Members’ News

September 2016

Elior UK and London South Bank University achieve Food For Life Accreditation #

Elior UK has worked with London South Bank University to secure Soil Association Food for Life Accreditation. The Bronze Catering Mark guarantees that the food Elior UK serves to students and staff at Southwark Campus has met standards for sourcing and provenance.

The Food For Life Catering Mark is based on the principles that food should be fresh, local, seasonal and better for animal welfare. It shows food has been freshly prepared using ingredients that are free from GM and harmful additives.

Nigel Jobson, operations director at Elior UK, said, “Elior is committed to providing tasty, nutritious meals that have been sourced responsibly and ethically. To achieve that, we source food regionally, seasonally and locally wherever possible. This approach means Elior makes the most of British food and also minimises the energy used in its production, transport and refrigeration.

“Being awarded this trusted industry symbol is a proud moment for the team here at London South Bank University. However, the work doesn’t stop here. The team is already looking forward to achieving the Silver Standard.”

Ernst Weisbrod, estates contracts manager at London South Bank University, said: “The health and wellbeing of our students, staff and visitors to the campus catering facilities is a priority for London South Bank University. Food is an important part of all of our daily lives and has a direct impact on our health. Our partners, Elior UK, have risen to the challenge and are playing their part by making healthy locally prepared food available."

To show that it meets the Bronze Standards, Elior UK has passed a thorough inspection by the Soil Association. It will also be inspected every year to show it has continued to meet the required standard. 

Sodexo wins global diversity award #

Sodexo won the global diversity category at this year’s enei awards.

The Employers’ Network for Equality and Inclusion (enei) Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of organisations that have taken a lead in challenging discrimination and are working inclusively to tap into their talented workforce.

Judges recognised Sodexo’s commitment to diversity, giving examples from our work around gender, sexual orientation and gender identity in the UK, Europe and the Americas, driven by Sodexo’s global D&I team and regional structures.

Janine McDowell, Sodexo UK & Ireland D&I council chair, said: “Diversity and inclusion is central to Sodexo’s approach as an organisation that values people and improving their quality of life. We want our employees in every country in every part of our business to enjoy a fulfilling career, and we’re delighted to have this recognised with the enei global award."

New BaxterStorey Awards recognise outstanding talent #

BaxterStorey has recognised the dedication of its exemplary staff at the company’s first BaxterStorey Awards. Held at the Summer Marquee in the Walks at Gray’s Inn, London, in July, the awards celebrated the talented teams and individuals who go above and beyond every day.

Award categories included Chef of the Year, Innovation of the Year and Kitchen Porter of the Year. National Barista Trainer, Jana Slamova, was delighted to take home the coveted Rising Star Award for her outstanding contribution to BaxterStorey’s Barista Academy. Throughout her five years with the company, she has progressed to represent the sector as one of the top female baristas in the UK, competing in national competitions and sharing her knowledge with colleagues across the business. 

The winner of the prestigious BaxterStorey Award was announced as Tim Sturk, head of coffee training and development. The award recognises an outstanding individual who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to improving the business and wider industry. Tim was nominated for his dedication and hard work to coffee, not only within BaxterStorey but the global coffee industry.  Over the past eight years, Tim’s influence and knowledge has expanded to great heights. His achievements include creating the first foodservice catering Barista Academy, judging at the World Barista Championships and developing a team of Coffee Specialists to train baristas nationally.

In addition to nine individual category winners, Nationwide House was named Team of the Year for their excellence in health and safety, customer satisfaction and client relationships. The BaxterStorey team has also joined forces with Nationwide employees to create a calendar of charity and citizenship activities. As a result, over £25,000 was raised for good causes in 2015 alone. In addition, the team has committed its support to Uplands Educational Trust, helping to create a community café and offering work placements to young people supported by the charity.

Alastair Storey, chairman at BaxterStorey, said: “These inaugural awards recognise the dedication and hard work of our outstanding teams, without whom we would could not deliver the high standards our clients and customers expect. The BaxterStorey family across the UK, Ireland and Northern Europe is one that I am incredibly proud of and these awards are testimony to the growing talent within our business.”

To mark the momentous occasion, Matt Hay, chef director at BaxterStorey, created a special menu celebrating the very best in seasonal British produce. Guests enjoyed dishes including Kent heritage tomato salad, torn buffalo mozzarella and cold pressed Hertfordshire rapeseed, followed by Herefordshire beef Char Siu, Lincolnshire carrots, girolles, crisp polenta and yuzu citrus, and English strawberries, ricotta, burnt chocolate and basil.

Fundraising for Action Against Hunger took place throughout the awards evening, with guests donating an incredible £3,000.  The BaxterStorey Foundation has matched the donations taking the total to £6,000 for the charity, which carries out innovative, lifesaving programmes in nutrition, food security, water, sanitation and hygiene across the world.

2016 Winners
Health and Safety Champion of the Year – Jane Hunt, BA Lounges, London
Chef Manager of the Year – Richard Gadsby, EON Phoenix Park, Nottingham
Front of House Star of the Year – Sharon Richardson, Nationwide House, Swindon
Kitchen Porter of the Year – Robin Hess, Boots, Beeston
Chef of the Year – Lucy Tucker, Deutsche Bank, London
Manager of the Year – Emilie Gwilt, Red Bull Racing, Milton Keynes
Rising Star of the Year – Jana Slamova, National Barista Trainer
Innovation of the Year – Lee Farina, Medimunne, Cambridge
Team of the Year – Nationwide House, Swindon
The BaxterStorey Award – Tim Sturk, Head of Coffee Training and Development

Spaldwick Community Primary School is crowned McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year 2016 #

Premier Foods announced that Spaldwick Community Primary School was crowned the McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year 2016. The team from Spaldwick, Cambridgeshire, baked their way to the top spot with its delicious and incredibly light Profiteroles. Pupils Maddie Thorpe, Rebecca Lucas and Daisy Ritchie, supported by school caterer Alison Leaver, used locally sourced eggs and strawberries in its recipe to adhere to the provenance criteria.

Sarah Robb, foodservice channel marketing manager at Premier Foods, comments: “Provenance was the central theme of this year’s event and the children astounded with their creativity. We were very impressed by their dedication, enthusiasm and how involved they were in sourcing local ingredients. Spaldwick Community Primary School used eggs, which were laid by chickens owned by a friend of the team, and strawberries grown nearby to make their winning profiteroles. We would like to thank everyone who contributed to making the competition such an unbelievable success.”

The judges – Andrew Green, representing Craft Guild of Chefs; Carol Harwood, from LACA; and Mark Rigby, executive chef at Premier Foods - had the near impossible task of choosing an overall winner from the finalists. Spaldwick Community Primary School achieved high scores for teamwork, presentation, taste, aroma and texture. The school was awarded £1,000 worth of kitchen equipment, a prize which was presented to them by Peter McGrath, Chair of LACA, in front of a captive audience.

Mark Rigby, comments: “We were all extremely impressed with the level of effort each team had gone to in their preparation for the live final. From Rising Phoenix Tear ‘n’ Share bread to Crumbly Summer Fruit Sponge, it was an incredibly tough decision, but ultimately Spaldwick Community Primary School stood out to us. To make choux pastry in under an hour and achieve the light texture that they did, is extremely impressive!”

Five schools were chosen to participate in the finals following a rigorous judging process. 

The Gram Go Green Debate deciphers the EU Eco Design Directive #

Gram UK’s latest webinar tackled the topical issue of the EU Eco Design Directive and its relevance following the referendum.

Joined by Mark Kendall, director at Inox Equip and vice chairman at CEDA, Richard Smith, heavy equipment category controller at Bunzl Lockhart and Peter Farrell, sales director at C&C Catering; Glenn Roberts, managing director of Hoshizaki Gram UK navigated the conversation through the tempestuous subject.

Given that refrigeration is responsible for in excess of 30 percent of a kitchen’s energy consumption, it is little wonder that the refrigeration category is the first to be scrutinised by legislators. Launched on the 1 July, all refrigeration units must now adhere to a rigorous testing process and clearly label their energy efficiency rating against new Minimum Energy Performance standards (MEPs) set by the EU.

The webinar tackled several key issues, What is the EU Ecodesign Directive? Who does is affect? And who is aware of its launch? As well as, what role the EU Ecodesign Directive plays following the referendum vote.

The webinar panel agreed that there seems to be a fundamental lack of awareness on the EU Ecodesign Directive and how it impacts the whole supply chain from manufacturer through to the end user. Peter Farrell brought the discussion back to Gram’s first webinar, which examined the need for education in the industry to help work towards a more sustainable future. Peter suggested that the directive was currently somewhat of a grey area, with manufacturers largely in the know through necessity, while end users relied on kitchen houses, consultants, designers and distributors to provide legislative compliant equipment. Mark Kendall continued the debate by acknowledging that consultants, distributors and designers had a responsibility to understand the EU Ecodesign Directive enabling them to properly inform their clients. Richard Smith picked up on this point by adding distributors and designers play a major role in conveying industry relevant messages. He continued that manufacturers had worked hard to make information on the EU Ecodesign Directive readily available to the supply chain with still more to come over the next six to eight weeks and it now needs to utilised correctly to ensure the information gets the cut through required.

Glenn agreed that preparations for the EU Eco design directive had hugely impacted refrigeration manufacturers with a considerable amount of time and financial resources invested. Glenn added the Hoshizaki Gram had worked hard to be completely transparent with its labeling information and offer some clarity on the new directive.

When quizzed on the EU Ecodesign Directive and whether it should be seen as a positive thing for the industry, the panel agreed that largely it should be accepted as a positive step towards safe guarding a sustainable future for foodservice. Peter Farrell sees the new legislation as the optimum way of providing an approved like for like comparison, allowing buyers to confidently purchase the most energy efficient equipment for their budget.

Whilst Glenn added, it is always possible that dealers and purchasers will opt for a unit, which has an initial cheaper purchase price, however these are becoming a minority as more and more buyers are considering the lifetime running cost over the initial purchase price. With a lot of work having already been done to met MEPs the manufacture of a lot of the models that don’t meet the minimum standards has ceased, meaning that it won’t be possible for buyers to opt for a unit that doesn’t have at least a G rating. With a lot of the work already having been done to meet the MEPs and operators looking to reduce overheads as the cost of energy continues to rise, energy efficient credentials of refrigeration and heavy kitchen equipment in general is going to become paramount.

On the subject as to whether the EU Eco Design Directive is here to stay, the panel absolutely agreed that it was. Whether its because as suggested by Mark Kendall, Britain will continue to export and import to and from Europe, which means that manufacturers will have to adhere to the MEPs. Or that over the coming months and years the new standards will set a benchmark for energy performance not just within refrigeration, in either case the panel predicts this kind of labeling system is expected to be launched across all heavy kitchen equipment.

Top five webinar themes:
•      There needs to be more done to raise awareness of the EU Ecodesign Directive. This is something that should be actioned by the associations as well as kitchen houses and distributors
•      There needs to be a bigger focus on education within the industry to help operators understand the benefits of being energy efficient
•      The benefits of considering the overall life cycle cost over the initial purchase price needs to become the mindset of operators
•      It is likely that the EU Ecodesign Directive will be seen not only as a benchmark for the category but for heavy equipment as a whole
•      The EU Eco Design Directive MEPs are here to stay whatever guise it may take

If you missed the webinar or just want to re-watch visit

Three’s a Charm as NWYC Trio Make it to National Chef Finals #

Essential Cuisine celebrated three of its winning North West Young Chef contestants cooking their way into the highly prestigious Craft Guild of Chefs Young National Chef of the Year Competition, taking place this October (The Restaurant Show, 4 October 2016).

The trio: 2016 winner Daniela Tucci, 19, from Liverpool’s The Art School Restaurant; 2015 winner Arthur Quin, 20, from the Punchbowl Inn and Restaurant in Cumbria and Danny Young, 22, a chef at Nigel Haworth’s reputed Northcote Manor who captured the title in 2014, have all made the grade, coming through a gruelling semi-final cook off.  

The young chefs make up three of the ten finalists. On the day each will be presented with a mystery basket of ingredients and be given two hours to create a winning starter, main and dessert.

Nigel Crane, managing director for Essential Cuisine, said: “The result represents a tremendous coup for Essential Cuisine and is testament not only to the grounding these young charges have received at their respective sites, but also to the hotbed of talent that is the North West of England. We will be at the Restaurant Show to see them in action and cheer them home. Irrespective of result, this is a quite brilliant achievement.”  

CH&Co Group’s Procurement Team conquers the Three Peaks Challenge for Hospitality Action and Springboard #

The adventurous procurement team from CH&Co Group successfully conquered the famous Three Peaks Challenge, taking a staggering 1 million steps collectively to raise over £15,000 for Hospitality Action and Springboard.

The team of ten took to the road in a 1,245-mile round trip from CH&Co Group’s head office in Reading, to consecutively climb the three highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales – Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, respectively – motivated by their desire to support the incredible work of the industry charities.

A notoriously tough challenge, the event certainly lived up to its reputation. After 28 hours, a cumulative walking distance of over 420km, a collective climbing height of over 30,000m, and encountering tough terrain, mist, wind, rain and sleet along the way, the team completed the third mountain and declared victory.

The dedicated team of climbers included Andrew Atkinson, Danny Hind, Jon Williams, Ola Mitchell, Luke Rosier, Matt Kearslake, Leanne Johnson, Diane Broad and Anthony Noakes, with Diane Broad’s 11-year old son, Jack, joining the team as an honorary junior member for the Snowdon climb.

Jon Williams, group purchasing director at CH&Co Group, comments: “The Three Peaks Challenge was an incredible experience. We are so proud to have successfully climbed the three mountains and to have raised such a great sum for Hospitality Action and Springboard.  It was tough going at times and I think we encountered all weather possibilities throughout the 28 hours!  But, we were constantly driven by our determination to reach the finish and by the amazing support of colleagues, suppliers, families and friends.  We would like to thank everyone for their enormous encouragement and generous donations.

“The expedition proved a great team-building experience. As a relatively new team, this unique opportunity to support each other and have fun in fairly extreme circumstances has enabled great bonds to be forged. If we can conquer the Three Peaks Challenge together, we can take on anything the world of procurement throws at us!”

For those who would like the opportunity to sponsor the CH&Co Group procurement team’s challenge, donations can still be made at:

The Brookwood Partnership and ABsolutely Catering announce merger with CH&Co Group #

Independent education caterer, The Brookwood Partnership, and its sister company, ABsolutely Catering, merged with CH&Co Group to become specialist education brands within the Group. Brookwood’s co-founders, Kate Martin and Sue Parfett, will continue in their current roles as Managing Partners.

The merger gives the newly enlarged Group a turnover in excess of £200m and its associated brands will provide catering at over 600 sites across the UK, employing nearly 6,000 in its team.

The education catering marketplace has become increasingly competitive and for Brookwood, merging their assets and team with a larger, well-respected independent company like CH&Co Group provides them with the perfect opportunity to be able to compete more effectively, constantly build on client services, and provide more opportunities for employees.

For CH&Co Group, which currently operates some contracts in the independent and State school catering services markets, the merger gives the Group a much larger foothold in these important sectors.

The deal is the right choice for both companies, according to CH&Co Group’s CEO, Bill Toner. “With the combined assets and team of CH&Co Group and Brookwood, we have greater strength to compete even more vigorously in the education sector. As we’ve proven over the past year since CH&Co merged with Host and Catermasters, it is possible to have a larger group but maintain the feel and personal contact associated with smaller companies. Our Group is made up of a number of niche brands, each targeting specific business areas, and Brookwood and ABsolutely Catering will operate separately as education specialists. Both of these brands, like the companies within our Group, are established caterers focussed on providing excellent food and service with a reputation for looking after clients, customers and employees; we have a lot of common ground to build on.”

Founded in 1996, The Brookwood Partnership were pioneers within the education catering sector. Putting chefs back into school kitchens and offering modern food styles that children wanted to eat, Brookwood has built up a strong business over the last 20 years, becoming a leading education caterer. Acquiring the educational contracts from Graysons Education in 2013, the caterer moved into the publically funded schools sector under the brand of ABsolutely Catering. Today The Brookwood Group provides a fresh food service to nearly 170 schools, serving 65,000 fresh meals each school day.

Managing Partner, Kate Martin said, “We began talking to Tim Jones, CH&Co Group’s Chairman, late last year. As we talked, it became clear that our two organisations would be a great fit because CH&Co Group wanted to expand further in the education sector. We would also have greater resources between us to constantly develop and enhance our client service and of course, we both share a similar ethos of food, people and clients.

“We’ve been very impressed with the way that the CH&Co and Host Catermasters integration was handled when they merged just over a year ago. They have maintained a very high client retention rate of 97%, a strong focus on quality food and service, and have still managed to keep the unique feel of the various brands that make up the Group. That gave us the confidence that we too will be able to do the same as part of the Group and this helps us take Brookwood and ABsolutely on to the next chapter.”

Tim Jones, chairman of CH&Co Group, added, “The existing management teams of both companies will remain in position and focus on the day to day business. Behind the scenes, and as we did last year, project teams will be looking at how both organisations work and we will take the best of both companies to help us further strengthen the Group going forward.

“The company continues to be predominantly management owned and partly funded by CH&Co Group’s investor partners, MML Capital.”

Sodexo is proud to partner the Stoddart Review #

Sodexo is proud to be one of the supporting partners of the recently launched Stoddart Review.

The Stoddart Review was launched at BIFM’s annual ThinkFM conference in May. The Stoddart Review is an initiative with a single goal; to make the UK’s C-suite appreciate the role of facilities management and real estate in workplace productivity.

The review has been founded by a cross industry collective in memory of Chris Stoddart MSc., FCIOB, FBIFM who died suddenly in 2014. Chris had a rare perspective garnered from years of experience across construction, real estate, and facilities management. The review will follow his lead in challenging the status quo and bringing debate from the shop floor to the board table.

Sodexo’s marketing and strategy director for its corporate services business, Andrew Wilkinson says, “At Sodexo we believe that the outsourcing of services does have a direct impact on the performance of an organisation and should therefore be treated with far greater importance than it is by some.

“I often get the opportunity to speak to organisations about their challenges in engaging employees, improving productivity or driving a culture that is more agile, diverse and collaborative.  I can see a clear trend emerging in the increasing number of clients who recognise the value that outsourced facilities/workplace management services can bring.  

“The challenge however is making this the norm, it is something we should surely all be focussed on. By bringing together the thoughts of business leaders and world-leading thinkers in the provision of high performing workplaces the Stoddart Review can only help in this as it exists to put workplace on the business agenda.”

Integrated facilities management solutions play a pivotal role in improving performance. Each day, Sodexo focuses on how the services it provides add value to its partners’ organisations and positively impact the quality of life of its clients and consumers.

Ampersand launches zoo-inspired children’s afternoon tea at ZSL London Zoo #

Ampersand, CH&Co Group’s specialist visitor attraction catering division, has introduced a delicious and fun children’s afternoon tea to ZSL London Zoo’s Terrace Restaurant. Inspired by a day out at the Zoo, the new offer will be the icing on the cake of an already exciting day for children.

The specially-created menu features tasty treats, specially shaped and designed to look like kid’s favourite animal characters, enabling families to continue the magic of their Zoo visit whilst enjoying delightful food. Children will get their paws on animal-shaped sandwiches, lion cupcakes, a sprinkled cake pop and milkshake, all beautifully presented on a miniature picnic bench.

Paul Jackson, managing director at Ampersand, comments: “The new children’s afternoon tea is a fantastic addition to ZSL London Zoo’s Terrace Restaurant menu. Inspired by the Zoo’s famous and favourite residents, the contents and presentation have been cleverly designed to bring the fun of visiting the Zoo into the restaurant. We understand the importance and value of creating a family friendly dining experience that works for children and adults alike, and our new children’s afternoon tea offer ticks all the boxes. From the sandwiches through to the cupcakes, the children will have fun identifying the animals as well as enjoying delicious food, which parents and carers can be sure are made with the best quality ingredients.”

Rich Storton, commercial and communications director at ZSL London Zoo, said: “Ensuring visitors of all ages have a wonderful day is so important to us here at ZSL London Zoo, and we’re proud of our creative catering on offer. A visit to the Zoo is an exciting experience for children and by ensuring the fun continues at feeding time with this animal-themed afternoon tea, we can be confident that kids will be fully-fuelled for exploring, and the magic and memories will last a lifetime.”

The new children’s afternoon tea is available in the Terrace Restaurant at ZSL London Zoo. 

Elior Group to acquire Waterfall Catering Group #

Elior Group has acquired through its Elior UK subsidiary, Waterfall Catering Group, a UK-based leading contract caterer for the education, care and welfare markets. This acquisition significantly strengthens Elior Group’s position in the UK.

Formed in 2007 Waterfall Catering Group has 803 sites across the UK with focus on the growing education and care markets. The company has shown significant growth over the last decade and last year generated revenues of £70 million. Waterfall Catering Group employs 3,500 people with two customer-facing brands – Caterplus (a care specialist) and Taylor Shaw (an education specialist).

“This acquisition is fully part of our 2016-2020 strategic plan to expand our presence in priority markets,” said Philippe Salle, Elior Group chairman and CEO. “Waterfall Catering Group’ strong client portfolio and its outstanding expertise will greatly support our ambition to be part of the top contract caterers in the UK market and double the size of the activity there by 2020. The market presents joint opportunities, in segments in which Elior Group has a referent position: education, healthcare and premium business & industry. We intend to continue to expand in the United Kingdom both organically and through M&A, and Waterfall Catering Group’s acquisition mirrors perfectly our strategy.”

The acquisition is the second for Elior Group in the UK after Lexington Catering in September 2014.

Catherine Roe, CEO of Elior UK, said: “This is an exciting move for both Elior UK and Waterfall Catering Group. Together we share a common passion for delivering great customer experiences and innovative food services. The acquisition allows Elior Group to strengthen its growing market position in the UK and enhance the support and resource available to our respective customers.” 

Waterfall Catering Group CEO Jim Lovett said: “We share similar values and a similar ethos in terms of our approach towards clients, attention to detail and great food. The combined effect of our two businesses and our differentiation and specialism will make us an even more powerful force in the care and education markets.” 

Taylor Shaw and Caterplus will continue to operate under their current brands as part of Elior Group. Chairman Vince Pearson, CEO Jim Lovett and CFO Gabrielle Higham will keep their position and will remain as minority shareholders to oversee the next phase of growth.

All 3,500 employees will remain part of the team going forward.

The acquisition provides an exit for Waterfall's institutional backers LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, which invested in the business in December 2014.

Sodexo a foodservice finalist for eight awards #

Sodexo has been announced as finalist eight times in two foodservice industry awards.

Sodexo individuals and teams have been recognised in the shortlist for both the Foodservice Cateys and the inaugural Sports & Leisure Catering Awards.

Sodexo Sports & Leisure has three individual finalists in the Foodservice Cateys: Gemma Amor, head chef at Ascot Racecourse, is up for chef of the year (public site), global operations director Nigel Scott at Virgin Atlantic lounges is in for regional manager of the year and executive head chef at Everton Football Club Gareth Billington is on the shortlist for the training award.

Alastair Armstrong from Sodexo Government Services contract with Police Service Northern Ireland is also a finalist in the regional manager of the year award.

Sodexo Sports & Leisure is also represented in three categories of the Sports & Leisure Catering Awards.

The team at Henley Royal Regatta and the team at the Red Bull Air Race are both up for event caterer of the year, the team at Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club is competing for stadia of the year and the team at Ascot Racecourse is in the running for innovation of the year.

The Sports & Leisure Catering Awards ceremony takes place on 13 September and the Foodservice Cateys on 14 October, both in London.

Chris Bray, Sodexo UK & Ireland Sports & Leisure CEO, said: “It’s fantastic to see the hard work of our people across the business getting recognised by these industry awards. Our principal aim is always to deliver great food and service to clients and customers, so to see finalists from our events, racecourses, stadia and aviation contracts show we do this consistently throughout Sodexo Sports & Leisure.”

Cutting Kitchen Consumption: energy down by 34%; water down by 53% #

Research by Zurich University shows that multifunctional appliances deliver significant savings and improve BREEAM rating.

Researchers at Zurich University studied the energy consumption in a commercial catering kitchen before and after a major refurbishment. They found that, by switching from conventional appliances to the latest multifunctional cooking technology, 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.

Since kitchens are a major centre of energy consumption centre in a commercial building, the switch to modern, multifunctional appliances can also impact on a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating.

The staff restaurant at ABB Schweiz AG, the Swiss manufacturer of energy and automation technology, was selected for the research project. The appliances used were Frima VarioCooking Centers and Rational combi steamers.

The project was undertaken by Zurich University for Applied Sciences, under the supervision of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Heinzelmann and SV Schweiz (the Swiss catering and hotel management corporation). The aim of the project was to record the efficiency of multifunctional cooking technology under real conditions, with a ‘before and after’ comparison based on the most accurate possible measuring equipment. As market leaders in their respective multifunctional cooking technologies, Frima and Rational were the obvious choices to supply the appliances.

At the start of the project, in April 2014, the restaurant produced around 380 lunches daily, using conventional technology in a cook-and-hold system, with a menu choice of four different dishes. Measurements of energy and water consumption were taken over a period of eight weeks. The number of main meals, the menu, food waste and over-production were also logged. The measurements showed that production of each main meal required 0.58 kWh of electricity and 2.72 litres of water. (Dishwashing requirements were not considered in the study.)

The kitchen renovation, including the installation of the Frima and Rational appliances, was undertaken in summer 2014. Measurements of energy and water consumption were then taken again, in order to enable the ‘before and after’ comparison. The measurements showed a significant reduction. Energy consumption dropped by 34%, meaning only 0.38 kWh per main meal was now required. This corresponds to a reduction in annual CO2 emissions of 1.8 tons. For water, consumption was only 1.28 litres per main meal, 53% less than before.

Anton Bucher, project manager planning & construction at SV Schweiz, says, "The cost savings allowed us to create an attractive front-of-house cooking concept, with a pizza oven and a pasta machine and boiler, without needing any extra budget.”

“The project proves that modern cooking technology can optimise the use of resources, reducing energy and water consumption significantly,” says Graham Kille, managing director of Frima UK. “What’s more, the restaurant was able to increase the range of meals it offered, thanks to the extra cooking options offered by the Frima and Rational appliances.”

Ampersand Events shows creativity and innovation with new interactive dessert concept, ‘Artist’s Palate’ #

Ampersand Events wowed clients and guests with a spectacular menu that launched an exciting, interactive dessert concept, ‘Artist’s Palate’, at an exclusive dinner staged for its Guildhall, London client, confirming its reputation as a creative, innovative event caterer. 

The inspiration of Ampersand Event’s executive chef Glyn Wiltshire, the cutting-edge menu was at the heart of the event designed to showcase the commercial potential of the prestigious venue in the City of London.  The Ampersand Events team transformed the Guildhall's Crypt into a beguiling and unforgettable ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ experience centred around the menu that pushed culinary boundaries to engage and excite guests’ senses and stimulate lively discussion.

The spectacular ‘Artist’s Palate’ dessert provided an amazing menu finale.  It empowered guests to unleash their creative sides as they were served a white artist pallet, apron and paintbrush.  On presentation of the dessert table, they enthusiastically decorated their own white glossed desserts with an array of colourful and delectable edible gels in paint pots and paint tubes.

The inspirational menu also featured an amuse bouche of pea and goat’s cheese trifle followed by an innovative starter of beach bass with potato stones. The mist-shrouded iced eucalyptus granita enhanced the magical atmosphere as it cleansed the palate in readiness for the main course of grass fed beef and warm herb buttermilk. Guests were invited to flavour their buttermilk to their own personal taste with herbs of their choice snipped from the fresh herb pots arranged beautifully on the tables.

Working with partner suppliers for the Guildhall, Ampersand Events also transformed the Guildhall's Crypt to transport guests to a magical setting.  The imaginative use of stunning lighting by Light Motif, illuminated trees from Twilight Trees UK, beautiful flowers courtesy of Lavender Green and befitting furniture from Great Hire, worked together to create a truly enchanting ambience. The Scarlet Divas added to the atmosphere with spine-tingling opera and ballet dancers from Sophie Adams Dance.

Richard Meyer, group general manager at Ampersand Events said: “We were honoured to be selected by the Guildhall to put on this very important showcase event and what a fantastic night it was!  Our ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ theme was unique and exciting and really set us apart from the other catering partners. The menu captured the essence of Shakespeare's famous play, drawing guests into an exciting and enchanting culinary experience that showcased our creativity and the inspirational talent of our executive chef, Glyn Wiltshire, and his team. The ‘Artist's Palate’ dessert was a phenomenal success. Our client and guests embraced the opportunity to design their own desserts and it had people talking long into the night. 

“The event successfully showcased what the wonderful venue can offer from a commercial perspective, and it also enabled Ampersand Events to show that we are so much more than just another event caterer. We are creators of exquisite bespoke food, wine and service delivered with passion, imagination and a flair for innovation, befitting of each individual client’s needs.”

Jade Harrison, diary and business development manager at the Guildhall said about the event: “Thank you so much to the fantastic Ampersand Events team for going above and beyond at the #MidsummerintheCity showcase. It was such a slick operation and we could not have done it without the incredible support from Kate Ayre, head of sales, and her team at Ampersand Events. The atmosphere, the food and the feedback has all been outstanding and for that we are incredibly grateful.  The Guildhall events team continues to be completely in awe of what was achieved by everyone involved last night!”

Elior UK brings a flavour of the high street to Sheldon School #

Elior UK has been awarded a two year catering contract extension worth around £700,000 by Sheldon School in Chippenham, Wiltshire – after increasing sales by 22.5% so far this year compared to 2015 figures and introducing innovative new food concepts for students.

Since Elior took over at Sheldon School it has exceeded all expectations of school catering, delivering real theatre and excitement.

Adam Sydney, general manager for Elior at Sheldon School, said: “School catering can sometimes lack the ‘wow factor’. At Elior, we don’t see why that should be the case and wanted to offer something really special. Working closely with the students we’ve created the ShelPod – a mini airstream trailer, supplied by Leisure Pods Ltd, which can be moved round the school as required. It’s been hugely successful, helping to reduce queues and adding a high street feel to our grab and go lunch offer.”

The ShelPod serves a selection of exciting snacks and meals that rival even the most innovative high street venues. Whether it’s a naan bread filled with spiced meat, New York bagels stuffed with goat’s cheese and maple smoked ham, or a stir-fry fried to order, students who visit the ShelPod are set to dine in style.

James Couchman, Sheldon School business manager, said: “We know the students really care about the food served at our school, so we got them involved in the design of the ShelPod. And because we know their tastes are constantly changing, we’re keeping them engaged with a menu that changes every two to three weeks. The live cooking element adds real theatre – making a spectacle of snacks and meals. With Elior’s support we’ve also introduced biometric payment, which has been a huge success, reducing queues and helping parents keep control over what their children eat and how much they spend.

“Students and employees are treated like valued customers thanks to Elior’s customer service training. The Elior team has really raised the bar in terms of quality and service, and we’re very excited about what they can go on to deliver over the next three years.”

The new deal is an extension of a three-year contract granted in 2014 and will see Elior continue to cater for over 1,800 students and 200 staff a day across six outlets on the site.

Sodexo’s Leanne Findley the first ACE Robyns winner #

A senior account manager from Sodexo won the first ACE Robyns award.

Leanne Findley, 31, was named winner at an Association of Catering Excellence event on Bateaux London to celebrate the best young talent in the catering and hospitality industry.

The inaugural ACE Robyns is named after Robyn Jones OBE, founder of CH&Co, who died in September 2015. An ACE Patron for many years, Robyn was known for her tireless work in the mentoring, training and development of young talent.

As senior account manager for Sodexo Sports & Leisure, Leanne is responsible for the day-to-day running of airport lounges and various cleaning contracts at Heathrow, Manchester, Glasgow and Gatwick airports for Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, Gulf Air and Virgin Holidays.

Leanne joined Sodexo as a 16-year-old food services assistant at a staff restaurant at Gatwick Airport. Her meteoric rise through Sodexo’s aviation business now sees her responsible for a team of eight managers and 170 employees looking after 400,000 first and business class passengers every year.

Sodexo head chef at Wycombe Abbey school Louisa Matthews was also named on the 12-strong ACE Robyns shortlist, alongside Leanne and peers from across the industry.

Leanne Findley, Sodexo Sports & Leisure senior account manager, said: “I can’t believe I’ve won. When I looked at the shortlist and the achievements of the other nominees I didn’t think I had a chance, but now I’ve won I’m so proud. I’m lucky to work with a great team and this is as much their award as mine.”

Tim Jones, joint founder of CH&Co, who was one of the judges said: “I would like to congratulate all of the entrants. The standard of award entries was very high and several were particularly inspiring, demonstrating the drive and initiative that Robyn was well-known for. The judges had to make some difficult choices but I could see that Leanne would have struck a chord with Robyn.”

Paul Hurren, Chair of ACE said: “When I became ACE Chair one of my aims was to put young people in the spotlight, as they are the future of our industry and I believe we should champion young talent at every opportunity. These awards are just one aspect of our work to involve the next generation. I know Robyn Jones would be delighted that she is still shining the spotlight on the stars of contract catering.”

Review of National Living Wage Introduction and planned sugar tax: an interview with Mal Bozic, managing director of RMS Revenue Management Solutions UK #

Q: Mal, the National Living Wage took effect in April this year. How have you seen restaurants react to this measure?

A: We have seen a wide range of responses to this labour cost increase. Some restaurant chains decided to absorb the higher cost and reduce their margin, while others cut back on employee benefits or passed on the cost to their customers by increasing menu prices.

Q: Which of those three responses is the best solution in your opinion?

A: It is certainly difficult to comment on the specific decisions made by management of restaurant chains without seeing the full picture.  Every restaurant is unique and no doubt each of those decisions was carefully considered. 

We will always advocate taking price based on what customers are willing to pay as opposed to trying to maintain internal margins.  So if customer tolerance is low, safe pricing opportunity will be limited even if cost inflation is escalating.  Conversely, we recommend our clients take price even in periods of cost deflation, provided we can confidently project a willingness on the part of the customer to accept those price rises.  Many of our clients have increased prices gradually over the recent low-inflation period without adversely impacting their traffic momentum or damaging their brand.  Our task is now to ensure the same customer-centric approach holds when costs are going up and customer tolerance is not necessarily moving in step. 

Regardless of the path taken, we stress to all our clients that pricing activity should always have the goal of seeing price increases flow through to the bottom line by not adversely affecting guest behaviour.

Q: The national living wage is due to increase by 6% on average per year until 2020. There is only so much cost cutting and cost absorption that operators can do until they are faced with considering price increases. What advice can you give on how best to pass on any such residual costs through price increases?

A: One benefit of such clarity on the direction of travel of labour costs is that businesses can plan now and take a strategic approach to pricing.  Again, the customer should inform that journey.  If, for whatever internal reasons, pricing has to be cost-reflective, then the aim is risk minimisation.  The key is to not hurt customer traffic or unintentionally encourage customers to trade down to less profitable products; otherwise, you risk offsetting the financial benefits of the price increases. Here are some tactics we recommend to our clients and which could help restaurants maintain profitability:

Be selective about products. Raising prices across the board could scare off customers. It’s important to interrogate your transactional data to determine which menu items could handle price increases and which items should be left alone. Similarly, you want to be careful with raising prices on key traffic-driving items.

Spread out price increases over time. So instead of raising prices by a certain percentage or amount in one step change, make smaller increases over time. Customers are less likely to react to a small change in price. Alternate between menu categories and don’t price items or categories that are typically bought together.

Calibrate price increases to a restaurant’s location. Different locations can support different price levels and trajectories, so leverage your transactional data to determine which locations can support higher prices and when. This is especially beneficial if you operate restaurants that have different customer types or reflect different need states, for example a tourist-focused site in central London compared to one in Canary Wharf relying on repeat visits from office workers.

Q: What non-pricing measures can restaurant operators take to offset the national living wage increase?

A. Pricing is only one tool in driving profitable sales. Here are some other tactics to consider:

Segment your store portfolio for more customised management of sites Escalation of costs in a price-competitive environment can be a timely incentive to look at the variation in performance across a portfolio.  Dig into your performance data, historical trends, and what they infer about store success factors in the future, to identify underperforming stores.  Then focus scarce management time on developing a strategic plan for improving their performance.

Get creative with your menu to influence customer behavior. One way to increase profitability without raising prices is to influence purchasing behaviour. You can do this by playing around with your menu layout. Highlight the highest-margin items on the top and bottom of your menu list while placing the lower-margin items in the middle. Most customers tend to focus on the first and last items they see in a menu category.  And how can you get a similar effect on digital platforms?

Consider running targeted promotions to enhance profitability. Another way you can increase sales is by running a promotion or implementing new marketing initiatives. But make sure the promotion is consistent with your brand, has a clear goal, a way to measure success, that cannibalisation risk is mitigated and that the incremental sales are profitable.

Q: In addition to the national living wage, the government plans to introduce a sugar tax in 2018 that is charged to manufacturers. Will it impact the restaurant trade as well?

A: There is still a great deal of clarification to come around this planned sugar tax. We need confirmation on whether the tax on sugary drinks will be a levy on producers as it is currently communicated, or if there will also be a sales tax element that would directly increase costs for restaurants and retailers.

For now, I can draw on RMS experiences of working with our clients elsewhere in Europe on behavioural taxes. Sometimes, the interventions are hailed as a pioneering public health policy, only to be abandoned shortly after introduction.  Where such imposts are sustained, we see that consumers are often less resistant to tax-related price increases than to those that are at the discretion of the operator.  This is especially the case when most competitors pass on the additional, well-publicised cost.

Nevertheless, tax-imposed price increases can lead to an adverse reaction if they affect price-sensitive product categories or consumer groups. Therefore, it is essential to understand the price sensitivity profile of your stores, menu items and customer groups when preparing your response to the sugar tax.

Mal Bozic is the managing director of the London-based operations of Revenue Management Solutions.

With headquarters in Florida, and with offices in London, Paris, Tokyo and Singapore, RMS is a pioneer of a data-based approach to pricing for restaurants and retailers, providing solutions for a number of leading global brands, including many of the largest companies in the industry. Since 1994, the company has successfully provided solutions to clients to increase profit and enhance brand value. RMS assists 40 major brands in 39 countries, with its patented processes of revenue management used in more than 42,000 locations globally. 

Coopers launches new guides to coffee excellence #

Coopers launched a new series of guides designed to help independent coffee shop and café owners run a successful business. The three new guides, which focus on making the most of the latest coffee trends, improving business visibility and customer experience, are available to download from

The guides have been devised in response to questions most frequently asked by independent coffee shops and local businesses. The three new guides cover:
• Calibrating Your Coffee Machine
• The Latest Filter Brew Methods & Setting Up Your First Brew Bar
• Attracting New Customers & Staying In Touch Using Social Media

Stephen Hastwell, specialist barista, Coopers, comments: “The coffee industry is moving quickly and customers are ever more informed. Staying on top of trends is crucial to growing and maintaining your business. We asked customers on which topics they want guidance and there was consensus that innovations like social media and brew bars are particularly important to understand. These new guides aren’t intended to replace regular training, but rather provide simple, expert advice on key considerations for your business. Whether you’re embarking on a new venture or seeking to improve your offer, we set out to offer practical suggestions for your business, while helping you to create the ultimate coffee experience.”

The three new guides follow on from six that were launched last year: Maximising Every Sale, Bar Layout & Machine Location, Steaming Milk For Latte Art, Picking The Right Coffee For You & Your Customers, Training, and Grinders.

Big School Bake Off finalists revealed following thrilling live semi-final #

Eight school caterers have made it through to the final of the Big School Bake Off competition following two unmissable live heats at this year’s LACA Main Event.

Ten regional semi-finalists prepared their bakes under the watchful eyes of the judging panel, including TV Bake Off winner Jo Wheatley, LACA representative Sylvie Babout and UFS executive chef Alex Hall.

At the end of the session the judges sampled each of the creations. The panel looked for taste, creativity, visual appeal and appropriateness for school menus. Each recipe had to be the baker’s own recipe and contain at least 50% fruit aligning with the School Food Standards in England for fruit-based desserts served at least twice a week.

Alex Hall said: "All the competitors were brilliant on the day, but only eight could go through to the final. We’d like to thank everyone that’s taken part so far and helped make the competition a success once again.”

The eight finalists and the regions they represent are:

•           East Midlands: Helen Conboy, The Deepings School
•           East of England: Debbie Donnor, Nene Primary School
•           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
•           West Midlands: Nigel Simmonds, Connect Catering
•           Yorkshire & Humberside: Christine Parr, Warmsworth Primary School

The final takes place on Tuesday 27 September 2016.

The 2016 Big School Bake off winner will enjoy not only the title, but also a day with Jo Wheatley at their school where she’ll host a baking extravaganza. Plus, they’ll also win a day with Jo for themselves and three friends, and £100 Love2Shop voucher courtesy of competition supporter Hobart. All finalists will receive £50 of Love2Shop vouchers.

River Cottage Fair goes compostable #

River Cottage’s Spring Food Fair achieved 72% recycling by serving all food on compostable packaging. Aiming to beat the UK event average of 15%, River Cottage trialled Vegware’s compostable packaging and recycling support. After the three-day event, 680kg of used takeaway packaging was composted with food waste at Viridor’s nearby composting facility; in less than 12 weeks this soil improver will be available to River Cottage’s gardens and local farmers. River Cottage sets out the steps in a short film and is discussing it on Twitter and Instagram using #gocompostable.

Waste is a recent focus for River Cottage founder Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who caused a public outcry by revealing that only 1 in 400 UK coffee cups gets recycled. Most cups and used takeaway packaging instead goes to incineration or landfill, due to the challenge of recycling plastic-lined card with food contamination. River Cottage’s mission to reduce waste led them to trial Vegware’s compostable packaging and recycling support.

Lucy Lomas, River Cottage business director says, “We are absolutely delighted with the recycling results from our Spring Food Fair, 72% against a UK event average of 15% is an amazing achievement. The key was getting everyone on board, from food traders at the event to our staff and most importantly our guests. The team at Vegware were fantastic and ensured all waste went in the correct bins through signage and communicating with customers. We are looking forward to our Festival in September where we hope to do even better!”

Vegware’s environmental team set River Cottage up with Viridor to collect and process the packaging and food waste at their nearby composting facility. As well as providing recycling advisors to oversee event recycling, Vegware also helped minimise contamination by creating clear bin signage and informative posters tailored to the event. Children were given Vegware’s Bin Detective stickers for recycling correctly, and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall encouraged attendees to recycle in his welcome speech each day.

Richard Griffith, organics sales manager for Viridor said of the project: “Everyday Viridor transforms organic waste into high-quality soil conditioner for use in agriculture. Working in partnership with Vegware we have been able to boost the recycling rate of the River Cottage Fair by incorporating recyclable packaging into our in-vessel composting process. We are looking at ways to progress this trial and deliver the benefits of enhanced recycling and circularity into the foodservice sector.”

Having food traders on board with the compostables-only rule was vital, but Harry Boglione summed up their response: “I’m a farmer and a food trader, and I think it's amazing that the packaging I’m using to serve my food on will become compost that I’ll eventually use on my crops.”

Recycling consultant Eilidh Brunton leads Vegware’s environmental team. “We’re delighted to show River Cottage how foodservice and events can achieve such fantastic recycling rates,” she explains. “Our compostable packaging coupled with our recycling consultancy package is a tried and tested system helping foodservice and events divert waste from landfill or incineration.”

All of Vegware’s packaging is made from plants, not plastic. It’s designed to be recycled with food waste, meaning that no separation or cleaning of the food packaging is necessary. As well as being compostable, Vegware disposables are made from low-carbon, renewable materials. The items used at the Spring Food Fair had 910kg less embodied carbon than conventional plastic-based disposables and used 218kg of recycled content.

Vegware last week visited Buckingham Palace to collect its Queen’s Award for its innovative work in zero waste foodservice. The firm is also a member of the industry-wide Paper Cup Manifesto, recently launched to increase paper cup recovery and recycling rates by 2020.

Seven finalists from Sodexo’s Chef of the Year competition have been treated to a day at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons hosted by celebrity chef Raymond Blanc. #

Sodexo's top chefs were rewarded with a day with Raymond Blanc and his team - touring the kitchens and gardens of the world renowned Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, followed by a five course lunch.

Competitors Adam Collison, Andy Clarkson, Daniel Trace, David Fountain, Hrvoje Loncarevic, Lloyd Walker and sous chef Ron Nulud beat colleagues in regional heats, cooking outstanding three course meals to clench the prize. The group were put through their paces by judges – including Raymond Blanc - from some of the UK’s best restaurants including Colettes, Duck and Waffle and Dublin’s L’Ecrivain.

David Mulcahy, culinary director at Sodexo UK & Ireland, said of the competition: “It made me very proud to watch our chefs compete, showing great enthusiasm and passion for their work. They are exceptional chefs and it was a wonderful experience for them to see how Raymond Blanc – who is such an inspirational role model – runs Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.”

Raymond Blanc is no stranger to Sodexo after having partnered with the company at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year to create Jardin Blanc, a high end corporate hospitality space for entertaining VIP guests at the annual show. After acting as judge for the final of the Sodexo Chef of the Year competition, Raymond invited all finalists to join him for a day at his flagship restaurant.

Speaking about the event, Raymond Blanc said: “I was delighted to welcome the Sodexo Chef of the Year finalists to Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons to experience the property first hand. For me it is crucial that chefs share their knowledge and culinary expertise with others to grow their own skills. Being able to share what we do at Belmond Le Manoir with these talented chefs is an investment in their futures”.

The Chef of the Year competition is part of Sodexo’s extensive culinary training and rewards programme. 

McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year shortlisted for two FDF Awards #

Premier Foods' McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year competition has been shortlisted for two FDF Awards.

The competition is on the shortlist for the Education Initiative and Campaign of the Year categories, with the results being announced on 22 September in London.

McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year encourages school caterers to work collaboratively with students to produce themed recipes using McDougalls flour or its flour based mix range.

Sarah Robb, channel marketing manager at Premier Foods, comments: “Our McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year competition has been a phenomenal success and we have been overwhelmed with the engagement from schools. To have the initiative recognised by the Food & Drink Federation is an absolute honour and we are very proud to have been shortlisted. We would like to thank everyone who has supported the competition so far, and the fantastic schools who have taken part. We are up against some tough competitors in both categories, but look forward to the awards night and wish everyone the best of luck.”

The full FDF Awards shortlist is available to view here:

Elior UK develops new breakfast concept to help sales rise and shine #

Elior UK launched a new range of concepts designed to help client sites grow their sales by making workplace restaurants an all-day destination.

Developed to reflect the latest high street trends, the new pop up concepts include the American-style Club Breakfast and the tempting City Bakes Co. Both have been designed to help sites create more sales opportunities throughout the day.

Lorraine Herbert, Elior UK promotions manager, said: “One in seven breakfasts is now eaten out of home and 69% of these are eaten at work  – an ideal opportunity for sites to increase daily sales. Similarly, an enticing afternoon snack offer is another great tactic to drive footfall after the lunch rush has died down.”

Club Breakfast offers customers the choice of homemade waffles, French toast or American-style pancakes. These are served with a selection of toppings like fruit compotes, syrups and crispy bacon as well as some more expensive toppings e.g. honey whipped butter.

Mark Crowe, Elior UK strategic development chef, said: “Demand for innovation, international flavours and a sense of fun is transforming breakfast menus . It’s now the fastest growing meal occasion of the day  and consumers are beginning to look for ways to mix it up by adding extra flavours . Since American themed dishes are so popular on the high street at the moment, Club Breakfast is the perfect solution. Taste, customisation and theatre in one delicious package.

“And to help sites grow their sales later in the day, we’ve also launched the mouth-watering City Bakes Co. The concept offers tasty homemade cookies, flapjacks and shortbread. It’s simple to produce and makes for an eye-catching counter. The perfect impulse buy or afternoon snack temptation and a good way to help sites sell that little bit more each day.”

Compact Countertop Cooking Live: Frima at The Restaurant Show 2016 #

Stand GJ41, Olympia, London. 3rd-5th October

Visitors to this year’s Restaurant Show will be able to see first-hand the cooking capabilities of Frima’s compact VarioCooking Center Multificiency 112T.

On stand GJ41, Frima chefs will be cooking live with the 112T, showing how restaurant kitchens pushed for space can still enjoy the benefits and flexibility of multifunctional cooking appliances.

The 112T offers restaurants maximum flexibility in a small footprint as chefs can use it to precisely and easily boil, grill, fry, low temperature cook and deep fry. It’s up to four times as fast, and saves up to 40% in energy, compared to conventional appliances. It also saves up to 30% of space by replacing several separate pieces of equipment.

Measuring just 962mm wide by 800mm deep and 400mm high, one of the key selling features of the 112T is that is can be sited anywhere. On a table, a work surface, a central cooking block, a production area…  wherever it’s needed. Yet its two 14 litre pans gives it the same capacity as its larger stablemate, the VCC 112.

The Frima chefs will talk visitors through the 112T’s intelligent cooking processes, specifically designed for restaurant operations. They support the chef’s creative work and help achieve perfect cooking results. These include automatic processes for sous vide and confit. As with all the VarioCooking Center’s processes, they cook without the need for monitoring and with no chance of sticking or scorching.

The 112T will be joined on the stand by the newest member of the Frima family, the 112L. The 112L was developed in direct response to customer demand for a compact unit with the flexibility of two pans and the capacity to produce larger quantities during peak times.

The 112L’s two 25 litre capacity pans offer maximum flexibility both in production and in à la carte. Chefs can be boiling pasta in one pan and cooking steaks in the other, frying chips in one and creating béchamel sauce in the other – the potential is vast. The 50 litre capacity provides sufficient frying surface and boiling capacity even at peak times. The height of the pan base is ergonomically designed to make it easy for chefs to work with, which is an important benefit compared to tilting pans or other multifunctional appliances.

For kitchens needing an even bigger capacity, Frima will also have the VarioCooking Center Multificiency 211+ on the stand. The floor-standing 211+ has a 100 litre pan capacity and a footprint measuring 1157mm(w) x 914mm(d) x 1100mm(h). As well as boiling, frying and deep frying, the 211+ offers a pressure cooking facility, doing it faster and more consistently than most dedicated units, without any need for monitoring.

Elior UK brings a flavour of the high street to Sheldon School #

Elior UK has been awarded a two year catering contract extension worth around £700,000 by Sheldon School in Chippenham, Wiltshire – after increasing sales by 22.5% so far this year compared to 2015 figures and introducing innovative new food concepts for students.

Since Elior took over at Sheldon School it has exceeded all expectations of school catering, delivering real theatre and excitement.

Adam Sydney, general manager for Elior at Sheldon School, said: “School catering can sometimes lack the ‘wow factor’. At Elior, we don’t see why that should be the case and wanted to offer something really special. Working closely with the students we’ve created the ShelPod – a mini airstream trailer, supplied by Leisure Pods Ltd, which can be moved round the school as required. It’s been hugely successful, helping to reduce queues and adding a high street feel to our grab and go lunch offer.”

The ShelPod serves a selection of exciting snacks and meals that rival even the most innovative high street venues. Whether it’s a naan bread filled with spiced meat, New York bagels stuffed with goat’s cheese and maple smoked ham, or a stir-fry fried to order, students who visit the ShelPod are set to dine in style.

James Couchman, Sheldon School business manager, said: “We know the students really care about the food served at our school, so we got them involved in the design of the ShelPod. And because we know their tastes are constantly changing, we’re keeping them engaged with a menu that changes every two to three weeks. The live cooking element adds real theatre – making a spectacle of snacks and meals. With Elior’s support we’ve also introduced biometric payment, which has been a huge success, reducing queues and helping parents keep control over what their children eat and how much they spend.

“Students and employees are treated like valued customers thanks to Elior’s customer service training. The Elior team has really raised the bar in terms of quality and service, and we’re very excited about what they can go on to deliver over the next three years.”

The new deal is an extension of a three-year contract granted in 2014 and will see Elior continue to cater for over 1,800 students and 200 staff a day across six outlets on the site.

Elior UK and Barts Health NHS Trust strike gold with Food For Life Catering Mark #

Elior UK has worked with Barts Health NHS Trust to achieve the Gold ‘Food For Life’ Catering Mark at the trust’s Mile End, The Royal London, St. Bartholomew’s and Whipps Cross sites.

The Soil Association ‘Food For Life’ Catering Mark is based on the principles that food should be fresh, local, healthy, ethically sourced and environmentally friendly. The Gold Catering Mark is the scheme’s premier award and uses a points system to mark candidates against three criteria:

1. Ethical and environmentally friendly food
2. Making healthy eating easy
3. Championing local producers

Robin Givens, sales director at Elior UK, said: “Elior is committed to providing healthy, tasty meals that have been sourced responsibly, ethically and – where possible – locally. We’ve undertaken a number of measures to promote these aims at Barts, including reducing the level of salt in our recipes, removing table salt and making fruit cheaper than main desserts.

“We also put out table talkers and posters to let customers know what local produce we use and we leave out customer comment cards to help us improve. Being a responsible company is something Elior take very seriously and we’re absolutely thrilled to have achieved the ‘Food For Life’ Gold Catering Mark with Barts Health NHS Trust.”

Kenny Hanlon, associate director of estates and facilities for the Royal London Hospital, said: “The health and wellbeing of our patients, visitors and employees is always our first priority. It’s important we set a good example of healthy eating and environmental responsibility too. Achieving the Bronze Catering Mark was a big step for us and we’re thrilled to have now achieved Gold, with the help of our partner Elior UK.”

Catering Mark standards are set and overseen by the independent ‘Food For Life’ Catering Mark Standards Committee. The committee is made up of a range of independent experts, who are appointed by open recruitment on the basis of their individual experience and knowledge.

‘Eatwell’ this winter #

Almost three quarters of us buy food to go each week*, and as we wave goodbye to summer and say hello to autumn/winter, consumer demand for more substantial takeaway foods that help take the edge off the seasonal chill will be inevitable.  Using ‘Eatwell’ paper food containers from Huhtamaki, caterers can easily serve hearty and wholesome meals which can be enjoyed on the go.

The latest independent research commissioned by Huhtamaki into food to go consumption within the UK shows that 70% of consumers buy food to go to ‘takeaway’ (rather than ‘eat-in’), with lunch (60%) being the most popular eating occasion for which to buy food to go.  With this in mind, use Eatwell containers to serve a multitude of winter warming takeaway choices – from nutritious homemade soups and oriental broths, to Latin American inspired mixed bean stews and fiery chilli.

Made in the UK at Huhtamaki’s Gosport factory, the aptly named Eatwell range was created to provide the market with a versatile and comprehensive disposable packaging solution to suit healthy, gourmet and indulgent eating concepts.  Comprising of seven carefully considered sizes, Eatwell is one of the most extensive ranges currently available in UK foodservice and is perfect for serving winter takeaway food.  Choose from 7oz, 8oz, 12oz (‘tall’ or ‘squat’), 16oz (‘mid’ or ‘tall’) and 24oz sized containers.

Serve fresh carrot and coriander and traditional stilton and broccoli soups in the 12oz and 16oz pots, as well as a spicy mixed bean cassoulet or aromatic sweet potato curry with rice.  For those after a more filling portion, the larger 24oz size is ideal – especially for flavoursome chicken noodle broths and miso-style soup offerings.

The Eatwell range is available in plain white (with a choice of paper or new ‘wheel’ feature plastic lids); the popular ‘enjoy’ stock design which ensures a vibrant pop of colour to takeaway food sales and features the ‘smile’ logo; or the range can be customised with up to eight colours to create an impactful custom print that will advertise your brand.

For improved convenience to caterers the enjoy containers are coloured according to size and are stackable to save space so you can simply reach for the correct size pot at a glance. They are also supplied in user-friendly combi-packs, with the containers and lids in the same case – great if you’ve got limited kitchen space!

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

*Huhtamaki commissioned independent consumer research into food to go consumption within the UK.  According to the research, almost three quarters of consumers (73%) buy food to go at least once a week.  

Elior UK enters a new five year contract with Kingston University #

Elior UK has been awarded a new five year catering contract with annual sales of £5m a year by Kingston University London. The agreement is one of the largest university catering contracts in the UK, and will see Elior catering for over 20,000 students and just over 2,000 employees.

As part of the deal Elior, in partnership with the University, will be investing to improve facilities at three of the four campuses – Penrhyn Road, Kingston Hill and Knights Park.

The refurbishment will bring with it a host of contemporary restaurants and café bars to help create social hubs for students and staff. All four campuses will benefit from Elior’s full concept range, including the newly award-winning concepts Beak St. Chicken and GO’SASA deli.

Arran McDowell UK HR director at Elior UK, said: “We’ve enjoyed an excellent relationship with Kingston University during the past 17 years – which this sizable contract renewal is testament to. We now look forward to building on that relationship further, with an even stronger offer. One that provides not just quality food, but quality experiences that enhance students’ satisfaction and keep them coming back for more.”

Bruce Armstrong, dean of students, said: “We’re delighted to be continuing our strong relationship with Elior and are excited about seeing campuses across Kingston University transformed as a result.” 

BaxterStorey unveils Pokémon menu #

With the UK going crazy for Pokémon Go, BaxterStorey has worked with client ITV Southbank to launch a limited edition Pokémon themed menu. The menu features dishes such as ‘Sourdough Pokéball Pizza’, ‘Jigglypuff Jambalaya’ and ‘Hypno’s Healthy Bar’.

Nick East, General Manager at BaxterStorey, said: “We worked closely with our client to design an innovative menu based around the Pokémon phenomenon. The playful menu is a fantastic talking point and has received extraordinary engagement from ITV’s staff.

“We always ensure our menus are seasonal, nutritious, and use high quality ingredients that are sourced locally where possible – the Pokémon menu is no different. Some of my favourites include the ‘Charmander Grill’ featuring chargrilled Dingley Dell bacon, ‘Bulbasaur’s baked tarts’ with sweet potato and gorgonzola and ‘Hawlucha’s healthy smoothie’ made with a tasty combination of fresh fruit.”

CITV broadcasts the popular television show, 'Pokémon the Series: XYZ' every Saturday at 12pm, which provided the inspiration behind the bespoke menu. Chiv de la Hoyde, Projects Coordinator at ITV, said: “The Workplace Services team at ITV worked closely with the Network Marketing team, BaxterStorey and Special Arts Services, who created the visual elements of the menu.

“The new dishes have been received extremely well by the many Pokémon Go players here at ITV and it has been great to work with such an enthusiastic team who are passionate about making creative ideas a reality.”

BaxterStorey ranked as sector leader with latest Hospitality Assured accreditation #

BaxterStorey has achieved its highest Hospitality Assured score to date. The business received an incredible 81.6%, ranking amongst the highest scoring organisations within the same sector. 

Hospitality Assured is the quality standard created by the Institute of Hospitality. It assesses nine areas of business, from customer research and business planning to service delivery and customer satisfaction improvement. In addition to observing working practices, service and team interaction, the assessors selected a number of staff at random to be interviewed.

BaxterStorey programmes such as the Chef Academy, Barista Academy and Advanced Management Project were just some of the initiatives identified as equipping teams with the skills and knowledge to provide an exceptional level of service.

Max Lawrence FIH, director of finance and administration at Hospitality Assured, said: “BaxterStorey has taken part in the Hospitality Assured assessment for more than a decade. Its year-on-year progress demonstrates the importance and commitment that the organisation places on quality and ongoing improvement.” 

Alastair Storey, chairman at BaxterStorey, said: “We continually strive for service excellence and are delighted that our teams’ efforts have been recognised with our best ever score. We strongly believe in the importance of nurturing talent and it is particularly rewarding to see our training programmes receiving praise. After all, it is our dedicated people that enable us to deliver the very best levels of service.”

Sodexo UK and Ireland announces Sean Haley as new Regional Chair #

Sodexo UK and Ireland has appointed Sean Haley as regional chair, following the departure of Neil Murray, who leaves to pursue opportunities outside the group. Haley takes on the new role, in addition to his current position as managing director for Service Operations, at a time of strong growth for Sodexo in the UK and Ireland.

Sean Haley joined Sodexo over four years ago as part of the acquisition of Atkins' asset management business in December 2011. As MD for Sodexo’s Service Operations division, and previously as head of business development, Sean has played a critical role in supporting the transformation of the business, developing world-class infrastructure and creating the clear focus on growth necessary to deliver the company’s ambitious targets. Sean has 28 years’ experience and an in-depth knowledge of both public and private sector outsourcing.

Sean is a strong supporter of Sodexo’s diversity and inclusion strategy, having chaired the award-winning ‘Generations’ workstream, one of six D&I workstreams  at Sodexo, which seeks to forge understanding and better working relationships between the different generations in Sodexo’s 34,000-strong workforce.

David Bailey, head of global development for Sodexo’s corporate services business takes over Neil Murray’s other role, as CEO of Sodexo UK and Ireland’s Corporate Services business. David led the sale and deployment of global contracts, including GSK, Unilever, Astra Zeneca, Nestlé, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly and Zurich, all of which are now top ten clients in the UK and Ireland. He will retain his head of global development role.

Joining Sodexo in 2004, David has held various senior operations and sales positions, including MD of Sodexo ILA pharmaceutical operations, MD of Corporate Services and global account director for the GSK account. David was a key and founding member in the formation of Sodexo Global Pharmaceutical Center of Excellence.

Sean Haley commented; “Sodexo has enjoyed consistent growth in the UK and Ireland market in the last few years. We continue to build our reputation for innovative services that improve quality of life for our clients and customers across both the private and public sectors, and are seeing growth as a result. We also continue to be seen as a leader in responsible employment practices, having made a series of commitments to our employees in areas such as the Living Wage and gender pay reporting, and I’m committed to ensuring this remains a focus.”

David Bailey said; “The UK and Ireland is a key market for Sodexo’s Corporate Services business and we are at the forefront of innovation and development of best practice in integrated facilities management. It’s an exciting time to take on this role and I’m delighted to be leading such a great team.”

Neil Murray joined Sodexo UK and Ireland in 2009 to head up Sodexo’s Corporate Services division. Under his leadership, the business has strengthened considerably and gained solid market positions, notably in integrated facilities management, winning some impressive contracts, particularly in the FMCG, pharmaceutical and financial services sectors.
He commented; “After seven years with Sodexo, it is the right time for me to move on. I have had a very fulfilling career with Sodexo and have enjoyed working with a great team of UK and international colleagues.” 

Burger Brothers wins Britain’s Best Burger #

Burger Brothers, Brighton – has been announced as the winner of Britain’s Best Burger competition, sponsored by Hellmann’s.

The independently owned Burger Brothers, which prides itself on an original and unique approach to its burger menu and has a ‘cult’ following in the South East, beat stiff competition from five other finalists to scoop the prize; £10,000 PR support to help make it famous for its burger.

Burger Brothers came out on top, following two stages of judging where its menu was assessed against strict criteria including originality, quality of ingredients, chef skill, range of choices and customer feedback.

Nadz Nwokoro, co-owner and head chef at Burger Brothers, Brighton said: “We are so unbelievably proud and grateful to be awarded the Britain's Best Burger title. For such a small independent company to be acknowledged by Hellmann’s is truly mind-blowing! We accept this on behalf of burger lovers everywhere, but special thanks to the people of Brighton and Hove! And Hellmann's, of course!”

Gavin Lucas, the burger blogger known as ‘Burgerac’, and owner of Burgerac’s Burgershack said: "The Burger Brothers' are a worthy winner of Hellmann’s Britain’s Best Burger competition. It’s burger excellence delivered by very nice guys on a street in Brighton. They don’t conform to any standard formula yet combine quality ingredients in a way that delivers pure eating joy. Its famous Benneton Burger is a great example of this because they slice the mushrooms and chorizo super thin and include just enough of every ingredient to strike a perfect balance. Looking forward to my next visit!"

Rhodri Morgan, marketing manager at Unilever Food Solutions, said: “Our hunt for Britain’s Best Burger has seen entries of fantastic quality from hundreds of venues, but we’re delighted to hand the title to Burger Brothers. Its burger menu stood out from the crowd and is a fantastic representation of the exceptionally high standard of burgers on offer across the UK.”

The other finalists in the competition were The Grazing Shed (Cardiff), Annie’s Burger Shack (Nottingham), Meat59 (Torquay), Jam Jar (Newcastle), Burgers and Beers (Edinburgh). Each receives £2,500 of PR support to help put their burger on the map.

Britain’s Best Burger competition is part of Hellmann’s ‘Grilltopia’ campaign which inspires operators to take their customers to burger heaven.

To find out more about the Grilltopia campaign – including the burger recipe guide, the ‘ultimate burger’ survey results or the Britain’s Best Burger competition – visit

Eat Out is thrilled to announce that Aldo Zilli will be appearing at the Eat Out Awards 2016 as a special guest #

The celebrity chef will be revealing the winners and runners-up of the hotly-contested Nation’s Favourite Eating Out Experience and Nation’s Favourite Grab & Go Experience.

Maria Bracken, editor of Eat Out, said: “We are delighted to announce that Aldo Zilli is our special guest for this year’s Eat Out Awards. He is a very well known and respected chef in our industry and it is great to have his support.

“We look forward to celebrating the extraordinary talent demonstrated by companies and individuals across the casual dining sector.”

The Eat Out Awards will take place on 1st November at The Gable in Moorgate. Entries are now open for all establishments across the eating out spectrum, from pubs and restaurants to cafés and coffee shops.

Click here to enter the awards and good luck!