Members’ News

March 2016

Momentous milestone for Millac Maid Mini Pot #

2016 sees Pritchitts gearing up to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its Millac Maid Mini Pot, with new research showing it has become as iconic as the Coca-Cola bottle and the Marmite Jar with a staggering 88% of consumers recognising it by its shape alone*.

Launched in 1986, the peel-and-pour, premium single portion long life whitener for tea and coffee has become the market leading mini pot brand. Propelling it to be held in such high regard is the fact that Millac Maid has been proven through research to taste just like fresh milk in tea^ and coffee, but in a format that is both more practical and hygienic. What’s more, its ambient shelf life helps makes it easy to store and minimise wastage, as well as delivering easy portion control for hotels, conference centres, on-board travel and quick service restaurants. 

As well as showcasing how familiar consumers are with the humble mini pot, the research also reveals just how engrained the single serve whitener is in consumers’ psyche with 78% having used one, and 9 in 10 expecting to see a mini pot in a hotel room.

With the Millac Maid Mini Pot proving easy to open and use, it’s not surprising that over three quarters (77%) of consumers like it for its convenience, while the fact it is sealed with no need for refrigeration ticks the boxes for nearly 6 in 10 people who prefer to be served a mini pot rather than an open milk jug for hygiene reasons.

Commenting on the milestone, Simon Muschamp, head of marketing at Pritchitts, said: “When we first launched the Millac Maid Mini Pot 30 years ago it was to meet the need for a whitener for tea and coffee that would provide the same great taste of fresh milk in a convenient no mess, no waste format. We’re delighted that 30 years on the Millac Maid Mini Pot is still answering those same demands and providing practical benefits to both consumers and operators.

“The research clearly shows that consumers and caterers have not only come to know and trust the mini pot, but can also see the clear benefits it offers over a jug of fresh milk.”

The Millac Maid Mini Pot is in exceptional company with 1986 also being the year that the first non-stop flight around the world without refuelling took place, the same year that France and the UK announced plans to unite the two nations by means of constructing the Channel Tunnel, and when the American film classic “Top Gun” hit the big screen.

Simon adds: “We’re proud that over three decades we’ve been helping operators deliver a great tasting cuppa to consumers, now in 2016 delivering premium quality and celebrating our farming heritage is at the heart of Millac Maid and we’re looking forward to the next 30 years!”

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Millac Maid Mini Pots, Pritchitts has created an infographic based on the findings of its research and has designed a limited edition tea towel featuring additional cow-related trivia. There is also a video caterers can watch on the Pritchitts website

*Consumer Insight, Toluna 2015, 300 sample size.
^ Leatherhead Food Research survey of 309 consumers, January 2013

Sodexo secures contract with Covance #

Sodexo announced a new £1.4 million a year contract with contract research & drug development company, Covance.

The new five year contract will see Sodexo providing quality of life services at Covance’s sites in Harrogate, UK and Munster, Germany. 

Sodexo will deliver catering; cleaning; reception; administration, grounds maintenance, contract management, projects, porterage, health & safety, quality assurance laundry, pest control and security.
Karen Pleva, global head of pharmaceuticals & life sciences, Sodexo said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded the contract with Covance, it is a real boost to our portfolio of clients in this market. We look forward to developing a successful  partnership with the teams in Harrogate and Munster, helping Covance to concentrate on its core business whilst our teams ensure the workplace provides the best environment for its 1,500 employees based across the two sites .”

Lucy Hind, facilities director,  Covance said: “This is a great step forward for Covance in its enhancement of quality and service provisions at our workplaces.  We are excited about the start of the contract and we look forward to many years of collaborative thinking and shared objective setting to enhance our workplace environment and goal realisations with an emphasis on service and quality for our staff and visitors”

Sodexo awarded National Trust for Scotland contract #

Sodexo won a new contract to deliver event catering and hospitality at two key National Trust for Scotland venues in the west of Scotland.

The partnership brings Pollok House, one of Scotland’s grandest Edwardian country homes, and Ayrshire’s majestic Culzean Castle to the Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events portfolio of heritage venues.

In addition, Sodexo will design bespoke banqueting packages in line with each venue’s target markets, in particular appealing to key local audiences and UK-based destination management companies. The team will also provide extensive sales and marketing support, as well as event management for weddings, corporate bookings and private gatherings.

Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events delivers first-class sales and marketing expertise to help its clients sell their bespoke banqueting packages. It also manages a growing collection of heritage venues across Scotland, including Dundas Castle, Blair Castle and the National Museum of Scotland.

Sandy Robson, account director at Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, said: “This is a very exciting opportunity for us, we have built up a strong reputation with heritage properties in Scotland over the years and this new partnership will enable us to expand our presence in the west coast.

“Both venues offer unique and versatile spaces for a range of events, from corporate meetings or fun-days to private dinners and weddings. We look forward to building a long term relationship with the National Trust for Scotland and helping them create a memorable experience for guests."

Pietro Cecchini, head of travel trade & hospitality at the National Trust for Scotland, said: “It’s fantastic to be entering into partnership with award-winning Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events at two of our flagship venues - Pollok House in Glasgow and Culzean Castle in Ayrshire.

“Commercial partnerships such as these are essential to our charity’s income generation. They enable us to fulfill our core conservation objectives by introducing our unique venues to new audiences.”

Sodexo finalist for BITC transparency award #

Sodexo has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Business in the Community Workplace Gender Equality Awards 2016.

Now in their 21st year, the Business in the Community Workplace Gender Equality Awards recognise and celebrate best practice, innovation and individual achievement in public and private sector organisations that are leading the way in creating workplaces that work for women.

Sodexo is a finalist in the Transparency Award, a partnership between Business in the Community and the Government Equalities Office which recognises organisations that are taking an active role in evaluating gender equality in their workplaces, taking action and publically reporting their progress.

The winners will be announced at the Business in the Community Workplace Gender Equality Awards Gala Dinner, which takes place on Wednesday 20 April 2016 at the London Hilton on Park Lane, as part of Business in the Community’s Responsible Business Week.

A full list of the finalist organisations across 11 categories is available via the Business in the Community website.

Neil Murray, Sodexo UK & Ireland regional chairman, said: “We’re delighted to be announced as a finalist in the Business in the Community Workplace Gender Equality Awards. At Sodexo, we are genuinely committed to gender equality. Our internal research reinforced the business case that gender balance in management positions results in better performance across a range of measures.

“As part of gender balance strategy, we publicly committed to increase our transparency around pay and this year we will publish a breakdown of our gender pay gap variances and rectify any unjustifiable discrepancies across all of our 34,000 UK and Ireland employees.”

Kathryn Nawrockyi, Business in the Community gender equality director, said: “Congratulations to Sodexo on being named as a finalist in the Transparency Award category at the Business in the Community Workplace Gender Awards 2016. Greater transparency of gender pay information is vital if organisations are to take action and accelerate the pace of change towards gender equality. Sodexo offers a great example of how pay transparency can benefit employers and I hope others will follow their lead.”

Sodexo launches Pride employee network #

Sodexo launched the UK and Ireland chapter of its global LGBT employee network this week at an event at its London headquarters.

The Sodexo Pride network aims to lead on lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) inclusion among its 34,000 UK and Ireland employees. The network will also champion the role of allies, those who advocate LGBT inclusion and equality. The network has been launched to coincide with LGBT History Month.

Sodexo Group CEO Michel Landel opened the event on Wednesday (10 February) discussing his global vision for LGBT inclusion at Sodexo. Tony Leech, CEO, Justice Services Worldwide, then presented the business case for having an employee network. Neil Murray, regional chairman, and Chris Bray, CEO of Sodexo’s Sports & Leisure segment and executive sponsor to the network, then spoke about their roles as LGBT allies and how others can become advocates for LGBT equality.

The Pride network co-chairs then discussed their personal experiences of being LGB in the workplace with Margot Slattery, country president of Sodexo Ireland, before a networking reception for the 100 Sodexo employees and external guests in attendance.

Michel Landel, Sodexo Group CEO, said: “I am proud to be here today to support our colleagues working globally to champion LGBT inclusion. I firmly believe in the importance of bringing your whole self to work – it is critical for the engagement of our employees and allows our organisation to continue to foster an inclusive culture. The launch of this network in UK and Ireland marks an important milestone in our journey – it means that 65% of our global employee population now works in countries with a Pride chapter, and this percentage will continue to climb.”

Sexual orientation and gender identity is one of six areas of focus within Sodexo UK & Ireland’s diversity and inclusion strategy. The Pride network forms part of the sexual orientation and gender identity workstream. It is Sodexo’s fourth employee network and follows the successful launch of the Origins, Generations and WomenWork networks, which were established in 2015, 2014 and 2010 respectively.

The Pride network aims to raise awareness and confidence through education and training, develop and champion role models, and provide a forum to discuss issues affecting LGBT colleagues, providing guidance on how allies can support. It will also offer opportunities for personal and professional development.

Chris Bray, CEO Sports & Leisure, Sodexo UK & Ireland, and Pride workstream executive sponsor, said: “I’m delighted to be taking on the position of executive sponsor for this workstream. The launch has been an amazing event which really highlighted why the network is needed for LGBT individuals and how important the support from allies is if we are to make a difference. I’m looking forward to the exciting programme we have in place to advance LGBT inclusion.”

Sodexo shortlisted for two national employee experience awards #

Sodexo has been named as finalist in two UK Employee Experience Awards 2016.

The awards recognise and celebrate the delivery of exceptional employee experience in businesses across the UK.

Sodexo is shortlisted in the Use of Technology & Social Media category for the introduction of the Your_Sodexo employee website, brought in alongside a company Facebook page to make customer-facing employees feel more engaged with the company and each other.

Sodexo is also shortlisted in the Employee Recognition & Reward category for the Sodexo Reward Hub, introduced in March 2015 to provide easy online employee access to pay related and benefits processes.

Finalists in each of the 20 categories will present their entry to a team of specialist judges at The Park Plaza Riverbank, in London on 4 May 2016. Winners will be announced during a gala luncheon on the day.

The UK Employee Experience Awards are owned by Awards International the operators of the very successful UK Customer Experience Awards and are presented in partnership with Customer Experience Magazine, Cranfield School of Management and Awards International.

Andy Rogers, Sodexo UK & Ireland HR director, said: “Sodexo reaching the finalist stage in two categories of the UK Employee Experience Awards shows our commitment to using new communications platforms and technology to provide meaningful engagement to every one of our 34,000-strong workforce.”

Neil Skehel, CEO of Awards International, said: “We are delighted to announce the finalists of the UK Employee Experience Awards. The quality of entries has been outstanding and it is fantastic to see how businesses throughout the UK are delivering outstanding employee experiences. We would like to congratulate all of the finalists and look forward to celebrating and rewarding their success at the awards ceremony.” 

Sodexo’s Slattery named in LGBT Top 50 #

The Sodexo Ireland country president was named in The Daily Telegraph’s Top 50 lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) executives for the second year running.

Margot Slattery is number 15 in Out at Work, a list of the most influential LGBT business leaders announced yesterday (25 February).
President and chief executive officer of Uphold Inc and European Diversity Awards head judge Anthony Watson topped the list. KPMG senior consultant and 2012 Paralympian Claire Harvey was second and Burberry chief Christian Bailey third.

Margot chairs the UK and Ireland sexual orientation and gender identity workstream, which earlier this month launched the Pride employee network.

Outside of Sodexo, Margot was elected to the Board of GLEN (Gay and Lesbian Equality Network) a policy- and strategy-focused NGO in Ireland, and has participated in panel discussions with them in relation to the introduction of a workplace charter which is focusing on how LGBT diversity helps drive business excellence.

In October, Margot was named Senior Leader of the Year in the GLEN Workplace Equality Index.
In the same month and for the second year running, Margot was included in the Outstanding Top 100 LGBT business leaders, published in association with the Financial Times.

Margot Slattery, country president of Sodexo Ireland, said: “It’s fantastic to be included among the top 50 most influential business leaders for a second consecutive year. Earlier this month I was delighted to be involved in the launch of our Sodexo Pride employee network in the UK and Ireland, and it’s by having those visible role models, from the Out at Work list to colleagues we work with every day, that we can encourage people to be themselves and perform to their full potential.”

Fairtrade Fortnight - Sodexo hosts Peruvian coffee farmer #

This Fairtrade Fortnight (29 Feb – 13 March) Sodexo UK and Ireland played host to Franceska Salazar Hilacondo, a Peruvian coffee farmer, who visited Sodexo client sites to talk about the importance of Fairtrade to support the livelihoods of coffee farmers in Peru.

Sodexo’s retail category manager for hot beverages, Kim Reeves, first met Franceska this summer when she travelled to two Fairtrade coffee co-operatives – La Florida in La Merced and Bosque del Inca in Pitchanaki - with Sodexo’s coffee supplier UCC and representatives from the Fairtrade Foundation.

The trip was arranged to trace the journey of the beans used in Sodexo’s Aspretto coffee brand back to the farmers who produce them and to understand some of the main issues they face.

Franceska is the eldest daughter of a farming family, who are part of the La Florida co-operative. In addition to working on the family farm, the 26-year-old studies international business administration at university. She has been researching the benefits of Fairtrade on smallholder farmers and is looking at development projects to help farmers in her region improve agricultural practices and increase production volumes.

Franceska visited a number of Sodexo’s university and corporate services sites. She gave short talks about her life and family’s livelihood, with the aim of sharing insight about the importance of Fairtrade in supporting farmers and farming communities achieve a better quality of life.

Fairtrade Fortnight is an annual awareness campaign run by the Fairtrade Foundation. This year’s campaign - ‘Sit down for breakfast, stand up for farmers!’ - aims to raise awareness of the stark fact that farmers around the world, who grow much of the food western consumers take for granted, can’t always feed their own families.
During her trip last summer Kim Reeves heard first-hand about some of the issues coffee farmers in Peru are facing, such as poverty, lack of infrastructure and lack of technical knowledge and support. A huge issue is La Roya, or leaf rust, which affects 80% of farms in Peru and means farms can lose a significant proportion of their crop. Fairtrade supports coffee farming co-operatives with technical knowledge so they can learn how to address issues such as La Roya and improve productivity and sustainability.

Sodexo will continue to support La Florida and Bosque del Inca with a contribution of 13p for every kilo of Aspretto and other coffee that Sodexo sells, to fund on the ground development projects for farming families. On an annual basis, this equates to an overall contribution of about £8,000. The development funds can be used by farmers to assist with education, technical and agronomy projects or to fund projects to help farmers diversify income streams beyond coffee. Fairtrade will oversee the loans and will audit their impact.

Kim Reeves comments; “The objectives for the trip were to see for ourselves the tangible differences that buying coffee with Fairtrade and other certifications makes, especially to the coffee farmers and their families at the beginning of the Aspretto supply chain. We are delighted to be able to host Franceska; for her to able to speak directly to our customers, employees and clients during Fairtrade Fortnight is incredibly valuable.

“Having made the personal connections in Peru I am delighted that Sodexo will continue to support the coffee farming communities we met, through the continued positive impact of the Fairtrade premium and also through the addition development projects we will fund.”
LJ Loftus, account manager, brand and out of home, Fairtrade Foundation said; “Smallholder coffee farmers are extremely vulnerable to food shortages, particularly between harvests, where many go hungry and miss meals for three to four months each year. In Peru the communities we visited have also lost crops to a devastating plant disease, La Roya, making it even harder to cover the costs of production, which is why the safety net of Fairtrade’s minimum price is so essential. Fairtrade’s support in ensuring that farmers get stable prices and premiums that they can invest in agricultural training or other crops to sustain them through these times can really make all the difference. 

“It’s inspiring to see Sodexo’s efforts to bring the origins of coffee alive by organising the first farmer visit led by a catering company this Fairtrade Fortnight. It is fantastic when companies develop close relationships with the producers in their supply chains and I hope other caterers will follow their lead.”

Lloyd Walker wins Sodexo Chef of the Year #

Executive head chef Lloyd Walker won the grand finale of Sodexo Chef of the Year 2016 at Hotelympia.

Lloyd won gold best in class after a competitive 90-minute cook off against nine other top chefs from across Sodexo UK & Ireland’s business.
Sodexo Chef of the Year judge Raymond Blanc OBE presented Lloyd with the first prize, which includes working with Raymond and his team the new Jardin Blanc Hospitality Village and Queen Elizabeth II Suite at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, a new partnership between Blanc and Sodexo.

National Chef of the Year 2014 Russell Bateman and Michelin-starred Alyn Williams were also among the 12-strong judging line up.
Runner up Andrew Clarkson from Sodexo Defence (silver) and third-placed Ross Clarke from Sodexo Sports & Leisure (also silver) will join Lloyd on a gastronomic tour of Palma, Majorca, as part of the prize.

Lloyd is based at the Sodexo Corporate Services contract at Unilever House 100 Victoria Embankment in London, where he’s responsible for a team of nine chefs providing 100 covers a day in corporate and executive dining, as well as 500 covers a day in the staff restaurant.

Lloyd and his commis chef Ronnel Nulud prepared a starter of pan-fried fresh hake with fennel, compressed cucumber, samphire, burnt lemon and carrot-olive puree, a main of roast guinea fowl with stuffing of pine nuts and marjoram served with spring onion-chive risotto, pickled shallot, nasturtium and burnt butter jus, and a chocolate tart with hazelnut brittle, vanilla ice cream and praline powder.

Sponsored by Churchill, Leathams, Knorr and Barry Callebaut the Sodexo Chef of the Year final was held in the Live Theatre on day two of Hotelympia.

Also at Hotelympia on Tuesday, the Sodexo team won the best in class (silver) in La Parade des Chefs food sector challenge.

Sodexo Chef of the Year final - results
1st place (Gold) – Lloyd Walker, Unilever, Corporate Services
2nd place (Silver) – Andy Clarkson, Aliwal Barracks, Defence
3rd place (Silver) – Ross Clark, CPU South Queensferry, Sports & Leisure
Bronze – Adam Collison, AstraZeneca, Corporate Services
Bronze – Daniel Trace, Schools
Bronze – David Fountain, PayPal Europe Services, Ireland, Corporate Services
Merit – Phillip Thomas, Henderson Global Investors, Corporate Services
Merit – David Hussey, Eton College, Schools
Merit – Tom Bill, Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital, Healthcare
Merit – Hrvoje Loncarevic, American Express Community Stadium, Sports & Leisure

Lloyd Walker, Sodexo Corporate Services executive head chef, said, “It’s a great feeling to win. In the competition I just tried to keep it simple and get the flavour right. That was the advice I got from Alyn Williams at the mentor day and it really paid off. It was great to meet Raymond too.”

Raymond Blanc OBE said at the presentation ceremony, “I was amazed by the extraordinary standards from all the chefs today. They demonstrated some brilliant skills when working with the ingredients, especially the hake and the guinea fowl. It is good to see the investment and energy that Sodexo puts into events like this.”

David Mulcahy, craft development director for Sodexo, and the competition organiser, said, “This year we had our best ever judging line up for Sodexo Chef of the Year and the finalists responded with some fantastic dishes. Lloyd’s got great culinary talent and prepared some amazing food, his gold medal best in class was very well earned. I’d like to thank all the judges, competitors, sponsors and those who came along to support. Everyone came together to make this an unforgettable event.

“Overall, it was a great day at Hotelympia for Sodexo, with the Les Parade des Chefs team winning best in class for food sector. Well done to everyone involved.”

Sodexo secures Catering Mark for children’s menu at St Mary’s Hospital #

Sodexo’s children’s menu at St Mary’s Hospital in London has been awarded the Food for Life Catering Mark Bronze Standard. 

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Sodexo introduced a new kitchen to serve St Mary’s Hospital paediatric ward last autumn.

The introduction of the kitchen means that children are able to choose from a wider range of dishes, freshly prepared on site by Sodexo chefs. The new kitchen also caters for children who arrive late on the ward or who are attending an appointment elsewhere in the hospital.

The Food for Life Catering Mark is awarded to food providers by the Soil Association as an independent endorsement of the provenance and sustainability of the food they provide. It recognises caterers who are meeting standards on freshness, sustainability and animal welfare.
Some of the criteria met by the catering team at St Mary’s includes: at least 75% of dishes on the menu are prepared on site from unprocessed ingredients; all meat is from farms that satisfy UK animal welfare standards as a minimum, (such as Red Tractor) and is farm-assured; and menus make the best use of seasonal ingredients, as such in-season UK-grown fruit and vegetables.

Stephen Beeny, contract director for Imperial at Sodexo said; “We are really pleased to be awarded the Catering Mark. This is a great endorsement of the work of our teams at St Mary’s Hospital, who are committed to providing high quality, fresh food to our young patients. We are now working towards enhancing the menu even further, to aim for silver standard.”

Andrew Murray, head of facilities at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said: “The on-site paediatric kitchen is part of the Imperial College Healthcare Trust’s partnership with Sodexo. Our new, fully equipped kitchen for paediatrics means we are able to prepare children’s meals from scratch, using fresh, unprocessed ingredients. This means parents can rest assured that while their child is in hospital they are well fed, using fresh ingredients, just like they would at home.”

Sodexo has worked with Imperial College Healthcare Trust since autumn 2014, delivering patient dining, cleaning, portering, retail and private patient services across its five hospitals in London. Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is one of the largest NHS Trusts in the country, providing services to over one million patients a year. The five hospitals include Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital; Hammersmith Hospital, Charing Cross Hospital; St Mary’s Hospital and the Western Eye Hospital. 

Elior UK recognised as Top 100 apprenticeship employer #

Elior UK has been recognised for its excellence in apprenticeships, by securing a place on The National Apprenticeship Service’s Top 100 Employers list. The announcement was made at the National Apprenticeship Awards.

Sponsored by City and Guilds, the awards celebrate employers like Elior that grow talent through apprenticeships. In 2015, 309 apprentices trained with Elior. Each worked towards National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) at Levels 2, 3, 4 and Diploma, in subjects as varied as Food Production and Cooking through to Hospitality Management.

The scheme has been so successful, more people than ever are choosing to become Elior apprentices, with the number of new starters increasing by 21% in 2015. Expressions of interest have increased three-fold at Elior’s Apprenticeship Roadshows, which visit Elior sites around the country demonstrating the scheme’s benefits to existing colleagues.

According to the National Apprenticeship Service, Elior stood out because of the impact apprenticeships had on its business.

Sue Husband, director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “These Top 100 apprenticeship employers have made a difference to the lives of young people by investing in their future whilst apprentices themselves help employers to develop a skilled, qualified workforce that builds a stronger economy.”

The National Apprenticeship Service received more than 1,200 entries before selecting Elior for a place in the Top 100.

Arran McDowell, Elior UK HR director, said: “We’re proud that our apprenticeship scheme is ranked as one of the best in the UK. With two million dining occasions a week, it is crucial we have a team of happy, motivated people to deliver great experiences. Apprentices give us a chance to nurture raw talent, create a bank of skills and build loyalty.

“There’s no limit on the experience level of a new Elior apprentice, so I’d encourage all colleagues interested in developing skills and earning an industry-recognised qualification to consider the scheme.”

Deborah Oakley, catering manager at The Hemsley, University of Nottingham, said: “Being an Elior apprentice boosted my confidence. My line managers respect my qualifications, which have opened up more doors for me in Elior.

“Initially I studied for a Level 3 Hospitality and Leadership NVQ with Elior. This gave me a sense of pride that spurred me on to take Level 4 Hospitality Management. It was tough work, but made me realise the value of my skills. I’m encouraging my team to work towards similar qualifications.”

The national win follows a further National Apprenticeship Service recognition in October, where Elior was named Highly Commended Macro Employer of the Year in the North West.

Elior UK wins 96 Four Seasons Health Care sites #

Elior UK secured one of the largest catering contract awards in the care sector, covering 96 sites owned by Four Seasons Health Care, Britain’s largest care home operator.

The agreement covers 48 locations in the North West and 48 locations in the East of England. This sizable win comes at a time when only five per cent of all care home catering is outsourced.

As part of the contract, Elior will create a range of menus that offer nutritious, yet much-loved food, using a bespoke nutritional programme that can be tailored to reflect local tastes. It will also meet the needs of residents with a wide range of dietary requirements, including diabetes and dysphagia.

Rachael Junge, managing director in the North West commented “At Four Seasons we pride ourselves on providing Special Resident Experiences and the food we serve on a daily basis is a huge part of our residents’ day.  Our partnership with Elior has helped us to consistently offer nutritious meals that residents love.”

Following its successful tender, Elior has demonstrated its capabilities through a ‘proof of concept’ trial at eight homes in Manchester. It has introduced its concepts and systems smoothly at these sites, and has now started to roll out its plan across the remaining 88 sites.

Sunil Bhatt, Four Seasons Health Care procurement project manager says: “We partnered with Elior because of their vast bank of care catering expertise. By letting Elior manage our catering, we’ve freed up our home managers’ time, so they can focus on delivering very good care within their homes.”

Robin Comerford, healthcare development director for Elior said: “We’re looking forward to bringing our sector-specific expertise to Four Seasons Health Care. Food is one of the most important aspects of the care home. It improves the residents’ quality of life and is a focal point for friends and families. By raising the standard of catering, we’re revealing the excellent service residents receive, and helping Four Seasons Health Care increase occupancy.”

The contracts will see more than 500 care home team members become part of Elior. There has already been significant support for the development, with around 120 Four Seasons chefs, home and general managers attending a well-received engagement day in Manchester.

Here Elior unveiled the new opportunities available; showcasing its nutritious and appealing meals through food sampling, and sharing information about its varied training programme, which covers topics from computer skills to allergen awareness and health and safety compliance.

Venuelior showcases portfolio with rebrand #

Elior UK’s events portal, Venuelior, has been refreshed to provide a better customer experience for private individuals and events bookers, and a strong link to social media and digital platforms to promote upcoming events and special promotions.

Elior has engineered the rebrand to showcase its full portfolio, which includes Lloyds of London, the BT Murrayfield Stadium in Scotland and Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight. By bringing its nationwide venues under one identity, it will offer corporate and private customers the opportunity to book at some of the most unique locations in the country.

The rebrand has seen the Venuelior logo redesigned and the website refreshed to offer a new look and feel. Visitors to the website will now have access to special offers, event management insight and Venuelior’s latest news.

Elior has consolidated the rebrand with significant investment into a specialist team able to make nationwide venue recommendations, as well as plan and manage events using an extensive database of contacts.

Gemma Wright, online sales and marketing manager for Venuelior, says: “By bringing our national portfolio under one brand, we’re giving our customers the opportunity to choose from a range of stunning venues nationwide. Elior is a trusted brand, and this step forwards reflects our pride in being part of a company which puts the whole customer experience first.”

Elaine Higginson celebrates 20 years at UCC Coffee UK & Ireland #

Elaine Higginson, managing director of UCC Coffee UK & Ireland and the most influential woman in the European Coffee market, has celebrated 20 years at the total coffee solution specialist (formerly First Choice Coffee and United Coffee). 

Elaine joined First Choice Coffee on 11 February 1996, having been headhunted from competitor Bewley’s, with an undeniable passion for quality coffee and a unique drive to revolutionise the industry. Today she is responsible for the UK division of one of the world’s top five independent coffee companies, 480 employees and behind 20 billion cups of coffee each year. With 9,500 tonnes of coffee roasted in its Dartford roaster, this year the company is forecasting turnover to exceed £100m for the first time.

Elaine comments: “The last 20 years has been an exciting time for the industry. We’ve seen the explosion of the high street coffee chain, astonishing innovation and quality coffee being delivered to the masses at an affordable price. The market has grown tenfold since I joined the business, but by creating unique coffee solutions we’ve helped our customers outperform it and grow faster than anyone else. I’m so privileged to work with so many passionate and talented people – we wouldn’t be where we are today without such a great team around me. Coffee is a fantastic industry to be part of and I’m excited about it today as I was on day one. How many people can say that after 20 years?”

In 1996, Elaine joined First Choice Coffee and quickly made her mark by introducing one of the first bean-to-cup machines - Black&White - to the market. The unique piece of kit produced the highest quality speciality coffee at the touch of a button and transformed coffee preparation for operators. Now the company’s best-selling machine, it can be found in over 30,000 sites across the UK including McDonald’s and Gregg’s. 

In 2006, First Choice Coffee was acquired by United Coffee (called Drie Mollen at the time) and then merged with retail roaster Gala Coffee, with Elaine at the helm to drive the new business forward. It was a landmark year for the company. For the first time they could now supply customers with their own carefully selected and roasted beans, as well as market-leading equipment and exceptional service.

The acquisition of Coopers and Andronicas in 2011 increased share of the independent market and in 2014, a €500m acquisition saw it became part of UCC Holdings – Japan’s largest producer of coffee. With a strong track record of innovation, UCC Holdings is responsible for £2bn annual sales turnover and 7,300 employees. A rebrand to UCC Coffee UK & Ireland created a new worldwide identity to push the boundaries of coffee. 

In 2015, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland invested £2.5 million at its Dartford roaster.

Jeffrey Young, managing director, Allegra Group comments: “Elaine Higginson is one of the truly great leaders of all time within the UK coffee sector and a great ambassador for our entire industry. Her passion, drive and commitment over the past 20 years has led to the creation of one of the most powerful and influential coffee businesses in Europe. 

“I have had the great pleasure to work directly with Elaine, not only as a client to our business, but also as a trustee in the Allegra Foundation for the past five years. It’s been great to see first-hand her commitment to such an important charity and also her strategic thinking and clear decision making, which has been a great asset to our board of trustees.”

As the total coffee solution provider in the UK, UCC Coffee works with its customers to exceed commercial expectations and satisfy consumer tastes.  The next three years are set for further growth through investment, improving efficiencies and a continued commitment to its mission to serve the very best quality coffee.

Elaine also continues to lead her team with the same infectious passion, drive and enthusiasm that she had back in 1996. 13 employees have also been with the business for 20 years or more. 

Graham Mason, events manager at UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, who was originally hired as a van driver by Elaine in 1996 comments: “We were all hands on. Elaine would be in the warehouse waiting for me to get back so she could load my products for the next day. It’s been amazing journey but we’re still the same people. Whatever it takes, we make it happen.”

UCC Coffee UK & IRELAND to launch premium Zimbabwean single origin coffee #

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland has launched a new   ThreeSixty˚ Zimbabwean Pezuru coffee for the out of home market.

The single origin coffee, which is the latest seasonal coffee in its adventurous ThreeSixty˚ range, is unique to the UK market and one of only a few coffee crops from sub-Saharan Africa.

Katherine McCarthy, coffee specialist, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland comments: “This is a really exciting new coffee for our ThreeSixty˚ range as such a small amount of coffee comes from this part of the world. The Zimbabwean Pezuru coffee will let operators explore a very different flavour and character. It also ticks all the boxes for provenance and sustainability – irrigation from a dam adjacent to the plantation allows coffee to grow in the dry season and also provides a source of fish for the local community. Operators looking for a great taste and story will find it with this sophisticated coffee.”

In the cup expect overall notes of orange teamed with a raisin sweetness with hints of black tea.

With consumers’ curiosity of origin reaching new heights, each coffee in the ThreeSixty˚ range, which also features Blend Number One and Rainforest Blend, displays the coordinates of the coffee’s origin on its packaging. It means operators can tell the story of the coffee to their customers allowing them to experience a ‘sense of discovery’ in the cup.

ThreeSixty˚ Zimbabwe Pezuru launched at Casual Dining (24-25 February) and The Coffee Leader Summit (26 February). It is available in 10 x 500g packs from 1 March 2016.

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland launches refreshed Lyons out of home range #

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland has relaunched its popular Lyons’ out of home range.

The refreshed range, from the iconic British brand which was established in 1904, includes whole bean Italian Espresso, Café Mocha, hot chocolates and individually wrapped coffee bags. It also features a vintage inspired look in a nod to its rich heritage of roasting coffee.

Central to the range is its uniquely wrapped coffee bags. The 100% fresh roast and ground coffee bags – available in No2, No3 and No4 blends – now feature strength guides to help consumers easily find and select a coffee to suit their tastes. The guides were developed in response to extensive consumer research that found taste, quality and strength guides to be the most important factors consumers consider when purchasing coffee . Perfect for hotel rooms, pubs and restaurants without a speciality coffee offer, the coffee bags are available to bulk buy in boxes of 150.

Marcus Swift, sales & marketing director, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland explains: “This is a very exciting time for the Lyons brand and a major shift towards providing customers with great coffee.  Our refreshed range combines over 100 years of coffee roasting expertise from an iconic British brand. We’ve kept the same popular blends our customers know and love and given their packaging a vintage new look to celebrate the brand’s rich history. The refreshed range allows operators across the industry to serve great, consistent quality coffee.”

The four blends in the coffee bag range – No.2 Light and Smooth, No.3 Rich and Full Bodied, No.4 Dark and Intense and Decaffeinated – are available in wholesale boxes of 150 bags. Lyons’ Italian Espresso and Café Mocha blends are available in 500g packs – as whole beans. And Lyons’ Hot Chocolate and Fairtrade Dark Hot Chocolate are available to buy in 2kg tubs.

BRITA and Lyons call for coffee lovers and professionals to join thunderclap campaign for Project Waterfall #

BRITA and Lyons have joined forces to support and raise awareness of charitable initiative Project Waterfall(1)  through a joint UK Coffee Week Thunderclap campaign.

The water filtration expert, which is a long term supporter of Project Waterfall and headline sponsor of UK Coffee Week, and the popular coffee brand, which donates to the charity for every pack sold, are urging professionals and coffee drinkers to join the Thunderclap which will go live during fundraising event UK Coffee Week (11-17 April).

On the 14 April, the Thunderclap will simultaneously send out a message of support for the charity on the social media channels of those who joined the campaign. The Thunderclap will harness the power of social media to get the industry and consumers talking about the cause. It will include a call to action to support the charity and raise funds by buying a coffee in one of thousands of participating UK Coffee Week outlets during the week.

Miles Dawson, sales director, BRITA Professional comments: “90% of coffee is grown in developing countries where 60% of people do not have access to safe, clean water. Supporting these coffee growing communities is so important to our industry. By backing our Thunderclap campaign you will help make a difference by spreading the message and increasing awareness of the vital work the charity undertakes as well as helping to raise much needed funds. Nobody should be without the right to access clean, safe water.” 

Nicole Hartnell, brand manager, Lyons comments: “Our Thunderclap is targeted at everyone passionate about coffee, from across the industry to those sitting in the comfort of their own home. You can also help to raise funds by buying a coffee at a participating outlet during UK Coffee Week.”

To sign up to the Thunderclap visit: then press ‘support’ before midday on 14 April. Thunderclap will simultaneously post the pledges of everyone who has signed up on 14 April at midday, during UK Coffee Week (11-17 April 2016).

1  Project Waterfall is an initiative established by The Allegra Foundation

Glenn Roberts is CESA’s new vice chair #

Glenn Roberts is the new vice chair of CESA, the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association.

His appointment follows the resignation of Steve Elliott, who has had to leave the CESA council due to a change in employment.

“It was very disappointing that Steve had to step down as vice chair, but in Glenn we have a first class replacement,” says Simon Frost, chair of CESA. “Having witnessed his input into CESA as a council member and his active participation in committees, I know that Glenn is the ideal person to undertake the role.”  

Roberts joined the CESA council in 2013. He is a foodservice professional of considerable experience – he has been with Gram UK since 2003, and has been managing director since 2008. Since the turn of the year he has been managing director of Hoshizaki Gram UK. Before joining Gram he worked with Oneida International and Lockhart Catering Equipment. Like Simon Frost, he is passionate about the importance of training and was an early graduate of the CFSP accreditation programme. Roberts is also a keen advocate of sustainability.

“Foodservice manufacturers, suppliers and operators need to work together to build a more responsible and sustainable future for the industry,” he says. “By encouraging training, and by sharing our collective knowledge around best practice, we can ensure the success of our marketplace.

“CESA is the voice of the catering equipment industry. It’s a fantastic entity, not only to communicate these messages but also to influence legislators and implement initiatives that will help us achieve our goals. I look forward to this exciting new role and I’d like to thank everyone for the support I have already received.”

Simon Frost adds, “As well as warmly welcoming Glenn to his new role, I would like to take this opportunity to record my sincere thanks to Steve Elliott for his active input and achievements whilst he was my vice chair. The council hopes that he will be able to continue to work with CESA on the proposed development of the association’s educational resources.”

Essential Cuisine launches anniversary year with record sales landmark #

Essential Cuisine has recorded its best ever sales performance in foodservice – with business up 30% in the most recent six-month period – as it prepares to celebrate 21 years in business. 

The Stock People achieved the historic sales landmark – equivalent to a seven figure increase in foodservice turnover – in the second half of 2015.

Nigel Crane, managing director for Essential Cuisine, said: “This is fantastic news for us and provides the perfect launch pad for 2016 as we mark 21 years in business.

“The figures reflect growth in every range in our portfolio and are testament to our dedicated team, from production through to sales, exceeding expectations time and time again.

“This year, amid the celebrations, we continue the drive for innovation with a number of key launches while our focus on helping chefs and brigades cope with pressures and time constraints of a busy kitchen environment, remains constant.”

Essential Cuisine’s class-leading range of stocks, jus, glace, demi-glace and gravy, offers kitchens the outstanding taste and performance of traditional kitchen-made product but can be brought to life in minutes not hours. 

In 2016 the company is celebrating 21 years in business. Since 1995, Essential Cuisine has been producing outstanding stock ingredients that help to unleash the creativity of chefs in all sectors, delivering that all important flavour, with absolutely no quality compromise.

New Essential Cuisine Asian range to made its debut at Hotelympia 2016 #

Essential Cuisine unveiled a ‘game-changing’ new range of Asian stocks at Hotelympia 2016, giving chefs the confidence to introduce a host of authentic new dishes and transform trusted staples, without the added time and ingredient costs. 

With the market for Asian food – currently the UK’s fastest growing cuisine – approaching some £3bn* the Stock People introduced its three-strong Asian Range, the product of months of development, working with some of the high street’s most recognisable Pan Asian casual chains, to help chefs from across hospitality achieve authenticity in their own kitchens.  

The range includes: the fragrant Aromatic Stock Base; a blend of coriander, lemongrass and star anise, perfect for transforming standard soups like chicken and sweetcorn into profitable Malaysian laksa; a rich and meaty Master Stock Base, made with garlic and ginger and ideal for marinating meat or fish, and a traditional Miso Broth Base, made with fermented soy, giving chefs everything they need to introduce highly popular, on-trend ramen and broths onto menus.

Nigel Crane, managing director for Essential Cuisine, said: “Our research^ tells us that 90% of UK consumers have a taste for pan-Asian cuisine, and an overwhelming 74% of these people are hungry for emerging styles such as Malaysian, Japanese and Vietnamese.  You need only look at the burgeoning popularity of chains like Wagamama, Wasabi and Pho for evidence of this.
“Crucially, the research suggests that the places people go to enjoy pan Asian food is changing. 89% claim to have tried it outside of a single cuisine restaurant, meaning the market is ripe for non-traditional players like pubs, schools and contract caterers to claim their slice.

“The Asian Range has been developed to help chefs to be more adventurous and keep up with key trends shaping the high street. In 21 years of business, we have never created anything quite this different – a product to inspire those outlets who may have thought this style of cuisine was not open to them, a real game changer.” 

The Asian Range is the perfect base to let a chef’s creativity shine, and can be spooned directly into sauces, blended with other flavours and ingredients, used as a marinade or poaching liquor or a perfect base stock for all manner of dishes.

For every Asian Range sample pot given out at Hotelympia, Essential Cuisine donated £1 to the Culinary Ability Awards, the organisation that gives a helping hand to disabled people working in the hospitality industry.

*Zest Quest Asia
^2015 Essential Cuisine via Toluna

BaxterStorey Chef Academy graduation #

Last month, 33 chefs celebrated their graduation from BaxterStorey’s award-winning Chef Academy. Renowned chefs Tom Kerridge, Alyn Williams and John Campbell attended a special reception in central London to mark the occasion.

This year’s graduates were awarded a variety of specialist qualifications including Culinary Arts, Chef Diploma and Chef Certificate.  Over 100 people attended the event to recognise the chefs’ achievements.

Rik Razza, head of chef development at BaxterStorey, said: “I believe that the academy has had its most successful year yet. The quality of what is now being produced and the students’ progression has been significant. I would also like to acknowledge and thank HIT (Hospitality Industry Training) for the role that they have played at assessment level.”

Graham Eveleigh, head of skills and development, said: “This celebration is a great way to acknowledge the young, fresh talent we are proud to have at BaxterStorey and highlight our chefs’ commitment to creating innovative menus with the freshest, locally sourced produce.”
BaxterStorey’s Chef Academy offers unique learning opportunities from visiting food markets, fisheries and suppliers to understanding the financial and management aspects of being a chef. Trainee chefs also get the chance to put their skills into practice with a week's tuition with one of BaxterStorey’s Chef Consultants including John Campbell, Nigel Haworth, Mark Hix and Tom Kitchin.

At the graduation ceremony, individual chefs were praised for their outstanding achievement across six categories including; chef of the year, most improved, best assignment average, most effective trainer, spirit of the trainer and spirit of the academy.

2016 winners

Chef of the year
Level One – Charlotte Axe, Syngenta
Level Two – Mark Wright, BUPA Brighton
Level Three – Nina Mash, King & Wood  Mallesons

Most improved
Level One – Karlis Pimpurins, TFL Palestra
Level Two – Paulino Ison Esguerra, Carphone Warehouse

Best Assignment Average
Level Three - Steve Wren, Said Business School

Most effective trainer
Level One – Sam Busby, EMA
Level Two – Andrew Frost, Invesco Perpetual, Henley on Thames

Spirit of the trainer award
Jason Thompson, BUPA Brighton

Spirit of the academy
Nina Mash, King & Wood Mallesons

BaxterStorey dominates in UK Barista Championships #

Three BaxterStorey baristas have been recognised amongst the best in the UK, earning a place in the semi-finals of next month’s UK Barista Championships – the UK’s leading coffee-based competition.

Don Altizo, Jana Slamova and Keiran Carney all came within the top 12 at regional heats earlier this month and are now preparing to compete in the semi-finals on 9 April. Leading the way within the foodservice sector, 25% of the top twelve entrants are from BaxterStorey.

They are the only baristas from the foodservice industry to have made it to this stage of the competition.

Tim Sturk, head of coffee training and development at BaxterStorey said: “This is the fourth consecutive year BaxterStorey has reached the semi-finals, testament to our commitment to both quality coffee and staff development. In fact, Jana is currently ranked number one female barista in the UK following her success as last year’s competition.”

The regional finals required competitors to demonstrate their knowledge of coffee, presentation and preparation skills and all round ability in a series of challenging rounds. Contestants were asked to make four espresso, four milk-based drinks and four signature drinks. The BaxterStorey competitors wowed the judges with distinctive flavours including Afghanistan red raisins, natural cocoa butter and white mulberry to create their signature drinks.

Tim added: “We are dedicated to supporting our team at the highest level and our unique Barista Academy provides them with a thorough understanding of the history of coffee, the coffee bean journey, the importance of the quality of milk, machine maintenance, recipe management and customer service. Ultimately, it gives them the skills needed to create an outstanding cup of coffee and it is this expertise, along with their passion for coffee that is shining through at this year’s Barista Championships.”

Following the semi-finals of the 2016 UK Barista Championship, the six top scorers will go on to compete in the final on 10th April.  The winner will represent the UK at the World Barista Championships in June. 

Going for gold: the winner of The Gold Service Scholarship 2016 is announced #

Following a nationwide search to find the next rising star in hospitality, the winner of The Gold Service Scholarship 2016 has been announced. 

Jennifer Santner, restaurant manager at Fenchurch Restaurant at Sky Garden, run by Rhubarb, was awarded this year’s Gold Service Scholarship by The Queen, at a celebratory awards ceremony held at Claridge’s.
Her Majesty, The Queen, Patron of The Gold Service Scholarship, attended this year’s award ceremony. The Queen, wrote in the ceremony programme’s foreword: “As Patron of the Gold Service Scholarship I am pleased to note the success of the Trust’s work and to see that, in a relatively short space of time, it has raised the profile of hospitality and service skills in the United Kingdom. 

By recognising the country’s best talent, The Gold Service Scholarship encourages people to improve their skills and subsequently pass on their knowledge to others. The Scholarship also aims to motivate aspiring professionals so that service and hospitality will increasingly become one of the top career choices for young people.” 

Jennifer Santner will now receive a year of expert mentoring from industry greats such as Diego Masciaga at The Waterside Inn and Silvano Giraldin, Director of Le Gavroche. She will have the opportunity to work with the Royal Household at a state occasion, visit the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group in Europe, attend the Mondriaan

Hotel School at The Hague, Netherlands and visit the vineyards of Champagne to enhance her skills in all aspects of front of house service and customer experience.  

Jennifer Santner, winner of The Gold Service Scholarship 2016, said: “I am thrilled to have been chosen as the Scholar for 2016. I have enjoyed every moment of this competition and cannot wait to start planning my Scholarship programme. I am sure that the next year will be a fantastic learning experience.  I am looking forward to working alongside senior industry professionals in so many renowned venues and establishments and making the most of this opportunity.” 

Jennifer Santner competed alongside seven other national finalists at The Connaught, Mayfair earlier this month, to secure the sought-after title. The final service challenge consisted of planning, preparing and serving a three course lunch, including Champagne and wines, to a table of four industry professionals. 

As winner, Jennifer Santner, will become an ambassador for the hospitality industry and an example of the potential success and rewards a career in front of house service can offer. 
Sergio Rebecchi, Gold Service Scholarship Trustee and Director of Serenata Hospitality said: “This is the fourth year of The Gold Service Scholarship and on behalf of all the Trustees I would like to thank everyone involved for their outstanding support.” 

Thomas Kochs, Gold Service Scholarship Trustee said: “It has been exciting to see this year’s finalists progress through the competition and to see the high level of service excellence that exists in the hospitality industry. It was a tough decision but we are delighted to present Jennifer Santner with the Scholarship this evening and I look forward to seeing how she makes the most of her Scholarship experience.” 

Capacity to bridge the gap: FRIMA launches new VarioCooking Center #

Frima launched a new VarioCooking Center. The 112L is a two-pan unit, each with a capacity of 25 litres. Previous Frima two-pan units have had 14 litre pans and the new model was developed in direct response to customer demand.

Like the recently launched 112T, the new unit is a counter top model that can easily be installed on the work bench, on a stand or elsewhere. Thus even small kitchens can benefit from its high capacity, multifunctional cooking abilities. And the VarioCooking Center 112L is truly multifunctional: it can replace griddles, kettles, bratt pans, large pots and fryers and can be used to fry, deep fry, boil and confit.

The 112L’s two pans offer maximum flexibility both in production and in à la carte. Chefs can be boiling pasta in one pan and cooking steaks in the other, frying chips in one and creating béchamel sauce in the other – the potential is vast. The 50 litre capacity provides sufficient frying surface and boiling capacity even at peak times. The height of the pan base is ergonomically designed to make it easy for chefs to work with, which is an important benefit compared to tilting pans or other multifunctional appliances.

"With the new 112L model, we are filling a gap in our product range, offering customers an even greater selection of VarioCooking Center Multificiency appliances,” says Michael Fuchs, chairman of the board of Frima International AG.

“The new model is ideal for anyone needing the flexibility of two pans, but who has limited space, while also having to produce larger quantities during peak times."

Like other models in the range, the VarioCooking Center 112L achieves energy savings of up to 40% compared to conventional cooking appliances, and cooks up to 4 times faster. The overnight cooking function creates additional capacity as it cooks without supervision, so food is ready in the morning when staff arrive – and chef can then use the Frima for other cooking tasks. The integrated cooking intelligence ensures perfect cooking results: for example, pasta is automatically lifted from the water at the end of the cooking time, the unit will notify staff when pan fried foods need turning and it regulates the temperature and timing to the precise degree and second, so that food and liquids never burn, boil over or stick.

“Customers had been asking about a model that bridged the gap between the original, smaller 112 units and the larger 211 and 311 VarioCooking Centers, which have capacities of 100 and 150 litres respectively,” says Graham Kille, managing director of Frima UK. “Then, in 2015, Frima talked to 400 chefs across Europe and they confirmed the demand for the 50 litre model. However, they wanted the flexibility of the two pans – and so the 112L was created.”

“Phenomenal” FRIMA at The Mere Resort, Cheshire #

Deluxe resort The Mere has recently installed the FRIMA VarioCooking Center

Located on the outskirts of Knutsford in Cheshire’s stunningly picturesque countryside, The Mere is a four-star deluxe resort with a spa, golf course and three different food outlets. The main restaurant, Browns, has 2 AA rosettes and serves modern international food using the freshest seasonal ingredients, while the more casual restaurants in the Club Lounge and Spa serve a variety of popular items, from burgers to Indian food, “pick and choose” style. The resort operates 24/7, and alongside its busy restaurants, The Mere also caters for up to 600 banquet covers daily.

There are four kitchens where the need for fast, accurate and efficient cooking equipment is paramount. During the recent refurbishment of its main kitchen The Mere installed a FRIMA VarioCooking Center® Multificiency®.

“The FRIMA is a phenomenal piece of kit,” says Mark Walker, executive head chef of The Mere. “It makes life easier and takes the pressure off, producing a consistent, controlled, quality food every time. The precise controls mean you can walk away from a FRIMA and nothing burns or sticks.”

Not only does its precision mean consistent quality is a given, the VarioCooking Center’s multifunctionality has also proven invaluable to The Mere’s diverse menu, used for anything from stocks to sous-vide to sea bass to curry bases.

The Mere has FRIMA’s 211+, which has a 100-litre capacity pan and a footprint measuring 1164mm(w) x 914mm(d) x 1100mm(h). It can sear 12kg of meat in 4 minutes and pressure cook up to 40kg of meat per hour. It can cook 20kg of rice at once.

“Anything big in volume we’ll make in it, because of the sheer capacity it can handle,” says Mark. “For example, for 180 portions of sea bass cooked all at once, all with crispy skin, we will use the FRIMA.”

The FRIMA cooks very quickly, too. “We make stock in two hours, and veal jus in four hours, complete, reduced, done. And you get a better product, the consistency of flavour is all there.”
Mark and his team have also found the unit to be energy saving. “Gas and electric are a kitchen’s biggest costs. When we used gas for our stockpots they could take up to two days. With the FRIMA 48 hours becomes three or four hours, so running costs are massively reduced. Less gas means less heat in the kitchen too, which creates a much nicer working environment.”

Naturally, the more the FRIMA is used, the more the staff are learning of the possibilities it can bring to the menu.

“There are a million things we could still do with it, and we keep learning, it’s so multifunctional. I want to be at the forefront of modern cooking techniques, and the FRIMA hits every part of our business. It’s a piece of kit we can’t do without.”

Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards 2016: Winners announced #

Casual dining sector honoured at new national awards

The UK’s best casual dining operators were revealed at the launch of the first Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards 2016, organised by Diversified Communications UK.

JD Wetherspoon, Côte Restaurants, wagamama, Zizzi, and Gourmet Burger Kitchen all took home awards, while Loungers’ Alex Reilley was named ‘Champion of the year’ by the founding judges.

The 2016 winners were presented their awards by BBC Breakfast’s Steph McGovern at a prestigious ceremony on Wednesday 24 February at The Grange St. Paul’s Hotel in London, following the first day of the Casual Dining show.  Over 300 industry professionals, including John Hutson, Steve Holmes, David Campbell and Alasdair Murdoch (CEOs of JD Wetherspoon, Azzurri Group, wagamama, and GBK respectively), were in attendance to recognise and celebrate the standout brands of the year across the growing multi-billion pound casual dining sector.

“It’s fantastic to be here, celebrating the success of businesses that are providing phenomenal growth for the UK economy,” says BBC business correspondent Steph McGovern.

Casual Dining’s group event director, Chris Brazier, says: “The casual dining market is thriving, thanks in large part to the fantastic innovations and dedication of operators and the incredible dining experience they offer.  The launch of the Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards is a much overdue opportunity to celebrate their achievements and reward those companies who are making a real difference to the growth of this dynamic, fast-moving sector.  The calibre of entries has been exceptional, congratulations to all our winners.”

Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards 2016 winners include:

Champion of the Year – Alex Reilley, executive vice chairman at Loungers

“I’m incredibly honoured to win this award.  There are so many people who contribute to what we do as a business and I just happen to be the person who’s at the forefront of it.  It’s a real honour,” says Alex Reilley.

New Casual Dining Concept – The Beer Kitchen

The Social Responsibility Award – Ed’s Easy Diner

Casual Dining Marketing Campaign – Zizzi – #ZizziTacklesCancer

Best Designed Independent Casual Dining Restaurant – Suvlaki, Bateman St, London (designed by AfroditiKrassa)

Best Designed Multiple Casual Dining Restaurant – GBK, St. Vincent Street, Glasgow (designed by moreno:masey)

“We’re delighted to win this fantastic award.  We work with a talented group of designers that individually design every single restaurant.  We’re proud of all our restaurants and we look forward to opening many more,” says Keith Bird, chief operating officer at Gourmet Burger Kitchen.

Best Designed Casual Dining Pub or Bar – The Pint Shop, Cambridge (designed by Macaulay Sinclair)

Independent Casual Dining Restaurant – Project Pie, Dundee

Independent Casual Dining Pub – The Northey Arms, Bath

Employer of the Year – Wagamama

“We’re absolutely delighted and thrilled to have won.  We’ve grown to 4,500 employees now so it’s a credit to everyone at wagamamas that we’ve got the award,” says Andy Moat, people director at wagamama.

Multiple Casual Dining Pub Brand of the Year – JD Wetherspoon

“We’re obviously very delighted to win.  For a company that’s been going for 36 years it’s great that we can still be recognised as doing something good in the pub and restaurant world,” says John Hutson, CEO of JD Wetherspoon.

Multiple Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year – Côte Restaurants

“We are really thrilled to have won this award and are proud to have been recognised as the leading restaurant in this sector.  I would like to thank all the staff in our restaurants for their continuation of delivering fresh, high quality food and excellent service,” says Rebecca Tooth, front of house operations director at Côte Restaurants.

For further information, including a full list of finalists and details of the 2016 judging panel, visit

Commercial Kitchen announces its initial exhibitor list #

With exhibition space filling up fast, Commercial Kitchen – the definitive new trade show for the UK’s £1bn catering equipment sector, is well on track for a successful inaugural event when it launches at the NEC Birmingham on 7-8 June.

Organiser Diversified Communications UK, which has a growing portfolio of market-leading events in the food and hospitality sector, including the Natural Food Show and multi-award winning lunch! and Casual Dining exhibitions, says it’s delighted with the industry-wide support Commercial Kitchen is receiving.

“It really is fantastic to see the way that everyone is responding to the launch of this major, dedicated event,” comments group event director Chris Brazier.  “When you consider that Britain’s out-of-home foodservice market is forecast to grow to £54.7bn by the end of 2017[1], there are huge opportunities for commercial catering equipment manufacturers and suppliers ahead.  More operators in towns and cities across the UK are looking to invest in new sites, rebrand and expand their existing outlets.  So, really, Commercial Kitchen couldn’t have come at a better time.”

It’s not just the exhibitors that are getting behind the Commercial Kitchen concept.  Leading equipment purchasers and specifiers from across the foodservice sector are lending their support to the launch and registering in droves.

Among them are representatives from Pret A Manger, Azzurri Group (Ask Italian, Zizzi and Coco di Mama), YO! Sushi, Bill’s, Whitbread, Morrisons, Pizza Hut Restaurants, Waterstones, Marston’s, Punch Taverns, Mitchells & Butlers, Elior, Bidvest Foodservice, Bourne Leisure, and WSH (BaxterStorey, Caterlink, Holroyd Howe, Benugo and Portico), Sainsbury’s, Cardiff Council, University of Birmingham, Imperial College London, Butlins, Flamingo Land Resort, Luxury Family Hotels, Small Batch Coffee Company, Hand Picked Hotels, and Pod.

“Our kitchen teams are the heart-beat of our shops, which is why we’re excited about the launch of Commercial Kitchen.  Without the right equipment we cannot continue to innovate and drive consistency, which ultimately means happy customers.  We look forward to visiting this major new show,” says Sean Burlinson, food director at Pod.

“We carefully research the market for kitchen equipment to ensure the quality of product meets the needs of our business.  Having a dedicated show enables us to see equipment first hand and meet potential suppliers,” says Matt Ashton, group executive head chef at Hand Picked Hotels.

“For someone who is dedicated to making sure the kitchens I help are the best in their sector, I believe there is an urgent need for a dedicated trade show that celebrates new innovation, energy efficiency and quality, and showcases launches of the most cutting edge kit and ideas for commercial kitchens,” says Matt Goodman from GKMS Consultancy (former head of kitchen projects & maintenance at Jamie’s Italian).

The launch edition will feature 100 founding exhibitors showcasing the complete range of innovative equipment, devices and utensils required to run a commercial kitchen; including cooking equipment, refrigeration, storage, warewashing, fit out and design.  The latest companies to confirm their presence are PKL Group, Concept, Testo and Britannia Kitchen Ventilation.  While Instanta, Fire and Ice Catering, and Regale Microwave Ovens are some of the existing exhibitors that have increased the size of their stand in the past week.

Find out more at

Monica Galetti, Mark Sargeant and John Campbell unite to raise funds for Hospitality Action #

Celebrated chefs Monica Galetti, Mark Sargeant and John Campbell hosted a special fundraising dinner within Brasserie Joël at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London. The event raised a fantastic £17,500 for industry charity, Hospitality Action.

John Campbell chef proprietor of Michelin Starred, The Woodspeen Restaurant says: “I am delighted that the evening was such a great success! Last year Hospitality Action spent over £632,000 supporting our colleagues in crisis. The £17,500 raised tonight will give hope to all those suffering within our industry and let them know they always have somewhere to turn.”

Lending support throughout the evening was Brasserie Joël’s head chef Walter Ishizuka. Hospitality Action is grateful to all event sponsors including BaxterStorey UK, Udale, Belu and Oranka Juice Solutions and prize donors including Condé Nast Johansens who donated a fantastic £500 worth of gift vouchers towards the evening’s fundraising. 82% of the people Hospitality Action helped in 2015 were below the age of 60 and 34% were suffering from life changing illness. The money raised at this special event will enable Hospitality Action to continue it’s vital work.  

Big School Bake Off is back - get ready to rise to the challenge #

The Big School Bake Off competition is back. And this year, it’s bigger and better than ever.

Shaking up the format, and to make schools famous in their region, judges will shortlist 12 regional winners to go head to head in the semi-finals at this year’s LACA Conference & Exhibition. An expert panel – including TV Bake Off winner, Jo Wheatley – will then select 8 finalists for the concluding technical challenge, which will be held at the KNORR kitchen in September.

As well as being crowned Big School Bake Off winner 2016, the winner will receive a trophy for their school and a workshop for four with Jo Wheatley. The icing on the cake this year will be a day with Jo at the winner’s school where she’ll host a baking extravaganza for both children and parents. All finalists will receive £50 of Love to Shop vouchers and a signed Jo Wheatley book. 

The organisers have been working closely with the Children’s Food Trust to ensure the competition supports the national School Food Standards. To reflect the standards, entries must include at least 50% fruit.

Entries are now open, and must be submitted online by 20 May 2016. To enter, simply:

1.    Choose your best bake
2.    Upload an image of your bake, 50 words about what makes it great, and the recipe (including full ingredients and method for 12x portions)
3.    Wait for a reply to see if you’ve been shortlisted

James Allred, channel marketing manager, Unilever Food Solutions said: “Because we work so closely with schools, we see the passion and talent that goes into school cooking every day. That’s why we started Big School Bake Off in the first place. To recognise that and to celebrate it. So we’re thrilled that this year the competition is going to be bigger and better than ever.

“We’ve also been able to integrate the School Food Standards into the competition. Putting the pride back into school baking, and promoting nutritional awareness at the same time. It’s a win-win.”

For your chance to be crowned 2016 Big School Bake Off winner, check out the entry details on the Unilever Food Solutions website at 

Unilever Food Solutions launches Novelty 90th Birthday Cake Challenge to celebrate special royal birthday #

Unilever Food Solutions has launched a birthday cake challenge to celebrate a special royal birthday in June – giving care home residents a way to get involved in the event of the summer. Not to mention a chance to win some great prizes, including five tickets to a National Trust venue of their choice.

To enter the UFS challenge – launched in association with NAPA (National Association of Activity Providers) and the National Trust – care homes need to create a birthday cake based on one of their resident’s favourite royal memories.

Entries can be submitted at or by post, and must explain why their cake should win.

An expert judging panel – headed up by NAPA director, Sylvie Silver – will select the 20 best entries. These will be featured in a nostalgic baking book, inspired by a 1950s Stork cook book.

The top five entries will be treated to an overnight stay in London for the NAPA Gala, where the overall winner will be decided by ballot. The winner of the grand prize will take home five tickets to a National Trust venue of their choice.

UFS’ elderly care development chef, Paul Wright, will also be on the judging panel. He said: "Food can be an amazingly powerful link to our pasts. By focusing the competition around residents’ favourite memories – everyone can get involved in the royal celebrations. It doesn’t matter if it’s a photo, poem, or story – we just want to see residents’ inspiration coming through.”

All entries must be submitted by 15 July. The shortlist will be announced on 26 July. The overall winner will be decided by ballot at the NAPA Gala on the 21 September. To find out more about the Novelty 90th Birthday Cake Challenge, visit

People 1st creates innovative career mapping tool #

People 1st has launched an innovative ‘Career Mapping’ tool, enhancing employers’ abilities to develop and retain their best and brightest talent.

The fully customisable tool, compatible with smartphone and tablet devices, has been developed by People 1st and builds on its first generation career map technology which has been successfully used by thousands of career seekers to identify the fantastic career opportunities available within the sector.

The ability to offer clear progression routes and career paths is one of the most important factors in attracting and retaining staff, and People 1st’s tool enables employers to create and edit their very own career map, customised to highlight the opportunities within their organisation.

The tool puts simple, achievable career progression routes at the fingertips of employees, taking users on a step-by-step journey from entry-level to management, with the job descriptions, skills and training needed for each role.

Simon Tarr, chief executive, People 1st says: “Offering clear career pathways can help attract new recruits and grow in-house talent.  Our new ‘Career Mapping’ tool can offer employers the means to create a simple, interactive online ‘map’ that shows current and future staff exactly where a career can take them. It’s a fantastic, innovative and highly functional way to showcase opportunities, allowing companies to set themselves apart as excellent employers of talented people.”

People 1st has worked in partnership with the world-renowned Rocco Forte Hotel Group, and Artizian Catering to develop their own bespoke Career Maps.  Both organisations have successfully created their own customised content, with Rocco Forte employing the tool as part of its innovative, ‘Map My Future’ app.  

Caroline Burgess-Allen, HR project manager for Rocco Forte Hotels adds “We partnered with People 1st to use the Career Map technology as an integral feature of our Map My Future app, which helps our team members to progress their careers, access training and receive important company updates. 

“With this in place, our team members can clearly see that progression in our industry is possible and most importantly, encouraged. We believe that this will drive employees’ development and help them to take ownership of their careers. This will, in turn, improve job satisfaction and support increased staff retention, which will reduce our staff turnover costs.”

For more information, visit:   

Hotelympia 2016 sees 15% surge in visitor numbers #

Visitors arrived in their droves to Hotelympia 2016 – with the show welcoming over 26,000 attendees* through its doors and recording a massive 15% surge in numbers, for its four-day run.

With almost 1000 innovative Food and Drink, Technology, Catering Equipment, Interiors and Waste Management companies set across the show’s 300,000 square feet, the throng of visitors was rewarded with ground-breaking new products, new features and big names.

The show floor was alive with talk of high quality, big-hitting visitors, those with purchasing power and national account representatives, proving that Hotelympia has the contacts book and pulling power to attract the right people at the right time.

Hotelympia exhibitors commented on this year’s show:

Nigel Crane, MD, Essential Cuisine: “The show’s been absolutely fabulous, it’s been busy for the whole four days and I think it’s been busier than the last two Hotelympia shows put together.”

CESA Director, Keith Warren: “The strength of the partnership between Hotelympia and CESA has helped develop the attendance of the show, particularly in respect of group buyers. Put simply, Hotelympia is undoubtedly the strongest exhibition for catering equipment suppliers.”

Graham Cornhill, managing director, Wi-Q: “The show’s been very successful. We’ve probably picked up over 100 leads – we’ve got good quality leads, superb quality leads, the right people, the right positions, and the right engagement and interaction, and that’s all you can ask for. So, the show’s done its job.”

Rosalind Atkins, nusiness development, Utopia: “Hotelympia has gone really well, Monday was surprisingly very, very busy and our best day by far. Quality of leads has been fantastic, volume of leads has been fantastic and we gained some contacts that we didn’t imagine we’d ever get.”

Show highlights included The Staff Canteen Live – Skillery, which over four days was able to showcase one of the most stellar line-up of chefs ever amassed on UK soil. Tom Kerridge, Clare Smyth, Simon Rogan, Graham Garrett, Claude Bosi, Nathan Outlaw and Angela Hartnett were among those chefs, sharing some 24 Michelin stars, to offer demos. Elsewhere, on day one, the Godfather of them all, Anton Mosimann OBE, was inaugurated into the Hotelympia Hall of Fame in front of a packed audience.

The Swiss master was just one of a number of Stage high points, with the attraction providing the platform for the finals of Hotelympia’s Innovation Awards and the World Food

Innovation Awards.
2016’s most ingenious new products were also celebrated alongside the UK’s best designed new restaurant, The Bombay Brasserie; as recipient of the Hotelympia Restaurant Design Award.

Hot topics such as the Brexit; the chef shortage, the proposed taxation on sugar, and the national living wage were put firmly under the microscope, while the latest design trends, industry insight, sustainable best practice and hospitality technology were hotly debated.

World renowned chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton headlined the Hotelympia Food Service 2020 Conference discussing his growing number of sites in a fascinating talk entitled ‘re-imagining global for local’.  The one and half day event comprised of educational content sessions as well as restaurant familiarisation trips.

Toby Wand, managing director at Fresh Montgomery, said: “Thank you to everyone who made the show such a massive success, we’re proud to yet again provide the perfect platform for our innovative exhibitors to do what they do best, proud to provide visitors with the most relevant tools and insight to face 2016 head-on, and immensely proud to smash 2014’s attendance record.

“We’re also particularly pleased with the quality of visitor. My team was inundated with praise from exhibitors, many of which had been mobbed by group buyers and those with purchasing clout. Proof if it were needed of the unique opportunity that this show presents.
“With so many exhibitors signing up to do it all again in two years’ time, we can’t wait for Hotelympia 2018.” 

On day two of the show, The Big Event, Hotelympia’s traditional Gala Dinner celebration welcomed over 550 people, treating them to a St David’s day-themed menu and entertainment. The night raised over £70,000 for the Springboard Charity.  

*Subject to ABC Audit

Young sous chef proves worthy winner of Tilda Crown and Italy Study Tour #

An ambitious young sous chef proved his culinary expertise and creativity to be crowned Tilda Chef of the Year 2016, in a tense cook-off at Hotelympia’s Salon Culinaire Live Theatre.

Lee Warren, from Compass Group and working at Haileybury College, impressed a prestigious judging panel, which included newly appointed Salon Director, Steve Munkley, Cyrus Todiwala OBE and Graham Crump, with his main course and dessert dishes featuring Tilda Rice in both courses.

The contestants had just 60 minutes to prepare, cook and present two servings of a main course dish and a dessert with Tilda rice at the heart, demonstrating their knowledge of rice and its versatility as an ingredient in the process.

The biennial competition, run in association with the Craft Guild of Chefs, saw nine chefs challenged to create a main course dish which celebrated the growing trend of world cuisine.

Lee scooped the title with his Jamaican influenced entry of a Jamaican Pork main with rice and peas, followed by a dessert of pineapple and coconut crumble with caramelized Tilda Fragrant Jasmine rice ice cream.

Mark Lyddy, Tilda’s head of foodservice, said: “Congratulations to Lee, it is extremely impressive to watch a young chef compete and triumph in what was a very strong senior class. Lee really impressed the judges with his Jamaican themed menu, and the way in which he used rice to create two exquisite courses.

“After the high quality of 2014’s entries we wanted to continue with the focus on world cuisine and were very excited to see each chef’s interpretation of the theme. Lee proved a creditable winner with his Jamaican menu, delivering a fabulous entry highlighting the real versatility of Tilda’s rice range.

“Strengthening the quality of this year’s finalists was 2015’s Tilda Young Chef of Year winner, Krishan Makol from Lexington Catering. Krishan, just 18 years old, was the only other competitor in this senior class to receive a Silver – along with our winner, Lee – so a well-deserved congratulations to Krishan also.

“I would like to thank everybody who took part for their commitment, passion and creativity.”
A particularly qualified judging panel was set to be impressed this year with two previous TCOTY winners, Danny Leung and Ian Simpson joining head judge Steve Munkley on the panel.

Steve commented: “As ever we saw some stunning dishes amongst the entries. The level of innovation of what the chefs do with Tilda’s rice always amazes me. This year the competition saw one chef grind rice to make a rice pudding and another dried Tilda’s Fragrant Jasmine to make crisps.

“I think that is what is so great with the emerging chefs of today; when you give them a challenge they take the bull by the horns – they just get on with it and make some really exciting ideas.”

As well as being awarded the Tilda Chef of the Year trophy, a medal, framed certificate and commemorative award plate, Lee has earnt himself a fantastic two-day trip to the Po Valley in Italy, a new prize for 2016. Home of Tilda’s unrivalled Arborio risotto rice, the visit will give Lee the chance to pick up a whole host of tips and tricks to take back to his kitchen as well as further his understanding of cooking with rice.

Smart Group Appoints Stephen Lawrence as managing director of Smart at Battersea Evolution & seasonal venues #

Smart Group announced the appointment of Stephen Lawrence to the role of managing director of Battersea Evolution and seasonal venues.

Stephen Lawrence joins Smart Group from Ultimate Experience, a subsidiary of The Concerto Group, where he worked for 21 years and held the position of Managing Director for five years. During his tenure, Lawrence managed Concerto’s extensive seasonal venue portfolio and managed countless high profile events for many of the UK’s leading blue chip companies and consumer brands.

In his new role, Lawrence will be responsible for overseeing strategy and driving commercial activity for Smart at Battersea Evolution, as well as manage the group’s lucrative Christmas venue hires and summer party products. Lawrence will report directly into Greg Lawson, Smart Group’s founder and CEO.

Commenting on the new appointment, Greg Lawson, CEO, Smart Group said: “I have admired Stephen from afar and it has been a personal ambition of mine to have him as an integral member of my senior management team. This latest major appointment underlines the scale of Smart Group’s ambition and Stephen is now a key part of our strategy to support the growth of our seasonal venues and continue to deliver events of the highest quality.”

Commenting on his new appointment, Stephen Lawrence said: "I greatly look forward to working alongside my team of highly accomplished colleagues and play a significant role in supporting Smart Group’s continued success”.

During his illustrious career, Stephen Lawrence has seen the events industry develop and mature into a thriving, self-regulated industry that brings an estimated £40 billion into the UK economy each year. He has also earned an enviable reputation amongst his peers by delivering highly creative and standout corporate events for his longstanding client base.

Alex Morrisroe appointed Head of Client Services at Smart Live #

Smart Live appointed Alex Morrisroe to head up client relationships.

Alex joins Smart Live from Concerto Live, a subsidiary of industry competitors The Concerto Group, where he worked for 12 years in various roles managing high profile events and client relationships with many of the UK’s blue chip companies and consumer brands.

In his new role, Alex will be responsible for expanding Smart Live’s ever increasing client base, including Legal and General, Pizza Express and Danone, maintaining and building on these existing relationships, working with event organisers and stakeholders to develop the objectives of their projects and creating event solutions.

Commenting on his new position, Alex said: “I’m hugely excited to be joining Smart Live and the wider Smart Group. Smart Live are a talented, ambitious agency, delivering creative events and working with some great brands. I plan to bring my experience, particularly in internal communications, brand experiences and international events, to help grow the business. I was also drawn to the role because of Smart Group’s significant presence in Manchester, a region I feel offers a great deal of opportunity, and I aim to capitalise on their foothold in the North West.”

Phoebe Cherry, Director of Events at Smart Live, said, “We’re delighted Alex has chosen to join the team at this exciting time for Smart Live. Alex has a huge knowledge of the events industry, and his experience particularly in brand communications and international incentive events is going to be a great asset to us as we continue to expand.”

FPA Awards Winners 2016 - What a night! #

The best-ever FPA awards night was enjoyed by 460 FPA members and their guests at The Grand Hotel Brighton, with the winners announced by celebrity guest comedian and broadcaster Paul Sinha.

FPA chairman Howard Colliver reported that more entries were received than ever before and each award was highly competitive, reflecting the high standards, commitment to quality and creativity of the sector.  The awards were judged by an impressive panel of independent expert judges who gave their time to ensure objectivity and uphold the credibility of the FPA Awards.

During the evening FPA members and guests yet again demonstrated their generosity with their support of the raffle and charity auction, raising more than £10,000 in aid of Hospitality Action and Springboard.

The winners…..
The FPA Manufacturer of the Year 2016 as voted for by FPA members: SCA Hygiene Products UK

The FPA National Distributor of the Year 2016 as voted for by FPA members: Bunzl Catering Supplies

The FPA Regional Distributor of the Year 2016 as voted for by entrants’ customers: Nivek Catering Supplies

The FPA Foodservice Retailer of the Year 2016 as voted for by members: McDonald’s Restaurants

The FPA Foodservice Operator of the Year Award 2016 as voted for by FPA members: BaxterStorey

The FPA Chairman’s Award
Chairman’s Award 2016 was awarded to Greg Fitchett of CMC Daymark for dedicated service and inspiration to the foodservice packaging industry.

The FPA Sustainability Award 2016, judged by an independent panel went to Rapid Action Packaging for the ‘Fresher Thinking’ campaign.

The FPA Marketing Award 2016 judged by an independent panel went to James Cropper for the ‘Burnside Community Energy’ campaign.

The FPA Marketing Award 2016, judged by an independent panel went to Wrap Film Systems for the ‘Wrap Smart’ campaign.

The FPA Product Innovation Award 2016 judged by an independent panel went to RPC Superfos for ‘Easy Snacking’ 

Winner of Springboard’s FutureChef 2016 Announced #

Bethan Disley-Jones, 14, was announced as the winner of Springboard’s FutureChef 2016 at the National Final beating over 8,000 contestants to claim the title of FutureChef Winner for 2016.

Springboard’s FutureChef National final took place at Westminster Kingsway College, London on Monday 14th March with 12 finalists competing to be crowned FutureChef Winner 2016. The finalists had already completed in school heats, local and regional finals before making it to the National Final, beating over 8,000 students.

Serving up a menu of chicken with sundried tomatoes and chorizo mousse, followed by a dessert of baked pear with raspberry sorbet, Bethan from Pensby High School in Merseyside cooked her way into the judge’s hearts at the Springboard’s FutureChef 2016 National Final competition.

On hearing she won Springboard’s FutureChef 2016 Bethan said, ‘I entered FutureChef because I saw what past winners had achieved and I wanted the chance to do the same. It’s amazing to have won and I feel FutureChef will give me lots of opportunities for employment’.

Springboard’s FutureChef, is a nationwide culinary initiative delivered in 723 schools nationwide. The main goal of FutureChef is to help young people aged 12-16 to learn the vital life skills of cooking and understanding nutrition, as well as providing invaluable insight into and inspiration for building a career within the hospitality industry. Key sponsors include the Worshipful Company of Cooks and the Savoy Educational Trust.

Springboard’s Dee Smith, regional director for London South-East, said “Congratulations to all of our hard-working, committed finalists – they have all been part of a great FutureChef.  It really is amazing to see the quality of work by young chefs improve year on year, the talent we see as a result of the Springboard FutureChef initiative is remarkable and Bethan is a true winner.”

Celebrated chef Brian Turner CBE said “It has been a fantastic day and it’s good to see so many dedicated young people with so much talent. Thanks must also go to teachers and mentors who make such a great contribution to the success of the event. Bethan is a great winner.”

Bethan wins a spectacular experience at Henley Regatta in July 2016 courtesy of sponsor Sodexo. She will work behind the scenes at the world famous event in the fine dining Fawley Meadows restaurant with Sodexo Prestige Executive Chefs and will join her parents and guests for a meal, a boat trip on the Thames, and a day’s racing along with accommodation. Bethan also receives a year’s student membership for The Craft Guild of Chefs. Her school receives £400 of vouchers courtesy of Lockhart Catering Equipment and her mentor chef Gareth Billington receives a commemorative plate.

Second place was Courtney McDowell, 16, City of Glasgow College, who receives an invitation, along with three guests, to the Delaware North box at Wembley for the Summertime Ball 2016. Courtney will experience a work placement in the VIP area before the concert shadowing the Executive Head Chef for Hospitality, Mark Reynolds courtesy of Delaware North.

Third place - Connor Duncan, 16, Menie Estate Golf Academy, Aberdeenshire, will work with his mentor on an inspirational dinner with a celebrity chef and the Elior development chefs to produce a fine dining banquet for 100 VIP guests courtesy of Elior.

Chief Hubbie wins KWIBA Women in PR and Marketing Award 2016 #

Rebecca Riches, founder and managing director of The Hub, won the Women in PR and Marketing category at the Kent Women in Business Awards 2016.

Now in its fourth year, and supported by the Institute of Directors, the Kent Women in Business Awards scheme recognises and celebrates the success and talent of inspiring female business owners across the county.

Rebecca Riches comments on her win, “I am particularly thrilled to be recognised in the competitive industry of PR and marketing.  With an estimated 4,200 PR agencies operating nationwide, it really is an incredible accomplishment to be acknowledged as a standout agency in our field and to be accredited as the female leader of a successful business.

“I feel particularly fortunate to work in such an exciting and interesting specialist sector and am always gratified by the support, from not only our fantastic clients but our industry peers and colleagues.  A huge thank you goes to my talented team that show the same level of passion each and every day as I do, making The Hub the outstanding success it is today.”