Members’ News

July 2016

SOHO Coffee Co. and CH&Co Group announce joint venture #

Artisan fresh food and coffee brand, SOHO Coffee Co., entered into a joint venture with CH&Co Group, centred around the Apostrophe café chain.

The innovative venture involves SOHO’s dedicated management and development structure acquiring all of the current Apostrophe sites, using the support of CH&Co Group’s back of house systems and procurement services. It will also see CH&Co Group offering the SOHO Coffee Co. brand as part of its portfolio of catering solutions for clients.

Chris Copner, chairman, SOHO Coffee Co., explained, “We’re very excited to align ourselves with a catering brand of the quality of CH&Co Group. This deal is the perfect opportunity for both parties to help each other grow. It immediately gives SOHO a top quality London portfolio of 15 stores to build on and gives CH&Co Group exclusive access to a rapidly growing, and increasingly international, quality food and coffee brand that will create opportunities and leverage sales in the contract catering arena.

“SOHO is an emerging and growing brand and we have a history of dynamically developing our stores. Our artisan food and drink offer has struck a chord with consumers and we now have an increasing number of flagship stores elsewhere in the world too. The emphasis is very much on future growth and we have plans to further adapt and grow the food offer in the Apostrophe branches in the coming months to meet the ever-changing needs of the chain’s customers.”

Bill Toner, CEO of CH&Co Group added, “We’ve been watching SOHO’s growth and development with interest in recent years and they are definitely a company to watch. We’re proud to be working together on this venture.

“The joint venture is a good cultural fit and both companies have complimentary expertise; the team at Apostrophe will gain from opportunities that the wider exposure to a quality international brand like SOHO will bring and the customer experience will be enhanced further too.

“For CH&Co Group, the ability to offer the SOHO Coffee Co. brand as an additional service offer to appropriate clients is a great opportunity and early indications are that we will open about 10 SOHO outlets a year within contract catering environments. Our partnership means that both companies will have a stronger portfolio, a wider footprint, and for Apostrophe, a new dedicated management team with in depth international experience of that sector – increasingly important in London, which is arguably one of the world’s most dynamic capital cities for food.”

Sodexo honours outstanding customer-facing employees #

Sodexo recognised the achievement of its most outstanding customer-facing employees across 32 categories in its seventh annual Service Excellence Awards.

Cleaners, fitness instructors, helpdesk operators, gardeners, security officers, engineers, kitchen porters and customer service assistants from across Sodexo’s integrated facilities management business in the UK and Ireland were recognised for their dedication and hard work.

This year there were two new categories: scientific services and waste management.
Attended by 250 employees, the event was held at Ascot Racecourse on Thursday (26 May), where Sodexo holds the hospitality contract.

Host Phil Hooper, brand & communications director, was joined on stage by regional leadership committee peers and Sodexo subject matter experts from each of the specific service lines to recognise the winners and runners up in 32 categories.

The coveted Kathy Ridgard Award, presented in honour of Kathy, who was director of Sodexo’s Centre of Excellence before sadly losing her battle with cancer in February 2013, went to Sodexo Defence cleaner Rita Limbu. The award was presented by Kathy’s family.

Rita also won cleaner of the year award for her work in the joint officers’ mess at Tidworth Garrison, Wiltshire. Her work ethic, unassuming manner and high standards have even seen Rita gain praise through the garrison’s own recognition scheme.

Phil Hooper, Sodexo Brand & Communications director, said in his opening speech: “Today is about recognising the people that epitomise that focus on Quality of Life; the people who have a positive impact on our clients and consumers, day in day out. Today is about you, and we have plenty to celebrate.

“This year we’re also celebrating Sodexo’s 50th birthday. What started as a catering business is now a fully integrated facilities management business covering something in the region of a hundred different services, many of which we have represented here today.”

Sodexo wins Environmentally Efficient Logistics award #

Sodexo won the Environmentally Efficient Logistics award at the annual Foodservice Footprint Awards.

Sodexo was recognised for its chilled product consolidation programme, which brought together the direct dairy and direct deli supply chains into a central distribution network. The result of this consolidation has removed 132,000 deliveries, 100,000 invoices and reduced 86 tonnes of CO2.

The judges said of Sodexo’s programme: “Strong project looking at every aspect of a complex supply chain to benefit end users. Excellent submission. Good to see reference to how using a little extra packaging can reduce food waste. This is very well thought through and seems to be totally integrated into the business””.

The Footprint Awards, now in their 6th year, represents the annual celebration of the work that organisations in the foodservice industry are doing to in some way redress the balance for the benefit of themselves, their community and the industry at large. It is a celebration of initiative and innovation, of commercial imagination and endeavour.

Chris Johnston, supply management director, “These awards are very relevant as the need to consider the impact of operations on people and the planet continues to grow in importance. We are delighted to have won this award, the supply management team worked incredibly hard on this programme not only in the logistics of consolidating these two supply chains but also ensuring that our teams on our client sites understood how their deliveries would change and the benefits this would have on their day-to-day life.”

Sodexo was also shortlisted in the Social Impact and Diversity category for its Supply Chain Inclusion Programme.

KNORR® dispels gluten-free myths during Coeliac UK Awareness Week #

Activities laid on by KNORR® during Coeliac UK Awareness Week (9-15 May) have highlighted common misunderstandings within the industry about gluten-free. The week’s events – which included an industry roundtable and masterclass with Phil Vickery – have revealed how simple setting up a kitchen for gluten-free can be.

Leon Mills, KNORR marketing manager, said: “The foodservice industry is losing out on over £100m of gluten-free business each year[1]. This is a massive missed opportunity. A few areas of confusion around gluten-free have no doubt contributed to that. One common misconception is that if you use gluten-containing ingredients like flour in your kitchen, then you can’t produce gluten-free dishes.

“What this week has shown is that tapping into the rapidly growing gluten-free market is actually a lot easier than many believed. With some basic cross-contamination practices in place, operators can safely serve gluten-free dishes – even in a smaller kitchen. By following the steps in KNORR’s guide, any venue can find it simple to get their kitchen set up correctly and achieve Coeliac UK’s sales-boosting gluten-free accreditation.”

For recipes, KNORR’s gluten-free kitchen guide or gluten-free products, visit

To demonstrate just how simple it could be, KNORR even opened a ‘pop-up’ gluten-free restaurant in Unilever’s newly gluten-free accredited kitchen on Wednesday 11 May.  And on Thursday 12 May, hundreds of people watched KNORR’s gluten-free masterclass with Phil Vickery – which showcased some of his newest recipes in action.

Stephanie Hall, Chartwells head of nutrition, said of the masterclass: “Today was really useful. It’s good to know that gluten-free recipes can be made safely even in a smaller kitchen. There’s a common misunderstanding that you need a separate kitchen or a bigger area to prepare gluten-free dishes. Actually, as Phil explained, all you need is just a two metre space.”

To watch the recording of Phil Vickery’s gluten-free masterclass, visit 

1 Coeliac UK Eating Out Survey (2009)

Sodexo chef is the People’s Choice #

The Sodexo executive head chef at Everton Football Club won a prestigious Craft Guild of Chefs Award.

Gareth Billington, who is based at the Sodexo Sports & Leisure contract at Goodison Park, was named the People’s Choice at the annual ceremony to celebrate the crème de la crème of the industry.

In front of an 800-strong audience at the Lancaster London Hotel, Gareth collected his award after receiving more than 1,000 online votes from his industry peers.

Gareth’s career has spanned more than 30 years, and includes training at London’s renowned Garrick Club and managing the patisserie section of the QE2 cruise liner.

Gareth is also widely regarded within the catering industry for his mentoring of young chefs, through Springboard’s FutureChef initiative, which helps young people learn cookery skills and train for careers in the hospitality industry. Gareth has mentored two of the last three FutureChef winners.

Sodexo also sponsored the Craft Guild of Chefs Special Award, which went to Michelin-starred chef-restaurateurs Chris and Jeff Galvin in recognition of their market-leading restaurants and wider contribution to the hospitality industry.

Four other Sodexo chefs were shortlisted for Craft Guild of Chefs Awards: Jacob Webb (in the Apprentice Chef category), Tim Roberts (Public Sector Chef), Glynn Lawrence and Liam McDonough (both for Contract Catering Chef).

David Mulcahy, Sodexo craft director and Craft Guild of Chefs vice president, said: “Congratulations to Gareth Billington on his award which is truly deserved. As well as being an excellent chef at Goodison Park, Gareth is bringing through young talent into the industry; he has mentored two of the last three FutureChef winners.

“Congratulations also go to the four Sodexo chefs shortlisted. The Craft Guild of Chefs Awards is incredibly competitive and just to be a finalist is an achievement in itself.

“Well done to Chris and Jeff Galvin on collecting the Sodexo-sponsored Craft Guild of Chefs Special Award.”

Gareth Billington, Sodexo Sports & Leisure executive head chef, said: “These awards are our industry’s version of the Oscars and I was incredibly surprised to win, particularly as I was up against stiff competition from people whose skill and experience I greatly admire.

“This award is very precious to me indeed as I was voted for by my peers within the industry.

“I didn’t think so many people knew me or thought so highly of me – it’s actually very humbling and I’m very proud and touched to have won.”

Oliver Wright, Everton’s head of hospitality, said: “We are absolutely delighted for Gareth and this award is thoroughly deserved.

“He and his team produce some of the finest food on offer in the Premier League, something our loyal matchday hospitality members would all agree with. 

“In addition, Gareth is a true professional and is committed to finding and training local young people to realise their potential, which is very important to us here at Everton.”

Frima appoints new regional development chef for the south and south-west #

Experienced chef says experiencing a Frima first-hand is the best way to understand its benefits

Frima UK appointed Tim Calvert as its new regional development chef with responsibility for the south and south-west of England.

An experienced chef with lifelong experience of the hospitality business, Tim’s parents owned pubs and hotels and he has run pubs himself. In his previous role as development chef for Rational Tim helped to grow business in his area by 75%.

"I am delighted to be joining Frima UK," says Tim. "Working with a market-leading manufacturer of catering equipment, helping to demonstrate the benefits of cutting-edge cooking technology is an exciting prospect!

"The VarioCooking Center delivers genuine and clear benefits to caterers' businesses, with significant reductions in both time and costs compared to traditional appliances. There's a lot of interest in the Frima appliance, and there's a great opportunity for distributors to build on the growth we've already seen. I will be looking to help forward-thinking dealers who want to offer a modern alternative to bratt pans, griddles, kettles, large pots and fryers."

Initially, Tim's main task will be to set up Frima Cooking Live demo sites across Swindon, Bristol, Taunton, Bournemouth and Exeter. "The benefits of modern kitchen technology are really clear when you see them in action," he says.

Managing director of Frima UK, Graham Kille, is confident in the abilities of his latest team member. "Tim is a talented chef, with experience in all areas of the hospitality industry. He knows what chefs are looking for, and has the drive and ambition to explain the benefits of our products."

Frima is continually innovating with its VarioCooking Center range. Recent developments include the Dynamic option, which optimises power usage allowing for use with significantly lower wattage than standard models, and the launch of the new 112L, a tabletop unit with large capacity pans in a compact form. "It's a great time to join the company," says Tim. "I'm looking forward to showing the industry what Frima can do!"

Last call for care homes to celebrate the event of the summer in a royal fashion #

Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) is calling on care homes to get involved in the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations by entering its novelty 90th birthday cake challenge.

The fun challenge is a great way for care homes to mark the historic occasion and bring their culinary team, carers and residents together. Not to mention the 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) – care homes need to create a birthday cake based on one of their resident’s favourite royal memories and submit it by 15 July.

Entries can be submitted at or by post, and must explain why their cake should win. And if residents include a birthday message for Her Majesty, it will go into a big birthday card which will be presented to her after her party.

UFS’ elderly care development chef, Paul Wright, said: "From corgis to castles, we’ve had some wonderful entries so far, but there’s still time for care homes to impress us even further. The Queen’s birthday in April was cause for national celebration, and her official birthday party this June will be even bigger. The perfect occasion to bring the culinary team, carers and residents together.”

“With street parties being thrown up and down the UK for The Patron’s Lunch, it’s the perfect excuse for care homes to throw a party and bake a Novelty 90th birthday cake and celebrate this historic event.”

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

BaxterStorey celebrates new talent and rising stars #

Hosted in the historic Vintners' Hall on Monday 6 June, BaxterStorey celebrated this year’s graduates from its Momentum Graduate Programme and Advanced Management Project.

A record 15 Momentum graduates attended the ceremony, all of whom have been offered full time roles within the business. Now in its sixth year, the scheme provides support and development to university graduates at the start of their career in hospitality.

Following an intensive induction, the graduates completed a thorough training programme including health and safety, HR, creative thinking, kitchen management and finance. They then went on to work across WSH businesses including BaxterStorey, Caterlink, Holroyd Howe and Searcys, as well as supporting sales and new business mobilisations.

Graham Eveleigh, head of skills development at BaxterStorey, said: “It is really important that we champion young talent and attract more people to the sector. By doing this, we are developing the next generation of managers within our business.”

Alongside the Momentum graduates, the evening celebrated the achievements of those who have completed the Advanced Management Programme. This programme helps current managers work towards senior roles, implementing projects across the business. Projects start with a brief from a board sponsor, moving to research, idea generation, presentation to the board and execution.

Alastair Storey, chairman at BaxterStorey, said: “The growth of our business demands that we attract the very best new talent. I am incredibly proud of all those who have achieved success through these programmes. Both our Momentum and Advanced Management graduates are a huge asset to our business.”

Elior UK releases Corporate Social Responsibility Report #

Elior UK launched its latest corporate social responsibility report. The report covers a range of initiatives which have had a significant positive social impact. Particularly, an impressive list of environmental achievements.

The report shows that over the last seven years, the leading contract caterer has reduced its carbon footprint by 59%. A number of initiatives have led to the impressive reduction, including the recycling of Elior’s waste cooking oil via the Bidvest Foodservice zero recycling scheme.

As a result of the scheme, Elior has diverted over 588,000 litres of cooking oil from landfill – enough to fill over 20,000 standard beer kegs. This has led to a saving of 343.14 tonnes of CO2. In addition to Elior’s impressive environmental record, the report also lists a number of wider social achievements including Elior’s partnership with RSA Academy Arrow Vale as part of the Business in the Community programme.

The programme saw Elior improve the skills and outlook of the academy’s food technology students, helping to turn a once failing school into a beacon of academic excellence which received an OFSTED ‘Outstanding’ rating in every category in 2015.

Director of marketing & corporate communications, Carl Morris, said: “Our CSR strategy is based on three key commitments: being a responsible company, a committed employer and an active partner. Our people understand that these are not abstract concepts, but real commitments that underpin everything we do.

“Even against the high standards Elior sets itself, the past year has seen some wonderful achievements and it is great to see those honoured in this report. But we know that there is a lot more to be done, and we are determined to make Elior UK an even more responsible and sustainable business in the future.”

Frima grabs gold at the Commercial Kitchen Show #

VarioCooking Center 112L awarded Innovation Challenge Gold Award

Frima UK was awarded the Innovation Challenge Gold Award at the Commercial Kitchen Show for the latest addition to the VarioCooking Center range, the 112L.

“We are very pleased to have received the Innovation Challenge Gold Award,” says Graham Kille, managing director of Frima UK. “It is great recognition for all the hard work the Frima team have done, and reflects our market-leading position as specialists in multifunctional cooking.”

The 112L is a compact countertop unit designed to allow smaller kitchens to benefit from the advanced multifunctional abilities of the VarioCooking Center range. Despite its small footprint it includes the same advanced technology as the rest of the range, which allows it to achieve energy savings of up to 40% compared to traditional appliances, as well as cooking up to four times faster. It has two pans, each with a capacity of 25 litres, providing flexibility of use while allowing larger quantities to be produced at peak times.

Graham adds, “The Commercial Kitchen Show gave us a great opportunity to spend quality time with visitors from all sides of the business, and we’ve created many new opportunities for the Frima UK team and our partners as a result.”

Hoshizaki Gram UK goes for Gold #

Hoshizaki Gram UK has once again been recognised for its ground-breaking industry technological achievements, as it scooped the gold award at the Commercial Kitchen’s Innovation Challenge.

Exhibiting at the inaugural Commercial Kitchen Show, Gram UK entered the already multi-award winning generation 5, SUPERIORPLUS 72 model in the show’s Innovation Challenge. The award recognises the most innovative product technology on the market today and showcases industry innovation to some of the biggest buyers in the channel.

Gram’s SUPERIORPLUS  72 featured in the Innovation Gallery alongside 20 other competitors. The initial field of entrants was whittled down to just nine as voted for by visitors to the show. Hoshizaki Gram gained further support from the expert judging panel when they were invited to pitch the energy saving credentials of the product in a 90 second presentation.

With a reputation for spearheading technological developments, Gram’s  SUPERIORPLUS 72 is now 44 per cent more energy efficient than its ‘best in class’ Plus 600 (Generation 4) predecessor. Energy use and therefore running costs, have decreased significantly from 509kWh year to 285kWh*. Based on a rate of 10 pence kWh*, the average operator can expect to spend just £28.50 per year on the running costs of the appliance. This latest model is also available at the same price as the previous top of the range Gram CX Plus models, so remains an affordable, yet sustainable option for operators.

Gram’s SUPERIRORPLUS 72 was judged as being truly innovative and worthy of an Innovation Challenge Gold Award, with judges commenting that the model was “a timely and sustainable product with high green credentials”.

Hoshizaki Gram’s commercial director, Paul Anderson, comments “ Being recognised as a Gold Award Winner for such an innovative product was a genuine delight and on behalf of all of us at Hoshizaki Gram we will continue to develop the very best products for our clients. The SUPERIORPLUS 72 stands as one of the most advanced appliances in the market today and its great to be rewarded and recognised for that by such a strong group of judges”.

*According to the Top Ten EU list 

Sodexo pastry chef wins national dessert competition #

A pastry chef from Sodexo won the Mövenpick Gourmet Dessert Chef of the Year at a tense final in London.

Alice Peel saw off competition from three other finalists wowing judges with her Strawberry, Lime & Champagne Sundae.

Led by head judge and compere Will Torrent, all recipes were analysed by mixologist Lee Hyde, The Caterer products and suppliers editor Lisa Jenkins and last year’s Gourmet Dessert Chef winner and chef at the London Marriott Country Hall Hotel Biju Joshwa.

For her first prize, Alice will showcase the winning recipe at Taste of London this summer, as well as receive VIP tickets to the festival, spending money and a two-night stay at a 4* London hotel.

Alice is based at the Independents by Sodexo contract with Caterham School, Surrey, where she’s the pastry chef responsible for 1,400 lunchtime covers every day.

Alice Peel, Sodexo pastry chef at Caterham School, said: “I’m honoured to have been crowned the winner of Mövenpick Ice Cream’s Gourmet Dessert Chef of the Year competition. I worked hard to make sure the taste of Mövenpick was a real focus and thought about my presentation in-depth. I’ve always loved strawberry and lime as a dessert pairing and, combined with a little fizz, thought it’d give my sundae a lovely summery taste.”

Will Torrent, head judge, said: “We were really impressed by the enthusiasm and attention to detail shown by all four of this year’s finalists. For us, Alice’s Strawberry, Lime & Champagne Sundae was the clear winner, thanks to its beautifully balanced flavours and superb presentation. Alice successfully made the Mövenpick Double Cream & Meringue Ice Cream the sundae’s hero, complemented by the fruity bite of the strawberries, lime and fresh Champagne. It was a truly stunning summer sundae.”

Ryan Wilson, Sodexo executive chef at Caterham School, said: “Since telling Alice about the competition, she has worked hard on getting every element right and as a result is a worthy winner. I’m very pleased both Alice and Independents by Sodexo have been showcased in this great competition. It gives Alice a great stepping stone in her future with Sodexo.”

UCC Coffee Q Grader qualified to judge World Barista Championship #

Katherine McCarthy, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland’s coffee specialist and Q Grader, passed one of the toughest certifications in coffee – to judge in a World Coffee Events (WCE) championship. As a WCE certified judge, Katherine was eligible to judge at this year’s World Barista Championship which took place at the World of Coffee in Dublin. 

To achieve the qualification, Katherine had to pass a day of rigorous tests including calibrating machines, preparing beverages and cupping. Such a high level certification demonstrates UCC Coffee UK & Ireland’s commitment to developing their people, coffee excellence and quality.

Katherine McCarthy comments: “I’ve judged at the UK Barista Championships for the past three years and seen some exceptional talent along the way, but achieving this certification to judge the World Barista Championship is something else. You’re adjudicating the best of the best from around the world, so the responsibility is huge but it’s sure to be incredibly rewarding."

UCC Coffee trainer and Irish Aeropress Champion 2015 Gregory Wincenty-Cichy also assisted at the championship. Gregory lent his skills as one of Ireland’s best baristas to the calibration of judges. 

The World Barista Championship is an annual international coffee competition run by World Coffee Events (WCE) promoting coffee excellence and advancing the barista profession. It is the final event in a series of local and regional events that take place worldwide to crown the World Barista Champion. 

10 semi-finalists unveiled for the 2016 Big School Bake Off #

Ten school cooks have been named ‘star bakers’ in the Big School Bake Off.  And with a competitor from ten of the LACA regions making it through, this year’s semi-finals are set to have some neighbourly rivalry.

Judges from The Children’s Food Trust, LACA and Unilever Food Solutions were impressed with the creativity demonstrated by all those that entered.  Aligning with the School Food Standards in England, this year all entries had to include at least 50 per cent fruit to meet the standard for the fruit-based desserts on the menu at least twice a week.

The shortlisted competitors will have an hour and a half to transform their paper entry into a showstopper during the semi-finals at LACA on Thursday 7 July 2016, where the judges will look for flair, creativity and technical ability.

The eight highest scoring semi-finalists on the day will compete at the grand final at the Unilever Food Solutions’ Chefmanship Centre in Leatherhead on Tuesday 27 September 2016. 

Alex Hall, executive chef at Unilever Food Solutions and part of the judging panel said: “Our aim for this competition has always been to encourage school caterers to bake from scratch, improving their skills and making them feel part of the catering industry.  We want to celebrate these unsung heroes.  This year we added a specific nutritional requirement to the entry criteria and have seen some great bakes on paper.  I can’t wait to taste the semi-finalists’ bakes at LACA.”

The semi-finalists for each region are:
- East Midlands: Helen Conboy, The Deepings School
- East of England: Debbie Donnor, Nene Primary School
- London: Mel Sinclair, St Paul’s Primary Scholl
- North East: Simon Rawle, North Tyneside Council Catering Services
- North West: Sarah Levenson, Lordsgate Township CofE Primary School
- Scotland: Sheila Clyne, Burnfoot Community School
- South East: Mark Kent, Folkestone Academy
- South West: Lisa Christopher, St Mary’s CofE Primary School
- West Midlands: Nigel Simmonds, Connect Catering
- Yorkshire & Humberside: Christine Parr, Warmsworth Primary School
- Wales: unfortunately no entry met the 50 per cent fruit-based desserts criteria
- Northern Ireland: unfortunately no entry met the 50 per cent fruit-based desserts criteria

Mission Foods teams up with KidZania London and offers caterers the chance to win family tickets #

Mission Foods is thrilled to be partnering with KidZania London based in Westfield London, a truly unique 75,000 sq. ft. child-sized City housed within the Shepherd’s Bush shopping centre, which through interactive role play, gives children the opportunity to experience more than 60 different types of career.

Passionate about enabling children to learn about food provenance, at the heart of the experience is the new Mission Wrap Factory, introduced to help encourage trial and build brand affinity with consumers visiting the City. To celebrate the launch, Mission Foods is offering ten lucky caterers the chance to win a family ticket for four, at the value of just over £100, to experience the child-sized City for themselves.

Marie Davies, head of marketing at Mission Foods, comments: “We are really excited to be partnering with KidZania London as we believe it is extremely important for children to understand where ingredients come from and how food is made. We produce a range of foodservice product formats that cater for the needs of children, such as our popular Mini Wraps and we will be showcasing these in the Mission Wrap Factory in KidZania.”

Designed to empower children, KidZania inspires confidence to explore a whole range of career opportunities in the real life world. At the Mission Wrap Factory children will have the chance to mix ingredients and knead the dough before pressing their very own wraps and undergoing quality control, simulating similar processes undertaken at the Mission Foods factory in Coventry. The Wrap Factory is intended to help children understand where food originates and how Mission Foods wraps are made.

To win a family ticket for four to KidZania then simply visit

From lunar to tuna: Andrew Atkinson joins CH&Co Group as head of procurement #

CH&Co Group has appointed Andrew Atkinson as head of procurement to help deliver strong, effective purchasing support to the group’s businesses and clients as it continues to grow.

Andrew joins CH&Co Group from UK Shared Business Services, where he provided procurement functions on behalf of government departments and partnership organisations.  His experience, capabilities and knowledge are extensive thanks to the wide-ranging procurement requirements of the specialist research councils and organisations that Andrew has worked with, including the Natural Environment Council, Medical Research Council, Science and Technology Facilities Council and the UK Space Agency.  Citing paper clips through to components for rockets is not an exaggeration! 

Jon Williams, group purchasing director for CH&Co Group, comments: “We’re thrilled to welcome Andrew to the procurement team.  He has exceptional experience in a diverse range of procurement projects and capabilities that will be invaluable to the team and the business.  His proven skills in leadership, strategic planning, operational delivery, supply chain rationalisation and managing client relationships, to name a few, plus his desire to always enable access to the right commodity at the right price will ensure the CH&Co Group procurement function continues to effectively underpin the business.”

Andrew Atkinson said: “CH&Co Group is passionate about delivering great food and service and procurement must enable this.  I have joined a dynamic and well-respected company and I’m excited to help drive growth in this thriving business through robust procurement functions. There are, of course, differences between the public sector, from which I herald, and the private sector, however, in procurement the end goal is always the same; to secure the very best prices for the business and clients, whatever the commodity.”

Phil Hooper to leave Sodexo #

After 40 years working for Sodexo, and previously Gardner Merchant, Phil Hooper, corporate affairs director for Sodexo UK and Ireland has decided to leave the company.

Having joined in 1976 as a management trainee, he has undertaken a variety of roles in Operations, Sales, Corporate Affairs and Communications. Having joined the UK board of Gardner Merchant in 1995, he was part of the management buyout team and joined the Sodexo UK & Ireland executive team following the acquisition by Sodexo. Several years later he oversaw the name change from Gardner Merchant to Sodexo as part of the company’s single brand strategy.

Phil has played a key part in helping to reposition Sodexo as a company providing a wide range of services delivering an integrated facilities management offer. He has also over the past year been involved in developing and promoting the brand globally for the Justice and Defence segments, reinforcing Sodexo’s Quality of Life Positioning.

Phil has also represented Sodexo and the industry in trade associations such as the British Hospitality association, the British Services Association as well as the Springboard charity as a member of the Board of Trustees.

Commenting on his decision, Phil said “Having had such a fulfilling and enjoyable career at Sodexo, it is obviously a difficult decision to leave; however I have committed 40 years to the company and I now feel it’s time to do something different. I am keen to stay involved in the industry that I love, but also to have the time to support other initiatives.”

Neil Murray, Sodexo UK and Ireland chairman said; “Phil has been an outstanding ambassador for Sodexo and the industry as a whole. He has been involved in all aspects of the business and has made a significant contribution to the success of the company and its transformation. I would like to thank him for all he has done and wish him every success and happiness for the future.” 

All-in-2: Frima and Rational combine to offer the modern kitchen solution #

Save energy and water, increase production, reduce kitchen footprint

Frima and Rational have teamed up to launch a new cooking concept called All-in-2. It combines two market leading multifunctional appliances, the SelfCookingCenter 5 Senses and the VarioCooking Center Multificiency, and is designed to answer the needs of the modern kitchen: energy and water saving, a compact footprint, consistent, high quality cooking results, high production capacity and lower costs.

“All-in-2 gives operators the options to cook everything they need,” says Graham Kille, managing director of Frima UK. “It means they can steam, blanch, stew, boil, braise, roast, poach, simmer, bake, grill, deep fry, pan fry, gratinate, confit and pressure cook. Because the All-in-2 replaces so many conventional appliances, it reduces kitchen space by up to 50% or even more.

“While the cookline is more compact, it’s also more efficient, faster and easier to operate. Plus the precise cooking controls of both the Frima and the Rational guarantee consistently high cooking quality.”

Because the SelfCookingCenter and the VarioCooking Center use the same control interface, training and working on the two appliances is very simple. The intuitive controls also reduce operator error to a minimum. Meanwhile the automated cooking processes and programs allow even unskilled staff to produce the best results, at the touch of a button.

Both the Frima and the Rational appliances offer very significant energy and water savings compared to conventional equipment. A research project carried out by the University of Zurich undertook a carefully monitored ‘before and after’ comparison of a kitchen using conventional appliances and replacing them with a cookline based on All-in-2. Researchers found that, by switching from conventional appliances to the latest multifunctional cooking technology from Frima and Rational, the kitchen reduced energy consumption by 34% and water consumption by 53%. Moreover, the new kitchen appliances were able to produce more food from less space.

Frima and Rational are offering an all-inclusive customer support package for All-in-2, including demonstrations and ‘test drives’ of the All-in-2 concept for prospective customers. On-site training and ongoing training after purchase will be key aspects of the customer support package, to ensure end-users get the maximum benefit from their investment. 

People 1st unveils shortlist for 2016 Shine Awards #

People 1st announced the shortlist for this year’s Shine Awards, which celebrate the achievements of women working in hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism, as well as the mentors, ambassadors and businesses that support gender diversity in those industries.

The shortlist for the awards, which are being held in partnership with The Caterer, was chosen by a panel of over 20 judges, made up of leading figures from across the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism industries.

The full shortlist for the 2016 Shine Awards is as follows:

Rising Star
• Sarah Downes - Whitbread plc
• Irene Forte - Rocco Forte Hotels
• Ruth Hansom - The Ritz Hotel
• Daniela Iannelli - Hilton Worldwide
• Lauren Neal - McDonald's Restaurants Ltd

Innovator of the Year
• Maria Bobrowska - TUI Group
• Emma Langford - Lexington
• Alison Lessmann - En Route International

Best Initiative to Retain and Develop Women
• The Aspiring Women Conference - Corbin & King
• Project “Amazon” - Whitbread Plc.      
• Women in Leadership Initiative - Rezidor Hotels UK

Mentor of the Year
• Gareth Billington - Everton Football Club, Sodexo
• Gordon Mutton - Merlin Entertainments
• Kristen Henderson - Lakefield
• Sally Hughes - Rezidor Hotels UK

Best Place for Women to Work
• Brooklands Hotel
• C&M Travel Recruitment
• Unilever Food Solutions

Woman of the Year
• Sally Beck - Lancaster Hotel
• Debrah Dhugga - DUKES Collection
• Julia Edmonds – Lexington
• Chantelle Nicholson - Marcus Wareing Restaurants

The 2016 Shine Awards winners will be revealed at a black tie dinner on 3 October at 8 Northumberland, London.  The winners of the Ambassador of the Year award and the Robyn Jones Lifetime Achievement award will also be revealed on the evening.  

Simon Tarr, chief executive of People 1st, commented: “This is the fifth time that People 1st has hosted the Shine Awards and it’s safe to say that this has been our most competitive year to date. The judges were extremely impressed by the quality of entries, and it was a tough decision to come up with the final shortlists.

“Congratulations to all the shortlisted nominees - we look forward to announcing the winners in October.”

The Shine Awards are part of People 1st’s Women 1st campaign, which aims to increase the number of women working in board roles across the visitor economy, and support women who aspire to senior leadership roles in fulfilling their career ambitions.

Elior UK updates its Latina Merica concept as the road to Rio hots up #

Leading contract caterer Elior UK has updated its highly popular Latina Merica concept to help its sites capitalise on the festivities in Rio this summer.

From the likes of high street restaurants such as Ceviche and Las Iguanas to the more BBQ-focused restaurants like Cabana, Preto, and Rodizio Rico – flavour tourism is driving strong interest in South American foods.

Matt Joblin, Elior offer development manager, said: “As flavour tourism increases, customers are seeking out new dishes and ever bolder flavours. And South American food is proving particularly popular. With Rio just around the corner, the timing couldn’t be better for Elior UK to update its Latina Merica concept. This beefed up version has a much stronger focus on the BBQ element. This trend is growing rapidly in popularity, with 22% growth expected by 2020[1] .”

The refreshed offer comes with more than 35 recipes bursting with South American flavour. These include lime & chilli glazed sausage skewers, Latina spit-charred pork and spicy malagueta chicken. Each protein is served with a choice of tasty sides like quinoa, rice & black beans and a range of vibrant salads e.g. Brazilian pea & sweetcorn or mango, kale & sweet potato.

And for those on a meat-free diet, there are some delicious spicy tofu & vegetarian skewers too.

1 Menu & Food Trends, M&C Allegra Foodservice, July 2015

Hilton Manchester Deansgate edges closest-ever Best Brigades vote #

A young chef team that puts a serious onus on education and seasonal British produce has been crowned as Britain’s Best Brigade for 2016, edging out seven other UK regions in Essential Cuisine’s nationwide search for the best of the best.

The brigade at the high-rise Hilton Manchester Deansgate Hotel, triumphed by a handful of public votes after almost 1300 people took to the internet to have their say, with the team’s video effort, representing North West & Northern Ireland, being judged as overall winner.

After an initial paper judging stage, each team was tasked with creating a short video to encapsulate the sense of camaraderie, teamwork and cooking prowess within the kitchen walls. United by a frequent diet of masterclasses, day trips to suppliers, food shows and 6am harbour side starts, the hardworking Hilton Manchester Deansgate team put food at the forefront of their video – showcasing dishes from the sumptuous menu, cut with imagery taken from their many educational tours. 

The win sees the team scoop the title of Britain’s best plus £1000 and an exclusive menu development masterclass with a leading UK chef.

Executive chef, Stuart Duff, said of the win: “We’re extremely proud to have won the award for Britain’s Best Brigade. We are all so passionate about what we do, so I’m thrilled the team have got the recognition they thoroughly deserve.

“We’re lucky to have a team full of different characters and skill levels who blend to deliver fantastic results and creativity, paired with the support from our general manager, John McLaughlin. Our emphasis is always on learning and development for the chefs - supplier visits and in-house masterclasses are essential to motivate young talent and inspire new dishes. Keeping enthusiasm and energy up in a very busy and demanding environment helps to exceed our customer’s expectations at Hilton Manchester Deansgate.”

Nigel Crane, managing director for Essential Cuisine, says: “Congratulations to the Hilton Manchester Deansgate Brigade – a canny mix of youth, skill, passion and expertise, capably guided by Chef Stuart. It’s obvious, both from their initial entry and subsequent winning video that education is something they hold in extremely high regard. They are a shining example to other teams and more than worthy winners.”

Contract caterers get a taste of London’s street food scene in insight-packed tour #

A group of contract caterers took to the streets of London to witness firsthand how street food is transforming the capital’s out-of-home lunch market.

The tour – hosted by KNORR and led by prolific street food blogger and journalist Victoria Stewart – gave contract caterers a taste of the competition they face and brought to life the challenges they must overcome if they are to compete with street food’s growing popularity.

From Pig Dogs and Brisket’s meaty Mac ‘n’ Cheese to BBQ Dreamz’ Filipino pork belly, the tour highlighted how street food is heavily influenced by a wide range of world cuisines. Moreover, it showed that what consumers are really buying into is not just street food, but a street food experience. The sounds and smells as pans clang and meat sizzles create a sense of theatre and excitement which adds to the appeal.

Victoria Stewart said: “Food tourism continues to influence the sorts of flavours street food stalls are dishing up – whether it’s an authentic and traditional dish from the Far East or a creative mashup of two wildly different cuisines. That sense of fun is a big part of the attraction. It’s what gives it its character.

“There’s a sense of real excitement and business around these markets too. Each vendor has a limited supply and we saw a lot of ‘sold out’ signs along the tour. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.  While this is something contract caterers try to avoid at all costs, it creates a sense of urgency and contributes to the overall experience.”

To wrap up the tour, the group were treated to a live street food demonstration. KNORR’s culinary team cooked up some popular street food dishes using the new KNORR Professional Pastes – which have been designed to give contract caterers the inspiration they need to compete with experts in authentic world cuisines.

Leon Mills, KNORR marketing manager for Unilever Food Solutions, said: “With turnover growth of 16% forecast over the next two years , street food poses a significant challenge for contract caterers. However, the reality is most of them don’t have the time to constantly monitor the latest trends. This tour brought those trends to life for them – and presented the perfect opportunity to explore bringing street food style experiences to their restaurants.”

“To help them do that, KNORR has released some new international pastes – Butter Chicken, Teriyaki and Piri Piri. 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. To try a free sample, visit”