Karen Forrester, about the new awards.

Fellow judge, and industry legend, Ian Neill agrees: "The new Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards are an outstanding opportunity to highlight achievement in the casual dining space."

“It’s important that we recognise and praise people and companies that have contributed to the growth of casual dining and that’s why I am fully behind this initiative,” says Peter Backman, managing director of foodservice insights firm Horizons.

“The Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub awards is something I’m fully behind and I look forward to celebrating the most innovative and successful operators in the casual dining sector,” adds Paul Charity, managing director of Propel.

Following an advisory lunch last month, the stellar list of judges announced today includes (in alphabetical order):

• Peter Backman – Managing Director, Horizons
• Keith Bird, Commercial Director, Gourmet Burger Kitchen
• Chris Brazier – Group Event Director, Casual Dining
• Paul Charity – Managing Director, Propel
• Karen Forrester – CEO, TGI Friday’s UK
• Peter Martin – Vice Chairman, CGA Peach
• Mark McCulloch - Founder & CEO, WE ARE Spectacular
• Ian Neill – Industry Legend (Las Iguanas, Wagamama, Jamie’s Italian)
• Kate Nicholls – Chief Executive, The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR)
• Anthony Pender – Chairman, British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) and Co-founder, Yummy Pubs
• Alex Reilley – Executive Vice Chairman, Loungers
• Lorraine Wood - Director, Arena

Recognising the importance of great design as an integral part of the brand and dining experience, the already highly-successful Casual Dining Design Awards, which previously took place during the show, will now be incorporated into the new Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards. 

The Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards will include the following categories:

• Champion Of The Year
• New Casual Dining Concept Of The Year
• The Social Responsibility Award
• Casual Dining Turnaround Of The Year
• Casual Dining Marketing Campaign
• Employer Of The Year
• Best Designed Independent Casual Dining Restaurant
• Best Designed Multiple Casual Dining Restaurant
• Best Designed Casual Dining Pub or Bar
• Independent Casual Dining Restaurant Of The Year
• Independent Casual Dining Pub Of The Year
• Multiple Casual Dining Pub Brand Of The Year
• Multiple Casual Dining Restaurant Of The Year

“It really is fantastic to see the way that the sector is responding to the launch of the Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards, which we hope will become the Oscars of the casual dining world,” comments Chris Brazier, group event director of Casual Dining.

“With its own award-winning trade show, it’s only right the places where most people in the UK eat and drink out on the most regular basis is celebrated and awarded for their successes,” he says.

The Casual Dining Champion 2016 will be interviewed exclusively on day two of the Casual Dining trade show on 25 February 2016.

Luke Johnson, Simon Kossoff and Steve Richards lead Casual Dining’s 2016 keynote line-up #

With visitor registration now open, Casual Dining – the UK’s multi-award winning trade event for the multiple restaurant and pub group sector, has announced its initial Keynote line-up for 2016. 

Returning to the Business Design Centre in Islington, London, on 24-25 February next year, the show’s extensive Keynote programme will feature an exclusive interview with Luke Johnson, chairman of private equity firm Risk Capital Partners.  Johnson, one of Britain's most successful entrepreneurs, is well-known for his involvement in growing the Pizza Express, Giraffe, Strada, and Patisserie Valerie brands.  He’ll be discussing his experiences in the UK casual dining sector – and its future prospects with Propel’s managing director Paul Charity.

Steve Richards, CEO of Casual Dining Group (owner of the Café Rouge, Las Iguanas and Bella Italia brands), Simon Kossoff, chief executive of Italian restaurant and food shop chain Carluccio’s (in interview with Peter Martin, vice president of CGA Peach), and Anthony Pender, chairman of The British Institute of Innkeeping and MD of Yummy Pub Co, are among the other big name speakers also confirmed today. 

Pender, who has previously called Casual Dining a “welcome change to the trade show calendar”, will head up a panel session featuring a host of well-known pub operators, including Brian Whiting, managing director of Whiting & Hammond.  As in previous years, Horizons’ Peter Backman is back to report on the latest trends and developments in the ‘thriving’ casual dining market, now said to be worth over £7bn.

Casual Dining 2016 sells out in record time
One of the fastest growing parts of the UK’s eating out market, casual dining is a lifestyle trend that shows no sign of abating.  If anything, as a dining experience, it’s only increasing in popularity.  And it’s still got plenty of room for expansion – with 16 new pub and casual restaurant openings per week, according to the latest findings in a M&C Allegra Foodservice report, commissioned by Estrella Damm in July.

It is this strong market performance, combined with glowing testimonials and a strong onsite rebook, that has helped the show sell out of all available exhibition space over four months early.  The 2016 edition will now feature 170 exhibiting companies (up from 150 last year and 117 when it launched in 2014). 

New additions to the exhibitor line-up include The FoodFellas, Jascots, Kerry Foodservice, Morgenrot Group, Kent Frozen Foods, General Mills, Twinings, JJ Food Service, Hepworth Brewery, and Ascentia Foodservice Equipment.  Whilst returning brands include Coca-Cola Enterprises, Reynolds, Lamb Weston, Unox UK, Rational UK, DiSotto Foods, Britvic Soft Drinks, McCain Foodservice (GB), Fresh Direct, Nisbets, Thistly Cross Cider, Electrolux Professional, Nestle Professional, Alan Nuttall, Sacla’ UK, and Bar & Restaurant Foods.

They’ll be joined by over 4,000 key buyers and decision makers from many of the country’s biggest casual dining pub groups and restaurant chains, hotels, contract caterers, and independent operators.  Gourmet Burger Kitchen, wagamama, Greene King, Punch Taverns, Fuller’s, Carluccio's, Bella Italia, Café Rouge, YO! Sushi, Jamie’s Italian, Pizza Hut Restaurants, Pizza Express, Elior UK, BaxterStorey, Compass Group, Whitbread, Holiday Inn, Hilton are just some of the big name brands to feature on the show’s visitor list so far. 

Brilliant, lively, informative, refreshing and relevant is just some of the feedback from the 2015 event, with Paul Pavli, operations director at Punch Taverns, calling it “a must attend event”.

“Bringing the latest thinking and innovation from our dynamic industry together with all the key players in one event certainly gets my vote!” says Karen Forrester, CEO of TGI Fridays.

“For food driven pubs in the ‘casual’ pitch there is no better show,” says Bruce Brunning, chairman of family-run pub group Brunning Host.

“Casual Dining is a great addition to the industry calendar, it’s a really worthwhile visit,” says Andrew Walker, MD – business development and investment at Casual Dining Group.

Register today
Casual Dining returns to the Business Design Centre, Islington, London, on 24-25 February 2016.  For more information, and to register for a free trade ticket, please visit 

Unilever Food Solutions launches new festive gingerbread challenge at NACC Conference and Exhibition #

UFS launched a Christmas challenge for care homes and elderly residents, to help them spice up the festive season.

To take part, care homes must submit photos of their team working with residents to build a gingerbread house, along with their reason for choosing the theme.

There is something for every care home that enters the Christmas challenge, including a certificate and PR toolkit. UFS will also highlight each care home by posting photos of their gingerbread house and choice of theme on its Facebook page.

The top 20 entries will win a Jo Wheatley cookbook, and will see their entry celebrated in a top gingerbread houses booklet created by UFS. They will also be entered into a prize draw to win a visit from Jo Wheatley, winner of TV Bake Off 2011, who will bake for the home and enjoy a tea party with residents.

The challenge was launched at the NACC Conference and exhibition, where UFS revealed its Christmas recipes and activity packs. The gingerbread-themed stand created a huge buzz at the exhibition, with visitors also being given Christmas themed gingerbread men to take away with them.

James Allred, UFS channel marketing manager, said: "We want to help care homes give their elderly residents a fantastic Christmas this year. Along with our Christmas challenge we’ve created activity packs to help them build their gingerbread homes and inspire them with recipes and ideas for activities over the festive period.”

The closing date for entries into the Christmas challenge is 3 January 2016. The 20 finalists and overall winner will be announced on 18 January 2016.

To find out more about the Christmas challenge or order an activity pack visit 

Nottingham’s Larwood and Voce scoops Best British Roast Dinner title #

Nottingham’s Larwood and Voce Pub and Kitchen beat off stiff competition from more than 440 hopefuls to win the coveted title of Best British Roast Dinner 2015.

The Nottingham pub-restaurant’s Sunday roast impressed the competition’s judges, who included top food critic Charles Campion. Following mystery dining, Larwood and Voce scooped the crown owing to its faultless cooking and choice of four meats. The judges were also impressed by the pub’s high degree of local sourcing: using pork from its own rare breed pigs, making its own condiments and baking its own bread.

Chris Brown, channel category manager, Unilever Food Solutions, said: “Standards were exceptionally high across the board, and to choose between the five finalists was an extremely close call, but Larwood and Voce just had the edge over the rest. Not only does it offer perfectly cooked food in a welcoming pub setting, there are plenty of innovative touches too, such as the option to buy a takeaway roast dinner or bring your own veg in exchange for a free pint.”

He added: “Entering the competition is a great way for pubs to earn a reputation for offering stand out roasts. And there’s no better way to bring in the bookings. Last year’s winner, The Truscott Arms in Paddington, London, saw its food revenues soar by 50%.”

Having visited the Larwood and Voce, renowned food critic Charles Campion said: “The star of British Roast Dinner Week has been revealed. The Sunday menu offers four different roast dinners. As well as roast beef (tender, and a good sized portion) you can choose from roast lamb; honey roast gammon; or a whole roast chicken for families to share. At the weekend this gastropub is buzzing and you can hear the urgent clatter of knives and forks. The classic roast dinner is alive and well and living in Nottingham.”

Dan Cramp, general manager of Larwood and Voce, said: “We are over the moon to be awarded the Best British Roast Dinner title. Our roast dinners are incredibly popular, we pride ourselves on the consistent quality. They form an important part of our menu and being crowned the winner of this prestigious national competition has made the whole team very proud.”

Larwood and Voce was awarded the title on Sunday, 4 October to mark the last day of British Roast Dinner Week 2015, an annual event sponsored by KNORR® Gravy and supported by COLMAN’S® Mustard that celebrates the nation’s favourite pub meal. It encourages pubs, restaurants, hotels and staff canteens to serve roasts every day.

Chris Brown said: “Roast dinners are the nation’s favourite pub food (1). In fact, 40% of consumers say they want a roast on the menu every day of the week (2). So they shouldn’t be locked away, served only on Sundays.”

To find out more about British Roast Dinner Week visit

Did you know? Some facts on the roast dinner (2):
• Roast dinners are the number one pub meal
• Carrots are the favourite veg, with 7 out of 10 diners placing them top
• Beef is the meat of choice, with one third of respondents preferring it to any other roasted veg

1) YouGov, survey commissioned by BBC Good Food, September 2014, n=10,000
2) OnePoll survey, August 2014, commissioned by Unilever Food Solutions, n=2,000 consumers that like roast dinners

NAPA winners get masterclass in fine dining from Mark Sargeant #

Mark Sargeant, top restaurateur and KNORR® ambassador, gave care home chefs a masterclass in fine dining courtesy of Unilever Food Solutions at Leatherhead as a reward for their success in the Fine Dining Challenge from NAPA (the National Activity Providers Association).

The masterclass, which gave care home operators the opportunity to learn from one of industry’s finest chefs, was attended by the top 20 entries to the Chef’s Masterpiece category.

To enter care homes had to put on a special menu to create a unique and memorable dining experience for their residents between 13 and 20 July 2015. The challenge gave care home chefs an opportunity to showcase their culinary expertise and the residents a real reason to look forward to and enjoy their food.

Paul Wright, development chef for elderly care at UFS said: “It’s so important for those in care to socialise over food and experience stimulating mealtimes. The care settings did a great job with their fine dining experiences and who better to help them take it to the next level than a Michelin-starred chef like Mark.”

Mark is no stranger to fine dining, having helped Gordon Ramsay achieve three Michelin stars at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and been head chef at Gordon Ramsay at Claridges from 2001 to 2008. A former National Chef of the Year, Mark now runs a number of his own restaurants, including Rocksalt in Folkestone, Kent and Plum and Spilt Milk at St Pancras, London.

In the masterclass Mark demonstrated some of his most spectacular dishes, including crab and salmon rolls and poached monkfish curry. He also gave the chefs tips on how to take their fine dining cooking to the next level in their care home, from using different cuts of meats to adding extra flavour to the dishes.

Annie Sinnott MBE, owner of the winning care home, The Old Vicarage in Dorset, said: “We’re so proud to have won and the masterclass has been a fantastic reward. Mark gave us so many great ideas. He really knows his stuff and all the dishes were delicious, especially the crab and salmon roll. All in all, it’s been a fantastic day!”

Sylvie Silver, director at NAPA, said: “It was fantastic to see the chefs on the other end of fine dining at the masterclass. We had so many impressive entries, where chefs really embraced the challenge and used it to create a sense of occasion. It was great to be able to give them something back. Everyone enjoyed learning from such a talented chef and tasting some of his delicious dishes. It was a real treat.”

Next year the NAPA challenge will be ‘a right royal street party’, an activity focused around the Queen’s 90th birthday. The challenge will once again run in partnership with Unilever Food Solutions. More information will be available in the New Year at 

Essential Cuisine Unveils Bold New Jus #

Essential Cuisine unveiled its brand new Premier Red Wine Jus – a super-premium stock base which takes its inspiration from the bold flavours of France.  

The highly versatile liquid jus, a blend of aromatic beef stock and Bordeaux-style wine, offers chefs the meaty taste, viscous feel, and mirror like sheen of kitchen-made but can go from pot to plate in a matter of minutes, not hours.  The new jus acts as the ideal base to take on a host of complementary ingredients, meaning even time poor chefs can add their own stamp to dishes. Just one tub can make eight litres of high quality jus meaning chefs really can do more with less. The product is also Gluten-free and contains no added MSG or preservatives. 

Nigel Crane, managing director for Essential Cuisine, said: “We’re delighted to unveil the newest member of our Premier Jus range; truly the chef’s secret weapon in kitchens up and down the UK. The flavour profile of our new Premier Red Wine Jus is rich, versatile and incredibly authentic, creating a formidable four-strong Premier range (joining Chicken, Lamb and Veal). We can’t wait to give chefs a chance to try it for themselves.” 

Essential Cuisine manufacturing team leads the way with training excellence gong #

The manufacturing team at Essential Cuisine scooped ‘Training Programme of the Year’ as part of the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards 2015 (FMEAs).

The British producer of stocks, sauces, jus, glace and gravies, was lauded by judges for creating a training environment that “focused on ground-roots operational and production staff as well as management training” in its top-down pursuit of excellence.

All new members of Essential Cuisine’s factory team, led by production director, Jamie McGregor, must complete an online Chartered Institute of Environmental Health training course before beginning work. This is then reinforced by a stringent factory induction alongside a six-month NVQ programme.

Jamie, who collected the award on behalf of the Stock People from Justine Fosh,  chief executive of the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink, commented: “It’s no exaggeration to state that our business lives and dies on the productivity of our manufacturing team and so we’re thrilled and extremely proud that our training programme, designed to increase the skills and productivity of our workforce, and uphold the class-leading quality of our products, has been acknowledged amongst the very best in British food and drink manufacturing.”

HowYa proves ‘real time’ customer service feedback is invaluable for doing more than just improving customer service #

When HowYa launched its customer feedback tool back in April, it knew that as a real time feedback system it could do so much more than simply answer one question on customer service.

The ‘at table’ ratings service was thus developed as a management tool asking five questions on customer experience, instantly feeding results directly into a management system that allows managers to address issues before a customer leaves.

With the simplicity of presenting the survey on a tablet at the time of the bill, over 90% of customers across all nationwide trials have completed the two-minute survey, which HowYa claims proves to be the most responsive of any industry feedback tool.

Arena members experienced the service during the prestige Lambeth Palace event in early October and 77% of all attendees, almost 100% of those staying for lunch, gave their feedback, which meant that within minutes, organisers knew what had worked – and indeed what had not.

Manorview Hotels, improves customer service with 91% of customers giving instant feedback

Award winning luxury boutique hotels and restaurant group, Manorview Hotels and Leisure Group, put delivering customer satisfaction at the highest level is the very essence of their business. Each of the six unique hotels has their own thriving restaurant, charm and personality.

“Our customers visit us to feel special”, said Scott McIntyre, group services and standards manager. “So from the moment they arrive in our hotel or restaurant every aspect of their visit has to be perfect. From the décor to the ambiance; the food and drink to the customer service.” 

After using traditional methods of capturing customer sentiment, Scott and his team were keen to try the HowYa at table rating system, with the technology to deliver real-time feedback, and push this critical part of his business ethos into the next century.

Manorview with it’s a diverse customer base from local people to guests and tourists from all across the UK and the world needed not just customer experience results, but demographic breakdown that enabled them to understand who was interpreting the service in what way.

Scott brought in the easy to use ‘swipe’ HowYa tablet device, handed to the customer with the bill, and tailored their questions to their own business: recommend, service, atmosphere, menu and food. The trial took place over two months in the brand new Carters Bar and Restaurant in Glasgow’s prime destination hotel, The Busby, and the restaurant of The Torrence, one of the finest hotels in Scotland.

The data and benefits Manorview reported were beyond what was expected from typical ‘customer service surveys’ with Scott dubbing HowYa as “a fantastic business tool”:

1. 91% of customers chose to rate their experience – significantly higher than comment cards and online surveys had done, with far greater accuracy;
2. 91.5% shared geographical information helping Manorview track customers who are tourists and those who are local;
3. 80.1% shared demographic data providing valuable customer insight for future marketing;
4. Honest feedback whilst still in the restaurant enabled managers to act immediately on negative comments before the customer left, by an ‘alert’ sent to the manager’s phone;
5. Commentary was posted directly onto social media, boosting their online presence;
6. Trend spotting enabled changes to be made, to nudge up ratings, such as amending how bookings are operated to help flow in the kitchen during peak periods;

Restaurant staff adopted HowYa with enthusiasm, now used to identify bonus incentives and training needs

“One of the big benefits of the system that we have found has been as a way to motivate and reward staff performance. It highlights those that perform well, creating good natured competition amongst the teams, enabling us to run bonus incentives; employee of the month based on positive feedback or instant reward vouchers to spend within our group.”
A sophisticated data report is sent to the restaurant manager weekly allowing him or her to spot trends in customer sentiment depending on the day, the week, the time of day, the server, which also enables you to identify the chefs on duty. Training needs can be quickly identified and acted upon. Manipulation of the data enables a plethora of business reports to be interrogated to maximise the efficiency of the teams and improve customer service.

Such has been the success of the system Scott kept the tablet system and also installed the kiosk version for hotel visitors. “We know this is trailblazing as there is no other system like this for hotel guests,” said Scott

Award winning design for Gram’s SUPERIORPLUS 72 #

The latest addition to Gram’s refrigeration range, the SUPERIORPLUS 72, has been recognised for its revolutionary design and ground-breaking technology with the HOST 2015 SMART Label.

The SMART Label award recognises innovation in technology, functionality and sustainability. In order to achieve the accolade, companies are judged based on three key criteria: the efficiency of functions, the effectiveness of the product’s performance and product innovation. 

Demonstrating both innovation and efficiency, the SUPERIORPLUS 72 is the end result of research & development and extensive market research, inspired by the establishment of the Minimum Energy Performance and Ecodesign process from European regulators. Improvements to technology and design mean that the SUPERIORPLUS 72 is 44 per cent more energy efficient than its ‘best in class’ Plus 600 (Generation 4) predecessor.

The SUPERIORPLUS 72 has also been recognised by Topten*, who have identified the energy use and running costs have decreased massively from 509kWh year to 285kWh, meaning the average operator can expect to spend only £28.50 per year on the SUPERIORPLUS 72. In addition to the decreased running costs, Gram uses hydrocarbon gas only meaning the SUPERIORPLUS 72 has a Global Warming Potential of just three and zero Ozone Depletion Potential compared with more damaging HFC’s.


Gram’s Go Green Summit set the sustainable scene #

A long standing topic for debate in the foodservice arena – sustainability – was tackled head last month as Gram UK hosted the very first Go Green Summit, at sustainable venue The Charlotte Street Hotel, London.

Joined by some of the most influential names in the industry, Gram invited delegates to reconsider sustainability’s position within foodservice, as well as taking a look at the future of the industry and the role of sustainability within it.

Wrap’s hospitality and foodservice programme manager, Charlotte Henderson, opened the inaugural summit with a look at the current state of the foodservice industry. Charlotte shared some startling figures on how much waste is produced within the hospitality and foodservice industry annually, with a reported one third of all food produced globally wasted, valued at a staggering £600bn. Perhaps even more concerning is that of the 1million tonnes of food wasted, three quarters could have been eaten.  These alarming figures need to infiltrate deeper into the industry, reaching operators and those in a position to address these issues and begin to make the changes required. The Go Green Summit began to put into motion a change in the thought processes of the audience and asked them to question how much lack of understanding and awareness is a key driver in preventing the foodservice industry from moving forward.

Applying the theory and practice of cycling is perhaps the best way to approach sustainability within the industry suggests Charlotte. Using the analogy of David Brailsford’s ‘aggregation of marginal gains’, Charlotte suggested that by making a conscientious effort to make even the smallest one percent change to each element of sustainability, from energy costs, to staff labour and wastage the gains will be become apparent as each marginal increase accumulates to make a substantial change to a business.

Charlotte’s powerful presentation was followed by an insightful talk by Dominic Burbridge, associate director at The Carbon Trust, on how going green can help to keep operators in the black. Building on Charlotte’s presentation, Dominic had his own set of figures to share, stating that up to 70 percent of a businesses’ energy bill comes from the kitchen. Acknowledging that changes need to be implemented from the ground up, a lack of knowledge on how to properly operate kitchen equipment was cited as a key factor in the astronomical energy bills hospitality businesses face. Moving forward, Dominic advised that catering businesses need a strategy in order to cut costs and carbon and this needs to include measuring, managing, reducing and communicating environmental impact in order to unlock competitive advantage. Using a series of case studies including Whitbread, Mitchells & Butlers and Winterhalter, Dominic illustrated ways in which this could be done.

The second half of the summit was opened by Chris Moore, chief executive at The Clink Restaurant & The Clink Charity, along with Andrew Powis, co-founder of Sterling Food Service Design. The Summit’s third session asked the audience to readdress how they view sustainability, with Chris suggesting that sustainability goes further than choosing energy efficient equipment and reducing waste, but that the sustainability of people is equally important. Investing in the future of prisoners who with the help of The Clink leave prison with an employable skill set is one way to do this. Andrew Powis, who designed the smart layout of The Clink’s kitchens with the help and generosity of FCSI members, provided a range of donated or reduced cost equipment to help ensure the kitchens were equipped with the most sustainable equipment on the market, making The Clink sustainable in every sense of the word.

The penultimate session was lead by Keith Warren, director at CESA UK (Catering Equipment Supplies Association) who firmly stated that it was the early adopters of sustainability that would prosper in the industry. Keith also talked the audience through the benefits and potential implications of the imminent launch of the EU Ecodesign directive scheduled for implementation in July 2016. The new labeling regulations is sure to put increased pressure on refrigeration manufacturers, but the impartial rating system means that customers can have renewed faith in the products they purchase and a measuring system against which to benchmark their energy costs. There will be some backlash from the introduction of the new labeling scheme with some refrigeration units not making the minimum G grade required, thus bringing their production to a halt. Keith continued on a more positive note stating that ultimately the directive would only benefit the industry by requiring new innovation within the market; with an aim to reduce global emissions by 60 percent by 2050 and ultimately creating a common legal framework that applies to all countries.

The Go Green Summit was brought to a close by Glenn Roberts Gram UK’s managing director, Andy Blake, Winterhalter’s commercial director and Stuart Long, sales and marketing director at MKN as they held a Q&A for the audience and discussed the future of the industry. Andy Blake stated that the EU Ecodesign directive will have a positive impact on the industry as it is impartial and the panel agreed that a measuring system for ware washing and prime cooking is required for the progress of the industry in the future.  

Hoshizaki Europe BV and Gram Commercial A/S announcement #

Mr Ole Brandorff-Lund, managing director of Gram Commercial A/S and Mr Jeff Basolis, managing director of Hoshizaki Europe B.V. made the following announcement:

Effective January 01, 2016
With a view to improve our brand position across all HOSHIZAKI Group companies and remove any potential ambiguity within the European marketplace, both Hoshizaki and Gram sales networks will promote and sell their original brands:

•       Hoshizaki world renowned ice makers, bins, dispensers and sushi cases, the majority of which are manufactured in Telford, United Kingdom.

•       Gram premium refrigeration equipment including commercial cabinets and counters, bakery and process equipment. All products are designed and manufactured in Vojens, Denmark.

•       Both sales networks will offer SNOWFLAKE refrigeration range. Hoshizaki’s ECOSTANDARD refrigeration range will be phased out.

This new direction was announced at the HOST exhibition on October 23, 2015, allowing for a short transition period until the official commencement on January 1, 2016.

Boutique PR agency makes a ‘splash’ with Bidvest Foodservice #

Bidvest Foodservice appointed boutique PR agency, The Splash Partnership, in October after a competitive five-way pitch - with the activity programme commencing immediately.

With 20 years of experience, The Splash Partnership specialises in hospitality and foodservice, listing Nestlé Professional, apetito, HIT Training, Eau De Vie, The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO), Dine Contract Catering and sustainability champion Footprint, as just some of its clients.  The agency also has a strong retail heritage, developing and managing media campaigns for clients across all of the major multiples including Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

Citing Splash’s heritage and knowledge of the Industry, Bidvest Foodservice’s PR and marketing communication’s manager, Karis Thomas, said:

“Following the rebrand from Bidvest 3663 to Bidvest Foodservice in July this year, a key part of our PR strategy is communicating our renewed vision and core messages to customers and stakeholders so that they understand how the fresh initiatives can greatly benefit them and their business. 

“Splash is well connected in our industry and the team’s passion and experience shone through via a series of impressive campaign ideas alongside press office.  It was a difficult decision, but we truly believe Splash is the right agency to help drive us forward.  The focus is on demonstrating our expertise in areas such as great food, service excellence and future thinking.”

With offices in Bath, London and Australia, The Splash Partnership has a 16-strong team of PR professionals and offers clients a broad spectrum of services in addition to PR including, full marketing services, digital consultancy, media buying, company re-branding, media training and crisis management.

Managing director of The Splash Partnership, Caroline Hole-Jones, said: “Bidvest Foodservice is a major force in UK Hospitality and the account is highly synergistic with our existing client portfolio with our focus on food across both B2B and consumer sectors.  It’s an enormously exciting time to be working with Bidvest Foodservice and we’re proud to be taking the business forward to the next level of innovation and growth.”

Serve a new Taste! #

Huhtamaki’s ‘Taste’ range of food to-go packaging now includes trays.  Suitable for hot and cold foods and developed with over the counter service in mind, the new trays are ideal for the takeaway and bakery markets.

Providing the perfect way to serve customers who want to eat on-the-go, the new Taste trays can be used to serve a variety of popular menu choices – from freshly baked pastries to start the day, sausage rolls as a mid-morning snack, or even more hearty dishes like fish and chips.

Made here in the UK at Huhtamaki’s Blackburn factory, the new Taste trays are lightweight yet strong and rigid, and allow for easy eating straight from the pack.  Three sizes are available – small (rectangular), medium (square) and large (rectangular).  Each feature a scalloped design on one side and an easy grip base to help make eating on-the-go even more convenient.

The small tray is grease-proof lined, so suits bakery items such as croissants, paninis and pizza slices; whereas the medium and large trays are PET lined with webbed corners, making them perfect for more substantial food choices which are served with a sauce or gravy accompaniment – perhaps an aromatic curry and rice, a mouth-watering burger stack or pie and mash!  Sweet treats and desserts can also be enjoyed from the trays too – be it warm fruit crumble with custard, goey chocolate brownies and cream, or scoops of ice cream!

With the eating out market forecast to grow by an estimated 17% by 2019*, the Taste range supports this rising trend in the food to go sector.  The selection of Taste products available is perfect for serving the ever-growing food choices that consumers are enjoying on the high street, and makes for even quicker over the counter service.

Alongside the new trays, the Taste range also includes hot food to-go boxes, hot sandwich packs and pizza boxes.  All are suitable for hot and cold foods, and are available in ‘kraft brown’.  Alternatively, you can choose to customise the packs to feature your own branding.

*Mintel, Eating Out Review, June 2015

Huhtamaki UK achieves ISO 50001 Energy Management Certification #

Huhtamaki UK Ltd. has built upon its long standing commitment to continuous improvements in energy efficiency by achieving ISO 50001 certification – the international, cross-industry standard for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving an energy management system.

Recognition for its energy management system and drive to reduce energy consumption was awarded to Huhtamaki following an intense three-day audit of its Gosport-based site.  Catherine Tipper, head of business excellence, Huhtamaki UK Ltd. explains:

“We’re delighted that Huhtamaki UK Ltd. has achieved ISO 50001 – the formal recognition of our commitment to reducing energy consumption and therefore our impact on the environment.

The certification cements our legal compliance to the new ESOS regulations, which will come into force in December 2015, and is a fantastic achievement for our Gosport site.  It represents a great deal of hard work and dedication by a lot of people – in fact, the lead auditor praised everyone involved in the audit for their commitment to continuous improvement, and their extensive knowledge and unending enthusiasm in our quest for energy efficiency.”

Huhtamaki UK are also certified for ISO 9001 (Quality), ISO 14001 (Environmental) and OHSAS 18001 (Health & Safety), as well as BRC/IoP (HACCP, GMP and Hygiene) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification).  These certifications provide a strong foundation for all that the Company does, and gives reassurance to customers that they are buying with confidence from the industry’s leading supplier of disposable paper products to the UK high street.

‘Eatwell’ on-the-go! #

Huhtamaki launched ‘Eatwell’, a range of paper food containers, which, thanks to its carefully considered choice of sizes, is one of the most extensive ranges now available in the UK foodservice market.  Created to provide the market with a versatile and comprehensive disposable packaging solution suitable for a wide range of takeaway foods, the aptly named ‘Eatwell’ range is the perfect choice for operators serving healthy, gourmet or indulgent eating concepts.

With the popularity of breakfast pots and snacks to-go, lighter ‘grab n go’ choices are more appealing than ever before – especially to those who are aware of what they eat.  The new ‘Eatwell’ range is ideal for serving quality takeaway choices which appeal to lifestyle-conscious consumers, from superfood salads and root vegetable stews; to snacking options and sweet treats.

Choose from plain white (with a choice of paper or new ‘wheel’ feature plastic lids); the popular ‘enjoy’ stock design or customise with up to eight colours to create an impactful custom print that will advertise your brand as customers eat on-the-go.  Seven sizes are available – 7oz, 8oz, 12oz (‘tall’ or ‘squat’), 16oz (‘mid’ or ‘tall’) and 24oz – so there’s an option to suit every appetite or meal choice.  Use the smaller sizes for breakfast options like porridge, fresh fruit, yoghurt and cereal; or sweeter treats like frozen yoghurt; as well as for savoury snacks such as nachos, mixed nuts and olives.  Simply fit with a plastic lid to prevent spills. 

Made in the UK at Huhtamaki’s Gosport factory, these colourful ‘enjoy’ containers are suitable for hot and cold food, and are available in a choice of sizes.  The design gives a vibrant pop of colour to your takeaway food sales and features the ‘smile’ logo, which is guaranteed to add cheer to your customer service!

Italian pastas and oriental noodles look great served in the 12oz and 16oz pots, as too do hot snacks like spicy chicken strips and sweet potato wedges; as well as cold food choices such as Greek salad and Moroccan cous cous – even homemade slaws.  For more hearty soups and Asian-inspired broths choose the larger 24oz size.  Alternatively, why not use the various sizes to offer a complete takeaway meal solution?  Use the large sizes for main dishes such as sticky barbecue pulled pork, and serve side orders like mixed beans as accompaniments in the smaller containers – great for those looking to make the most of the ever popular street food trend!

These ‘enjoy’ containers are coloured according to size and are stackable to save space, so you can simply reach for the correct size pot at a glance in accordance with the order placed.  What is more, for improved convenience they are supplied in user-friendly combi-packs, with the containers and lids in the same case – great if you’ve got limited kitchen space!

The new food containers, like the rest of the ‘enjoy’ range, are recyclable and fully compliant with the EU Timber Regulation No. 995/2010.  All Huhtamaki UK paper cups and food containers are made with 100% PEFC certified paperboard, so you can rest assured that you are buying with confidence from the industry’s leading supplier of disposable paper products to the UK high street!

Latest research from Huhtamaki provides insight into vended hot drinks #

Huhtamaki has further enhanced its knowledge of the marketplace with independent consumer research commissioned into hot drinks vending and vending machine usage within the UK.

Over 4,000 consumers were asked if they bought vended drinks, of which 50% said ‘yes’.  These 2,000 respondents* were then questioned on four main areas – frequency and type of purchase; what they are drinking; the importance of the vending cup; and environmental concerns.

According to the research, almost half a million consumers buy a cup of hot or cold drink from a vending machine once a day at least.  Nearly 50% of consumers buy a hot or cold drink from a vending machine once a week or more – that’s almost 1.325m consumers!** 

Convenience (70%) and availability (60%) – either because no retail alternative is available or because it’s available 24/7 – are the most popular reasons why consumers buy from a vending machine.  Most consumers (24%) buy from a vending machine at work.

Traditional vending machines are most frequently used, and are used by 65% of consumers.  They are most commonly situated in hospitals, the workplace and in educational establishments.  Over half of consumers (56%) buy from a vending machine which dispenses drinks that are made using fresh ingredients.

The most popular drink bought by consumers from a vending machine is coffee (70%).  White coffee (37%), cappuccino (27%) and latte (15%) are preferred – choices that reflect the taste expectations of consumers and their buying habits from high street chains, which means that they are now available in vending.

Just over half of consumers (51%) know whether the hot drinks sold in the vending machine they use are Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance (or neither).  Of those who knew, almost a quarter (24%) said that drinks were Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance.

When it comes to paying for vended goods, cash is still the most popular method of payment amongst consumers (94%).  However, consumers buying a vended drink within an educational establishment are most likely to pay via a non-cash method, such as by using a pre-paid card, token or Smartphone.

With environmental awareness amongst consumers at a high, consumers not only want to know more about the environmental credentials of the vending cups dispensing their drinks, but are willing to pay more for them to be compostable.  Over three quarters of consumers (76%) want to know about the ‘green’ credentials of the paper vending cup being dispensed – like whether it’s recyclable or compostable; made in the UK; or made from paperboard sourced from responsibly managed forests.  Of the consumers who pay for their vended drinks, 76% would pay 1p more for their drinks to be served in compostable vending cups.

The majority of consumers (86%) have access to on-site facilities to ‘waste stream’ their used vending cups.  60% of consumers use them – of which, 36% use them to recycle paper vending cups, and 30% use them for the collection of plastic vending cups.

60% of consumers who buy drinks which are vended in a paper cup would ‘up-size’ to a larger, high street-style 12oz or 16oz size if it were available; and nearly half of consumers (45%) would happily pay more for their vended hot drink if it were sold in a premium quality double wall cup,

74% of consumers who had bought a drink from a vending machine also bought food and/or a canned/bottled drink.

The vending research follows previous independent research commissioned by Huhtamaki into consumer attitudes towards takeaway hot drinks in the UK. Email to receive a copy of the market trends guides.

*Respondents representative of the general UK population aged 18+ years, who purchased drinks from a vending machine within the 12 month period prior to being questioned.

**Figure based on the universe of adults over 18 years old in the UK, according to the office of national statistics.

Craft Guild banquet brings 50th celebrations to a close #

Five chefs who have made a real mark over the past 50 years were recognised at a banquet thrown by the Craft Guild of Chefs to bring its golden anniversary year celebrations to a close.

Steven Scuffell, Pauline Tucker, the late Winnie Myers, Ian Jaundoo and Giovanni Fontabasso all won an award for their outstanding contribution to the industry for each of the decades the Guild has been running at the Shakespeare Globe Theatre event.

Each winner received a trophy and a personalised knife set courtesy of I O SHEN, presented by HRH The Countess of Wessex and Craft Guild national chairman Christopher Basten.

Attended by 260 guests made up of Craft Guild members and business partners, the glittering celebration included a ‘dine through the decades’, five-course meal designed and prepared by a brigade of the Guild’s finest and comprising 60s-inspired canapés, prawn cocktail, Babycham sorbet, shoulder of lamb with fondant potatoes and roast vegetables, and egg and soldier.

Christopher said the banquet was the most wonderful way to bring the Guild’s 50th anniversary celebrations to a close. “The night was absolutely fantastic, the chance for everyone to get together and celebrate the achievements of our association whilst having a bit of fun, dancing to the brilliant Marshall Band and even a game of pass the parcel,” he said.

“The banquet itself went down a storm, especially the surprise appearance from the singing waiters, and while the menu was simple, it reflected the last five decades to a ‘T’.

“We also got to mark the many achievements of an incredible chef from the five decades the Guild has been running. The late, great Winnie Myers is, sadly, no longer with us, however, we were delighted to have her two nieces collect her award on her behalf.” 

The banquet was just one of the highlights of this year’s 50th celebrations, marking a momentous milestone for the Guild as the largest chefs’ association in the UK, staunch supporter of education and the advancement of culinary art and science across all sectors.

Profiles of the 50th anniversary awards winners:

Steve Scuffell 
For many years, Steve has given up his time for the Craft Guild, in the early years helping head up The National Chef of the Year as well as heading up his two restaurants. One of his greatest traits is his ability to just 'get on with it', never one to say no, always there to help the younger chefs, whether it be through training, coaching or just some plain simple advice.

During the years of 1999–2001, he was Chairman of the Craft Guild, for what was then a division of the Cookery and Food Association, again leading the Guild through tough times, but for the Guild coming out so much better for it. Even now, he actively supports the work that the Guild does and is currently the Chairman of the Vice Presidents Council, heading up World Skills for the Guild, still taking an active role in National Chef of the Year.

Pauline Tucker 
Pauline can often be seen at large chef competitions checking chefs into various competition classes, telling them where to go how to go and basically getting them organised. Pauline joined what was then the Cookery and Food Association as a sweet 16 year old, and worked her way through the Committee of Management to become National Chairman in 1994-1996.

An active member both nationally and locally within the London division, Pauline is still heavily involved in the administration of the Wessex Culinaire competition and along with Steve Scuffell, heads up the Guild’s organisation of World Skills.

Winnie Myers 
After entering the culinary profession in 1934, Winnie made her life not only in cooking, but being a member of the CFA and then the Craft Guild. Winnie first started as a Wren and was posted to HMS Collingswood, going on to work at Greenwich Navel College where she met Queen Mary, going on to prepare the Queen’s silver wedding anniversary dinner in 1972.

In 1952, Winnie joined the Cookery & Food Association and in 1975, the Craft Guild, later became the first female to be elected onto the committee. Whilst she was at the House of Lords as Head Cook, where she remained for some 26 years until her retirement at 61, she became the National Chairman of the CFA and led the association through some great times, visiting as far afield as New Zealand and Australia to see the divisions out there.

Ian Jaundoo
Ian has been such a keen supporter of the Guild for many years, with so much of his work going unnoticed, working within the education sector of the industry is often seen as the less sexy and glamorous part of catering. But this is where it all begins for so many young people, and Ian encourages each and every student to fulfil their every potential.

Ian was awarded a fellowship to the Craft Guild several years ago, and as ever, he dedicates this all to Liverpool Community College where he still lectures. He is often seen putting on charity dinners and giving much more not just to the industry but to the Craft Guild as well. His infectious smile and laugh keep all going even during the long hours in a kitchen.

Giovanni Fontabasso
Giovanni came to England from Italy in 1960 and joined the Cookery & Food Association and Craft Guild in 1976. He was one of the youngest chefs working for what was then Trust House Forte, before moving within the group to Gardener Merchant, where he stayed for 22 years. Although he loved being a chef, he took a slight turn in 1986 and went to Charter House School as catering manager, where he stayed until his retirement in 1996.

Never being one to let the grass grow under him, Giovanni was always a key player in the Surrey division of the CFA, and was instrumental in its success through the years, heading up the division many times. Elected onto the main committee, he was National Chairman from 1996-1998 and acted as Senior Trustee for many years, overseeing many challenges. Even after retiring, Giovanni still plays a major role in the activities of the Guild as a Vice President and supports the Rotary Club of Great Britain with any food related projects.

William Murray highly commended as PR Week’s Specialist Consultancy of the Year #

William Murray Communications, the UK’s leading food, drink and hospitality agency has been flying the flag for the foodservice industry at the recent PR Week Awards. The team received a highly commended accolade in the Specialist Agency of the Year category.

The award represents more than just another award win for the agency that has campaigned to put foodservice on the map. This is the first time a foodservice agency has been represented at these industry awards.

Anita Murray, joint CEO said: “These are the toughest national PR awards and to be highly commended is a fantastic achievement for the team. We’ve got some amazing clients and deliver campaigns that get right to the heart of the foodservice and hospitality industry and the issues that affect it - like sustainability, health, nutrition and reducing tourism VAT.”

The 24-strong award winning team beat off stiff competition from fellow finalists Harvard and Virgo Health.

The prestigious event, hosted by Pointless TV show duo Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman, attracted 900 people to celebrate the best in public relations.

Dining Decathlon in aid of Hospitality Action: Ten Courses, Countless Beneficiaries #

The Grand Ballroom of London’s glittering five star The Langham, London will play host to a fundraising dinner with a difference next March with a spectacular, ten-course Dining Decathlon in aid of Hospitality Action

Tables are now available for the fine dining charity dinner and auction, organised in association with The Chefs’ Forum and taking place on Monday March 7 2016. 

A brigade of twelve leading chefs will prepare the ten-courses on offer. They are:

• Canapés by Roux protégé Chris King, Executive Chef of The Langham, London
• Amuse-bouche by Chef Mentor Matt Wilby and Alan Paton, Executive Head Chef and holder of two AA Rosettes at the Nayland Hotel’s Lakes restaurant
• First Starter by Steven Edwards and Joshua Stanzl of Etch Foods. Steven was winner of ‘MasterChef: The Professional’s’ in 2013
• Second Starter by Russell Bateman of The Grove, 2014’s Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year
• Fish Course by Michael Dutnall, Chef de Cuisine and holder of two AA Rosettes at London’s Le Méridien Piccadilly
• Vegetable Course by two AA Rosette holder Paul Greening of Aqua Kyoto, London
• Meat Course by Richard Bainbridge, winner of The Great British Menu 2015 and Chef-Patron of Benedicts Restaurant, Norwich
• Pre Dessert by Thomas Leatherbarrow, Development Pastry Chef and Will Torrent, award-winning chocolatier
• Dessert by Will Torrent and Thomas Leatherbarrow
• Petit Fours by Cherish Finden, Executive Pastry Chef of The Langham, London and The Craft Guild of Chefs ‘Pastry Chef of the Year’ 2012 

Helping to make the ten-course classic British fusion-themed menu a reality on the night will be students from Westminster Kingsway College, Colchester Institute Catering College, Hit Training Academy and Passion to Inspire.
Ingredients for the event will be donated by The Chefs’ Forum suppliers. This will help ensure that the funds raised from the evening – including an exclusive charity auction – will go to further Hospitality Action’s efforts to raise vital awareness of those who work, or have worked within hospitality in the UK and who find themselves in crisis. 

Penny Moore, chief executive, Hospitality Action, comments:  “We are thrilled at the level of support the Dining Decathlon has already gathered!  To have so many chefs of such a high calibre support us in this way is fantastic. We are especially grateful to  The Chefs’ Forum, Thomas Leatherbarrow and The Langham, London for making the event possible.”

Tickets are £100 per person or £1,000 for a table of ten and include the drinks reception, ten-course meal and half a bottle of wine per person. Additional drinks are not included but a cash bar will be available. Those wishing to get involved with or book places at the Dining Decathlon should contact: Giuliana Vittiglio via or 020 3004 5504. Tickets can also be purchased online at

The Dining Decathlon arrives on the back of Hospitality Action’s latest ‘It Could Happen to Anyone’ campaign, featuring hard-hitting imagery of some of the UK’s best known chefs and tackling issues such as addiction, domestic violence, illness, depression and injury. 

Springboard’s Awards for Excellence winners announced #

Lancaster London and Hilton Worldwide were among the winners of the night walking away with a coveted Springboard ‘Awards for Excellence’ with FutureChef Alumni Ruth Hansom, Steffan Davies, Conor McLean and April Partridge winning The Chairman’s 25th Anniversary Award.

The hospitality industry turned out in force at Novotel London West on the 2 November to see who had been crowned winners at this year’s glittering awards ceremony.

After a huge number of entries, the judges were set a tough task, not only to go through the volume of entries, but the standard of the entries were of the highest quality.

With a fantastic performance from Lukas Mcfarlane who was crowned 2013 ‘Got to Dance’ champion, the evening was filled with celebration as the stars of the industry were commemorated for their hard work and achievements. 
“What a fantastic night of celebration to reward people, organisations and projects that work to raise the profile of the hospitality sector and to attract and retain talent to this great industry.’’ commented Anne Pierce, CEO, Springboard

The Winners
Category 1 Promoting Careers

Category 2 Attracting and Developing people
BEST WORK EXPERIENCE PROVIDER AWARD: Spirit Pub Company - part of Greene King
The Scottish Apprenticeship in Hospitality

CATEGORY 3 – Best Employment Practice
THE RETENTION AWARD: The Arch London – part of AB Hotels
BEST EMPLOYER AWARD: The Brookwood Partnership
THE CHAIRMAN’S 25TH ANNIVERSARY AWARD: Ruth Hansom, Steffan Davies, Conor McLean and April Partridge
EXTRAORDINARY CONTRIBUTION AWARD: Stephen Moss – Chairman, Springboard

Hotelympia 2016 set to take the show to you #

Click here to watch the Hotelympia 2016 launch video #yourshow

London is gearing up for the return of Hotelympia next February (29 February – 3 March, 2016 ExCeL London) with the UK’s greatest hospitality event promising more product innovation than ever before, fed by laser guided trends and insight drawn from the UK’s culinary capital, the most comprehensive range of suppliers yet, plus all-new competitions and some of the UK’s most celebrated chefs, under one roof.

Registration is now live ( for the biennial four-day show, the home of hospitality innovation, which will see the unique needs of visitors from every sector of hospitality, from hotels and restaurants to pubs; cafes; contract catering; casual dining; the cost sector and beyond, catered for by 1000 of some of the world’s most pioneering exhibitors in Food & Drink; Catering Equipment; Technology; Interiors & Tableware; Careers and sustainability-focused Waste-Works.

Toby Wand, managing director at Fresh Montgomery comments: “It may seem a contradiction in terms to describe an event on the sheer scale of Hotelympia as having the feel of a bespoke, tailored show, but in 2016, that’s exactly the experience we will delivr.

“How do we achieve this with so many ground-breaking exhibitors, from multiple sectors, all under one roof? The answer lies in knowing the market, understanding the trends that keep this vibrant industry ticking, showcasing companies that share in this vision, true innovators, keeping things fresh and, most importantly, relevant to you. So, whichever day you choose to spend with us, and whatever attraction, innovative new product, key exhibitor or insightful speaker is on your hit list, this experience will be individually tailored to you, the requirements of your business and your customers. Your show.”

With over 120 exhibitors already confirmed in the equipment hall – the largest line-up ever amassed under one roof – state-of the art catering equipment is yet again set to be one of the jewels in the Hotelympia crown. 

New for 2016 is a unique and impressive ‘Meet the Buyer’ Programme, created in partnership with CESA (Catering Equipment Suppliers Association) which will see buyers’ requirements matched to the exhibitor whose equipment best meet their needs. They will then be able to speak directly and confidentially to manufacturers on everything from technical specifications to energy saving benefits. Crucially, they will also be able to compare and contrast kit and try before they buy.

CESA director, Keith Warren, said: “As the largest hospitality exhibition in the UK calendar, CESA and its membership is proud to support and continue our successful and established association with Hotelympia, which helps to fund many of CESA’s activities throughout the year.

“The 2016 event is set to have the largest selection of catering equipment on show anywhere in the UK, while the new Meet the Buyer programme adds yet another compelling reason for visitors to make London the only destination they need visit for all their equipment requirements in 2016 and beyond.”

A host of leading industry lights, including, amongst others, the master of service, restaurant manager of the world famous, Three Michelin-starred Waterside Inn, Diego Masciaga; leading designer and sustainable architecture pioneer, Oliver Heath; star of TV’s The Apprentice, now a designer in her own right, Ella Jade Bitten and Google’s head of hospitality, Terri Scriven, will be offering insight-packed presentations on The Stage and technology-focused HOSPACE Hub, respectively.

Held in conjunction with The Craft Guild of Chefs, The Staff Canteen Live – Skillery in association with Westlands will be showcasing the skills of 16 of the country’s leading chefs, comprising some 20 Michelin stars. The line-up includes: chef patron of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Clare Smyth; Tom Kerridge from 2 Michelin-starred The Hand and Flowers and The Coach at Marlow; Claude Bosi of 2 Michelin-starred Hibiscus and Nathan Outlaw of his eponymous two Michelin-starred restaurant.

Each day will see a changing line-up of chefs performing interactive demonstrations on stage in front of a live audience offering recipe guidance, cooking tips and sampling opportunities.

With class-leading chefs in mind, Salon Culinaire returns to Hotelympia in 2016 with a brand new chef director, executive chef of the Royal Garden Hotel, Steve Munkley, and a host of programme changes aimed at ensuring the world’s premier culinary competition stays fresh and relevant to modern hospitality. 

In addition to the three competitive elements of Salon Culinaire; La Parade des Chefs, Salon Display, and Live Theatre, new for 2016 is The Skills Theatre which will give chefs at the very beginning of their careers – including apprentices and students, and those who have not competed before – the chance to experience the thrill and bright spotlight of competition with classes including butchery, fishmongery, pastry, sugar-craft and many more.

Another first for Salon, front-of-house staff will now also get to demonstrate their skills and put their efforts to the test in a selection of service classes.
It’s not just about food, Hotelympia’s Drinks Cabinet and Drinks Innovation Theatre will grow to encompass craft beer, cider, spirits, wine and mead as the drinks scene moves from strength-to-strength. The Drinks Innovation Theatre will not only house talks on the profitability of alcoholic beverages, but also how getting your hot drinks offering right can be equally as rewarding.

Toby adds: “For almost 80 years this show has been the only show that the entire hospitality fraternity builds up to; the only show with the breadth of exhibitors and products needed to make business-changing decisions; the only show where you will leave with more than you arrived, buoyed by the weight of insight and innovation at every turn.

“In 2016, we’re taking the show to you.

“So if it’s the very latest ground-breaking catering equipment you’re looking for, this is your show; but what about the world-class chefs that rely on these innovative machines daily? And the food and drink products – from leading suppliers and burgeoning producers – that go into making menus really stand out from the competition? Or the beautiful flat and glassware that is the customer’s first experience of an establishment, the key design and décor elements that help set the tone, the lighting; the technology that keeps service running smoothly?

“Hotelympia 2016 has these key elements and much more in abundance.”

After the shining success of 2014, the Hotelympia ‘Show Makers’ – a team of specially trained young ambassadors – will be on hand throughout the four days, offering advice and guidance on forthcoming attractions and creating bespoke pathways through the show, depending on visitor criteria and interests.

Yet again the Show Makers have been recruited from leading catering college, Westminster Kingsway, with students trained by Lisa Campagnola, the lady behind the London Olympic Gamesmakers.

Also making a second appearance at the show will be Waste-Works – a new, co-located event focusing purely on suppliers of waste solutions and services seeking to target the hospitality sector. The attraction will consist of a high level speaker programme, alongside a large number of specialist exhibitors.

Visitors can pre-register for Hotelympia 2016 now by following this link:

Santa Maria announces winner of Tellicherry Black Pepper recipe competition #

Santa Maria Foodservice announced that Simon Hulstone, chef proprietor, Elephant restaurant, has beaten industry peers and won Santa Maria’s Tellicherry Black Pepper Recipe competition.

Competing against top chefs from across the industry, Simon has won a once in a lifetime trip to visit the best pepper-growing region in the world, Kerala, India. Simon will join Santa Maria Pepper Pros to see first-hand the area in Tellicherry where this unique pepper is grown. Santa Maria’s expert growers will help Simon get fully immersed in pepper’s journey from plantation to plate. He’ll be able to see the nurseries where the cuttings from the mature vines are potted through to experiencing the harvesting of the pepper from the 40ft vines. He’ll find out how the pepper berries are picked and dried to create the rich brown Tellicherry Pepper and its journey onto the processing plant to establish the status of each peppercorn.  

Santa Maria launched the recipe competition earlier this year in response to research that showed chefs have a lack of knowledge about black pepper. The company gave chefs the challenge of creating a dish using its Tellicherry Black Pepper that really showed off the pepper’s qualities, urging them to explore Tellicherry’s unique taste, flavour and aroma.

Judge Dan Doherty, executive chef at Duck & Waffle, who joined forces with Santa Maria to improve chefs’ knowledge and understanding of Tellicherry Black Pepper, comments: “Simon’s dish tapped into the flavour profile of pepper using the delicate fruity notes of Tellicherry Black Pepper to create the dish. It was tough judging as all contestants really took on board the brief and explored the taste and aroma of Santa Maria’s Tellicherry Black Pepper. The atmosphere during the cook off was calm and organised but one thing that shone through above all else was how passionate each chef was about pepper.”

Fellow judge, Barnaby MacAdam, concept chef, Santa Maria Foodservice, comments: “Congratulations to all our finalists. It was a real honour to be able to judge such inspiring recipes. The dishes really showed off the capabilities of our Tellicherry Black Pepper which delivers a sophisticated taste that subtly lifts dishes without taking over other ingredients.”

Simon Hulstone, chef proprietor, Elephant restaurant, comments: “I’m well known to enjoy a good challenge and I love to travel so taking part in the Tellicherry Pepper competition ticked both boxes. I hadn’t previously given much thought to the flavour profiles of peppercorns so I’ve enjoyed experimenting with Tellicherry which has more delicate notes than many I’ve used before.  I’m delighted to have won and I’m really looking forward to discovering more about Tellicherry on my trip to Kerala next year."

The final took place on Monday 16 November at L’atelier des Chefs with Dan Doherty, executive chef at London’s award-winning Duck & Waffle restaurant and Santa Maria’s concept chef, Barnaby MacAdam, judging the recipes. 

The finalists and their recipes:
•         Simon Hulstone, chef proprietor, Elephant Restaurant
Recipe - Roasted fillet of halibut with a Tellicherry Black Pepper and lemon cracker, Jerusalem artichoke mousse and warm tartare sauce
•         Donald Marshall, executive development chef Stadia, Education & Healthcare, Elior
Recipe - Breast of duck with crushed Tellicherry Black Peppercorns, heather honey & cassis sauce
•         Sushant Sanzgiri, sous chef, Hilton London Kensington
Recipe - Venison Tellicherry Black Pepper, artichoke kedgeree, pickled girolles

Santa Maria has produced a free online pepper guide to give chefs the tools and inspiration to help them get the most out of the different types of peppers they use in their dishes. To download the free Santa Maria Pepper Guide visit –