Members’ News

May 2016

James Taylor announced as the new CEO of Sodexo’s UK and Ireland healthcare business #

Sodexo works at 100 NHS and private client sites in the healthcare sector, in addition to running the Tillery Valley Foods food production site in Wales and Home Service, a meals-on-wheels service in London and the South East. Sodexo provides a wide range of services in hospitals designed to improve quality of life for patients, staff and visitors, including catering, portering, facilities management and clinical pathway management.

In his new role, James will be focused on ensuring that all Sodexo’s services continue to support deliver a positive patient experience, through engaged and empowered employees.

He joins Sodexo UK and Ireland from Sodexo USA, where he held a number of senior leadership roles, including president of the senior living business from 2008 to 2012, and president of the healthcare business in the south-eastern United States from 2012 until late 2015. In these roles James worked extensively on the development and successful delivery of strategic and operational projects. His work resulted in the business consistently exceeding the expectations of its clients and patients and delivering the company’s best ever set of engagement scores.

Commenting on this new role, James said; “I am excited to be taking up this challenge and working with such a strong team. Sodexo’s UK and Ireland healthcare business has a strong proposition and great client relationships both in the NHS and the private sector. I look forward to working with our people to ensure that the patient is at the heart of everything we do."

Sodexo to sponsor the Women’s Professional Football Association Awards for the next three years #

The Women’s PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the Women’s PFA Young Player of the Year will be presented in association with Sodexo until 2018.

CEO Sports & Leisure, Sodexo UK & Ireland, Chris Bray presented Izzy Christiansen and Beth Mead with Women’s PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the Women’s PFA Young Player of the Year respectively at the 43rd PFA Awards at Grosvenor House London last night (24 April).

Sodexo has strong links with professional football in the UK and Ireland, and a clear focus on gender balance.

The Sodexo Sports & Leisure portfolio includes provision of retail, hospitality, sales and conference services at the stadiums of Newcastle United FC and Everton FC in the Premier League, and Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Huddersfield Town AFC in the Championship.

Republic of Ireland and Sunderland Ladies striker Stephanie Roche was last year appointed health and wellbeing ambassador for Sodexo Ireland, supporting Sodexo’s Healthwise initiative across 200 client sites in the Republic and Northern Ireland.

Sodexo is committed to gender balance both in the UK and Ireland, and last week was included in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women for third year running.
In March 2015, Sodexo made a commitment to publish its gender pay gap ahead of legislation.

Chris Bray, CEO sports & leisure, Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: “We’re proud to sponsor the Women’s PFA Players’ Player of the Year and Women’s PFA Young Player of the Year which is a tremendous fit with our existing partnerships in professional football and our commitment to gender balance.

“At Sodexo, we are genuinely committed to gender equality. As well as being the right thing to do, our global research shows that where our teams are more gender balanced they are more engaged, productive and profitable, so there’s also a clear business case.

“We look forward to sponsoring these awards for the next three years, and of course congratulations to Izzy, Beth and all the nominees.” 

Major operators voice their support for new Commercial Kitchen show #

Commercial Kitchen – the UK’s first trade show dedicated to the catering equipment market, has continued to draw support from across all eating out of home sectors ahead of its launch at the NEC Birmingham on 7-8 June 2016.

Thousands of decision makers from restaurants, pubs, hotels, contract caterers, hospitals, schools, care homes, universities, attractions, distributors, consultancies and leading associations are preparing to visit.  Among them are Starbucks, Pizza Hut Restaurants, Marston’s, TGI Friday’s UK, YO! Sushi, Pret A Manger, Azzurri Group (Ask Italian, Zizzi and Coco di Mama), Premier Inn, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Domino's Pizza Group, Bill’s, Whitbread, Punch Taverns, Oakman Inns & Restaurants, Mitchells & Butlers, Admiral Taverns, The City Pub Company, Elior, Bidvest Foodservice, Bourne Leisure, WSH (BaxterStorey, Caterlink, Holroyd Howe, Benugo and Portico), Cardiff Council, University of Birmingham, Imperial College London, Merlin Entertainments, Hollywood Bowl, Butlins, Flamingo Land Resort, Luxury Family Hotels, Hand Picked Hotels, Bespoke Hotels, Gold Care Homes, Small Batch Coffee Company, Pod, Waterstones, and the NHS.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what the Commercial Kitchen show has to offer –it’s been a long time coming, a show that focuses on the kitchen or back of house, and it is a great opportunity to focus on many differing aspects of the ‘engine room’ of our various food businesses,” says Chez Gawen, head of food at Pizza Hut Restaurants.

“It is always important to keep up-to-date with industry improvements and innovations.  Commercial Kitchen appeals to me as it is a more focused show, so time is not wasted searching through sundry stands to find the equipment you need to review,” says Jon Parry, construction manager at YO! Sushi.

“I’m looking forward to visiting Commercial Kitchen, it fits perfectly with our continuing search for the very best equipment, design and partners that enables us to serve our guests, with better quality; at a pace they choose; in the most efficient commercial manner possible,” says David Carroll, property director at TGI Friday’s UK.

“Commercial Kitchen show represents an opportunity to see, and discuss first-hand, the latest developments in catering equipment under one roof, without the need to visit countless suppliers around the country.  Events like this, which bring together the key people in the category in one go, is an opportunity to benchmark and potentially improve our choice of catering equipment in a very efficient manner,” says Colin Mackenzie, group purchasing manager at Marston’s Corporate Services Procurement.

“The reason I am looking forward to attending Commercial Kitchen is simple, I have built one restaurant kitchen and am certain to build another within the next 12 months.  As such, it is vital that I am able to keep up-to-date with new technology and trends, and interact with industry professionals to gain vital insight and advice,” says Robin Frean, co-founder, Hood Restaurants.

With just eight stands left to fill, the launch edition will feature over 80 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 Ascentia Foodservice Equipment, Euro Catering Equipment, Bensons Products, Atosa Manufacturing, Nayati, Dynamic, Pira, Samsung, Nelson Catering Equipment, Multivac UK, and Prodis.

For further information, and to register for a free trade pass to Commercial Kitchen, please visit and quote priority code PR1 

Elior and David Walliams recognise catering talent at annual awards #

Elior UK celebrated its outstanding colleagues at its annual Awards for Excellence.

Aptly, the awards were hosted by Britain’s Got Talent judge, David Walliams.

Each of the 11 categories recognise an outstanding contribution towards Elior’s operations, from site managers to apprentices. More than 4,000 entries were received across each of the categories.

The event climaxed with a live vote from attendees in the ‘You Made a Difference’ category, which celebrates a team member who has gone above and beyond their duty in demonstrating Elior’s values. The results saw Timi Takacs, supervisor at St Bart’s Hospital, take the You Made a Difference top spot. She was commended for her personal approach to service, which supported patients through difficult periods and saw them return to the hospital to dine, even after they had been discharged.

Arran McDowell, Elior HR director says: “Elior’s colleagues are at the heart of what we do. They’re a crucial part of delivering a service where the whole experience matters, so it’s right that we make note of their contribution with a glittering awards ceremony. And who better to reward top talent than Britain’s Got Talent judge, David Walliams. I’d like to extend my congratulations to everyone nominated for an award.”

Each of the category winners receives a trip to Rome, followed by a seven night cruise around Italy on the luxury vessel, Star Clipper.

More than 200 guests from across the foodservice industry attended the event, held at 8 Northumberland Avenue, London. Elior’s UK Culinary Competition grand finalists prepared a three course lunch to mark the occasion.

Elior’s Awards for Excellence were announced as follows:

• Customer Service: Muharem Sumaric, food and beverage assistant, BT Murrayfield
• eXperience Service Champion: Carl Perkins, joint site lead, EE Plymouth
• Chef Award: Jav Aziz, executive head chef, Rangers F.C.
• Culinary Competition: Andy Jeff, chef manager, UPM Caledonian
• Star Site: BT Murrayfield
• Special Recognition: Nil Johnston, development chef, retail and Four Seasons Health Care
• Site Colleague of the Year: Emma Malcolm, cleaner, South Cerney
• Manager of the Year: Andrew Davies, site manager, Lulworth
• Support Services Colleague of the Year: Scott Allibone, operations manager, defence and vending
• Apprentice of the Year: Katy Keen, training administrator, learning & development
• You Made a Difference: Timi Takacs, supervisor, St Bart's Hospital

Sodexo extends Hampden Park partnership #

Sodexo has extended its partnership with Hampden Park until 2020.

Sodexo will continue to provide food and beverage services at Scotland’s national stadium including retail, hospitality and the Museum Café.

There are 18 full-time Sodexo employees at Hampden Park, but for large event days, such as football finals and concerts, up to 800 casual Sodexo employees support operations.

On non-match days Sodexo will continue to provide all conference and event services.

The Sodexo partnership with Hampden Park began in 1999. Two years ago, Sodexo supplied catering and hospitality services at the venue during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games serving 360,000 spectators with an estimated 33,000 locally-sourced burgers, 31,000 servings of street food and 105,000 bottle of Scottish water and soft drinks.

Chris Bray, CEO sports & leisure, Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: “It’s fantastic to extend our partnership with Scotland’s national stadium Hampden Park to 2020 which supports our long-term strategy in Scotland. The partnership is an excellent example of how our Sodexo team works with a client to serve locally-sourced products to thousands of customers for big events, as well as making the venue profitable on non-match days with conferences and events.”

Peter Dallas, Hampden Park managing director, said: “We are delighted to continue our long standing partnership with Sodexo. From hosting the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, when the eyes of the world were upon us, to international football, rock concerts and hosting conferences and events, the Sodexo team provides excellent service to our customers.”

People 1st introduces new WorldHost refresher to help keep customer service skills on-point #

People 1st launched a highly interactive, bite size training resource, created especially for tablets and smartphones that will allow users to refresh their knowledge on key elements of its WorldHost customer service training.    

WorldHost M-learning is aimed at businesses looking to keep employee learning alive upon completion of WorldHost – People 1st’s globally recognised gold standard training scheme that teaches the principles of good customer service.

Just as with the face-to-face training it has been created to support and enhance, WorldHost. M-learning is interactive, dynamic and fun. Crucially, the modules – many of which use quirky and compelling video content to assist learning – are delivered directly to inboxes on a monthly basis, giving users a convenient, cost effective and flexible way to refresh skills on their terms.     

Simon Tarr, chief executive of People 1st, says: “WorldHost M-learning is an innovative and fun way of making sure staff training impacts on your business in a positive and productive way whilst giving employees the skills and knowledge they need to become a valued member of the team.

“With competition for consumer spend more critical than ever, good customer service is imperative and can have a real world effect on the bottom line. WorldHost M-learning can support face-to-face training, in a time and cost effective manner, allowing users to quickly and easily refresh their skills without compromising the quality of learning.”

Leading UK independent airline group, Monarch, worked with People 1st, in partnership with Coffee Cup Training, to successfully develop and test the mobile learning technology prior to it being rolled out. Head of group learning, development and talent at Monarch, Dean Giles, had this to say: “Customer service is a battleground for market share. The fundamentals of service excellence start and end with our employees and this is why, in 2013, we successfully introduced the WorldHost Principles of Customer Service programme through all levels across the organisation.

“The new WorldHost M-learning initiative, offered by our partners, People 1st, is an excellent example of seamlessly integrating traditional classroom based training that uses technology to increase learning retention and keep service excellence at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

“It provides an engaging learning experience for employees at a time and place that suits them. In addition, it is connecting employees with the support, expertise and resources they need.”

Those interested in using this innovative tool to further their learning can find out more here: 

Frima appoints new London regional sales manager #

VarioCooking Center’s ‘great results’ impress former Olympics chef.

Frima UK has appointed Darren Brinn as regional sales manager for London. As a highly experienced chef, Darren has headed up large commercial contracts for several leading organisations including BT and GSK. Most recently he was executive chef at Aramark UK’s HQ in Northwood, where he helped support delivery of catering for the 2012 London Olympics.

“Once I decided to switch into sales the opportunity to join Frima was too good to miss,” he says. “I am familiar with the product line – to be honest, it’s been something of a passion of mine. It’s a premium piece of technology that truly makes chefs’ lives easier. It’s fast, easy to use, energy-saving and produces great results.”

Frima UK managing director Graham Kille is delighted to welcome his latest team member. “Darren is imaginative, creative and ambitious. Wherever possible we recruit former chefs as salespeople, since they have natural empathy with our customers and understand their issues. Darren’s experience will be invaluable.”

Darren is excited to be joining Frima just as the company has launched its latest model, the VarioCooking Center 112L. “It’s a classic, countertop two-pan Frima, but with a 50 litre cooking capacity, and that makes it ideal for any restaurant looking for a multifunctional cooking appliance that can handle larger volumes,” he says.

Tim Jones wins leading business award from the Institute of Directors #

Tim Jones, chairman of CH&Co Group, was named Director of the Year of a Large Company at the IoD London and the South Director of the Year Awards.

The awards, run by the Institute of Directors (IoD) and open to members and non-members, are sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and bring together company directors from a variety of backgrounds, recognising their qualities as business leaders.

Tim Jones said: “I was so surprised and honoured to win this award from the IoD. I founded the business 25 years ago with my late wife Robyn, who sadly passed away last September, and this award is as much for her as for me. Last year was incredibly challenging on a personal level and from a business perspective as we merged our company to create the CH&Co Group and I’m very grateful to our amazing team who have helped us achieve it all – this recognition is for all of them.”

Rodger Broad, director of the IoD South, said: “Once again, the standard of leadership set by all our finalists was exceptional, so Tim’s win is a tremendous achievement.

“He goes forward to the UK IoD awards in October where he will compete for the title of UK Director of the Year.”

Tim received his award at a Gala Awards Dinner attended by nearly 200 fellow finalists and guests at the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall, London.

Major award for ScotHot #

ScotHot has been highly commended in the prestigious Exhibition News Awards.  Scotland’s national event for the food, drink, hospitality and tourism industries, fended off stiff competition in the Best Trade Show category.

Judges recognised a 20% increase in attendees to the show, ScotHot’s innovative use of digital marketing techniques, its participation in Scottish Tourism Week’s Signature Programme and the sheer drive demonstrated by the whole team. 

Positive feedback came from many of the high profile and senior-level decision makers in the industry who attended, including Michelin-starred chef Andrew Fairlie of Gleneagles Hotel and Resort, who said: “I’ve been here all day and I’ve learned a lot of things that I will take back to the business and speak to our people about. I’ve met lots of new suppliers”

The revitalised ScotHot took place at Glasgow’s SECC in March 2015 with an increased audience of over 7,000 industry professionals visiting over the course of the two days.  ScotHot 2015 was part of Scottish Tourism Week’s Signature Programme, which brought together other must-attend events for the hospitality industry including the Scottish Tourism Industry Conference; Scottish Tourism Week Dinner with a Difference and the ‘Oscars’ of the Scottish tourism industry, the Scottish Thistle Awards.

With a heritage dating back over 40 years, the show runs every two years with ScotHot 2017 scheduled to return on 15 and 16 March at the centre of Scottish Tourism Week’s Signature Programme once again.

Toby Wand, managing director of Fresh Montgomery said: “It’s an honour to still be receiving accolades for a show that has served the Scottish hospitality and tourism markets for more than 40 years.  ScotHot 2015 was a standout show in terms of the number of exhibitors and visitors.  The event now has a new lease of life. We have created a must-attend event which celebrates the best of Scottish hospitality, tourism, food and drink and we look forward to making it even bigger and better in 2017 and beyond.”

The EN awards, celebrating its tenth anniversary, are considered the top awards in the events industry calendar.  They recognise outstanding achievement across the exhibition industry: from the work of organisers, to venues and suppliers.  Hosted by compere, comedian and impressionist Rory Bremner, the sold-out gala dinner and ceremony at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge saw 21 nomination-based categories awarded.

Lusso’s Gareth Ruck is the only UK contract catering chef selected for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 semi-finals #

Gareth Ruck, hospitality head chef for Lusso catering at Hogan Lovells International LLP, has been named a S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 semi-finalist and is the only UK contract catering chef to have advanced to this stage of the worldwide culinary competition.

Now in its second year, the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition searches out the best young culinary talent (age 18-30) in the world.

From over 3000 applicants to just 200 globally, Gareth’s success will see him compete in the UK and Ireland live finals this summer* against nine other talented young chefs from the restaurant sector.  Gareth will cook his signature dish of Salt Marsh Lamb for a jury of UK chefs in his bid to win the title of finalist for the UK and Ireland geographic area.  If successful in this challenge, he will be heading off to Milan in October for the International Grand Final and a shot at the coveted S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 title.

Gareth’s entry was selected for the semi-finals following a strict evaluation process by ALMA, the International School of Italian Cuisine, which looked for the professionalism of an entry judged on the criteria of ingredients, skills, genius, beauty and message.

Paul Hurren, Lusso’s managing director, said about Gareth’s success: “Huge congratulations to Gareth on his fantastic achievement to date in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 challenge and for flying the flag for culinary excellence in contract catering.  This competition features the top young chefs from all over the world and to get this far clearly shows the incredible level at which Gareth is performing. Gareth is an exceptional young talent and possesses the right attitude, ambition and dedication to succeed.  We wish him the very best of luck in the UK and Ireland final.”

Tea Fusion announces ‘cool’ new feature for summer’s hot trend #

Operators can now use Tea Fusion machines to serve perfectly consistent loose leaf ice teas and infusions at the touch of a button and without the need for fridge space. This will be welcome news for operators looking to capitalise on the fastest growing soft drinks category of the last four years* – iced hot drinks – which are tipped to boom in the UK this summer.

Business controller for Tea Fusion, Amanda Cooper, said: “Over half of all out of home tea drinkers choose tea because they need refreshment*. And for the last four years, cold-hot drinks like iced tea have had the highest growth of all soft drinks both in value and volume, with sales rising by 43%*. By offering a premium selection of refreshing low-calorie, sugar-free, iced teas and infusions, operators will be able to capitalise on the trend and boost their tea sales.”

The machines’ ability to serve freshly brewed iced teas in addition to hot teas is thanks to a software update, which all the machines will be equipped with. In addition existing customers can request to have the feature activated with a single visit from a Tea Fusion engineer.  

* Allegra Tea Report Out of Home, December 2014

KNORR streams gluten-free masterclass for Coeliac UK Awareness Week #

KNORR called on operators to support Coeliac UK Awareness Week (9-15 May) and make gluten-free a bigger part of their menus.

During Awareness Week KNORR made it easier not just for people with coeliac disease to eat out, but for foodservice operators to create great tasting gluten-free food. KNORR put on a full week’s worth of activity, including an online streamed gluten-free masterclass with top chef and gluten-free expert Phil Vickery.

The masterclass showed operators how easy gluten-free catering can be, with top tips on setting up their kitchen to cater for gluten-free, get some great recipe ideas, and learn from the experts at Coeliac UK what coeliac disease really is.

Other activity throughout the week included a gluten-free roundtable, a pop-up restaurant at Unilever office and a Twitter Thunderclap to raise money for Coeliac UK.

Leon Mills, KNORR marketing manager, said: “While there’s been a widespread improvement on the gluten-free food available to eat out of home, 28% of operators still don’t offer gluten-free menu items[1]. It’s estimated that the catering industry is missing out on £100 million from people with coeliac disease and those they eat out with.[2]

“As awareness of coeliac disease grows, it’s not an issue we can ignore. With all the attention on Coeliac UK Awareness Week, it’s the perfect time to discover just how simple gluten-free can be – and how it can boost sales.”

1 Dewberry Redpoint survey, commissioned by KNORR (May 2015)
2 Coeliac UK Eating Out Survey (2009)

North West Young Chef crowns its first female winner #

A 19 year-old Merseyside chef has been crowned as North West England’s best, beating five young charges in a live cook-off to take Essential Cuisine’s coveted title.

Daniela Tucci from The Art School in Liverpool is the first ever female winner of the competition. Her pure talent and skill told as she was crowned during a tense two-and-a-half-hour trial held yesterday at Manchester College.

With ‘local’ and ‘seasonal’ the key watchwords of the competition, Daniela’s winning three-course menu consisted of  Claremont Farm asparagus, poached egg and classic Hollandaise sauce starter; Callum’s Blackface Suffolk Lamb with spring cabbage parcel, caramelised onion puree, Heritage carrots, peas & beets main; and a dessert of Wild strawberry basket with Basil, “Two Cathedrals Honey” and Balsamic.

On the win Daniela said: ‘I feel so happy! I came today with the attitude as long as I do my best I really didn’t mind the outcome, but to win is amazing. It was probably the most stressed I have ever been in my life, but it is all worth it now.”

She also paid tribute to The Art School proprietor, Paul Askew, and her mentor at The City of Liverpool College, Siobhan Sweet, for their “time, help and support” throughout the process. 

Chairman of judges, award winning Master Chef of Great Britain, Brian Mellor said: “Daniela demonstrated great calm and at a time of great pressure, she was cooking with a smile on her face. Her dessert is really what put her ahead of the rest – it was exceptional.”

Echoing Brian’s sentiments, fellow judge and Essential Cuisine MD Nigel Crane said: “Very well done to Daniela, her skill and coolness told on the day – a fantastic menu executed perfectly.  In Paul and Siobhan she has two amazing mentors – any young chef would be proud of such support and I know they’re very proud of her.”

Alongside the kudos of being crowned the North West Young Chef of for 2016, Daniela receives £500 and an automatic qualification into the semi-finals of the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Young National Chef of the Year competition, where she will square off against the best young chefs from the rest of the country.

Essential Cuisine’s North West Young Chef Competition invites young chefs under the age of 23 from Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire, Cumbria and Shropshire to compete against each other in a two and a half hour cook off to produce a three course meal for two people featuring local and seasonal produce.

Couture’s Left Bank cafe bar at the People’s History Museum Manchester recognised for its quality food and drink #

CH&Co Group’s specialist arts, leisure and media catering company, Couture, has achieved the VisitEngland Quality Food & Drink Accolade at the Left Bank cafe bar located within the People’s History Museum, Manchester.

The accolade has been received as part of VisitEngland’s Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme and recognises excellence in the specific food and drink element of the visitor experience.

The VisitEngland assessor felt that the Left Bank cafe bar and the People’s History Museum was truly deserving of the unique honour. To achieve this accolade, an attraction must run a professional and well managed catering operation with skilled and friendly staff. It must also offer menus that are innovative and interesting with a strong emphasis on the provenance of local food that will leave visitors eager to repeat their experience. 

Tony Carr, managing director of Couture, comments: “We are thrilled that the Left Bank cafe bar has received the VisitEngland Quality Food & Drink Accolade. We have worked closely with our client to create an artisan-style café bar that is befitting of the unique and inspiring location of the People’s History Museum, Manchester. Including hand-crafted coffees, seasonal British cuisine, children’s menus and fine local ales, our food and drink offer is continually refreshed, suits all tastes and ages, and is underpinned by first class service.  We only use the highest quality ingredients, and these are locally sourced wherever possible.  It’s fantastic that our attention to detail in both food and service has been officially recognised. And, it’s even better that the people of Manchester and visitors to the city can be confident of the superb food and drink available on their doorstep.”

CH&Co Group to hold first chef recruitment day #

CH&Co Group’s Lusso, Ampersand and Chester Boyd brands have joined forces to launch the company’s first Chef Recruitment Day.

The event has the primary objective of discovering talented, driven chefs that share the company’s love of great food and service to fill current vacancies across its London-based sites.

From commis chefs through to head chefs, candidates were invited to submit their CV for consideration.  Candidates who clearly possess a passion for food and high standards were selected to attend the Chef Recruitment Day for the face-to-face selection process.

The event format consisted of three stages.  A ‘speed-dating-style interview’ will be followed by a trade test for those successful at interview stage.  The trade test will challenge the chefs’ skill and creativity to prepare a delicious dish from a selection of ingredients in just 20 minutes. The final stage is a one-to-one debrief that will put the successful chefs in touch with site managers or provide constructive feedback to those that have not quite made the grade.

CH&Co Group maximised its links with local colleges and universities and use the power of social media and the press to ensure as many chefs as possible had the opportunity to apply to CH&Co Group as a progressive career choice.

Catherine Silvester, head of HR at CH&Co Group, comments: “It’s widely reported that the industry is suffering from a chef shortage crisis, but as our business continues to grow we are determined to attract the right people to enhance our excellent reputation for food and service.  Our dedicated chef recruitment drive will engage chefs at varying stages of their career who want to develop both professionally and personally within a company committed to nurturing and supporting talent. The robust format of the Chef Recruitment Day has been designed to enable candidates to shine and we look forward to discovering a wealth of talent.”

Shine Lifetime Achievement Award to honour catering legend Robyn Jones #

People 1st announced that the Shine Awards lifetime achievement category is to be renamed in honour of legendary catering entrepreneur and CH&Co founder, Robyn Jones OBE, who passed away last year aged just 54.

The Robyn Jones Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to a woman who has demonstrated long-term dedication to the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism industry and excellence in her career.

Previous winners include former VisitBritain chief executive, Sandie Dawe CBE, The Seafood Restaurant director, Jill Stein OBE, and Robyn Jones herself, who won the accolade in 2011.

Robyn Jones’ story is a truly inspirational one. Having started her career as a school dinner lady, she founded CH&Co with her husband, Tim, on a Government Enterprise Allowance in 1991. With a spare bedroom as her office, and armed with just a telephone directory as her customer database, she began to build her company.

Within two years, and at the height of a recession, the company had won the Booker Prize for Excellence as Best Young Business and Best Caterer.

Robyn's determination, endless enthusiasm and vision to gain a reputation for improving food at work by providing exceptional eating experiences, paid off. Following a merger with HCM Group in 2015, CH&Co today has a turnover approaching £200m, with a team of 4,500 people and 400 contracts nationwide.

Robyn was also a patron of the Association of Catering Excellence, trustee of the PM Trust, and a guardian member of the Hospitality Action charity. In 2006, she won a prestigious Catey award – the industry equivalent of an Oscar – and was named the Credit Suisse Most Outstanding Woman in Business 2007.

In addition to winning the Shine Lifetime Achievement award in 2011, she was also named as one of People 1st’s Top 100 most Influential Women in Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism. She was awarded an OBE for her services to the industry that same year.

Robyn sadly passed away at her home in September 2015, following a long illness. Her colleagues described her as “truly indomitable” and “an inspiring woman to work for”.
People 1st chief executive Simon Tarr said: “Robyn Jones was a true pioneer for women in hospitality. Our research shows that lack of visible role models is still seen as a barrier for a lot of women in the industry, and Robyn’s story was – and still is – an aspirational one that will inspire other women to aim high. “Robyn was a valued member of our Women 1st network, and we’re proud to be able to honour her legacy through the Robyn Jones Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Robyn’s husband Tim Jones welcomed the news and said: “Robyn was truly dedicated to the hospitality industry, and to ensuring that it made the most of its talented people. It’s wonderful to see her legacy being celebrated and continuing to inspire others in the industry she loved.”

The shortlist and winner of the Robyn Jones Lifetime Achievement award will be chosen by an expert panel of industry leaders. The winner will be announced at the Shine Awards dinner in London on 3 October.

GV Group launches scholarship scheme to help young talent shine #

Food logistics and distribution company GV Group (Gate Ventures), has launched a unique scheme to give young talent from disadvantaged backgrounds the chance to make a university education a reality, through financial support and mentorship.

Designed to close the gap between social and economic divides, the scheme has been created by Tevin Tobun, chief executive and founder of GV Group (Gate Ventures) to give young people essential financial support throughout their study as well as access to expertise, advice and experience from an esteemed panel of mentors.

Tevin explains: “There are some seriously inspirational young people out there, who have a sheer determination to succeed despite extremely challenging circumstances in their personal lives.   We developed the Scholarship to give the next generation a helping hand.”

The first four students to benefit from the scheme were selected at finalist interviews by a panel of judges that included Tevin Tobun, Andy Kemp, group sales & marketing director at Bidvest Foodservice, Anne Pierce, chief executive of Springboard, Simon Best, senior lecturer in International Management and Innovation at Middlesex University and Aishah Piprawala, a third year Sociology with Criminology student from Middlesex University. The successful candidates will receive mentorship from a member of the panel and a financial contribution of £6000 towards university fees and living costs whilst studying for their degrees.

Shortlisted from over 50 applicants and first round interviews, the seven finalists were invited to present a scheme that would benefit their local community, taking into consideration implementation and challenges as well as the idea itself and proposed benefits.

Andy Kemp, group sales & marketing director at Bidvest Foodservice commented: “The candidates were an inspiration to us all.  I was really impressed by the focus and vision to not only improve their own lives but those of their surrounding communities.  I’m really excited to mentor one of the individuals.”

Anne Pierce, chief executive of Springboard comments: “The GV Scholarship has the potential to make a real difference to people’s lives and I’m delighted to be involved.  The passion and drive from the young candidates was astounding and I’m looking forward to seeing them flourish over the next few years as they work towards achieving their degrees and wider goals."

Between them, the finalists have ambitious plans to positively impact women’s rights through politics, create affordable dentistry for impoverished areas, provide basic amenities such as clean drinking water to the developing world and help find a cure for cancer.

Tevin adds “We all have a responsibility to help the next generation. There’s a huge amount of opportunity, knowledge and connections within the hospitality industry.  The GV Scholarship gives a handful of promising youngsters the chance to benefit from it combined with the professional qualifications they need to achieve the goals in their chosen fields.

The four finalists will begin studying for their University degrees in September 2016. 

BaxterStorey puts wonky asparagus to the top of the menu #

Demand for uniformity in fruit and vegetables is causing an increase in food waste across the UK. WRAP research estimates that £3 billion worth of food will be wasted by the UK foodservice and hospitality sector this year, up from £2.5 billion in 2011*. BaxterStorey is working with a UK supplier to help eradicate its wasted asparagus crop and lead the way in the battle against food waste in the hospitality sector.

Watts Farm in Kent and Essex supplies supermarkets, foodservice providers, restaurants and farmers’ markets with around 70 different fruit and vegetable products. Ed Gray of Watts Farm, said: “Demand during the asparagus season is for grade one product that is uniform and perfectly straight, with no imperfections.”
Last year, Watts Farm produced 36 tonnes of perfectly good asparagus, but 15% of this did not meet the specification required and was graded as waste. Uneven asparagus is graded as class two or three, and much of this product is used as compost.

With so much waste, BaxterStorey has committed to purchasing class two and three asparagus from Watts Farm to use across many of its locations on a trial basis, with a view to rolling out across further sites.

Matt Hay, chef director at BaxterStorey, said: “Asparagus is an extremely versatile ingredient, celebrated by chefs throughout its short season. We have created a series of recipes to inspire our chef teams when using asparagus, proving it does not have to be class one to be delicious.”

The team will also take some of the farm’s asparagus trimmings, which are routinely wasted. These will be the basis of a range of fresh soups, stocks and sauces making this expensive seasonal ingredient more affordable for many businesses.

Matt continued: “We pride ourselves on using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients wherever possible. We hope offering an alternative to class one asparagus will help fight the war on food waste and encourage people to love all fruit and vegetables, no matter what their shape or size.”

* WRAP Overview of Waste in the UK Hospitality and Food Service Sector, November 2013 

Essential Cuisine Raises £2000 for the Culinary Ability Awards #

Essential Cuisine has raised £2,000 for the Culinary Ability Awards, the not-for-profit social enterprise that champions people with disabilities working in the hospitality industry.

The Stock People raised the sum over four days at the Hotelympia 2016 during the launch of its new range of Asian stocks. By pledging £1 for every Asian sample pot it gave away to chefs and caterers at the event, the company raised a grand total of £2000.

The funds will now go directly to the Culinary Ability Awards, as the organisation begins to realise its long term goal of becoming an official hospitality training provider for people with disabilities.

Nigel Crane, managing director for Essential Cuisine, said: “It was another great year for us at Hotelympia, with our stand proving popular across the four days. This is evident from the number of sample pots of the Asian range we gave away, and the total we raised for the Culinary Ability Awards as a result.

“We could not be more proud to be associated with the Culinary Ability Awards, a fantastic charity which is close to all our hearts. The work they do helping individuals with disabilities break into our industry is admirable and goes to show that everyone deserves a chance to shine in this fantastic industry.”

Commercial Kitchen confirms Keynote Theatre line-up #

The Restaurant Group, Premier Inn, Pret A Manger, Corinthia Hotels, Young’s and Geronimo Pubs are just some of the leading operators taking to the Keynote Theatre stage at next month’s Commercial Kitchen show.

Launching at the NEC Birmingham on 7-8 June 2016, the show’s expert seminar content will cover key themes that focus specifically on the kitchen or back of house, including equipment innovations, technology, procurement, design, efficiency, and best practices.  There will be dedicated sessions devoted to the running of both private and public sector kitchens.

“Lots of innovation goes into menu development, sometimes kitchen kit gets forgotten.  It’s important to keep up with new innovation when it comes to kitchen design, in my opinion it goes hand in hand with menu design, the Commercial Kitchen show is a great opportunity for all to see what’s new and on offer,” says Simon Xavier, executive chef – leisure division at The Restaurant Group.  He oversees all new kitchen designs and builds across many different leading brands, including Frankie & Benny’s, Coast to Coast, Chiquito, Garfunkel's, and Filling Station.

“I'm interested to see what the Commercial Kitchen show has to offer, kitchens are the beating heart of our business, ensuring they're well equipped with innovative equipment that creates a pleasing environment for our teams to work in is paramount!  Here's hoping that a show like this can inspire the design of our kitchens,” says Chris Knights, group executive chef at Young’s and Geronimo Pubs.

Simon Xavier and Chris Knights will both be appearing in exclusive ‘in conversation’ sessions at the show, sharing their insights and experiences into how their kitchens have helped drive their respective food businesses forward.

The two day programme includes eight panel sessions, four seminars, three Q&As, and The Commercial Kitchen Innovation Challenge Live.

Highlights include:

• In conversation with Dirk Wissmann, senior equipment manager at Pret A Manger (with Andrew Seymour, editorial director of Foodservice Equipment Journal)
• The hidden costs of your kitchen: chaired by Andrew Seymour (FEJ) and featuring Simon Lee, F&B development manager at Premier Inn
• The fine dining kitchen and what every chef wants in it: Peter Woods, exec head chef at The Corinthia London (AA Hotel of the Year for London 2015-16)
• The foodservice kitchen design panel: featuring CEDA Grand Prix Award winners of best small, best medium and best large projects – Paul Neville, MD of CHR Food Service Equipment (The Dawnay Arms); Peter Farrell, sales director at C&C Catering Equipment (Ynyshir Hall Country House Hotel); and Clive Groom, MD of CNG Foodservice Equipment (Fenwick's new food hall)
• Excellence in customer service: featuring shortlisted finalists and winner from the CEDA Grand Prix for customer service, including Iain Munro, MD of ScoMac Catering Equipment; Jack Sharkey, MD of Vision Commercial Kitchens; and Martin Stephens-Smith, founder and MD of TAG
• Theatre kitchens – making chefs the main act: chaired by Clare Nicholls, editor of Catering Insight, and featuring Jason Fish, MD of HK Projects, and Radford Chancellor FSCI, non exec director of ‎Radford Chancellor

“The Commercial Kitchen show offers the industry something unique, not only commercial catering equipment but also some excellent seminars.  As a consultancy we are able to learn about new developments, new products and innovation within the commercial catering equipment sector all under one roof.  Our consultants and a number of our clients are looking forward to attending this exciting show,” says Radford Chancellor.

Previously confirmed speakers also include Philip Shelley, national chairman of The Hospital Caterers Association; Myles Bremner, former director of the School Food Plan and CEO of Bremner Consulting; and Mark McCulloch, group CEO and founder of WE ARE Spectacular.

“It is vital that our members have access to the finest quality equipment available and this show will give opportunity for suppliers and caterers to network, ensuring that there is excellent awareness of the pioneering choices of available equipment,” says the HCA’s Philip Shelley.

"At last, a dedicated Commercial Kitchen show.  With so much happening in the popular food sector and so many new trends emerging, it's very important to see as much new kit under one roof as one can.  It will give the exposure to equipment, knowledge and know-how that any entrepreneur needs to make balanced decisions on equipment purchases.  It will soon be regular on the list of show's you just can’t miss!" says restaurant consultant Frank Boltman.

Commercial Kitchen will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, 7-8 June at the NEC Birmingham.  For further information, including seminar timings, visit

To view the Commercial Kitchen exhibitor list, visit

To register for a free trade pass, please visit and quote priority code PR1

Elior launches unique programme to develop the next generation of leaders #

Elior UK has launched a unique training programme – set to help its site managers take their careers to the next level, developing the next generation of leaders.

Accelerating Leaders – which has been recognised by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) – provides Elior’s top talent with the skills and development they need to manage multiple sites. The programme, which launched in 2016, forms part of Elior’s Leadership Academy.

Chloe Lander, Elior’s talent & resource manager, said: “We spotted that there’s a big transition required when a manager expands their portfolio for the first time. Taking the step up to managing several sites requires juggling many operations – and without having the intimate working knowledge of a site and its people that they had as a single site manager. We’re launching Accelerating Leaders to fill this skills gap and support our top talent when they make this leap.”

The programme has a practical focus, with only three classroom sessions over the eight month programme. The rest of the time is allocated to learning while actively implementing projects within the business. Team members who enrol on the course will be given tips on improving their time management, coaching others and commercial skills.
Chole continues: “Accelerating Leaders isn’t ‘one size fits all’. Everyone has their own style of leadership. That’s why the programme starts with delegates learning about their own style. Only with this awareness can they fulfil their leadership potential and help Elior to achieve its ambitious targets.”

Each delegate is assigned with a mentor and one of four high level business coaches to fast-track their progression. It is hoped that current delegates will take Accelerating Leaders mentorships next year.

KNORR launches new range inspiring caterers to capitalise on street food craze #

KNORR has released a new range of international pastes, giving caterers the inspiration they need to capitalise on street food’s explosive popularity.

Street food is the fastest growing segment of the out of home market, with an average turnover growth of 16% between 2016-18*. Competing with specialists in authentic international cuisines isn’t easy, but with the new KNORR Professional pastes – chefs have a powerful friend.

Leon Mills, KNORR marketing manager for Unilever Food Solutions, said: “The reality of a modern kitchen is that chefs don’t have time to continually monitor which world flavours are dominating the current street food market. Let alone find the perfect balance of spices for each of them. But with our new range, all that hard work has been done for them.

“Each paste delivers a truly authentic balance of spices in an extremely versatile format. Just the inspiration busy chefs need to create the sorts of exciting street food style dishes that will keep their menu on trend and customers on site.”

KNORR Professional pastes are made using only the highest quality spices, blended and bound in oil to create a consistent, authentic flavour in an easy to use format. The new range includes Butter Chicken, Piri Piri and Teriyaki.

The range is lactose free, suitable for vegetarians and vegans and contain no added artificial flavourings or colourings. The Butter Chicken paste is also gluten-free.

For free samples, recipes, or clever kitchen tips to make creating authentic-tasting street food dishes that little bit easier – visit

*Allegra Eating Top of Mind report, 2016

Meat-free options and ethical standards prove a draw for young UK diners #

Half of millennials (18 – 34 year olds) are more likely to eat out in venues where they are told about where the food on their plate comes from, according to  a survey carried out by Populus on behalf of WWF-UK.

It also finds that 53% of millennials are more likely to eat at a restaurant, café or canteen if meat has been reared to high animal welfare standards.  One in five would like to see restaurants offer an entirely meat free day.

The findings accompany the release of a new report Catering for Sustainability from WWF-UK, Sodexo UK & Ireland and the Food Ethics Council.  The report sets out a clear business case for sustainable meals – and shows that adopting sustainable menus can improve business revenues and profits, and mitigate supply chain risks.

The report recommends that foodservice companies pilot sustainable menus,  remove ingredients that are unsustainably sourced and share examples of best practice across the industry.

Nick Hughes, food sustainability advisor at WWF UK said: “There’s a clear trend towards sustainable consumption in the UK – and this is great news for our health and the environment. Smart businesses will be taking steps to capitalise on the demand for ethical sustainable sourcing, meat-free options and more information about health and nutrition.

“WWF’s Livewell principles can be easily integrated into meals and recipes offered by the food service sector.  Our partner Sodexo is leading the way, and offers a template for others to follow.”

20% of millennials say they intend to eat less meat over the coming year, representing a significant opportunity for foodservice companies to make vegetables a central part of their menu.  Of those planning to cut down on meat, 68% reported that they wanted to be able to choose plant-based options from the menu.

Dan Crossley, executive director of the Food Ethics Council said: “Most people in the UK eat out at work canteens, fast food outlets or high-end restaurants. The choices offered there have huge impacts not just on our own health, but on the health of the planet. Our research shows that foodservice companies stepping up to the plate and offering ‘better’ sets of choices to customers are likely to be more profitable in the long run”

Edwina Hughes, corporate responsibility manager for Sodexo UK and Ireland commented: “Working with WWF we recently piloted a set of ‘Green & Lean’ sustainable meals in our independent schools business, taking popular recipes such as chicken pie and beef lasagne and making small changes to make these meals more sustainable and nutritious. We were pleased with the feedback from students and the wider schools communities, who were happy with the recipes, but also keen to engage with the issue of sustainable eating.

“Clearly there is growing interest from consumers in understanding the provenance of their food and the impact of their food choices. It is important that industry and stakeholders work together to help share best practice and innovation in terms of more sustainable food offers and to look at how we can inform consumer choices in this area.”

The survey revealed strong demand for more sustainable menus across all age groups and social classes, challenging assumptions that it’s only those with bigger budgets that care about where their food comes from.

Latest Huhtamaki research offers insight into ‘Food To Go’ #

Huhtamaki continued its ‘Consumer Insights’ series with the commissioning of independent consumer research into food to go consumption within the UK.  The new ‘Food To Go’ Market Factsheets further enhance the company’s knowledge of the marketplace, and are a valuable tool that Huhtamaki is happy to share with the foodservice industry and those looking to gain an insight into this popular category.

2,000 consumers said ‘yes’ to buying food to go in the month prior to being questioned, the equivalent of 31.8 million* consumers.  These respondents were then questioned on three main areas – frequency of purchase; what’s being bought; and the importance of packaging.

According to the research, almost three quarters of consumers (73%) buy food to go at least once a week.  That’s equivalent to over 24 million* consumers!  10% of consumers buy food to go at least once a day.

Most consumers (19%) buy food to go from Greggs; although the research shows that Costa Coffee, Greggs, M&S Food and Pret a Manger are the outlets with the broadest appeal across the ages.  Un-surprisingly, consumers are most likely to buy food to go from their preferred outlet because of its convenience (55%).  62% of consumers also buy a drink at the same time as buying food to go.

70% of consumers buy food to go to ‘takeaway’ (rather than ‘eat-in’); and this ‘on the move’ nature of food to go is reflected in the research – over half of consumers (55%) buy food to go which is served in packaging fitted with a lid.

Work is an important factor influencing food to go.  Over half of consumers (59%) buy food to go during the working week, and over half (56%) eat food to go on the move or during their commute.  Nearly half of consumers (43%) who eat food to go during their commute eat breakfast; and 65% of consumers buy their lunch during their daily commute.

Lunch (60%) is the most popular eating occasion for which to buy food to go, and food to go bought to enjoy at lunchtime is most likely to be purchased from M&S Food (89%) or Pret a Manger (84%).  Consumers most often buy food to go to eat for breakfast from Starbucks (45%), and KFC is where most consumers choose to buy food to go to eat for dinner (37%).  A quarter of consumers (25%) buy food to go to eat as a snack.

Although the most popular type of food to go bought by consumers is hot food (38%) – compared to a third of consumers (33%) who buy cold choices – when it comes to the items of food being bought, sandwiches/wraps/paninis are most popular (63%). 

It would appear that despite the popularity of worldwide culinary trends in the ‘eat-in’ marketplace, English cuisine is most popular ‘to go’ – it’s preferred by 70% of consumers buying food to go – and American cuisine (13%) is the most popular ‘foreign’ food.

Identified in the food to go research is a high environmental awareness by consumers.  68% of consumers want to know about the ‘green’/environmental credentials of the packaging used to serve food to go; and of these, 82% want to know if the packaging is recyclable.  70% of consumers think that the ‘green’/environmental credentials of the packaging should be communicated on pack.

The customisation of packaging – a service which Huhtamaki is able to support customers with, thanks to its expert Design Team – is a necessary consideration.  Three quarters of consumers (75%) buy food to go which is served in branded packaging, with hot food to go choices most likely to be served in branded disposables (52%). 

In conducting independent research Huhtamaki is able to assess any particular trends, and this insight into food to go highlights the use of Social Media.  The majority of consumers who use Social Media to interact with food outlets choose to do so via Facebook (89%).  Social consciousness is also identified within the research, with the fact that over half of consumers (53%) claim to have requested a ‘doggy bag’ from a restaurant.  Finally, it would appear that the XXL culture hasn’t yet influenced food to go in the UK!  Most consumers (70%) buy ‘medium’ size portions – only 2% choose ‘extra large’.

This new Food To Go Consumer Insight follows previous independent research commissioned by Huhtamaki into consumer attitudes towards Takeaway Hot Drinks in the UK, and Hot Drinks Vending within the UK.  

*Figure based on the universe of adults over 18 years old in the UK (53 million), according to the Office for National Statistics.

Sodexo extends trio of iconic Scottish cultural destination contracts #

Sodexo has extended its partnership with Dundas Castle in West Lothian, Blair Castle in Perthshire and Discovery Point in Dundee.

Sodexo has extended its 16-year partnership with Dundas Castle for another three years, worth £2.4m.

Sodexo will continue to provide conference and banqueting for exclusive use at the five star wedding and events venue.

Stretching back more than 20 years, the partnership with Blair Castle is extended by another five. The £2.75m contract sees the Sodexo team continue to provide a day visitor restaurant, as well as conference and banqueting for events.

Sodexo has been the catering partner to Discovery Point since 2010, providing a restaurant for day visitors to Captain Scott’s polar exploration ship RRS Discovery, as well as conference and banqueting for events. The five-year extension is worth £1.25m.
Chris Bray, CEO Sports & Leisure, Sodexo UK & Ireland, said:“We’re extremely pleased to build our relationship with three iconic cultural destinations in Scotland. Our partnership with Dundas Castle demonstrates we can provide high-level fine dining and a world-class experience to guests, using locally-sourced products. Our partnerships with Blair Castle and Discovery Point show we can reproduce that experience for events while providing for large numbers of visitors during the day.”

Sir Jack Stewart-Clark, Dundas Castle owner, said: “We have decided to extend our contract with Sodexo Sports & Leisure for good reasons. Firstly, as our sole caterers, Sodexo gives us consistently good catering. Secondly, this is backed up by a dedicated, efficient and friendly staff. This is what I call a mutually valuable and rewarding partnership.”

Scott Robertson, business development manager at Blair Castle, said: “Blair Castle and Atholl Estates have had a strong partnership with Sodexo Sports and Leisure which has developed over the last 20 years; we are looking forward to that continuing in the future. The castle is proud that over the years, Sodexo Sports and Leisure has served our visitors in the restaurant and guests at events and weddings quality food using local produce where possible.

“Both the planning and operating teams at Sodexo Sports & Leisure are friendly and professional with a flexible and positive approach, which is essential for an historic castle. It is with delight we will carry on serving amazing food to our visitors and customers, and with the help of the great people at Sodexo to continue to prosper.”

Mark Munsie, operations director at Discovery Point, said: “These are exciting times in Dundee with the £1bn waterfront development delivering major changes to the city. Discovery Point and RRS Discovery play a central role in this development and is at the forefront of the city’s tourism offer. We are pleased to continue partnering with Sodexo Sports & Leisure who play a major role in the delivery of our award winning visitor experience for both our attraction visitors and corporate clients.”

Elior UK picks up Best Workplace Sandwich Award at The Sammies #

Elior UK grabbed the sought-after Workplace Sandwich Award at The British Sandwich Industry Awards for its ‘build your own’ deli bar concept, GO’SASA Deli.

Launched to rival the high street leaders, the fresh new concept – developed and trademarked by the leading contract caterer – lets customers build their own perfect sub, wrap or salad.

Described by some customers as “better than Subway”, the concept has recently been trialed at selected university campuses with enormous success – increasing the average number of daily transactions by as much as 37% and rocketing average spend per head by up to 45%.

Elior’s offer development manager, Matt Joblin, said: “After learning that 43% of customers thought customisation was important, we knew that we wanted to create a tailored offer that would fit across all sectors. But we also knew we had to do more than just create great tasting, customisable subs and wraps. The whole experience had to be right.

“So as well as a whole range of delicious breads, fillings and sauces, Elior also supplied each site with GO’SASA branded caps, aprons and bags, bespoke deli paper and loyalty cards – to help complete the high street experience. We’re thrilled that this level of commitment and quality has been recognised by The British Sandwich Industry Awards, and we look forward to seeing what other success this exciting new concept can deliver.”

The judging panel said: “Judges felt the concept is so wide ranging in its offer, that there really is something for everyone – sub, wrap or salad, value, casual or premium. With GO’SASA Deli, customers can rely on a freshly made, satisfying lunch on the go. The presentation and quality of the food are both top notch – giving a real high street feel.”

To accommodate the increasingly common trend for customisation, GO’SASA gives customers as much choice as possible. As well as picking a size (half or regular), customers can also choose from one of three price points – depending on the type of filling they choose: ‘Value’, ‘Casual or ‘Premium’.

And as healthy eating continues to rank highly on the list of consumer priorities, GO’SASA was specifically designed to give customers the power to make healthier choices e.g. by swapping their sub for a wrap or salad. 

Bradford Grammar School’s new Frima 311+ saves up to 15% on meat costs #

Bradford Grammar School’s new Frima has helped save time and money, reducing spend on raw ingredients

Bradford Grammar School’s busy catering operation features a full breakfast menu, snacks during break, and a lunch service that feeds up to 1000 pupils daily. With just one servery, peak times between 12.05 and 13.30 are “fairly frantic,” says executive chef Dean Winter.

Dean joined the school just over a year ago. Before he started he went to another school to familiarise himself with its catering operations and it was here he witnessed firsthand the Frima VarioCooking Center Multificiency in action.

“I saw its capabilities and as soon as I started at Bradford it went straight on my wish list.”

Since installing the Frima, Dean and his team now use it for “just about everything, from custard to lasagne.”

One unexpected benefit is a significant saving in meat costs. In fact, the amount of meat Dean needs to purchase has dropped by 15%. With its fast and efficient cooking methods, in particular its searing of meat, the
Frima has led to significant savings in raw ingredients.

“It sears so quickly and as result I have a bigger yield on the meat,” says Dean. “Not only does this save me money on ingredients, it reduces the time it takes my staff to cook the food, so I’m saving their time, too.”

Dean chose the biggest Frima model in the range, the VarioCooking Center Multificiency 311+. It is a single-pan unit with a working capacity of 150 litres. Not only can it sear up to 20kg of meat in 4 minutes, it has the added benefit of a pressure-cooking facility.

“Before the Frima we just had a small brat pan,” says Dean. “In order to make up 600 portions of chicken curry, we’d have to do it in 2 to 3 batches. With the Frima we can do it all in one.”

The Frima’s large volume, along with its programs and cooking technology, mean large batches can be made evenly and consistently, all at once, ideal for the intense mass-catering environment of the school.

Dean and his team have also been impressed by the unit’s ease of cleaning, thanks to its built-in drain and wash features.

“The cleaning process of the Frima is ten times better than what we had before. Waste can just go down the unit’s plughole, and this combined with facilities like the integral hose and tilting mechanism means everything is a lot easier.

“It just feels a lot more cost effective.”

Premier Foods offers caterers the best of both bread worlds with new Hovis Best of Both Mix #

Premier Foods is launching a category first with its new Hovis Best of Both Mix for the foodservice channel, helping caterers to offer a solution for diners who enjoy the taste of white bread, but want the benefits of wholemeal bread.

Available to order from the end of May, the new product contains a combination of wheat white flour and wholemeal flour, with added wheatgerm. The mix is also rich in calcium and a source of fibre. Although some caterers may turn to ready-made breads to cope with the time constraints faced in the kitchen, it is far more cost-effective to prepare baked goods using flour based mixes.

Sarah Robb, channel marketing manager at Premier Foods, comments: “We are delighted to introduce this solution to the foodservice sector under such a well-known, trusted brand that originally pioneered and launched Best of Both in the UK. With chefs and caterers able to communicate the brand name on their menus, we are confident that this will leverage brand loyalty with their customers, particularly as research shows that the Hovis brand is recognised by shoppers as the expert in baking within wholemeal(1) . The new mix is ideal for creating freshly baked bread goods quickly and easily whilst also offering the versatility of delivering the goodness of wholemeal in a white bread format.

“Earlier this year, we conducted research looking ahead to 2016 menu trends in which we found consumers on the lookout for perceived healthier and lighter dishes (2). Our new Hovis Best of Both Mix will help cater for this demand, whether caterers are serving a comprehensive bread basket or a range of fresh sandwiches. As a business, we are committed to updating our product portfolio to suit the developing needs of our customers.”

The new Hovis Best of Both Mix will be available to order from the end of May in 3.5kg sized bags. Email to receive your first bag for free.

1  Hovis Brand Tracker Research, December 2015
2 Premier Foods research in conjunction with Cambridge Directions (Insights & Trends Guide 2016)

2016 Best Brigades Finalists Revealed as Public Video Vote Opens #

The eight regional finalists in Essential Cuisine’s search for the UK’s best chef team have been revealed, with a public vote to decide the winner now open.

Following a paper submission each entry into the competition was judged by a panel including: Chef Patron of Bird of Smithfield, Alan Bird; British Culinary Federation Chairman and Executive Chef of the Lewis Partnership, Matt Davies and Essential Cuisine Managing Director, Nigel Crane. 

The final eight were then tasked with creating a short video to bring their original entry to life and showcase their kitchen camaraderie, togetherness and teamwork.

Voters now have until Midday on 27th June 2016 to go to, watch the videos and crown a winner. Only one will receive the coveted title, £1000 cash and an exclusive menu development masterclass with a leading UK chef.

The finalists are:
Greater London – Nathan Outlaw at The Capital
The Michelin-starred restaurant Outlaw's at The Capital has been masterminded by Nathan Outlaw and Head Chef Tom Brown. They describe their kitchen environment as like playing a sport – the prep is the training, the warm up. Then the match is like the service. “You gear up for it together and are all committed and working towards the same goal.” And no service is complete without a post-match pint.
Watch their video entry here:

South East – Oakley Hall Hotel
A multi-national brigade serving the hotel’s 2 AA rosette fine dining restaurant, bringing menu ideas from across the globe and translating them into dishes made using highly local British produce. 2016 marks their second year in contention for the title.
Watch their video entry here:

South West - Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa
This multi award-winning, 30-strong brigade is responsible for the three kitchens that service the luxury hotel and spa, including the Michelin-starred ‘Park’ restaurant. Group lunches and market visits are a regular fixture for this chef team with everyone encouraged to contribute ideas to both the management of the kitchens as well as the menus.
Watch their video entry here:

Midlands – The Punchbowl in Lapworth
This country pub boasts a real log fire and oak beams but with a young kitchen team taking care of the menu, the food is anything but traditional.  The brigade’s kitchen motto is “happy people + happy food = happy customers” and with such high morale, word of their cooking skill is beginning to spread.
Watch their video entry here:

North East – Darcy's Brasserie at Mosborough Hall Hotel
Combining the elegant grandeur of a stately manor house with contemporary interiors, Mosborough Hall boasts within its confines a family-like brigade who pull together to create local and seasonal delights. Just like a real family, each member, from the Head Chef to the Commis, is held in the same regard and everyone gets a say on the food. 
Watch their video entry here:

North West & Northern Ireland – Hilton Manchester Deansgate
A hotel chef team focussed on quality British produce and the long-term development and education of its members, this Brigade keeps the guests at one of Manchester’s most iconic buildings coming back for more time and time again.
Watch their video entry here:

Wales – Gemelli
Gemelli is a watchword for fine dining in Newport and, with a menu full of local specialities, this brigade uses old world culinary techniques to their advantage. With the philosophy that “beauty lies in the simple things” the Gemelli team are set on offering their guests the ultimate dining experience.
Watch their video entry here:

Scotland –The Torridon
This highland brigade can call upon its own kitchen garden and onsite farm for some of the country’s finest produce. Respect for their surroundings, ingredients and each other means that the Torridon team relishes coming into work each day, and truly lives by the saying "one team, one dream".  
Watch their video entry here:

Nigel Crane, managing director for Essential Cuisine, says: “Judging was extremely difficult – such was the quality on show from our entries – but in the end, the passion, camaraderie and cooking shone through from our eight finalists. We have some fantastic videos that really bring their paper submissions to life. I urge people to visit check out each and have their say. Regional pride is at stake!”

Hoshizaki Gram UK recruits new London regional sales manager #

Hoshizaki Gram UK has appointed Andy Tucker as the latest member of its sales team. Covering central and greater London, Andy will to help build awareness of the Hoshizaki Gram UK brand and develop new end user partnerships across the foodservice channel. 

A strong addition to Hoshizaki Gram UK’s experienced sales team, Andy has a wealth of foodservice industry knowledge, and with more than 37 years of practical experience Andy will be a great asset to the team.

Entering the industry as a kitchen porter of the tender age of just 12, Andy’s experience spans a diverse range of foodservice roles. Having gained a his formal qualification at catering college, Andy then spent time as a banqueting manger, and a chef before becoming his own boss as publican at The Spotted Dog in Penshurst.

Andy continued to build his experience during the time he spent working as an area sales manager at Brakes, before expanding his experience as a regional sales manager for a number of major foodservice suppliers.

Andy has extensive knowledge of London and the South East having spent the last six years covering the region as an area sales manager. This gave Andy the opportunity to develop a superb network of both distributor and end user contacts with whom he has built strong relationships and a reputation as a respected industry professional.

Glenn Roberts, managing director at Hoshizaki Gram UK, comments: “We are very excited to welcome Andy Tucker to our team. Andy’s passion for foodservice shines through and we are confident his approach will be infectious and serve to further strengthen our customer relationships. His knowledge of the industry and understanding of the region’s specific needs will be invaluable to our team’s strategic needs as well as our end users”.

On his new role at Hoshizaki Gram UK Andy Tucker comments “I am really excited to be joining the Hoshizaki Gram UK team. Having really enjoyed the time I’ve spent in prime cooking, I’m looking forward to broadening my equipment experience, especially at such a key time for the industry with EU Ecodesign directive coming into force this summer. It’s an exciting time for the industry as manufacturers are constantly challenged to innovate sustainably.  Hoshizaki Gram is already at the forefront of the very best technical development in foodservice and I am thrilled to join the business as it seeks to grow and expand further."