Members’ News

October 2016

Essential Cuisine launches new Best of British guide to inspire chef brigades #

Essential Cuisine launched its Essential Book of British Inspiration – a completely free, downloadable guide packed with seasonal recipes, hints and tips and advice from leading chefs.

The book, available to download at: offers busy kitchens a wealth of inspiration, with advice on how to better cook with the seasons, guidance on allergens, handy hints and tips from chef peers, including Chairman of the British Culinary Federation, Matt Davies, as well as taking a sideways look at the unwritten rules of kitchen life.

Not only that, for every download made during September and October, the British manufacturer of class-leading stocks, jus, glaces, demi-glaces and gravies donated £5 to the Culinary Ability Awards – the not-for profit social enterprise that enables people with disabilities to flourish in the hospitality industry.

Nigel Crane, managing director for Essential Cuisine, said: “We know how hard busy kitchens work to stay ahead of the game, cook with the seasons and manage in light of the latest allergen legislation, which is why we have compiled this handy guide to help them take menus to the next level. Alongside advice from us, we have also included valuable hints and tips from some of the industry’s most respected chefs – a true source of inspiration for the brigades of Britain and for a cause that is incredibly close to all of us here.”

Unilever Food Solutions announces Tracey Rogers to retire as MD #

Unilever Food Solutions announced Tracey Rogers, managing director, is to retire from the business at the end of the year after 25 years’ service.

Tracey will be succeeded by Hazel Detsiny, VP Marketing Global e-Commerce for Unilever.   She took up the post on 1 October.

Hazel joined Unilever as a brand director in Europe in 2005, turning around the Slimfast UK business from four years of double-digit decline back to growth. In her role as VP Brand Building Foods and Ice Cream for the UK and Ireland she was responsible for growing brands including Knorr, PG and Hellmann’s.

Tracey says: “It’s been very rewarding, taking on the many challenges faced by our business, but after 25 years with Unilever, and seven years as managing director of Unilever Food Solutions in the UK and Ireland, it’s time to hand over the reins.

“As a commercial marketer with a wealth of experience in international business to business and FMCG organisations such as Shell, Manpower and Proctor and Gamble, Hazel has a proven track record of growing brands. I’m confident that Hazel will continue to drive the business forward and keep our customers’ interests at the heart of everything we do.”

Hazel says: “Tracey has made many significant contributions during her seven years as managing director. She has shaped the strategic agenda and successfully led the Food Solutions team to deliver great results.

“Known for her sharp business mind, entrepreneurial spirit and service to our industry, Tracey is a leader never afraid to speak her mind for the greater good of the business. Tracey is going to be a tough act to follow but I’m excited about the future and looking forward to the challenge.”

Tracey began her career at Unilever as sales director in the Personal Care division after which she held the roles of VP Personal Care, SVP Household Cleaners Europe and SVP Personal Care Europe. Before her current role, she was the chair of Central Europe.

Tracey will be officially retiring on the 31 December this year to spend more time with her family.

Adande®’s Top of the Class with an A+! #

Adande announced the launch of its NEW A+ Fridge (available in both side and rear engine model configurations.)

Adande is known for its leading edge refrigerated drawer products that operate within a ‘fridge to freezer’ temperature range from -22°C to +15°C, but in this case the A+ Fridge is solely designed for refrigeration (0°C to +15°C) with an EU Label testifying to its A+ rated efficiency (correlated to the class, annual energy consumption in kWh, net volume, temperature and humidity) associated with EU stringent testing standard (prEN16825:2015).

The A+ Fridge benefits as well from the unique ‘Hold the Cold’ technology and uses Hydrocarbon refrigerant - offering superior temperature stability that significantly cuts food wastage by minimising dehydration and condensation.  In fact, independent respected test facilities testify that Adande technology is fundamentally different and has clear performance advantages and dramatic food quality preservation too. Stable temperatures are critical to prolonging the shelf life of food!

The beneficial ergonomic efficiency combined with an easy to clean regime makes it attractive to both kitchen staff and the operator.

Karl Hodgson, UK sales director, remarked “Customers are often surprised when we tell them that an Adande drawer is typically Fridge and Freezer combined, but there are still customers who would prefer a ‘refrigeration only’ option.  This energy efficient model is sure to please the operator achieving monetary savings and meeting their waste reduction, sustainability and corporate responsibility targets. It is priced at the same level as a normal Adande unit.” 

The drawer looks the same as the award winning modular range, however, its badge has been designed to highlight its A+ credentials, but the Fridge still profits from these great benefits:

Energy Saving – When compared to our standard VCS/VCR R600A in Chiller mode, the A+ Fridge has a huge energy saving of 23%.

More Storage Volume - The Adande offers between 10 and 46% more storage volume than its nearest competitor with a comparable footprint size.

Seals - Adande magnetic heated seals are hidden and out of harm’s way, reducing wear and tear and protecting them from accidental damage and bacterial load. Unlike other manufacturers Adande warrant their seals reducing operating cost.

Condensers - Condensers are typically located at a low level and exposed on conventional fridges, which is a prime area for dirt & grime.  Adande’s are housed internally affording protection. Low chance of condenser blocking also reduces incidence of compressor failure.

Drawers and Containers - Thin, brittle uninsulated plastic containers, metal containers or drawers just do not ‘hold the cold’ unlike Adande where ONLY the patented rigid insulated container is cooled retaining the temperature on opening the drawer time and again, putting less strain on parts and saving significant energy too.

Drawer Runners - Traditional Drawer runners are fixed into the insulated material in the cabinet wall, inherently weakening strength requiring frequent replacement. Adande Runners are incredibly strong and robust, hygienic too, with the container isolating food from these mechanics.

Back of Unit/Modularity - The back of an Adande is smooth and flush for easy siting into most kitchen environments and with no tangling of wires, pipes, obstructions, or snags, etc. its effortless to connect or remove additional drawer modules, all via a 13 amp plug. 

“2016 will see the A+ Fridge being showcased by our knowledgeable Sales Team at a range of trade shows around the UK and Europe.  Interested customers can either view details of the A+ Fridge on our website, or contact our Customer Service Team who will be happy to assist them in providing detailed specs, pricing and ordering,” says Karl.

BMA House selects Ampersand in new five-year contract as catering partner #

The British Medical Association (BMA) has selected Ampersand, CH&Co Group’s specialist venue and visitor attraction catering division, to provide a range of services at BMA House, their impressive conference and events venue and headquarters in Tavistock Square, London.

The new five-year contract will see Ampersand provide catering services to 29 individual event spaces within BMA House, a stunning Lutyens building offering facilities with historical elegance and a contemporary twist.  Venue space includes a stunning courtyard and garden – both wonderful settings for weddings and special events.  In addition, Ampersand will provide catering for the newly refurbished 1832 Café and Restaurant, (named after the year the BMA was founded). 

Sarah Bright, head of events for BMA House says: “The BMA is delighted to announce our new catering partnership with Ampersand. We carefully considered our options, and were particularly impressed by Ampersand’s versatile approach. At the BMA we have a wide range of needs, from our events market to the large staff force working at BMA House.

“We believe Ampersand’s strong connections with healthy eating, led by award winning nutritionist Amanda Ursell, provide the perfect fit with the BMA’s vision for a healthy nation – we are excited to be working with them.

“In addition, the service they have to offer via ITA*, Ampersand’s sister company and bespoke venue booking service, is of great appeal and will no doubt open up new and exciting market opportunities for us.”

According to Paul Jackson, Ampersand’s managing director, the deal is very exciting news for the company.  “BMA House is one of the best venues in London and we’re delighted to have been chosen to work with them as their catering partner.  Our distinct approach, proven expertise and professionalism in venue and event catering will complement and enhance the food and service offer at BMA House.  We have created exciting and innovative menus for the restaurant and café facilities and for its bespoke conferences and events – and of course, all served with the flair and precision you would expect from such an impressive venue.

“Customers can expect a fresh and efficient culinary journey, supported by a deep commitment to service excellence, including: more interaction with our talented chefs; information on the menu about ingredient choices and provenance; innovative healthy alternatives that are appealing as well as nutritious, and developed with our nutrition guru Amanda Ursell; and attention to the small details that escalate a good catering experience to an exceptional one.”

Ampersand’s authentic Indian culinary concept, DAWAT, will also see the venue offer this quality catering proposition to the vast Asian market for the first time, and as an interactive buffet choice for conferences.

Nursing home chef crowned Premier Foods ‘Dysphagia Chef of the Year 2016’ #

Premier Foods announced that Malcolm Shipton, of Wren Hall Nursing Home in Selston, has been crowned its Dysphagia Chef of the Year 2016.  The final, which took the form of a competitive cook-off, was held on 1 September at the Premier Foods head office in St. Albans in front of a live audience. Competing against four other caterers for the title, Malcolm won with his Herbed Chicken Cannelloni.

Mark Taylor, foodservice channel controller for Premier Foods, comments: “All of the finalists’ dishes were of exceptional standard, but there can only be one winner - on behalf of everyone at Premier Foods I would like to wish Malcolm huge congratulations on his achievement. This competition has showcased the skill and creativity in the healthcare industry, and highlights the hard work and talent that is required to provide texture modified meals. The role of these caterers is fundamental in ensuring dignity in dining for dysphagia sufferers.”

The Dysphagia Chef of the Year competition tasked care caterers with the challenge of developing two recipes, one main and one dessert, suitable for a dysphagia sufferer. Recipes had to meet specific requirements based on current UK standards developed by the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA).

The judges – Andy Jones, chair of PS100; Carol Harwood, former training and standards manager at Hertfordshire Catering Ltd.; and Preston Walker, Premier Foods’ dysphagia catering expert - had the tough task of choosing an overall winner from the five finalists. Malcolm received high scores for presentation, taste and texture with judges praising him for his innovative approach towards recreating a classic pasta dish. He will receive £1,000 worth of kitchen supplies/equipment for Wren Hall Nursing Home.

Preston Walker comments: “We were all extremely impressed with the innovation and skill demonstrated by the finalists. It was an incredibly tough decision, but Malcolm’s dish really stood out to us. It’s a real challenge to make pasta dishes suitable for a texture modified diet, and Malcolm’s Cannelloni not only hit the mark in terms of texture and presentation, but the flavour on the plate was spot on.”

iKhofi showcases quality with new customised Sorello cups from Huhtamaki #

Huhtamaki will supply Coffee Machine Provider ‘iKhofi’ with a bespoke version of its new 9oz Sorello smooth double wall paper hot cup.  The new vending cup will feature a minimalist, contemporary black and white design based around iKhofi’s new logo, and will provide customers with a premium quality vended hot drink good enough to rival the style of beverages bought from the high street!

iKhofi specialise in providing complete coffee solutions for offices throughout London, and currently use a customised single wall paper hot cup manufactured by Huhtamaki.  Brian Smith, director of iKhofi Ltd. explains why Sorello is their new paper cup of choice:

“We’re delighted to have been a Huhtamaki customer for several years, and their new Sorello cup perfectly suits the quality beverages that we supply.  The popularity of ‘café culture’ shows no signs of slowing, and so the development of our offering reflects consumer expectations for being able to have a quality hot drink throughout the London office coffee market.  With this in mind, it was important that we chose a product that would allow us to compete with the famous high street chains that consumers know and love, which provides a quality beverage experience. 

“The cup’s smooth wall exterior lends itself perfectly to customisation thanks to its superior print quality. We wanted to use a cup that would ensure that our branding was strong, having recently changed our colour scheme.  Our striking black and white branding, when featured on a coffee cup, really showcases the premium quality of the service and products that we supply thanks to its bold aesthetics.”

Customer satisfaction is extremely important to iKhofi, so using a high quality paper vending cup is essential to its service.  The new Sorello cups provide outstanding insulation, meaning that hot beverages stay hotter for longer whilst also remaining comfortable to hold – essential qualities for any to-go beverage service.

Ray McNamara, UK vending sales manager, foodservice division, Huhtamaki (UK) also spoke of the new customised Ikhofi Sorello cups:

“iKhofi has been a valued customer of Huhtamaki for many years now, and we are thrilled that they have chosen our new Sorello cup to showcase their striking new branding.  With disposable cups now so much more than simply a way of serving or dispensing beverages, iKhofi’s bespoke design will greatly benefit the brand.  Paper cups are a great marketing tool, and the customised branding for iKhofi will put their brand front-of-mind when in the hands of their customers.  What is more, the superior quality of the Sorello cup allows the vending sector to emulate the coffee shop experience that is so popular.  The quality of the beverages being vended can be matched with a premium quality takeaway cup to offer a beverage service which meets the expectations of so many consumers these days, who expect a decent cup of coffee where ever they happen to be.”

Like all Huhtamaki UK paper cups, the new Sorello cups are made with 100% PEFC certified paperboard and are fully compliant with the EU Timber Regulation No. 995/2010.  They are also recyclable, and can be collected and recycled via the Simply Cups scheme – of which Huhtamaki is a member company. 

New research reveals the changing tastes of school children #

Santa Maria Foodservice  published School Meals: What Kids Want, a report into what children want to eat at school.

The report was based on a survey of UK school children, aged 8 to 16 (years 4 to 11), and was carried out in May this year(1).

The survey found that children eat a vast range of cuisines at home, on holiday and when eating out. However, when it comes to eating at school, lack of choice means that less than half (49%) were positive about the way school meals taste.

When asked what they want to see in their school meals, 61% wanted spicier curries, 56% wanted new, different flavours and over 40% want more interesting food, and more spicy food generally.

Older children said they want more exotic flavours like Mexican (51%), South American (38%), Thai (30%) and Caribbean (29%). And when they eat out, older children are as likely to choose Chinese as British food.

Eimear Owens, country sales manager UK & Ireland, Santa Maria Foodservice says: “Rather than second-guessing what children want to eat for school dinner, we decided to ask them. The results suggest that children aren’t at all conservative when it comes to food and want more variety of taste and flavour.

“The survey suggests that school caterers can potentially increase their uptake of school meals by offering a more diverse menu, particularly when it comes to older children.”

School Meals: What Kids Want can be downloaded for free at:

1 Santa Maria Foodservice, School Meals: What Kids Want, 2016

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland's Threesixty˚ brand wins great taste awards #

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland’s ThreeSixty˚ coffee range won four Great Taste 2016 Awards. The accolade of Two Gold Stars was awarded to its limited edition ThreeSixty˚ Thailand Doi Chaang, with ThreeSixty˚ Peru Lima Province, ThreeSixty˚ Guatemala Antigua and ThreeSixty˚ Rainforest blend each awarded One Star. The range is available for both out of home and retail. 

Great Taste is one of the world’s most coveted blind-tasted food and drink awards. It is the fourth consecutive year that the total coffee solution provider’s products have received Awards.

Marcus Swift, sales and marketing director, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland comments: “We are extremely proud that our ThreeSixty˚ products have been chosen as Great Taste winners. Recognition at this high level, and against stiff competition, is testament to our team’s commitment to quality and excellence throughout the business. Our continued investment in our business and people ensures that we continue to produce coffee to an exceptional standard.” 

With consumers’ curiosity of origin reaching new heights, each coffee in the ThreeSixty˚ range displays the coordinates of the coffee’s origin on its packaging. The range offers premium, seasonally sourced coffee from exciting origins.

With over 500 judges including food critics, chefs, cooks, restaurateurs and producers as well as food writers and journalists, Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers. The unmistakable black and gold Great Taste label signifies a wonderful tasting product identified through blind-tasting by hundreds of judges.

Lusso enjoys its most successful period ever with over £48m of new and retained business #

Lusso, the specialist City caterer and part of the CH&Co Group, has secured £48.7m of new and retained business over the past 14 months, over half of it with new clients.

The new deals are worth £23.4m in turnover over the duration of the contracts and include amongst others, prestigious new contracts such as Grey Advertising London; investment management company Charles Stanley; and law firms Charles Russell Speechlys and Bond Dickinson.

£25.3m of this success relates to the retention of existing contracts.  Against tough competition, Lusso closed the 14-month period with a 100% client retention rate, which includes being retained by a number of major customers including Legal & General and Norton Rose Fulbright.

Across this portfolio of new and retained business, Lusso will provide everything from retail style all-day cafés, employee dining, fine dining, events, customer lounges and meeting facilities, tea point provision, and hospitality services.

Lusso’s Food Philosophy has proven a real factor in its success, with new and existing clients connecting with the ethos that focuses on seasonality, sustainability, provenance and partnering with small local suppliers, and to deliver five-star food and matching service.

Paul Hurren, managing director of Lusso, said, “We’re absolutely delighted to have secured this new business and to have retained these major clients too.  The quality of our food and service – our Food Philosophy – is central to what we do and we’ve been really delighted with the feedback we’ve received.  Both new and existing clients have been very confident in our ability to provide best food and service at a price that also delivers them value for money, whilst reflecting their own ethos and culture.

“Although we’re now part of a bigger Group, we’re still very much a small company within that business focussed on providing delicious, sustainable food and excellent service.  We thrive on the attention to detail and exacting standards expected of us and we’re really looking forward to working with these new clients, and building on our existing relationships into the future.”  

Save the date! Make way for innovation as the International Food & Drink Event is back for 2017 #

Clear your diaries and get ready to be inspired! The UK’s biggest food and drink exhibition – The International Food & Drink Event (IFE) is back in 2017! Bursting with inspiration, the four day fair (19-22 March 2017) will bring to London’s ExCeL the very best in pioneering global food and drink brands.

With more than 1,350 suppliers showcasing the latest category innovations, across IFE’s nine easy to navigate sections, you are guaranteed to leave having seen, learnt and tasted something new.

Whether you’re looking to showcase your products in front of some of the industry’s biggest UK and international buyers such as Costco, Unilever and British Airways or keep one step ahead of global trends, IFE 2017 is the place to be. Revamped and better than ever before, IFE 2017 has a fresh new innovative and interactive website, allowing buyers to plan their visit ahead of the show, as well as new exciting networking areas to be enjoyed by buyers and suppliers alike.

What’s more, IFE 2017 will see the launch of two inspiring speaker stages, the Talking Trends stage and the Big Picture theatre.

Focusing on the latest industry developments and key food and drink insight, the Talking Trends stage will be home to a wealth of knowledge as industry experts cover everything from consumer buying habits to forecasting future food trends and new product development.

The Big Picture theatre will be IFE 2017’s keynote speaker stage, commenting on the hard-hitting topics that really matter to the industry, including sugar tax, obesity and the skills shortage. The spectacular line up will be sure not to disappoint.

Also brand new for 2017 will be The Staff Canteen Live. This interactive demo kitchen will offer practical guidance, the latest food fusion advice as well as exclusive behind the scenes insight from some of the industry’s finest chefs.

Event director, Soraya Gadelrab commented: “We are extremely excited about the 2017 edition of IFE. We have spent the last two years refining our best in class format to ensure that the show stays ahead of the curve and reflects the fast moving, pioneering and trend led nature of the global food and drink industry. Co-located with Waste-Works and Pro2Pac which brings thought leadership and innovation in waste management and packaging, we are confident that when we open in March 2017 our new look IFE will offer suppliers and buyers the most inspiring, engaging and modern IFE experience yet”.

Going large at Bertie's #

Yorkshire venue is first to own Frima's new large capacity compact appliance

Bertie’s Banqueting Rooms in the Yorkshire town of Elland is one of the largest and best regarded catering companies in the area. Based in an elegant Georgian sandstone building, its main ballroom has a capacity for 250 people and two additional ballrooms can hold 100 guests each. When it came to specifying a new kitchen during a recent refurbishment, managing director and chef Jonathan Nichols was looking for equipment that could prepare large amounts of food, quickly and reliably.

Frima’s advanced VarioCooking Center multifunctional appliance was high on his wish list. “My head chef and I had previously seen Frima in action at a CookingLive demo site,” explains Jon. “We’d both been impressed by what it could do, but the existing models were either too large or too small for our needs.”

Following the launch of the compact tabletop VarioCooking Center 112T, Frima received feedback from many chefs expressing interest in a compact model with increased capacity, bridging the gap between the original smaller 112 units and the larger 211 and 311 appliances. The result is the 112L, which has two 25 litre capacity pans, making it ideal for use in areas with limited space that have to produce larger quantities of food.

Following a refurbishment carried out by Waltons Catering Equipment Distributors of Bradford, Bertie’s became the first company in the UK to own the latest addition to the VarioCooking Center range.“The flexibility of the 112L was a huge selling point for us,” says Jon. “We can use one pan to deep fry a batch of chips while the other is cooking meat sous vide."

Like other models of VarioCooking Center, flexibility and control are fundamental to the design of the 112L. It can replace griddles, kettles, bratt pans, large pots and fryers. A simple-to-use touchscreen interface provides accurate control over every stage of the cooking process, while the VarioCooking Control automatically monitors and adjusts the cooking process as required, notifying users only when their intervention is required.

“We’ve been blown away with how good it is,” says Jon. “When you're catering for large numbers knowing that you can start it off and be confident that the food will turn out exactly how you want it is a great help. It's one less thing to worry about."
It saves time too. "It takes less time to get started, because it heats up so quickly," says Jon, "and once you're finished you're not left with any pans to clean, just hose it down and on to the next thing."

Using the patented VarioBoost heating system, the 112L takes less than two and a half minutes to reach 200°C and can quickly regain temperature, even when filled with cold food. Cooking times are up to four times faster compared to conventional appliances, with energy savings of up to 40%.

Jon is extremely satisfied with the new addition to Bertie's kitchen. "At the end of the day, it saves us time and money. That always puts a spring in your step!"

The Hub Agency appointed as IFE’s 2017 PR agency #

The Hub is delighted to announce that it has again been appointed as The International Food & Drink Event’s (IFE 2017) communications and PR agency. The Hub will handle all trade PR for the ground breaking four day exhibition and will run the IFE press office onsite when the show opens on 19 March 2017. 

Jonathan Patterson, client services director at The Hub said, “We are genuinely delighted to be working with the Fresh Montgomery team again. Having delivered the PR programme for IFE back in 2015, we are in a great position to use our show knowledge as a strong foundation on which to build and refine, with the aim of making the IFE 2017 PR campaign and press office the most successful yet.

Unilever Food Solutions calls on UK schools to help eradicate hunger #

Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) called on UK schools to help support the World Food Programme (WFP) and its school meals programmes around the world.
Since 2012 UFS, with help from the school meals industry, has been supporting and raising money for WFP’s school meals programme in Indonesia, helping the WFP provide meals to 30,214 students. In schools that participated in WFP’s programme, attendance rates were 4 per cent higher than other schools; 88 per cent of students who received school meals said they no longer felt hungry during the day, and were more alert.

To help achieve these fantastic results, over the last three years UFS has helped thousands of schools across the UK to celebrate World Food Day – providing them with inspirational world menus, educational resources and ideas for fundraising.
With the successful school meals programme in Indonesia now being transitioned to a government programme, UFS will focus its support this year to WFP’s programme in Kenya. Funds will help provide a daily school meal to some 790,000 school children who benefit from WFP’s home-grown school meals programme.

James Allred, channel marketing manager, UFS said: “Getting more children into school and actively engaged in lessons is key to breaking the cycle of poverty and ensuring children and adolescents are able to become the change makers of tomorrow.

“The support we’ve had from schools to support our partnership with the World Food Programme over the last three years has been phenomenal. Their efforts have already had an enormous impact on some of Indonesia’s poorest children. We’re proud to have been part of this story. That’s why we’re continuing our support of WFP this year. Once again, the support of schools here in the UK will be crucial to the success of the project.”

Patrick McKenna, partnerships manager, United Nations World Food Programme, said: “The World Food Programme is delighted to renew our partnership with UFS and its customers – together we can make zero hunger a reality for school children across Kenya.”

The Gram Go Green Summit is back for 2016 #

Back by popular demand, this Autumn’s Gram Go Green Summit is getting ready to tackle the issue of sustainability across an ever-changing foodservice landscape.

Taking place on the 29 November at London’s sustainably committed venue, The Soho Hotel, The Gram Go Green Summit’s exciting line-up of industry experts including Kirsty Saddler from popular restaurant chain Leon, Mike Hanson from BaxterStorey and celebrity Eco chef, Tom Hunt is ready to arm caterers and business owners with in-depth knowledge and simple tools to help them work towards a more financially and environmentally sustainable future for the wider industry.

This year’s summit guarantees to offer something for everyone whether you work in the cost sector or profit sector, the line up of inspirational speakers will be sure to leave the audience inspired to take steps towards a more sustainable future, from minimising food waste and responsibly sourcing produce to reducing energy consumption and purchasing energy efficient equipment.

The full-day conference will also see the launch of the long-awaited 4th Gram Green Paper. Published biennially, the paper reports on the attitudes and changes made in the foodservice industry over a two-year period.

The Gram Go Green Summit’s line-up includes:
•      The ‘Lay’ Of The Land, Mark Linehan, consultant
•      Legislation & Brexit, Is It Up To The UK To Fix It? Keith Warren, CESA
•      Keeping Our Planet Green, Mike Hanson, BaxterStorey 
•      Gram 2016 Green Paper launch, Richard Webber, Cambridge Direction 
•      The Responsible Procurement Debate, TUCO, Julie Barker, HCA, Philip Shelley & NACC, Roger Kellow
•      The Mexican Wave Effect, Clephane Compton, sustainable consulting 
•      Sustainability On The Go, Kirsty Saddler, Leon
•      The Natural Cook, Tom Hunt

With places limited to 100 don’t miss out. Visit to secure your place.

Bidvest Foodservice makes a BIG difference for communities #

Bidvest Foodservice has doubled its community engagement outreach programme in the past year,   spending 5,524 hours supporting more than 1,200 charity events and groups.

These latest figures form part of the leading foodservice supplier’s annual Sustainability Report, which launches on 22nd September. The independently verified report highlights how the company is working with industry partners to drive sustainable change across hospitality, in terms of community engagement, health and wellbeing, responsible consumption, ethical business practices and communities.

One Water: Making a ‘splash’ for global communities
Bidvest Foodservice’s partnership with One Water – the ethical bottled water brand that specialises in funding sustainable water projects in some of the world’s poorest countries – was a key part of its community engagement programme in 2016. Participating in The One Foundation Customer Insights incentive, Bidvest Foodservice set an ambitious target to increase its sales of One Water by more than 30% during 2015/16. In fact, the company went above and beyond, achieving a huge 136% sales increase. Since Bidvest Foodservice started supporting One Water nine years ago, it has raised over £130,000 to help fund One Foundation projects.

These funds have enabled the construction of 15 new water pumps in Malawi and Lesotho, along with the formation, training and provision of tools to 15 local groups to ensure they are maintained. The organisation has also rehabilitated 20 non-functional water pumps in vulnerable rural communities along with funding training for villagers to provide the knowledge and skills for on-going maintenance.

Demonstrating its commitment to the charity, and as part of this incentive, earlier this year five Bidvest Foodservice employees visited Malawi, one of the world’s most densely populated and least developed countries, to see first-hand the projects that the One Foundation has helped to fund.

Speaking about the partnership with One Water, Shirley Duncalf, head of sustainability at Bidvest Foodservice, said: “Health and wellbeing, responsible consumption, ethical practices, sustainable communities and the desire to establish strong, meaningful partnerships are the foundation of our Sustainability Plan, and our work with One Water aligns perfectly with all of these goals.

“During the trip to Malawi, we were able to see for ourselves how the One Foundation projects that  we have funded, ranging from water and sanitation programmes to pump repair training, have brought clean, safe water to over 35,000 people in Africa. We’re proud to support this amazing work and of our teams efforts to help fund these initiatives.”

In support of another charity close to the company’s heart, two employees took part in the Springboard trek to Peru in March 2016, raising vital funds for Springboard in the UK and then supporting remote villages to install solar panels to provide lighting for the village school. In the UK a number of employees also completed The Three Peaks challenge to raise sponsorship funds for Springboard, whilst the company itself has organised Supplier Golf Days and sponsored awards run by the charity.

The charity support doesn’t end there. Forging successful partnerships with charity organisations, key stakeholders, and customers plays a vital role in the company’s community engagement programme. This has seen Bidvest Foodservice sign up to the WRAP Courtauld Commitment and continue its support of the Dallaglio Foundation, Hospitality Action and at a depot level, local communities and community charities.  Not only this, but through its work with the Soil Association, the company has helped over 2,300 schools attain the Food for Life Catering Mark.

To access Bidvest Foodservice’s annual Sustainability Report, visit

BaxterStorey welcomes record number of graduates #

A record number of graduates have been welcomed on to BaxterStorey’s Momentum Graduate Programme. Now in its sixth year, a total of 23 new recruits began their journey with an introductory ceremony held at the Blue Fin Building in London.

Launched in 2010, the programme has seen a year-on-year increase in intake, receiving more than 350 applications this year. The scheme helps university graduates enter the industry, launching their career within an exciting and growing business with a view to developing them into confident and creative managers.

The programme has celebrated a 100 per cent retention rate of graduates from the past two years. Georgie Wishart, communications executive at BaxterStorey, completed the Momentum Graduate Programme in 2013. She explains: “I now work alongside senior members of the BaxterStorey family on a daily basis. My experience on the graduate programme enabled me to have a complete understanding of our business. From site management to the importance of quality, seasonal produce, it was an experience that was invaluable to my development.”

This year’s graduates will have the opportunity to work across the WSH portfolio, joining teams at BaxterStorey, Searcys, Holroyd Howe and Caterlink. The programmes unique hands-on approach to development will see the graduates experience all elements of the business over a period of nine months – spending time in the kitchen, front of house and within both hospitality and support services. They then move on to mobilisations, location projects and operations, learning all aspects of location management.

Joining this year’s programme is Gabrielle Le Roux, who recently graduated from Birmingham University with a first class degree in Hospitality Business Management. She said: “I believe the Momentum Graduate Programme will provide me with some of the very best experiences available within the hospitality industry. I am looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead, learning new skills and developing into a confident manager within the business.”

Graham Eveleigh, head of skills and development at BaxterStorey, added: “Our renowned training academies are constantly evolving and delivering specialist, award-winning programmes to more teams than ever before. The increasing popularity of our Momentum Graduate Programme is testament to the vast range of opportunities our young recruits are offered. It is training initiatives such as this that continue to help us attract and retain a motivated and committed workforce.”

Most compact bean-to-cup launches to UK coffee market #

The Swiss-made Black&White4c, the most compact bean-to-cup machine yet (1), launched in the UK. Combining precision engineering and more than 40 years’ development experience, the new full automatic coffee machine is hand-crafted by Swiss manufacturers, Thermoplan, and is available exclusively through UCC Coffee UK & Ireland. Perfectly suited to the hospitality, pub and bar markets, the Black&White4c achieves high-street quality coffee with simplicity of operation.

The Black&White4c, which is 154mm slimmer than its next competitor, packs a host of unique features into its ultra-compact footprint (2).  Freeing up valuable counter space, its slim design and intuitive interface enable operators to deliver barista-quality coffee and milk-based drinks with one touch in any non-specialist setting.

Other features include:
• The official Swiss-Made marque (3), signifying the precision engineering, manufacture, assembly and performance standards associated with a Swiss-Made watch – guaranteeing quality in every component and system
• Menu of 30 pre-set specialty drinks, including cappuccino, latte, flat white and espresso – freshly ground and expertly prepared with one touch
• Intuitive and customisable user interface – barista-level beverages without the training
• Unique modular design and front access maintenance, enabling quick, in-situ upkeep and repair – reducing downtime, disruption and revenue loss
• Patented milk system, based on 40 years of research, ensuring consistent temperature and smooth, textured, barista-quality micro-foam – ideal for velvety milk-based beverages
• Efficient performance and automatic cleaning, achieved with high-quality components but low energy usage – ensuring consistency of grind size and product quality

Marcus Swift, head of sales and marketing, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, said: “The Black&White4c makes barista-quality coffee accessible and practical for the pub, restaurant and hospitality market. This precision-engineered machine meets the challenges of skills, space and customer loyalty facing these sectors; the Black&White4c is simple to use, extremely compact and reliable from the first espresso of the day to the last latte of service.

“Coffee consumers are ever more informed and discerning, and more people are looking for alternatives to alcohol-led venues when socialising (4).  These factors mean that there’s a real opportunity for bars and pubs to diversify their hot beverage offering, becoming coffee destinations in their own right and using all day parts. The Black&White4c enables them to do just that, increasing revenue without additional training or sacrificing counter space.”

Sascha Hupf, key account manager, Thermoplan AG, added: “This is the most compact bean-to-cup machine we have ever produced. It is significantly smaller in terms of footprint than other competitors, but it has been engineered without compromise. From the stainless steel burrs that produce fresh coffee for each cup, to our patented milk system that ensures a perfect cappuccino, the Black&White4c showcases the best of Swiss precision component parts, engineering and manufacturing.”

1  Low-volume category as defined by manufacturer
2  Wx398mm (CTM RS) + (CTM = 228mm)
3  The Swiss-Made marque guarantees over 72% of component parts are made in Switzerland
4  The Future Shock report, Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, March 2016

Pastry chef Sarah Hartnett partners with UCC Coffee UK & Ireland #

Pastry chef Sarah Hartnett, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, and UCC Coffee UK & Ireland have partnered to launch a new coffee workshop for chefs. The workshop, delivered by Sarah, formerly of Sheraton Park Lane and Claridge’s, and UCC Coffee specialist baristas, aims to get operators and chefs thinking differently about coffee and the impact it can have on both a menu and the wider dining experience.

The hands-on, two-hour workshop, covers single origin chocolate and coffee pairing and how a simple change of ingredient in a cake or dessert can either complement or clash with a coffee.

The workshop also provides insight into the coffee industry, the profit potential from getting the offer right, an overview of the journey from crop to cup, as well as a hands-on session on how to brew coffee to a recipe.

Sarah Hartnett, pastry chef comments: "Since working with UCC Coffee and its extensive range of coffees, I have learnt that flavour profiling is as complex as it is with chocolate and wine – each individual origin has very distinct characteristics. Coffee needs to be expertly handled to get the best results, the same way any kitchen uses raw ingredients. It's been very interesting to work on food and coffee pairings, and explore how different the food experience can be when it harmonises with the coffee."

Phil Smith, head of category and insight, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland: “Coffee sales have doubled in the UK over the last six years, making it a significant profit driver for operators. As coffee is the last thing that customers experience at the end of a meal, done right, coffee can be a high GP sales opportunity for restaurants. We’re working with Sarah as she’s at the top of her game and really understands how products can work well together.”

The workshop will run regularly throughout the year, with the sessions being held at Artisan Coffee School, Ealing, from early November. To register your interest in attending either, email

Big School Bake Off winner revealed after a tense technical challenge #

Sarah Levenson, catering manager from Lordsgate Township CofE Primary School, won the Big School Bake Off following a hotly contested final which saw Sarah rise to the judges’ technical challenge.

The finalists were tasked with preparing their own take on ‘afternoon tea’ – which had to include a scone filled with homemade jam, a madeleine, and a pastry inspired by their region – all using Stork.

They had to create 12 ‘bitesize’ portions of each item, to test their uniformity. In addition to consistency across all 12 portions, judges were looking for creativity, taste and visual appeal.

Sarah Levenson said: “I can’t believe I’ve won.  It’s amazing. I was so nervous. I came into the final to enjoy the experience and show my baking ability. The hardest part of the day for me was not knowing the kitchen and sticking to the time. But, once I started cooking my nerves subsided. I’d definitely recommend to all school caterers across the country to enter this competition. It’s so much fun and you meet so many great people. I’ve certainly made some fantastic friends throughout the process and I’m looking forward to entering again next year.”

Jo Wheatley, who led the expert judging panel, said: “What a final! The quality across the board was really impressive – so massive congratulations to Sarah.”
Alex Hall, Unilever Food Solutions executive chef, who was also on the panel, said: “Well done to all our finalists – particularly Sarah. The technical challenge was a real test of skill, creativity and consistency. How our finalists responded to the challenge is testament to the talent which can be found in school kitchens the country over.”

As well as the title of 2016 Big School Bake Off champion, Sarah has also won a day with Jo Wheatley at her school – where Jo will host a baking extravaganza.

Sarah and three friends will also be treated to a day with Jo and took home a £100 Love2Shop voucher too – courtesy of competition supporter Hobart. 

“What’s next in street food?” Santa Maria Foodservice launches new insight #

Santa Maria Foodservice launched its latest street food insight report, “What’s next in street food?”, showing how the trend is continuing to have a huge impact on the eating out market in the UK

Back in 2014, Santa Maria brought the industry the first ever research into how consumer demand for spices and street food was shaping the foodservice landscape. Fast forward two years, and the trend has seen massive growth – and shows no signs of slowing.

Most importantly, the 2016 report shows consumers are willing to spend more on street food – £6.50 in 2016, up 30% from 2014. And street food is influencing the food choices of nearly half of consumers out of home, with 94% of people planning to maintain or increase the amount of street food they eat. It also reveals a culture of eating street food regularly, with 1 in 4 people buying street food 2-3 times a week.

The street food story so far…
 The top 3 street food dishes are: burrito/tacos/carnitas (15%); burger (9%); noodle pot (9%)
 The top 3 cuisines are Chinese, Caribbean (up 30% since 2014), Mexican
 Men and millennials are front of the queue for street food, eating more and spending more
 10% of consumers now buy street food in the morning, up 7% from 2014 – indicating an opportunity for operators to capitalise on the breakfast sector
 54% say street food has increased their interest in spicy food and 78% have
discovered new spices and flavours (10% more than 2014)
 Over 50% would like take-home DIY street food kits

Operators looking for 2016’s emerging street food trends and consumer favourites should focus on the surging interest in Caribbean, BBQ, Spanish, Japanese and Vietnamese cuisines. The appeal of spices and flavours from around the world is soaring, with 78% of consumers surveyed saying that street food has helped them to discover new spices.

Eimear Owens, country sales manager, UK & Ireland, Santa Maria Foodservice, comments: “Our research shows that consumers, especially millennials, have embraced street food as part of their everyday routines, and what’s more they’re happy to pay extra for it.

“Street food is driving a spice revolution, creating interest in spicy food and pioneering new spicy flavours. The upshot is a more knowledgeable and adventurous consumer and high demand for new eating out experiences.

“We know that chefs and operators are looking for ways to bring street food to their menus, so we’ve added 10 new products to our existing street food product range, including Jamaican Jerk seasoning – hitting the mark for consumers choosing Caribbean food as their second favourite cuisine in 2016.

“Street food vendors have thrown down the gauntlet, and with consumers prepared to
spend more on street food, there is a clear profit opportunity for foodservice operators to maximise on the trend.”

For the full insight on street food, download the report, “What’s next in street food”, and read about how street food is revolutionising the UK eating out market.

Santa Maria launches new street food range and ‘Streat at-home’ meal kits #

Santa Maria Foodservice has extended its range of street food flavours with six new spice mixes and four sauces inspired by the 2016 street food landscape. The range is accompanied by its innovative new ‘Streat at-home’ meal kit concept, particularly ideal for B&I contract caterers.

The new street food range joins Santa Maria’s existing street food products, and includes flavours developed from Santa Maria’s unique insight into the out-of-home consumer market. Santa Maria’s latest report, “What’s next in street food?” reveals that street food is now influencing the food choices of nearly half of consumers out of home, showing that
street food is a gauge for the tastes consumers want, and here to stay.

Santa Maria’s new and authentic street food flavours are:
 New York City pickling spice mix
 Seoul Style Kimchi spice mix
 Tijuana Style Pork Carnitas seasoning mix
 Austin Style Pulled Pork Rub
 San Antonio Style Beef Brisket Rub
 Kingston Style Jamaican Jerk seasoning mix
 Hô Chi Minh City Style Sriracha Sauce
 Santa Fe Style Habanero Cheese Sauce
 Berlin Style Curry Sauce
 Bangkok Style Pad Thai Sauce

The range meets consumer demand for new flavours. The “What’s next in street food?” report revealed that consumers chose Caribbean food as their second favourite cuisine in 2016, while popularity of Vietnamese food increased by 25% – insights which are supported by the launch of Santa Maria’s new Kingston Style Jamaican Jerk seasoning mix and Hô
Chi Minh City Style Sriracha Sauce.

Streat at-home Santa Maria’s new concept ‘Streat at-home’, developed with contract caterers in mind, takes the street food revolution from caterers’ kitchens into the kitchens of their customers.

The ‘Streat at-home’ dinner in a box concept means caterers can offer consumers the ultimate street food experience at home. ‘Streat at-home’ provides concept recipes like Pad Thai and Berliner currywurst, so caterers can partly or fully prepare the meals with a street food twist, which can then be taken away to heat up and finish at home.

60% of consumers are swayed by great merchandising, so with ‘Streat at-home’, operators get the whole package, complete with to-go packaging, advertising and take-home recipe cards – everything they need to create a portable meal and advertise their take-home service.

Over 50% of consumers say they would like take home DIY street food kits, and the Santa Maria report, “What’s next in street food?” shows that average street food spend is up 30% since 2014, so by choosing ‘Streat at-home’, caterers can tap into an additional revenue stream to grow sales by 13.5%.

Eimear Owens, country sales manager, UK & Ireland, Santa Maria Foodservice, comments: “Street food influences the food choices of nearly half of consumers out of home, and millennials especially so, making the profit opportunities for operators greater than ever.

“Thanks to street food, the demand for world spices is booming. The challenge for B&I operators is how to deliver the flavours consumers want to stay ahead of the high street. With Santa Maria’s street food range, operators know that they’re using products developed from unique consumer insight.

Eimear continues, “Consumers tell us they are time poor and hard pressed to cook every meal from scratch, but still want a nutritious and tasty dinner. Our research shows that consumers are looking for shortcuts that make life a little bit easier, without resorting to ready-meals that make them feel guilty. ‘Streat at-home’ is the ideal meal kit concept for the busy modern professional.”

Glyn Ingram joins CH&Co Group as regional managing director #

CH&Co Group has appointed Glyn Ingram as regional managing director as the business continues to grow apace.

Glyn will oversee operations throughout the North of England and Scotland, a region that includes over 100 units and a strong team of operations directors and managers, and unit managers. He is responsible for driving the continued growth of the business in the area through new business and contract retention.

With over two decades of foodservice and hospitality expertise, including operational experience both in the UK and overseas, Glyn has a respected, proven reputation for delivering measurable growth and implementing strong systems that create the best operational solutions for clients and customers. His marketing expertise adds a valuable perspective to his approach and, as a qualified leadership coach, Glyn is committed to nurturing talent within CH&Co Group.

Glyn joins CH&Co Group from Northumbria University where he was assistant director, campus services (commercial services), with a £20million budget and responsibilities including multi-site catering operations and a 5000-student-accommodation portfolio. Prior to this he held senior roles at Aramark for 14 years, including catering director at the Beijing Olympics where he headed up the athletes’ dining, and operations director at the London 2012 Olympic Village where he led a team of 4500, serving 1.6million customers in just over 60 operating days.

Bill Toner, CEO of CH&Co Group comments: “We’re delighted to welcome Glyn as regional managing director. His operational experience and reputation is second to none and he will be a huge asset to the team.  His knowledge of the North of England and Scotland will also be invaluable in generating business growth across this region.  As CH&Co Group continues to grow, it’s vital that we have the right teams in place to develop good operational solutions for our customers and ensure we continue to be best in class. Glyn exemplifies this approach and we look forward to harnessing his expertise and seeing his team develop under his strong leadership.”

Glyn said: “This is a fantastic time to join CH&Co Group and I’m thrilled to be part of the team.  The business has evolved at a pace and the prospects are very exciting.  I’ve got a great opportunity to draw on my experience working on both sides of the fence, as a contract caterer and an in-house operator, and showcase my operational skills and vision for the benefit of the business and its clients. There is also real talent within the teams in my region and I look forward to working with them to develop skills and bring out the best in everyone.” 

Sodexo extends Queen’s Hospital Romford partnership #

Sodexo has agreed a five-year extension with a value of £90m to its contract for Queen’s Hospital in Romford, which is run by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT).

Sodexo has worked with BHRUT for 10 years to deliver a range of technical and soft services at Queen’s Hospital, including patient dining, hostess services, portering, waste management, cleaning, retail, reception, switchboard, car parking, security, estates management and grounds maintenance.

As part of the new contract, which started in October, Sodexo is introducing a whole range of improvements and innovations, focusing on enhancing patient experience and releasing clinical time to care for patients.

Sodexo is introducing several changes to patient dining. The team has introduced new ‘Vive!’ steam-cooked meals on several wards, to offer optimum freshness. The speed of the system ensures the minimum amount of time between the patient ordering their meal and it being served. The use of a flexi-style menu and guaranteed availability means that patients’ preferred choices are always available.

A new children’s menu has been introduced, with colourful jungle-themed menus and service trolleys. Sodexo has also introduced more gluten-free and vegan menus.

The new contract also includes cleaning innovations which will help BHRUT tackle infection. The Sodexo cleaning team and the Trust’s infection prevention and control team have introduced Xenex, a UV disinfection system which uses a xenon lamp to create a germicidal ultraviolet light that disinfects surfaces using five minute cycles, meaning that rooms can be disinfected quickly between patients. The Trust and Sodexo were recently awarded the Association of Healthcare Cleaning’s Working in Partnership award for the Xenex collaboration.

From the beginning of September, Sodexo also began a programme of replacing all curtains with disposable ones which are antimicrobial, actively resisting bacteria and helping control the spread of disease.

Sodexo has also undertaken an extensive refurbishment of its retail operations at Queen’s Hospital, launching new Subway and Yardbird outlets and providing a contemporary high street quality retail offer.

Simon Mills, director of estates at BHRUT, said: “Delivering the highest quality of care possible to our patients is what we’re always working towards, so it’s been great to see some of the improvements Sodexo have made recently. These things can really make a difference and give our patients a better experience of staying in our hospital.”

James Taylor, CEO for Sodexo Healthcare UK & Ireland said: “This contract extension represents some exciting new developments in patient dining, cleaning and retail at Queen’s Hospital, and showcases the way in which Sodexo is using innovation to offer a better service to patients and to develop more strategic partnership with its clients.

“I’m really proud of the hard work which has gone into this contract extension and I know the Sodexo team at Queen’s is excited to start delivering the new suite of integrated services.” 

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew appoints Ampersand as new catering partner #

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has appointed Ampersand, CH&Co Group’s specialist venue and visitor attraction catering business, to drive forward its vision of creating the very best catering offer for visitors and customers at the world’s most famous botanic garden.

The five-year contract, which commences on 1 November, is worth approximately £28million in turnover over the duration of the contract. Ampersand will provide all catering services at venues across the stunning Kew Gardens estate including: the White Peaks café (a family food hall and ice-creamery); Victoria Plaza café (an artisan coffee shop and bakery); the beautiful Orangery restaurant (offering all-day seasonal dishes); and the Pavilion restaurant that provides alfresco dining in the warmer months. A new café restaurant to be called The Botanical is also scheduled to open later this year to add further diversity of food experiences for Kew’s 1.5million annual visitors.

Ampersand was selected following a rigorous competitive tender process where its proposition was critically assessed against Kew Garden’s strict criteria that included: alignment with Kew’s mission and purpose; provision of high quality and differentiated food offers at each venue; match of food offers to Kew’s different visitor segments; support for Kew’s environmental sustainability objectives; and operational capabilities and commercial strength.

Jill McLaughlin, director of corporate services at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew led the tender process and said: “Appointing a new catering partner is one of the most important changes we’re making this year and we’re delighted to be working with Ampersand.  Providing excellent, inspirational, good value-for-money food, with friendly, superior service in attractive surroundings is essential for us to succeed as a world-class visitor destination. We’re very impressed with Ampersand’s professional and creative approach, and it’s clear that they understand our vision and needs and share our values.”

Richard Barley, director of horticulture, learning and operations, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew said: “At Kew, we have tremendous potential to use our catering to enhance the visitor experience by bringing interesting stories about plants and fungi to life.  Everyone is interested in innovative food and drink and provenance, and we’re excited to be joining forces with Ampersand to make this a reality. We already work with Ampersand at Wakehurst, our country gardens in West Sussex, so we know what the team is capable of. We’re therefore very excited about establishing a close and collaborative working relationship for Kew that drives mutual success and growth.”

Paul Jackson, Ampersand’s managing director, said the new contract is a great win for the company: “Kew Gardens is famous and respected worldwide and we’re delighted to have been chosen as the new catering partner to take forward its progressive catering vision. Our bespoke approach and expertise in catering for large numbers at unique visitor destinations has enabled us to create exciting and inspirational catering solutions for each of Kew’s café and restaurant facilities. Customers can look forward to fresh, delicious dishes, supported by distinct, impeccable service.  Our menus will enhance the visitor experience, reflecting the celebrated plant life of the gardens and upholding a commitment to seasonality and local suppliers.”

Compass Group chefs dazzle at culinary competition #

Compass Group UK & Ireland held their annual Chef of the Year competition at The Restaurant Show, hosted at Olympia in London.

The company employs over 4300 chefs and Chef of the Year offers the opportunity for Compass’ chefs from all levels to demonstrate their passion and culinary skills. Hundreds of Compass Group UK & Ireland chefs applied to take part in the competition and were whittled down through preliminary rounds, that took place over the last 12 months, to leave just 24 competitors across the three categories; Apprentice, Junior and Senior Chefs of the Year.

A line-up of prestigious chefs adjudicated over the competitors food, including Brian Turner CBE, Peter Griffiths MBE, Andreas Antona of Simpsons and the Cross, Omera Gallucci and last year’s Chef of the Year winner James Hart.

In the Senior competition, the eight chefs were given two hours to cook four courses. David Mahoney from Compass Ireland was victorious, the judges were full of praise for his beautiful dishes. David’s first place represents the first time a competitor from Compass Ireland has won since 2007. Taking the silver award was Chris MacLeod from ESS while the bronze was won by Aaron Latham from Chartwells.

The Junior event, showcasing the exceptional young talent within the company, saw the eight competitors cook three courses in just one and a half hours. The gold award was won by Ryan O’Connor from ESS, Faye de Souza from Restaurant Associates took the silver award while Katrina Walcroft from ESS took the bronze.

The Apprentice competition saw the eight chefs, who are still completing their Chef Academy apprenticeships, given forty minutes to cook one dish. Patrick Kane from Chartwells took the gold award, while Molly Horne from Compass House and Luke Maloney from ESS take the silver and bronze awards respectively.

Commentating on the whole day, Nick Vadis, culinary director for Compass Group UK & Ireland said: “Chef of the Year is an event I look forward to every year as I love the opportunity it gives to showcase the amazing culinary talent we have in the company. From the apprentice chefs cooking in their first competitions to the senior chefs, the standard of food was exceptional. Everyone who participated deserves huge praise for cooking with such skill and also being exemplary ambassadors for Compass.”

Winner of the Senior Award David Mahoney, Compass Ireland said: “I’m over the moon to have won. Chef of the Year was the first competition I have entered so going into the day I was a bundle of nerves. In addition, you have to get used to cooking in a new kitchen and dealing with the pressure. So to be chosen by such a prestigious selection of judges as the winner is a brilliant feeling and one I will cherish for a long time.”

As well as the prestige of taking the gold awards in their categories, the Junior and Senior Chef of the Year winners will now travel to The USA in 2017, visiting some of Compass’ sites and search for new innovative ideas and culinary trends.

Earlier in the week Compass had further reason to celebrate following Adam Thomason of Restaurant Associates being awarded second at the National Chef of the Year which was also held at The Restaurant Show. Adam previously won Compass’ Chef of the Year competition in 2014. 

Nestlé Professionalclaunches theatrical dining experience at The Restaurant Show 2016 #

At The Restaurant Show, it’s fair to say that there was something of a buzz in the air and the Nestlé Professional stand was no exception.  In a first for the company, its food, desserts and coffee teams combined to deliver a fully immersive multi-sensory dining experience. 

At the Full Senses Theatre by Nestlé Professional, Chef Andrej Prokes (former Executive Sous Chef at The Ritz and Sous Chef at The Fat Duck in Bray) demonstrated through taster sessions how the company’s food and drink solutions allow restaurants to express creativity and versatility, while also offering convenience of use for operators and consistency of taste for consumers.  In a first for the company, the event unveiled gastronomy combined with light, sound, taste and scent to create a pan-sensory experience.

Paul Lumley, brand and communications manager at comments:“Great Nestlé Professional service, food and drink all contribute to a memorable dining experience.  In our industry, it’s important to keep innovating and pushing boundaries.  Diners are eating out more than ever (1) and are hungry for new ideas and concepts.  This show was a great opportunity to demonstrate how we can help realise our restaurant partners’ ambitions, aspirations and abilities to bring diners the best dining experiences possible.  Ultimately, we want our partners to get the best out of their business.”

Featuring the latest in food and drink offers from Nestlé Professional, the experience gave guests the chance to try the new CHEF All Natural Beef Stock and NESCAFÉ Milano Ispirazione Italiana.

CHEF has been present in kitchens for 40 years globally providing chefs with high quality, consistent, time saving and cost effective culinary solutions.  This latest addition, All Natural Beef Stock is made exactly like chefs would do in their own kitchens using all natural ingredients – 2.7kg of beef bones for every litre of stock, water as well as carefully sourced vegetables and herbs.  For time pressured chefs, this scratch made flavour could be a lifeline as it is delivers not just on consistency but could help chefs to devote extra time for creativity and presentation that is so important for a dining experience. 

After-dinner coffee, a common ritual for many, could be a great end to a dining experience and restaurants that take pride in the standard of their food and drinks ensure that the right coffee offering is in place for diners.  With that in mind Nestlé Professional has introduced NESCAFÉ Milano Ispirazione Italiana, a new blend of Italian-inspired coffee that we believe can cause a stir amongst espresso drinkers.  Featuring 100% Arabica coffee that is milled extra finely for a richer, darker coffee experience, it offers a deliciously full bodied taste and intense aroma that could turn a good dining experience into a memorable one.

  NPD Group, February 2016 (

Millennials leading the snacking revolution #

- 86% of millennials snack in comparison to 60% of baby boomers
- Change to eating habits contributing to growth of grab and go sector
- Sandwich remains the number 1 choice
- Over 50% eat alone at their desk, but the younger generation crave more social interaction

Research released by Compass Group UK & Ireland shows a staggering 86% of millennials snack during the working day, in comparison to 60% of baby boomers. The research that was carried out by Kantar TNS, highlights how generational purchasing habits and the decreasing lunch break is contributing to the significant growth of the “grab and go” market now worth a staggering £20.1bn.

Other key findings include:
• The British lunch time is continuing to shrink, with workers now taking an average of 34mins for lunch, against the European average of 37 minutes.
• The UK has seen a 29% increase in lunch spend during the working day since 2012, with consumers now spending £3.03 each a day. This is 78% of the overall working day spend on food and drink.
• The favoured lunchtime choice remains the sandwich chosen by 63% of UK workers, with a further 28% having hot sandwiches or wraps.

Currently 52% of office-based workers eat alone at their desks. However, 45% of millennials say they wish to meet with colleagues more often over lunch in comparison to 23% of baby boomers.

The results showed 48% of workers reported that they worked better when leaving their workspace and 60% said engaging with colleagues over break periods boosted their energy levels. Additionally, 56% said engaging with work colleagues over their lunch break helped build a stronger team at work.

When looking at the main drivers behind people’s lunch purchasing decisions, it is taste (46%), price (43%), value for money (42%) and healthy options (23%) that lead the way. As the requirement for convenience food grows, it is important healthy options are made available to support the health and wellbeing of the UK workforce.

Louise Pilkington, marketing director at Compass Group UK and Ireland said: “The grab and go market is showing no signs of slowing, having reached a staggering £20.1bn and continuing to grow over at over 5% a year. This reflects our research findings that more and more people are seeking portable food to fit in with their working day, as workers feel more time limited over the lunch time break. This trend only looks set to continue as the millennials spend more on and grab and go food than any other generation.

“However, we feel employers should be aware of the risks of employees eating at their desks and help them to reclaim their lunch break. With over 50% of workers still eating at their desks, our research shows that employees feel this significantly impacts upon productivity. Ultimately, employees are more productive when they have opportunities to eat together, interact, think and recharge. Lunch is a really valuable part of the day, both to encourage greater motivation and engagement. Therefore, employers should do more to encourage better lunch time eating habits through the provision of break out space and facilitating a more collaborative culture over lunch time.

“Additionally, another simple fix that would boost creativity and also overcome the common issue of limited meeting space is, where it exists, better utilising the workplace food offer area. More can be done to encourage employees to use his space outside the core lunchtime hours, further encouraging collaboration and engagement.”

Reynolds takes a safety lead with Urban Prototype #

Independent fresh fruit and vegetable supplier, Reynolds, has adopted a fresh new approach to road safety by commissioning two of the first temperature-controlled Mercedes-Benz Econic trucks.

Reynolds’ new ‘Urban Prototypes’ are the subject of contract hire agreements with established partner Gulliver’s Truck Hire, and arrived via the leading commercial vehicle provider’s chosen supplier, Dealer Group Rygor. They are now making multi-drop deliveries to customers throughout London.

The high-visibility Econic has a deep, panoramic windscreen and a full-length, folding side door allowing the driver, who sits much lower than in a conventional distribution vehicle, to make direct eye contact with cyclists and pedestrians at junctions or in traffic queues.

Reynolds’ 18-tonners are also fitted with Sentinel camera systems that give the driver a 360-degree view and also sound an audible warning when a cyclist is alongside, as well as strobe lighting for use when crews are unloading at night.

The Econic’s standout low-entry cab has just two steps rather than the traditional four, which also reduces the risk of access and egress injuries for the operator’s driver and ‘van assistant’, while easy through-cab access allows both to enter and exit safely on the non-traffic side.

Reynolds is already accredited to Bronze standard by FORS (the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme) – the company’s decision to commission its latest Mercedes-Benz trucks reflects its commitment to safety and determination to “go for Gold”.

Both are Econic 1830 models with state-of-the-art, high-torque straight-six engines that transmit their 220 kW (299 hp) outputs via standard-fit Allison automatic gearboxes.

Their single compartment insulated bodies, meanwhile, are by Gray & Adams. Features include a curved front to the roof which blends into the cab’s air deflector, the manufacturer’s latest, aerodynamically profiled panel cappings, access doors on both sides and a 1,500kg Dhollandia tail-lift.

Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at Transport for London (TfL), said: “I’m pleased that Reynolds is at the vanguard of forward-thinking companies by using safer lorries with higher levels of driver direct vision. Our recently-published Direct Vision Standard will help other companies bring their fleets up to modern safety standards and make London’s roads safer for all.”

The trucks leave Reynolds’ National Distribution Centre at Waltham Cross, just outside the M25 to the north of the capital, between 2.30 and 3am. They are invariably back at base by mid-day, having typically made 30-35 deliveries.

Reflecting these early hours of operation, Reynolds has also gone to great lengths to ensure its new Econics vehicles are as quiet as possible – their full air suspension makes a positive contribution to noise reduction, while Thermo King promotes its underslung UT-800 fridge as “whisper-quiet” and the operator has specified the vehicle bodies with sound-deadening Marothaan floor coatings.

Launched in 1999, the Econic has been used in a host of different applications but became best-known in the UK as a best-selling refuse truck chassis. Over the last 12-18 months, however, the heightened focus on cyclist and pedestrian safety in busy urban areas has enabled Mercedes-Benz to win a string of high-profile orders for Econic-based tippers, tipper-grabs, skip-loaders and mixers from construction sector operators.

Now Reynolds is highlighting the vehicle’s advantages for temperature-controlled distribution duties in towns and cities – although a major retailer trialled a gas-powered Econic with refrigerated body some years ago, Reynolds’ new trucks are the first with conventional diesel engines to enter front-line service.

“More than just a greengrocer”, the family-owned company supplies more than 3,000 different types of fresh and chilled fresh produce from around the world – its portfolio includes meat, dairy and cheese products, as well as over 1,000 varieties of fruit and vegetables. Operating from a network of depots strategically located throughout the UK, the company’s trucks deliver more than 3,000 orders each day to a customer base that includes hotels, restaurants, pubs and bars, caterers, schools, colleges and care homes.

Head of fleet support Steve White is responsible for a fleet of more than 250 vehicles in which the three-pointed star of Mercedes-Benz features prominently. Most are 7.5-tonners although the line-up also includes larger rigids at all sizes up to 26 tonnes gvw, and tractor units for urban distribution and inter-depot trunking.

Mr White commented: “Having also worked in the waste industry I was already very familiar with the Econic, and particularly the attributes of its low-entry, high-visibility cab. Given the focus on cyclist and pedestrian safety in London I’ve come to realise that it could be ideally suited to our operation too.

“The Econic comes at a higher capital cost than a conventional 18-tonner, while our new trucks also carry approximately 750kg less. The reduced payload capacity is partly down to the fact that we’ve chosen to rack out our Econics, which is not something we’d usually do – this is not a problem though, because we always bulk out before weight becomes an issue.

“What’s most important, is that our ‘Urban Prototypes’ serve to reinforce our commitment to compliance and road safety, while also demonstrating innovation in our field of expertise.”

The operator has additionally specified its Econics with SmartDrive vehicle data and video event recording technology, which reviews safety performance and provides recommendations and tools that fleet managers can use to achieve improvements through targeted training and development.

They are the first trucks supplied to Reynolds by Gulliver’s through Rygor, which has arranged product-specific training for the operator’s drivers. Truck Sales Executive Marcus Cahalin said: “Rygor is proud to have worked closely with Steve and Gulliver’s on the development of these ground-breaking vehicles, which position Reynolds as a leader in the temperature-controlled distribution segment. We look forward to building on our new partnership with this high-profile operator.”

Manchester House Man Delivers Masterclass to Remember #

The winners of Essential Cuisine’s Best Brigades 2016, the chef team at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate, have been treated to a culinary tour de force from the mercurial Aiden Byrne, Chef Patron of the city’s Manchester House.

Alongside the trophy and a cheque for £1000, the masterclass was part of the prize for winning the nationwide competition, which saw the brigade, led by executive head chef Stuart Duff, edge out seven other UK regions in the search for the best of the best.

The masterclass, held in the kitchens at the hotel, began with a Stocks and Glace tasting session from Essential Cuisine chefs Robin Dudley and Howard Beasley, before Aiden took the mantle to cook three dishes while imparting words of wisdom borne of his experience at the passes of establishments such as Pied a Terre and The Dorchester. 

The chef is well-known for being a champion of British produce and demonstrated a Teal dish with juniper berries and textures of kale, alongside turbot with broad beans which used the juice from a blowtorched langoustine head to add incredible flavour and theatre.

Aiden said of the masterclass: “The idea of the demonstration was to give the young chefs an insight into day-to-day life at Manchester House, and also what 30 years of experience looks like.  What was clear from the outset is that with skillsets diminishing in kitchens, Stuart is a lucky man to have such a great team around him. When you have that kind of group, it can be the most exciting and inspiring place to work.”

Executive head chef, Stuart Duff, added: “The team are still buzzing about the masterclass and really enjoyed it. Aiden was able to give my guys a full ‘warts and all’ account of being a chef which is so valuable for people coming into the trade – it really hit home. We also saw some fantastic cooking both from him and the Essential Cuisine boys. We’re extremely proud to be Britain’s Best Brigade and I’m thrilled the team have got the recognition they thoroughly deserve.”

After an initial paper judging stage, which saw scores of entries from around the country, eight regional Best Brigades finalists were tasked with creating a short video to encapsulate the sense of camaraderie, teamwork and cooking prowess within the kitchen walls. 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.

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. 

All the finalist videos and a video of the masterclass can be viewed on Essential Cuisine’s dedicated YouTube channel:

Fleet Street Communication appoints senior journalist to new role as head of content #

Fleet Street Communications appointed a senior drinks and leisure journalist to the new role of Head of Content – to lead digital campaigns, research-driven initiatives and special client projects.

Mike Berry, who has worked in B2B journalism for 17 years, joins Fleet Street Communications (FSC) from his current role as Managing Editor of the Morning Advertiser.  As Head of Content at FSC, Mike will support the company’s clients in the food, drink, hospitality and leisure sectors to create content-led campaigns that deliver meaningful impact.

Commenting on the strategic appointment, FSC’s managing director Mark Stretton said: “We are delighted to welcome Mike, who brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience gained operating at a senior level in the media for many years. As well as adding significant value to clients with fresh thinking and insight, Mike will mentor and coach members of the team, sharing first-hand insights from many years working at the sharp end of journalism.

“We are firm believers in the benefits of building strong teams that comprise both long-standing, established communications professionals and experienced journalists, and are confident that Mike’s industry insight plays well to our agency’s strengths – of sector specialisms, expertise and knowledge.”

Mike, who will start his new role as Head of Content at FSC on the 17th of October commented: "I'm delighted to be joining Mark and the team at FSC at what is an exciting time for the business. FSC is an agency which has long impressed me during my time in the industry with their approach and professionalism, along with its roster of top-notch clients. I look forward to getting started in this new role and making an impact."

In addition to Mike’s current position at the Morning Advertiser, and his deep knowledge and understanding of the drinks and leisure industry, he brings experience of senior content roles at publishers covering the HR, corporate communication, and building services sectors.

Premier Foods launches Christmas cracker of a competition #

Premier Foods is getting into the Christmas spirit with the launch of a festive competition and brand new recipe guide to help caterers prepare for the upcoming season. Launched this month, chefs and caterers can enter for a chance to win a £500 restaurant voucher, simply by purchasing any three products from Premier Foods’ Bisto, Paxo, Bird’s or Ambrosia foodservice ranges, all of which are essentials for Christmas menus.

Within the foodservice channel last year, nearly two thirds of all Bisto Turkey Gravy sales and a third of all Paxo sales were delivered during November and December alone. With sales showing real demand from diners for these best-loved brands at Christmas time, Premier Foods is inspiring chefs with its new Christmas Recipe Guide. Launching at the end of October, the new guide contains eight delicious, festive recipes, such as Spiced Braised Red Cabbage and Ambrosia Sherry Trifle, as well as the winning Profiteroles recipe from its McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year winners, Spaldwick Community Primary School. 

Sarah Robb, channel marketing manager at Premier Foods comments: “Almost two thirds of the British public dined out on Christmas day last year (1), a trend that shows no sign of slowing down. For many families that choose to eat out on Christmas day, chefs and caterers play a pivotal role in their festive celebrations with research showing that an astonishing 42,000 chefs were hard at work on Christmas Day last year (2). Christmas 2016 is set to be busier than ever for the foodservice industry, so our competition looks to reward chefs and caterers by giving them the chance to win a treat for their hard work and dedication, simply by purchasing three of our products.”
To enter, chefs need to purchase any three products from Premier Foods’ Bisto, Paxo, Bird’s or Ambrosia foodservice ranges from their wholesaler. They must then visit and follow the online instructions to enter by the 31st December 2016*.

*For terms and conditions, visit

1  Bookatable, 2015
2  Over 900,000 workers set to work on Christmas Day, TUC analysis reveals. Available at: [accessed 23.09.16]

Huhtamaki Future Smart – Our first 100% renewable paper cup #

Introducing Huhtamaki Future Smart paper cup with renewable bio-based coating

Huhtamaki introduced its first 100% renewable paper cup solution for hot and cold beverages, ice cream and takeout food.

The world is changing for the better. New materials and technologies lead to new solutions that significantly reduce dependence on fossil oil-based materials and offer more consumer choice and chance to enhance the brand experience.

To meet and exceed the demands of the new age, Huhtamaki is once again pioneering a new packaging solution. Future Smart is a 100% renewable paper cup made entirely from
plant-based materials. The new cup uses paperboard from PEFC certified sustainably managed forests and a newly developed plant-based polyethylene as a moisture barrier coating.

“Huhtamaki Future Smart paper cup solution is a giant leap forward in substituting fossil oil based plastics in packaging with a fully renewable and cost economical next generation plant-based material”, says Richard Skidmore, vice president of innovation at Huhtamaki Foodservice Europe-Asia-Oceania business area.

UK manufacturing trials for Future Smart will take place at Huhtamaki’s Gosport plant later this year. Future Smart cups and food containers manufactured in the UK are expected to be available early in 2017.

Fully renewable Huhtamaki Future Smart solution is the perfect business reason to renew your beverage and food packaging. Join us in pioneering and innovating a new sustainable future.

Sodexo strengthens purchasing power with acquisition of PSL, leading procurement provider to the UK Hospitality Industry #

Sodexo announced the acquisition of procurement specialist PSL.

Established in 1993, PSL has become a leader in fresh food procurement in the UK with its integrated approach of procurement, operations and systems support. This acquisition will reinforce Sodexo’s proposition to deliver market-leading food cost management solutions to its clients including real-time e-platforms to facilitate efficient procurement and operational support to maximise food savings, ranging from menu engineering to waste management. Moreover, thanks to Sodexo’s geographic coverage and diverse client base, PSL will develop its business across Europe and capitalise on new product line opportunities, as well as expand its client base beyond the hospitality sector.

The move, which echoes Sodexo’s successful US-based GPO (Group Purchasing Organisation) Entegra, further cements the Group’s long-term strategy of harnessing business intelligence to identify additional opportunities for value creation for its clients.

Sean Haley, regional chairman, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “The acquisition of PSL will improve the efficiency of our own processes and help us drive increased value for our clients through market-leading food cost management solutions. We are looking forward to working with the team at PSL and are pleased that this move will enable them to extend their business into new geographies and new sectors.”

Daniel Wilson, managing director of PSL, said of the acquisition: “I and the management team of PSL are delighted to be joining Sodexo, a global leader in the services industry, which will bring fantastic opportunities not only for both businesses but also for our employees, clients and suppliers.”

Sodexo to acquire the public catering contracts business of Peyton and Byrne #

Sodexo announced the acquisition of the public catering contracts business of Peyton and Byrne, which operates the food and drink outlets at some of London's most high-profile visitor attractions. 

Peyton and Byrne was founded in 2005 by renowned restaurateurs Oliver and Siobhan Peyton. The company has expanded organically over the past 11 years, operating both a modern British retail bakery and café business as well as a separate public catering contracts business.

The public catering business operates contracts at the landmark locations of the National Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Imperial War Museum, the ICA and the Wallace Collection. These public catering contracts will be operated by Sodexo Sports & Leisure, Sodexo’s leading catering and hospitality partner for sporting venues, major events and visitor attractions in the UK and Ireland. 

This acquisition will accelerate Sodexo’s growth in the visitor attraction market and strengthen its presence in the capital, enabling Sodexo to create a platform from which to develop creative propositions for both its clients and customers. The newly-acquired public catering contracts will continue to be led by Oliver and Siobhan Peyton.  

Nathalie Bellon-Szabo, Global COO Sodexo Sports & Leisure, said: “We are delighted to join forces with Peyton and Byrne to grow our business in London, a highly strategic market for Sodexo Sports & Leisure, which is already present in several museums and cultural attractions across the UK.”

Chris Bray, CEO Sports & Leisure, Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: “Sodexo and Peyton and Byrne have shared values that put our clients first and ensure we respond to their needs and the needs of the market. Oliver and Siobhan have built a truly aspirational brand in the London visitor attractions market.  We are bringing together our resources, talent and expertise to develop an attractive customer experience that will deliver greater value to all our clients.”

Oliver Peyton said, “I am excited about this opportunity which is good news for the future of the Peyton and Byrne brand and Sodexo. Sodexo has a strong record in public catering, and I am looking forward, alongside Siobhan, to working with them in meeting the challenge of a highly competitive market and taking the public catering business of Peyton and Byrne to the next level." 

Frima shows new factory to UK partner network #

“Fantastic trip” for 15 UK catering equipment companies

On 13 and 14 October, 26 foodservice professionals representing 15 leading catering equipment distributors and kitchen design houses visited the new Frima factory extension, in Wittenheim, Alsace. The new factory has doubled the company’s production capacity and has been built to keep up with increasing demand for the multifunctional VarioCooking Center cooking technology.

Graham Kille is managing director of Frima UK. “These trips give our partners the chance to get training on the VarioCooking Center and learn about our business and the partner programme,” he says. “There is also the chance to network and find out about the opportunities and issues they face in designing modern commercial kitchens. The trips are very popular and, as our dealer partner network grows, we will be arranging more of them.”

The factory extension features a new production hall with an additional assembly cell and state-of-the-art logistics. The training centre where the visitors were based has also been completely refurbished with the latest IT.

The companies represented on the trip were Aggora, Salix, Airedale, InStock, Little Duffy, Garners, Allsop and Pitts, Catering Equipment Solutions, Caterfix, Peniston, BBCS, QCM, Milestone, Wilcox Burchmore and PCD.

David Iacono of Caterfix summed up the trip in one word: “Fantastic.” He added, “Like many people we are very busy and taking two days out wasn’t easy – but this trip was completely worth it. We were well looked after and it really helped us understand more about the Frima technology.

“The VarioCooking Center is a remarkable piece of equipment. I think, in ten years’ time, Frima could be as big as Rational.”

Graham was delighted by the positive reaction from everyone on the trip. “The demand for hi-tech, multifunctional cooking appliances is growing dramatically around the world, and the UK is no different,” he says. “More and more distributors are coming on board with us. The VarioCooking Center is market leader in its sector because it provides the most energy efficient, flexible, easy to use, space saving and fast cooking solution.” 

Talented Trio’s Wanted for Essential Cuisine Chef Challenge #

Essential Cuisine is calling on chefs to enter its team challenge, ‘Teamwork in the Kitchen’ taking place during the world famous Salon Culinaire at January’s Great Hospitality Show (Birmingham NEC, 23-26 January, 2017).

The Stock People’s revamped 60-minute competition invites teams of three to cook together, creating a three-course meal for two covers that puts the very best seasonal British products on show. Menus must feature at least one Essential Cuisine product in two of the three courses.     

Taking place on Tuesday 24 January 2017 (09.45am-10.45am) the challenge will see talented teams go for gold, as part of the world famous culinary competition. New for 2017 is a simplified entry process, which means all competitors have to do is visit, to get involved.

Nigel Crane, managing director for Essential Cuisine, said: “Challenging yourself in the bright spotlight of competition and cooking out of your comfort zone is one of the most rewarding things you can do as a chef. Doing it with members of your trusted brigade makes it all the sweeter. That’s why we’re bringing back Teamwork in the Kitchen for 2017. I want to call on those who feel they have the camaraderie and cooking skills to really compete to enter now. Those who strike gold will undoubtedly be the ones who work as a unit to make British produce the star.” 

Steamplicity looks to “put pride back into hospital food” with the launch of a series of “pop-ups” at hospital sites #

The unique patented steam cooking system, Steamplicity, part of Compass UK & Ireland, yesterday launched its first “pop-up” at King’s College Hospital, London, as part of its campaign to put pride back in hospital food. The pop-up saw visitors and staff at the site taste some of the Steamplicity meals, enabling them to see first-hand the high quality of food patients at the site receive. Questions were also answered about how the meals are put together, sourcing of ingredients and the benefits of a steam cooked meal.

Steamplicity currently delivers 95,000 meals a week to patients at 30 hospitals across the UK. Due to the use of the unique steam valve, patients are able to receive meals made from fresh and raw ingredients that have been steamed in under five minutes – ensuring a high nutritional value, as well as meals that taste and look great.

The pop-up series also marks the launch of the new Steamplicity branding, which places a greater emphasis around the provision of freshly cooked food.  Due to the benefits of cooking food by steam, Steamplicity is the only solution that is able to provide freshly cooked plated meals at ward level to ensure a high standard of nutritional value, taste and texture are provided to patients.

Another significant advantage of the innovative steam system is the flexibility it gives to the trust at mealtimes. Patients are able to order a Steamplicity meal outside of protected mealtimes which means if patients miss a meal due to having treatment of through poor appetite they can still have a hot meal. 

Furthermore as meals are individually portioned overall waste of uneaten meals in kept to a minimum with the majority of Steamplicity sites operating at 3% waste or less.  

Steve Cenci, managing director, Healthcare, Compass Group UK & Ireland explains: “We are really proud of our Steamplicity offer. We have a team of Compass chefs, nutritionists and dietitians who work on our dishes, to ensure we are able to produce fresh and nutritious meals of a high standard that people want to eat. We recognise that food has an essential role to play in the wellbeing of patients and take this responsibility seriously.

“We hope that our pop-ups series will enable us to have a positive dialogue with visitors, staff and patients about their hospital food, provide the opportunity to taste some of our meals, and give them confidence in what is being provided at those hospitals we operate at, as they learn more about the benefits of the Steamplicity system.

“The success of this UK developed patient dining innovation has led to its successful adoption in general hospitals all over the globe including New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Sweden.”

Jan Flint, director of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College Hospital said: “At King’s we always want to use the best ingredients and provide our patients with nutritious, varied and appetising food to aid recovery.”

The first pop up coincides with the arrival of the new Autumn/Winter menu, which sees 8 new dishes added including old favourites such as Beef Lasagne, new cuisines such as Teriyaki Salmon Noodles and new concept finger foods such as Chicken Goujons and Fish Fingers.
The new pictorial – flash card style menu, launched earlier in the year is proving to be a great success, enabling those who are struggling to communicate, or prefer clearer pictures or larger font, to enable them to more easily choose a meal that they want. 

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland launches Cuban coffee #

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland launched a new limited edition ThreeSixty˚ Cuban Cumanayagua coffee for the out of home market.

This new single origin is one of only a few coffees produced by the small coffee growing region this season. The pack features original artwork, inspired by Cuban culture, and created by the winner of the brand’s recent label design competition, #MyThreeSixtyDesign. The winning artwork, as voted by the public, was designed by Lewis Snitch and captures the beauty of Cuba in an enchanting street scene.

All coffees in the ThreeSixty˚ out of home range, which also features the Great Taste Award-winning Rainforest Blend and Blend Number One, are seasonally sourced from some of the finest coffee growing plantations around the world. The beans are slowly roasted to enhance natural flavours, acidity and sweetness in the beans for a unique full-flavour coffee.

Katherine McCarthy, coffee specialist, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland comments: “We know that keeping coffee menus fresh is really important to keep regular customers coming back for more and to entice new customers in. As the Cuban Cumanayagua is seasonal, it’s a great choice for a guest coffee so customers can experience the distinct and multi-faceted tasting notes. Expect roasted peanuts and cinder toffee with a caramelised brown sugar sweetness and perfectly balanced acidity.”

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

ThreeSixty˚ Cuban Cumanayagua is now available in 10 x 500g packs. 

Tolley Brothers partner with Compass Group #

Compass Group UK & Ireland announced a review of its coffee strategy - encompassing everything from organisational design (including job descriptions and the barista career path) through to coffee education and training. The Central Marketing team will be partnering with well-known coffee specialists Nick and Andrew Tolley, from Taylor St Baristas, who will carry out the review and support Compass in an advisory capacity.

The UK coffee market is currently worth an estimated £7.9bn and this is predicted to double by 2025*.  Compass is one of the UK’s largest coffee suppliers that continues to deliver significant year on year sales growth. Due to the importance of coffee within its business, Compass has been making a significant investment in the training and development of baristas to ensure that whatever site a customer is served at they will receive high quality coffee.

The new partnership with Nick and Andrew Tolley will see them carry out a review of Compass’ current coffee practices to ensure the group has a solid and robust foundation for future growth utilising their expertise and extensive knowledge of the coffee industry and specialty coffee.

Louise Pilkington, director of marketing, Compass Group UK & Ireland explains: “We are absolutely delighted to be working with some of the coffee industry leaders, Nick and Andrew Tolley. Taylor St has blazed a trail in London’s specialty coffee scene and is today regarded as one of the most innovative quality-led coffeehouses in the world.

“They have exceptional knowledge and understanding of the coffee market that we believe will result in the creation of a UK leading coffee programme for our employees. Training and development of our employees is critical. With over 350 baristas in the business across 130 sites, the new programme will be looking to ensure we are able to provide our employees with the tools and knowledge to ensure that our customers always receive excellent, great tasting and high quality coffee across all our sites.”

Nick Tolley, founder, Taylor St Baristas, added: “This is the first time we have worked with a food services company. Ultimately, we are passionate about coffee and the overall experience that a customer receives. On speaking with Compass Group UK & Ireland, it was clear they share this passion.  As a result, we are excited to be working with them to deliver the kind of quality coffee programme that becomes culturally embedded and ingrained within their organisation; one that is scalable across the breadth of their business; and one that delivers consistently high standards for Compass’ customers every time.”

*Allegra report 2015

Sodexo’s Slattery in LGBT top 100 third year running #

The country president of Sodexo Ireland was named among the Top 100 influential LGBT business leaders for the third consecutive year.

Margot Slattery is number 61 on the list compiled by Outstanding, a not-for-profit professional network for LGBT executives and their allies, and published in association with the Financial Times.

Margot drives awareness of sexual orientation across Sodexo’s international business, both as part of the company’s global LGB network leadership team and the global pride group.

Earlier this year Margot was instrumental in launching the Sodexo UK & Ireland Pride employee network group, aimed to make LGBT issues much more visible for the organisation’s 34,000 employees.

Outside Sodexo Margot is a board member of GLEN (the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network) in Ireland. She was Senior Leader of the Year at GLEN’s inaugural Workplace Equality Index Awards in 2015 and Trailblazer Award winner at the WXN 2016 Most Powerful Women in Ireland Awards.

Margot’s commercial acumen and passion for inclusion mean she is in demand as a public speaker and a regular feature in the Irish press for her work in this area. Earlier this month, Margot spoke to 4,000 people at the Out and Equal Workplace Summit in Florida.

Gigi Chao, executive vice chairman of Cheuk Nang Holdings Limited, headlines this year’s Top 100 LGBT leaders, with Lloyd’s of London CEO Inga Beale second and Quantas CEO Alan Joyce third.

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce topped the list of Allies for his work to champion LGBT diversity.

Margot Slattery, country president of Sodexo Ireland, said: “I’m honoured to be included in the Outstanding Top 100 for the third consecutive year. Visible role models are crucial in creating an inclusive workplace where everyone can achieve their full potential. By launching our Pride employee network group this year we hope to identify more role models and allies to contribute towards our business success.”

Huhtamaki predict food to go trends for 2017 #

The New Year always brings with it an inevitable mix of unknown challenges and resolutions, but as we head towards 2017, what could possibly lie ahead for the UK’s food to go offering?  Huhtamaki, is offering some predictions on what they think the foodservice industry may expect in the coming year. 

Becci Eplett, UK marketing manager, Huhtamaki UK Ltd. explains: “At Huhtamaki, we’re always keen to share our knowledge of the marketplace with those in the industry.  The New Year is much anticipated and so we’re delighted to offer an insight into the food to go trends that we think will be popular in foodservice during 2017 – a food to go forecast, if you like!”

With consumers spending more time commuting, the demand for portable snacks that can be enjoyed on-the-go will continue to rise.  This is great news for operators offering a grab n go service, and will obviously encourage the use of disposable packaging solutions and generate further investment in NPD.

Independent consumer research commissioned by Huhtamaki into Food To Go consumption within the UK shows that work is an important factor influencing food to go.  Over half of consumers (59%) buy food to go during the working week, and over half (56%) eat food to go on the move or during their commute – of which nearly half (43%) of consumers who eat food to go during their commute eat breakfast; and 65% buy their lunch during their daily commute.

Healthy eating will remain a priority for consumers and as such, operators will see a demand for food choices with increased nutrition.  The use of ingredients in recipes which result in healthier dishes will take precedence over food choices that are low in fat or sugar, for example; with fresh and superfoods becoming even more popular.  Energy pots are therefore likely to be the order of the day, which caterers can easily make available using Huhtamaki’s ‘Eatwell’ range of paper food containers.  Available in an extensive array of sizes, Eatwell containers are perfectly suited to takeaway food concepts which promote healthy living and encourage eating well, making them the ideal choice for operators serving lifestyle conscious consumers.

With the above in mind, the provision of ‘build you own’ meal concepts is something that Huhtamaki predicts will be popular.   Operators will be able to offer customers a choice of takeaway food containers, which they can use to create their own meal – picking their preferred portion size and selecting the protein, carbohydrate and vegetables which go into it.  Whether hot or cold, this self-service style feeding is sure to be popular with those who are aware of what they eat.
According to Huhtamaki’s Food To Go research, almost three quarters of consumers (73%) buy food to go at least once a week – the equivalent to over 24 million* consumers!  10% of consumers buy food to go at least once a day.  This presents the foodservice industry with a huge opportunity – an opportunity that will be heavily influenced by the trends which can be replicated in the grab n go food concepts being made available.

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

BaxterStorey secures prestigious Sunseeker contract #

Over 2,000 Sunseeker staff in Dorset will soon be enjoying delicious dishes, expertly created using sustainable and seasonal produce. The luxury motor yacht manufacturer with headquarters in Poole has appointed foodservice provider BaxterStorey, praising them for their commitment to local suppliers and their innovative approach to menu creation.

John Bennett, co-chief executive at BaxterStorey, said: “Our business is built on the foundation of fresh, seasonal and locally sourced produce. Our chefs and food development teams work closely with customers and selected suppliers to provide fresh, nutritious food to surprise and delight staff.

“Food is a great source of motivation and, quite literally, energy – we take that very seriously and are passionate about the difference we can make through our food, service and approach.”

Matthew Farr, facilities manager at Sunseeker, said: “Located in the heart of Poole Harbour, we are surrounded by some of the UK’s best fresh produce so this is an ideal base for creating great food. Many of our staff are on their feet all day so it is important that we offer them fulfilling, healthy choices. We were particularly attracted to BaxterStorey’s product innovation and variety – an approach that shone through from the start.”