Members’ News

May 2017

Be ‘king of the grill’ with Farmstead this summer #

Farmstead from Bidfood launches the ultimate fresh meat guide ahead of National BBQ Week (29 May – 4 June 2017)

With 2017 predicted to be one of the warmest on record (1), the growing consumer appetite for outdoor eating is set to make National BBQ Week 2017 (29th May – 4th June) one of the biggest yet. To mark this, Farmstead from Bidfood has launched the ultimate fresh meat guide, to help caterers be masters of the BBQ this summer.

With sections on poultry, beef, lamb and pork, the guide features advice on selecting the best cuts of meat to tips on seasoning. It also contains a range of aromatic and succulent grill-friendly, smoked, baked or slow-cook recipes, including Lebanese style Spatchcock Poussin and Texan BBQ Brisket.

The new guide also illustrates Farmstead’s full traceability policy and its mission to improve trust and transparency across the supply chain, giving at-a-glance ‘meet the farmer’ snapshots on some of the farms behind the range.

Andy Small, Farmstead brand manager at Bidfood says: “It’s part of British culture to bring out the BBQ at even the first hint of sunshine, so it’s no surprise that the alfresco market is now worth more than £7.1 billion (2). The BBQ season is a time of year when fresh meat comes into its own and with over 300 products, the Farmstead range offers a wide selection of meat with quality, consistency, traceability and value at its core.

“From field to fork, consumers want to know the story behind their food. The new guide shows we are passionate about improving transparency across the supply chain, with quotes from suppliers showing how we’re working closely with famers and customers to forge strong relationships at every link of the chain.”

The Farmstead fresh meat guide is available now at

1 Met Office global forecast 2017,

Stuart Tarff wins Elior’s Chef of the Year competition #

Stuart Tarff, Lexington pastry chef at London Business School, was revealed as Elior’s Chef of the Year at the Elior Awards for Excellence – hosted by football legend Gary Lineker.

Following a tense final round earlier in the year, three chefs were in contention to lift the title: David Brett-Lavell (Elior sous chef at EE Hatfield) James Birch (Elior head chef at The Body Shop) and Stuart Tarff (Lexington pastry chef at London Business School).

At the awards, David, James and Stuart each oversaw a course – based on their best dish from the competition – before Stuart was announced as the winner, having scored the highest overall with the judges.

The dishes consisted of:
• Textures of beetroot with goat cheese tempura and walnut crumb -  David Brett-Lavelle
• Roasted Cannon of lamb and braised shank éclair with Montgomery cheddar, heritage carrots & celeriac - Stuart Tarff,
• Chocolate Ganache with Vanilla Poached Pear and Orange Palmier - James Birch

Catherine Roe, Elior chief executive, said: “Stuart showcased great skill and creativity across all three of his competition dishes. And his main – roasted Cannon of lamb and braised shank éclair with Montgomery cheddar, heritage carrots & celeriac – was particularly well thought out and beautifully presented. The quality across the whole competition has been of a really high order, so Stuart can be exceptionally proud of what he’s achieved.”

The judging panel included:

• Catherine Roe, chief executive, Elior UK
• Hazel Detsiny, MD, Unilever Food Solutions
• Peter Griffiths MBE, president of the British Culinary Federation
• Andrew Bennett MBE, F&B director, Park Lane Hotel
• Peter Joyner, director of food development, Elior UK
• Rob Kirby, chef director, Lexington

Elior’s Chef of the Year Competition is open to all Elior chefs across the UK – with each finalist having been handpicked from all paper entries. Former winners of this prestigious competition include Mark Crowe and Stuart Nisbet, who won the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Contract Catering Chef award in 2016.

Elior UK launches healthier eating concept inspired by the periodic table #

Elior UK has launched a new health and wellbeing concept inspired by the periodic table to give customers the ‘elements for a super life’.

The concept – Elements – puts a strong focus on fresh, natural food and has borrowed chemical symbols from the table to label food groups in the range – such as br (breakfast), lu (lunch), fr (fruit), and hy (hydration).

Carl Morris, director of marketing & corporate communications at Elior, said: “Perceptions of healthier eating are shifting. People are now less concerned about removing things, like fat. They’re more interested in what actual foods are in their dish. Elements has been designed to reflect that – keeping Elior sites in line with the latest wellbeing trends and helping customers make healthier choices.”

The concept, which was launched last month and is now being rolled out across Elior sites, has been developed in collaboration with Elior dietitians and development chefs and embraces a simple set of principles:

• No added baddies (unnecessary fats/ trans fats/salt/preservatives/undesirable additives or GM ingredients)
• No unnecessary added sugar
• Created using real ingredients
• Freshly prepared in Elior kitchens each day

Designed to increase customer interaction, Elements has its own blog and Instagram account to feature a range of exciting recipes championing ingredients such as acai, red quinoa and golden linseeds.


ALMR appoints Fleet Street Communications #

Leisure, hospitality, food and drink consultancy, Fleet Street Communications (FSC) has been appointed by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) to enhance and fortify its communications strategy.

Celebrating its 25th year in 2017, the ALMR is the leading association for the UK eating-out and drinking-out market, championing bar and restaurant groups – both big and small – and campaigning on behalf of its more-than-200 member companies for fairer, better and lower-cost regulation.

In addition to representing more than 23,000 venues in the UK and 650,000 employees, the ALMR also has more than 200 associate supplier member companies too.

FSC will support the ALMR in delivering a strategic communications plan designed to increase exposure for the organisation whilst communicating the importance and success of its work to key stakeholders, such as existing and new members.

FSC will also work to cement the ALMR’s position as the go-to commentator on eating and drinking out issues and trends – at a national level and among its key membership industries – as well as supporting the growth and expansion of its membership into all out-of-home segments and enhancing direct member communications.

Commenting on the new partnership, Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the ALMR, said: “We are delighted be working with FSC, who emerged from a highly competitive pitch situation. We are confident that their industry knowledge, expertise and connections in the sector, underpinned by their passion, will help us deliver on our mission to positively campaign on behalf of our members and raise awareness of the issues that are paramount to our members, and the growth and success of their businesses. We’re looking forward to developing and building our partnership to drive our organisation forward and continue to position the ALMR as the leading voice on UK hospitality issues.”

Mark Stretton, FSC managing director, added: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been appointed by the ALMR – an organisation with a compelling story to be told. It is a massive success story and the genuine voice of the dynamic UK eating and drinking-out market, and we look forward to supporting the ALMR to further build its success and contend issues close to our hearts.”

Brexit: UK catering equipment industry sees some positives amidst the fears #

CESA’s Business Barometer underlines worries – but provides a powerful tool for the association’s negotiations with government

Just how concerned the UK catering equipment industry is about Brexit is highlighted in the latest CESA Business Barometer.  However, there are positives, especially in terms of trading, with many companies reporting continuing growth in sales, despite the uncertainties. 

The Barometer is a quarterly survey of CESA members, aiming to find out the key issues affecting their businesses, their perceptions about the future, and their plans over the next 12 months. 

The 2016 Q4 survey reveals the impact of the uncertainties caused by Brexit.  Many companies are delaying investment in areas such as premises and operating systems.  They are reassessing their workforces as they look to reduce costs.  They expect to have to increase prices as the cost of raw materials continues to rise.  They also expect to put a freeze on employee benefits and are holding back on investment.  They are worried about VAT and border restrictions. 

There are positives to be found, even in the negatives: some are saying that the focus on operating more efficiently is actually a good thing.   “We've had to look hard at where and how much we are spending money, which in turn has actually made us a better organisation,” was one such comment. 

A key concern is the perceived lack of investment in the Department of International Trade – previously UKT&I.  “The government seems to be cutting funding at a time when SMEs need support and funding if we are to drive our exports further,” said one respondent. 

In terms of negotiating Brexit, the top three priorities are predictable: companies want access to the single market, they want free movement of people and they want access to skilled workers. 

“Rather than becoming clearer, the uncertainties surrounding Brexit seem to be getting ever more complex,” says Glenn Roberts, chair of CESA.  “However, the Barometer is the type of hard research that gives us a powerful tool to argue the industry’s position with government.  Over the coming months we have several meetings lined up with ministers and representatives of various departments.  They have sought our input and we’ll be telling them exactly what the catering equipment industry wants.”  

Understanding the sous vide and slow cooking revolution #

CESA event looks at sous vide, low temperature and the latest slow cooking technologies - Westminster Kingsway College, London SW1, May 17, 9am till 3pm

It’s no understatement to say that the slow cooking technologies developed in recent years are revolutionising the way commercial kitchens operate.  ‘Understanding the Sous Vide Revolution’ is a CESA event that combines a comprehensive conference speaker programme, featuring leading chefs, operators and technical experts, with live demonstrations and the opportunity to get hands-on experience of the latest sous vide and slow cooking appliances. 

Keynote speakers will cover specialist topics aimed at giving operators, consultants and equipment dealers a comprehensive understanding of slow cooking concepts and benefits, as well as insights into the latest advances. 

Speakers include ‘sous vide champion’ Russell Bateman of Colette’s at the Grove, Greg Jones of Campden BRI, Paul Foster of SALT, EHO Miranda Steward, Tom McNeil from Arlo’s and Sodexo’s David Mulcahey.  Their presentations range from slow cooking techniques and equipment development, ‘from the lab to the pass’, to menu development and HACCP.  There will also be a series of chef spotlights plus a panel discussion and Q&A session. 

Tickets for the event cost £45 plus VAT per person.  Every attendee will also receive “The microbiological safety of sous-vide processing” from Camden BRI, normally priced at £135. 

The full programme is available to view at, which also has an online form to book tickets for the event.  For further information, please call CESA Administrator Jocelyn Carr on 020 7793 3029 or email

‘Understanding the Sous Vide Revolution’ takes place at Westminster Kingsway College, London SW1, on May 17 2017, running from 9am till 3pm.  

Sandwiches still the nation's favourite #

The British love a sandwich!  With sales of food-to-go on the rise and an influx of choice of food; from Chinese and Mexican to American, plus pop ups and food trucks appearing, it’s amazing to think that of the 60%* of adults who have bought food-to-go in the last month, a staggering 63%* of them have bought a sandwich.  They are the results of independent research commissioned by Huhtamaki into the Food-To-Go Market.

Lunch is still the most popular eating occasion for food-to-go purchases and 36% of consumers say they buy more food-to-go now than three years ago, so it looks as though the popularity of the sandwich is here to stay.

The convenience and overall image of sandwiches makes them a popular choice.  As an easy-to-eat option, they can hold a wide range of different fillings – and can be served hot or cold, adding to their overall appeal.  With the range of different breads on offer such as paninis and ciabatta, the sandwich just keeps reinventing itself.

Only the coolest looking sandwiches would make it to the social media accounts of the 41% of consumers who upload photographs of their food or interact in some way with the outlets they buy from and Facebook reigns supreme with 89% of these people posting their images on Facebook.

As well as the convenience and choice available with sandwiches, it is also important to ensure the product is enjoyed by a consumer and reaches them in perfect condition.

The most popular method of serving food-to-go is in a paper sandwich box, clearly reflecting the popularity of the sandwich itself and the packaging plays a vital role in ensuring the food is consumed in optimum condition.

Packaging protects, preserves and presents the food in an appealing and easy to access format.

There are several considerations when selecting sandwich packaging:
- Convenience and ease of opening
- Ability to vary portion sizes
- Protecting and preserving – even keeping warm - for a toasted sandwich or panini
- Environmentally conscious – whether compostable, recyclable or made from recycled content
- Brand promotion and differentiation - custom-printing, which can incorporate specific messages, promotions and campaigns, including product information;

“Choosing to custom-print single use packaging with a particular message keeps a brand front-of-mind and customisation also means that specific messages can be sourcing disposables which are made using paperboard from sustainably managed forests, they should be telling people about it” Becci Eplett, UK marketing manager, Huhtamaki

Sandwiches, paninis or wraps can be served in the ‘Taste’ range of packaging from Huhtamaki.  Suitable for hot or cold sandwiches and wraps, the Taste packs are manufactured using fluted insulation paperboard with a PET lining; and also feature a greaseproof lining.  They ensure that the contents remain hotter for longer (if applicable), whilst being cool to the touch and providing customers with a convenient on-the-go eating option.  A choice of sizes is available – small, medium and large – to suit different appetites.  The Taste range is also made using paperboard from sustainably managed forests and is recyclable.

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

ITA Venues’ unique showcase generates £1million of event enquiries #

ITA Venues’ vibrant, interactive showcase, Miniopoly, brought its famous ‘Little Black Book’ to life for more than 500 event professionals – generating an incredible £1million worth of event enquiries.

40 unique venues exhibited at the free showcase, including ZSL London Zoo, Historic Royal Palaces, Kew Gardens and Livery Halls, and benefited from the opportunity to engage with event bookers from across the capital and beyond. Event enquiries ranged from corporate events to summer and Christmas parties for 50-3,000 people.

For one day only, the ITA Venues team turned Canary Wharf’s show-stopping East Wintergarden venue into a ‘human monopoly board’ – including the famous water works, jail and a treasure chest – that tested attendees’ knowledge of the London venues scene.  Event professionals were eager to take part and the competition was hot as eyes focused firmly on the fantastic prizes hidden in the treasure chest. These included a private helicopter flight across the London skyline, a trip to Paris and dinner for two at The Ritz.

Social media was fundamental to the success of Miniopoly 2017. The dynamic campaign before, during and after the event created a real buzz, generating over 100,000 impressions across social media platforms and #Miniopoly2017 trended on Twitter twice throughout the day.   The eye-catching ITA-branded Social Media Vending Machine, a new event-industry concept created by Hashtag, captured the attention of event professionals who were eager to engage via Instagram and Twitter to win instant prizes donated by the exhibiting venues.

ITA Venues’ catering partner, Ampersand, impressed attendees with its excellent culinary skills and innovative event concepts and dishes. From 8am until the last event booker standing, taste buds were excited with an array of canapés for all dining occasions, cocktails and sweet treats.  The specially-created ‘Miss ITA’ cocktail proved a firm favourite with almost 2,000 served throughout the day. 

At lunchtime, the Dawat concept of mouth-watering Indian food, which is proving very popular with the Asian event market, was showcased – much to the delight of the feasting event professionals.

Gemma Plowright, ITA Venues sales director said: “Miniopoly 2017 delivered on all fronts and we’re absolutely thrilled with the results. It’s great that we connected with more than 500 event professionals and that they fully engaged with the exhibiting venues too. £1m worth of live enquiries is phenomenal and, what’s even better, is that some of these have already converted to confirmed bookings.  There was a real buzz around the Miniopoly game, with event professionals keen to get involved and win the amazing prizes on offer. Our social media was on fire all day.  We’re already planning for Miniopoly 2018 – this unique event has certainly made its mark on the industry!”

Watch a video from the day here: 

CH&Co Group achieves Gold for health and safety on its RoSPA debut #

CH&Co Group has been awarded the highest accolade of a RoSPA Gold Award – a substantial achievement for its first year of entry into the globally-recognised awards scheme run by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

The award reflects the group’s excellent health and safety performance for 2016 across its estate and is confirmation of its commitment to raising standards of health and safety management.

The annual awards scheme considers a business’ overarching occupational health and safety management systems, including practices such as leadership and workforce involvement. Businesses and organisations reaching the Gold standard must demonstrate a very high level of performance and well-developed systems and culture, with outstanding control of risk and very low levels of error, harm and loss.

Emma Hill, head of food, health, safety and environment at CH&Co Group, comments: “The RoSPA Awards are respected globally and the judging criteria is notoriously and understandably rigorous. To secure the highest possible award across the whole group on our first year of entry is a huge achievement and we’re incredibly proud of it. Health and safety has to be a primary focus for the business to safeguard the wellbeing of our employees, clients and customers and to have our robust practices rubber-stamped with a RoSPA Gold award is fantastic.”

Julia Small, RoSPA’s head of awards and events, said: “The RoSPA Awards are the most prestigious in the world of occupational health and safety, and held in high regard around the world, as winning one demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to maintaining an excellent health and safety record.  Achieving the standard required is no mean feat. This is a special year in the history of RoSPA, and we congratulate all of our winners in this, our centenary year.”

CH&Co Group CEO, Bill Toner, added: “Emma and her team have done an incredible job at embedding a health and safety culture across the entire group.  To achieve this level of success at the first attempt is outstanding and we’re very proud of their achievements.”

CH&Co Group will be presented with the award during a ceremony at ExCeL, London on Tuesday 20 June 2017.

CH&Co Group retains ISO business certifications across estate, including The Brookwood Partnership and ABsolutely Catering #

CH&Co Group has retained its business certifications in quality management, environmental standards, energy management and health and safety across its portfolio of businesses. 

The Brookwood Partnership and ABsolutely Catering, that merged with CH&Co Group in July 2016, are now also included in the Group’s ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 50001 and OHSAS 18001 certifications.

The auditor was most impressed with the way CH&Co Group complies operationally with its management systems.  He praised the competence of all employees and their excellent understanding of their roles within the business, and the detailed training provided to staff.  He also highlighted that as well as embedding its management systems, the business has improved upon them.

In addition, CH&Co Group has added ‘Safe Systems in Procurement’ (SSIP).  This umbrella organisation facilitates mutual recognition between health and safety pre-qualification schemes and allows buyers to verify that a contractor holds valid safety certification.

CH&Co Group’s CEO, Bill Toner, said: “It’s very important for our business, our clients and our employees that we have robust management systems in place. We work very hard to ensure continual excellence operationally, environmentally and from a health and safety perspective. The fantastic results of this IMS audit together with our recent success in gaining a RoSPA Gold Award for our health and safety performance, confirms this and I congratulate everyone involved.

“To have The Brookwood Partnership and ABsolutely Catering included in the certification in such a short space of time is great news and testament to the seamless way in which the merger has been embedded to create a strong team with a common purpose.”

Finalists unveiled for 2017 North West Young Chef showdown #

The calibre of chef talent in Essential Cuisine’s North West Young Chef 2017 finals has demonstrated yet again that the region is the ‘one-to-watch’ when it comes to gifted young cooks.  

Six chefs – including 2016 winner Daniela Tucci – have emerged from the newly revitalised format which now comprises of just two nail-biting semi-finals held over the past fortnight. Two outright winners, two runners-up and, for the first time ever, two wildcards – entrants deemed by judges as too talented to not be in the running – make up the final group.

The chefs will now go head to head in a final, held at Manchester College’s Fielden Campus on 25 May creating three local and seasonal stand-out courses, in a bid to wow judges. 

The finalists in full:
Cyril Gabriel, 22, Carden Park, Chester
Daniela Tucci, 20, The Art School, Liverpool
Ryan Lee, 21, Rothay Manor, Ambleside
Thomas Reeves, 22, L’Enclume, Cartmel
Kieran Gill, 22, The Art School, Liverpool
Mai Trising, 21, The Black Swan, Kirkby Stephen

Chairman of judges Brian Mellor explains: “We adapted the competition this year to find the best in the North West. And with the two semi-finals taken place, it looks like we’re achieving that. The quality and intensity of the cook off could have easily been the final, with the passion and dedication really shining through.”

Essential Cuisine business development chef and judge, Jonathan Harvey-Barnes, comments: “Across the two semi-finals, each young chef impressed with their skill, meticulous menu planning and execution. In the end, we have six extremely worthy finalists. The margins between winners, runners-up and even our wildcards are so narrow that it is going to be very hard to call. I can’t wait to see the chefs in action again this May where there can be only one winner.” 

Alongside the kudos of being crowned the North West Young Chef for 2017, the winner will receive £500 and automatically qualify for the semi-finals of the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Young National Chef of the Year competition, where they will square off against the best young chefs from the rest of the country.

Prior to the final, the six chefs will be treated to an inspirational masterclass with Chef Patron of Manchester’s The French, Adam Reid.  

Portico grows family with two senior appointments #

Portico has appointed Hanna Barrett as director of operations and Sophie Chaney as residential operations director.

Hanna will provide leadership and direction to operations managers and the business, supporting the company vision and values, and ensuring client retention. Sophie’s role will see her manage, motivate and develop Portico’s growing residential division.

Hanna’s appointment marks a key moment in her development at Portico. A member of the Portico family for many years, Hanna began her career in 2006 as a receptionist. She has since worked tirelessly, taking on more responsibility and challenging roles, progressing to senior operations manager in January 2016.

Simon Pratt, managing director at Portico, said: “Hanna’s new role will see her coach, lead and challenge our managers and teams to consistently deliver the very best in front of house services. Her role will further strengthen the foundation of our operational leadership team, ensuring our people and teams are closely supported for long term success, growth and retention.”

Also appointed from within the business, Sophie joined Portico two years ago following an established career in the restaurant, luxury hotel and hospitality sector. She has a rich experience in mobilising and managing the most authentic and unique developments, intrinsically shaping the residential sector by providing consultancy from the very beginning.

Simon continued: “Sophie has a passion for delivering outstanding service through coaching and nurturing great talent. She has a natural flair for developing and encouraging teams to innovate and exceed expectations. Investment in both internal promotions sends a strong message to all our people that we can offer them a growing career within Portico.”

BaxterStorey champions healthier workplaces with ‘Healthy Me’ launch #

Following the launch of BaxterStorey’s first Healthy Me programme in 2015, the demand for healthy alternatives in the workplace has soared. BaxterStorey’s food development team has now launched a new range of hot and cold recipes to inspire and encourage healthier choices. The recipes complement the original Healthy Me launch which saw BaxterStorey win new clients and become a champion for healthier workplace environments.

To continue their commitment to creating healthier workplaces, BaxterStorey has launched a recipe guide with a collection of nourishing, balanced and delicious healthy dishes. From the Green Goddess smoothie containing vitamin-rich spinach and invigorating ginger, to spicy Thai-inspired salmon fishcakes with a fresh beetroot, carrot and orange salad, the new recipes have all been nutritionally analysed to fit BaxterStorey’s healthy eating principals. 

Gabriella Roberts, head of nutrition at BaxterStorey, said: “Last month, Forbes reported businesses that maintain a healthy workplace in a consistent and sustainable manner, often avoid burnout of staff and support people that grow great companies.

“We know that poor diet is a contributing factor to lost productivity in the workplace and we work with clients to offer staff across all 600 BaxterStorey locations access to a greater choice of healthier options. At the core of all our new recipes is a passion for sourcing local, fresh produce which ensures ingredients remain at their peak nutritional content.”

All 40 new recipes avoid processed ingredients, high levels of saturated fat, sugar and salt, focusing on ‘good fats’ such as natural cold pressed oils, nuts and seeds. The range gives busy workers access to quick ‘grab and go’ options, without compromising on time or taste, inspired by ingredients designed to slowly release energy throughout the day.

Popular café run by hospitality provider BaxterStorey reopens at Ness Botanic Gardens in time for spring following refurbishment #

Ness Botanic Gardens, which welcomes in the region of 70,000 visitors each year, has reopened their popular café following refurbishment. The extensive new menu is inspired by fresh local produce.

Run by hospitality provider BaxterStorey, the café serves hand-crafted coffee, homemade cakes and bakes and freshly prepared hot and cold food. Renowned for their passion for using fresh, locally sourced produce, the BaxterStorey team have created a bespoke spring menu featuring indulgent Cumbrian steak and ale pie, fresh and healthy kitchen garden salads and classic sandwiches with local Cheshire cheese.

Jeremy Wood, regional managing director at BaxterStorey, said: “We work with a select number of key local suppliers to ensure our customers enjoy only the very best produce. In Cheshire, we are spoilt for choice – from excellent quality meat from Birtwistles to seasonal fruit and veg from Oliver Kay as well as produce grown at Ness Botanic Gardens.”

Matthew Clough, director of Ness Botanic Gardens, said: “Our Gardens are treasured locally and it is vital that the food we serve inspires and delights our visitors. The Gardens are prefect for weddings and special events: BaxterStorey is able to provide tailored menus for these bespoke occasions, making the most of the fantastic local produce available.”

The refurbishment at Ness Botanic Gardens café includes a new look, whilst retaining the relaxed feel. A new layout has taken the freshly prepared food centre-stage with increased table capacity. The café remains the perfect place to relax and enjoy high quality, freshly prepared food.

The café is open daily, all year round with the exception of the Christmas holidays. Located within the visitor centre it is open to non-paying visitors as well as those enjoying the Garden. For more information, please visit 

BaxterStorey increase education sector presence with contract at Oatridge Campus of Scotland’s Rural College #

BaxterStorey has been awarded a prestigious contract at the Oatridge Campus of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) in West Lothian.  The Catering provider will be offering fresh and nutritious food designed to sustain productivity within the educational environment for up to 500 students and staff at the campus in West Lothian, Scotland.

The two and a half year contract will run alongside BaxterStorey’s existing commitment with three other SRUC sites and will see staff, students and visitors provided with an array of nutritionally balanced healthy meals made from ingredients known to help sustain productivity.

Jeremy Wood, regional managing director at BaxterStorey, said: “Providing staff and students with the option to make healthier choices is becoming increasingly important. We are passionate about providing fresh, tasty and convenient food that’s also a great source of energy conducive to productivity and learning.

“Students often underestimate the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle while they study. Sitting at a desk all day can encourage mindless eating- foods chosen for ease rather than their nutritional content. We have developed a menu for SRUC’s Oatridge Campus that provides quick, on-the-go options alongside more substantial healthy meals.”

Billy Connelly, corporate procurement manager at SRUC, said: “We have been impressed with BaxterStorey’s catering offering at our other sites, and are pleased to have them on board at our Oatridge Campus. BaxterStorey’s approach to student engagement made our choice to pick a new hospitality provider for the college very easy.”

Statistics show that first year students are the least likely to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, with 35%* reporting to regularly eat ready meals. Recognising the importance of providing students with nutrition alongside convenience from the very beginning of their studies is an integral part of BaxterStorey’s food development process for education.

BaxterStorey currently provides bespoke hospitality services to a number of universities, colleges, large distribution centres and corporate head offices in Scotland, as well as running the Chef Academy Scotland which gives chefs the chance to hone their skills with a calendar of courses supported by the likes of Edinburgh Business School, Nick Nairn Cook School and Tennent’s Training Academy.


Premier Foods launches a first for foodservice with new Bisto sauce granules #

Premier Foods is extending its iconic Bisto portfolio with four new, easy to use, sauces - Curry, Parsley, Béchamel and Cheese. Available in a ‘granule’ format, a first for sauce mixes in the foodservice industry, the range has been introduced to the channel following insight into the most popular dishes on UK menus.

The new Bisto sauces provide chefs with a delicious and time-saving solution for use across a number of dishes and cuisines, with all four flavours found within the top 20 sauces on UK menus . Ready to serve after simply mixing with boiling water, the sauces are convenient and can also help outlets increase profitability. Offering a sauce as a side dish is now the second most popular ‘upsell initiative’  on menus and with the versatility of the Bisto sauces range, the possibilities can stretch beyond the traditional chips with curry sauce.

Premier Foods’ executive chef Mark Rigby has developed a range of more premium uses for the products, with recipes such as Glazed Gammon with Parsley & Cider Sauce, Beef Cannelloni, and Cod, Cauliflower & Chorizo Mornay, which can be found in a brand new recipe guide which will support the launch of the range.

Sarah Robb, channel marketing manager at Premier Foods, comments: “The Bisto sauces are quick to make and we’ve made sure that the flavours are well suited to the dishes consumers want to enjoy eating out of home. Cheese sauce is listed in the top 10  most popular sauces on UK menus, while Indian flavours continue to be favoured and with fish dishes in growth by almost 8% , our Bisto Parsley and Béchamel sauces can be the perfect accompaniment.”

Premier Foods has developed a new recipe guide to showcase how the Bisto sauces can be used to help outlets drive sales. Available to download on the Premier Foods foodservice website now, the guide will include recipes and top tips.

Hoshizaki announces the latest addition to its portfolio #

Hoshizaki launched its newest innovation - the Snowflake GII. Designed with reliability, durability and affordability in mind, the Snowflake GII refrigeration range will offer the ideal solution for caterers working to more cost-conscious budgets whilst seeking to purchase the very best quality without the need to compromise. Combining decades of Danish refrigeration design experience from Gram, and pioneering Japanese technology engineering, the brand-new Snowflake GII offers unrivalled quality at a competitive price point. Gram has been producing high-performance refrigeration and freezer equipment for professionals for over 100 years, and with Hoshizaki coming into its 70th year of operation, Snowflake GII combines the best experience in the commercial refrigeration and freezing industry.

Built to deliver optimum operation performance, the Snowflake GII can withstand the most demanding environments in ambient temperatures of up to 40oC, thanks to its innovative tropicalized cooling system.

The Snowflake GII range has been developed to meet the complex and varied needs of chefs and caterers across the foodservice industry. Available as cabinets with reversible doors - for extra flexibility - meaning that they can be opened on either the left or right, as well as counters, which provide valuable prep space for those working within confined spaces. The removable door gaskets, easy to clean interiors with anti-tilting function, and cleaning free extractable condenser makes for easy care, reducing maintenance costs and offering a stable performance.

The Snowflake GII is the latest innovation to enter the market from Hoshizaki, helping to further cement its international reputation for manufacturing pioneering products within the refrigeration and ice maker categories.

Hoshizaki UK’s director of field sales and national accounts, Simon Frost comments, “We’re extremely proud to be launching The Snowflake GII into the UK foodservice market. A great deal of insight and research has led to the production of this quality, durable and affordable range, allowing Hoshizaki to maintain its reputation for quality and innovative design, while further enhancing its position as a leader in the refrigeration market. The Snowflake GII is an illustration of Hoshizaki’s commitment to bring to market ground-breaking technology and best in class products”.

For more information on the new Snowflake GII visit 

Sodexo extends contract with Hamilton Park Racecourse #

Sodexo has secured a new ten-year contract in the region of £20m with Hamilton Park Racecourse in Scotland.

The partnership extension will see Sodexo continue to provide catering services on race days at the Lanarkshire venue, in addition to selling and operating all conference and banqueting events.

Hamilton Park is currently undergoing an extensive £800k refurbishment of its grandstand area which will see the whole of the first floor transformed. The Racecourse’s Café is being re-modelled as an upmarket bar and eatery, and the private boxes will be upgraded.

Situated in over 20 acres of outdoor space, Hamilton Park Racecourse provides complete flexibility for a wide range of events, from weddings and meetings to conferences and private receptions, and attracts more than 100,000 visitors each year.

In 2016, in a UK first, the racing venue introduced a new Super Saturday, which saw opening times extended and a series of special events teamed with evening horse racing, to entertain visitors from midday to late. To enhance the experience, Sodexo partnered with local mobile catering companies with a shared passion for providing high quality and responsibly sourced produce.

David Trotter, account director, Sodexo Sports and Leisure, said: “We’re really excited to be rolling out an extensive renovation project and this investment reflects our commitment to delivering first-class catering and hospitality at Hamilton Park Racecourse.

“The new facilities will strengthen the site’s reputation as a leading sports and entertainment venue; offering premium dining, bar and hospitality areas as well as fresh conference and events spaces.

“We’re proud of the strong relationship we have developed with Hamilton Park and are delighted to have extended our partnership with the Racecourse for a further ten years.”

Vivien Currie, chief executive at Hamilton Park Racecourse, said: “This is a very exciting time at Hamilton Park Racecourse. We are already a truly unique asset for Scotland and a valuable part of the Lanarkshire community however this investment ensures our facilities not only lead the way, but are unrivalled in Scottish sport and are in line with the high-end experience we wish to deliver to the general and race-going public.

“We will never stand still at Hamilton Park, as a venue and a business we continually strive to improve the race-day experience for our customers and the wider community and this landmark programme of improvements reflect that ethos.”

Sodexo double at Cost Sector Catering Awards #

Sodexo had two winners at the Cost Sector Catering Awards.

Gemma Amor, Sodexo Sports & Leisure head chef at Ascot Racecourse, won the chef award and Maureen O’Leary, Sodexo Defence services manager at Larkhill Garrison in Wiltshire, won the unit manager award.

As Sodexo head chef at Ascot, Gemma Amor runs an incredibly busy and demanding kitchen operation. She produces over 400 different fine dining menus a year which are enjoyed by more than 500,000 customers, including those at the world-famous Royal Ascot race meeting.

Judges remarked upon Gemma’s ability to provide top quality food at scale while leading a team of 250 chefs and training them to the highest standards.

In her role as services manager at Larkhill Garrison, Maureen O’Leary is responsible for a team of 210 people providing catering, retail, leisure, mess management and cleaning services.

Maureen spearheads a lot of charity work in the local community. In the last year, Maureen has organised an overnight sleep out at Stonehenge to raise £14,000, and arranged toys, clothing and food drives for a number of local children’s hospices.

Judges were impressed by the quality and scope of the client feedback for Maureen, and recognised she has raised turnover, driven innovation and boosted staff training, while managing a complex site.

Sean Haley, Sodexo UK & Ireland regional chairman, said: “Congratulations to Gemma and Maureen, who embody Sodexo’s values of providing excellent services to clients and customers, inspiring their teams to develop and grow, and positively impacting the communities where they work. We are very proud of them both.”

Sodexo named in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women fourth year in a row #

Sodexo has been recognised for its leadership on workplace gender equality by being named in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2017.

The Times Top 50 Employers for Women is published in partnership with Business in the Community, the Prince’s Responsible Business Network, as part of the charity’s Responsible Business Week.

It is the fourth year in a row Sodexo UK & Ireland has appeared in the alphabetical and unranked list (published as a supplement in The Times today) acknowledging UK employers that are making gender equality a key part of their business strategy.

Sodexo made a commitment to transparency in its public service pledge, launched in 2015, to carry out a pay audit of all its 34,000 employees. In November last year Sodexo announced its gender pay gap, one of the first organisations of its size to do so.

In global research undertaken by Sodexo, profit, employee engagement and client retention were among the indicators where Sodexo management teams with a 40-60 per cent gender split outperformed their less balanced counterparts.

Sodexo’s 2016 Global Diversity and Inclusion Report shows global senior executives are 30 per cent women. Global CEO Michel Landel has set a target to increase that figure to 35 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025.

In the UK and Ireland, gender is one of six workstreams to make up Sodexo’s diversity and inclusion strategy, alongside generation, cultures and origins, sexual orientation and gender identity, disability and inclusion.

Sean Haley, regional chairman, Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: “We’re delighted our commitment to gender balance has seen us in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women for the fourth year running. Our internal research shows gender balance is not only the right thing to do, but also makes for better business outcomes.”

Kathryn Nawrockyi, gender equality director, Business in the Community, said: “Well done to Sodexo on being named in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2017 – the process was highly competitive so they should be very proud of their success. Their efforts are increasing understanding of the barriers to equality that women face at work, and I hope other employers will follow their lead.”

Emma Tucker, deputy editor of The Times, says: “In the seven years since The Times first published the Top 50 Employers for Women supplement we have seen great advances towards gender equality in the workplace. However, more remains to be done both in the boardroom and on the shop floor and we are again delighted to support Business in the Community's campaign to create a fairer and better working environment for women.”

The full list of The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2017 can be found online at:

Sodexo unveils new appointment to support UK sales team restructure #

A new sales strategy to ensure that Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events retains its position as market leader is being spearheaded by the company’s new UK director of sales.

Amanda Brown, who has worked for the organisation for more than seven years, has taken up the newly created role as part of a restructuring.

And the sales director for Sodexo’s sports and leisure division believes that the creation of a customer-focussed “high performance sales culture” will ensure that Sodexo, the world’s largest services company, will stay ahead of the game.

“There is no doubt that we operate in a very competitive industry,” said Amanda.

“And the only way to stay ahead of the competition is to differentiate ourselves, to look at things differently and completely concentrate on a customer-engagement sales strategy.”

Amanda – who previously worked as director of sales at a number of leading hotels in Edinburgh before joining Sodexo - was instrumental in setting up the Central Enquiry Hub.

She also grew conferencing and banqueting
turnover by £1m in its first year - successes which have made her the perfect choice for the new role.

Her plan of action is currently being unveiled to senior sales leaders before it is delivered across all of Sodexo’s 35 UK sites which now come under Amanda’s control, along with major events including The Open Golf Hospitality, Chelsea Flower Show and Henley Royal Regatta.

Austin Tilsley, managing director, Sports & Leisure Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: “This is an exciting time for the business and our newly created sales leadership team gives us the correct structure to support our accelerated growth plans.

“We now have a fantastic opportunity to develop our sports & leisure sector and I am confident that Amanda, will provide the key leadership and expertise required to inspire our venue teams and measurably improve business results.”

Compass Group UK & Ireland launch Women in Food Ambassador Programme #

Compass Group UK & Ireland launched its ‘Women in Food Ambassador Programme’ to support the needs of female chefs across the business and to encourage more women to enter the culinary industry.

The network is made up of eight female chefs of different levels varying from an apprentice to a head pastry chef, who all come from various sectors across Compass. As part of the programme, the eight ambassadors will be put through a tailored training scheme to enhance their development, skills and growth within the business.

Each ambassador will mentor an apprentice female chef who they will support in their career development. They will also attend events to inspire more young women to consider a career as a chef.

The programme has been formed to support the business’ ‘Women in Food’ initiative which aims to nurture and encourage female chefs in  the industry, with an overall goal of women forming 50% of the chef workforce at Compass Group UK & Ireland by 2020.

Fiona Ryland, HR director at Compass Group UK & Ireland, said: “Compass is a people powered business and we’re dedicated to developing our talent. Women in Food shows that we’re leading the way in supporting female chefs with the right opportunities, development and training.

“We are thrilled to be launching our Women in Food Ambassador Programme. Our eight ambassadors each have their own stories of where they are in their culinary journeys, with some juggling family life and their day-to-day jobs, to an apprentice focusing on their development. We hope the breadth of skills and experiences of our ambassadors will help encourage more women to consider becoming a chef, as well as supporting those who are already in the industry and wish to develop their careers further.”

Gemma Evans, executive development chef Chartwells South added: “I am extremely excited to be taking up a role as a Women in Food ambassador, which supports our initiative to increase the number of female chefs in Compass. It is important for female chefs and those who are considering a career in the industry to be provided with the right support, encouragement, information and tools and I believe the ambassador programme will do this and really help inspire women in to the industry.”

Compass is one of the UK’s largest private employers with approximately 60,000 employees. Inflexible and long working hours in the traditional restaurant industry has made being a chef a challenging career choice for women who wish to juggle a family life with work. However, contract catering offers an alternative, with the ability to work shifts in a variety of fields, from schools to business, healthcare and defence.

Compass Group UK & Ireland reveals key ingredients to brand identity #

Compass Group UK & Ireland revealed its new website for clients, colleagues, job seekers and suppliers.

The website is a totally fresh look and feel for Compass Group UK & Ireland and articulates clearly the business’ narrative, which defines what Compass is about, what it does and what it stands for. For the first time Compass has created an overarching narrative that brings every element of the company together – ‘brightening everyone’s day’ is the common thread that links the business’ diverse sectors. will also incorporate job vacancies for the business, which will provide a clear platform for those searching and applying for positions within Compass and its sectors. It also showcases the family of experts within the business through topical blogs, case studies and interviews with everyone from Chefs to Nutritionists, members of its Graduate and training schemes, alongside seasoned operators. 

Michael Kissman, corporate affairs director at Compass Group UK & Ireland, commented: “Our new business narrative enables us to really put into words what we’re all about. It’s clear that our 60,000 colleagues are intuitively passionate about what we stand for, but we want to articulate this vision clearly to the outside world. This will help everyone better understand our business - what we do, where we do it and what makes us industry leaders. This new website is the perfect platform for us to tell this story and bring to life the fantastic work we do. 

“From outstanding restaurant experiences, enhancing sporting events and feeding thousands of school children, patients, workers and military personnel, to delivering warm welcomes, clean buildings and safe environments - we do it all. These services have the potential to make everyone’s day that little bit brighter and our narrative and website demonstrates the people power that drives our business and our passion for the work we do.”

During the last year Compass Group UK & Ireland has invested in enhancing internal and external communications, such as introducing Workplace by Facebook for colleague communication, launching new social media platforms externally and revealing its 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report. This is in line with the business’ aim of clear and transparent communication around what the company and its people stand for. 

Report reveals tools to promote healthier choices #

Compass Group UK & Ireland and Footprint Intelligence have launched a new report outlining how using simple ‘nudges’ could help to guide people into making healthier choices.

The ‘Designed with health in mind’ report acknowledges that campaigns based on education and willpower aren’t always enough and highlights opportunities for the foodservice industry to use psychology and ‘nudges’ - gentle suggestions to encourage positive behavior, as tools to promote a healthy diet and lifestyle.

The report pulls together five top ‘nudges’. These are:
1. Redesign the menu – using layout and descriptions to highlight and draw attention to healthier choices; this includes using logos, icons, boxes and bold to draw the eye to healthier dishes.
2. Change the food layout – altering the way food and drink are presented can ‘nudge’ people to healthier options; this includes reducing plate and glass size and adding half portions to the menu.
3. Makeover restaurants and outlets - creating a healthier eating environment; this includes installing tables, rather than booths and bars where people tend to eat less healthily.
4. Guiding food decisions - This includes making people feel good about themselves by creating positive associations with healthy food. 
5. Rethink what is on offer – Whilst recognising that indulgence and treats have their place, that there are opportunities to make the offer healthier generally, including reducing salt, fat and sugar whilst maintaining flavour. 

Dennis Hogan, managing director, Compass Group UK & Ireland, said: “I’m really proud of what we’ve already accomplished in the area of health and wellbeing, but at Compass we recognise there’s still more to do. In commissioning this report we wanted to look at potential new ways we can help our consumers become healthier. This research provides a good basis for some simple but constructive changes that could have a positive impact for our customers and clients.”

Charles Miers, CEO, Footprint Intelligence, added: “Footprint Intelligence aims to drive, promote and share best practice by helping the industry to answer some of the most pressing questions. The Designed with heath in mind report outlines how the foodservice industry can make subtle changes to alter people’s psychological approach to encourage healthier eating and drinking. We hope the five key actions will give businesses some simple steps that could make a real difference.”

This report follows the launch of Compass’ 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report earlier this year, which incorporates Compass’ 2020 Health and Wellbeing strategy. The strategy is divided into three key areas – Healthier Food, Healthier Lives and Healthier Futures. This research forms part of Healthier Futures. To read the full report visit the Compass website

Rapport recognises its exceptional people at the WOW! Awards #

Rapport, Compass Group UK & Ireland’s specialist provider of exceptional guest services, celebrated the achievements and success of all of their WOW! Award winners of the past twelve months, at their annual event on 24 April 2017.

The WOW! Awards is the only independent national award provider that recognises excellent customer service based solely on guests and colleagues’ nominations.  Each month, nominations are read and adjudicated by the independent WOW! Awards team and winners are presented with a framed certificate and a bespoke bottle of Champagne at a bi-monthly event.  Over the past twelve months, individuals and teams at Rapport have been awarded an amazing 140 winning certificates. 

The WOW! Awards winners’ annual event was held at Vertigo 42, London’s highest Champagne Bar in the iconic Tower 42, London, and was attended by over 120 people from across Rapport’s UK business, as well as Derek Williams, CEO, The WOW! Awards; Dennis Hogan, Managing Director, Compass Group UK & Ireland; and Greg Mace, Managing Director, Rapport.

Greg Mace commented: “Rapport’s ethos is based on providing an exceptional personalised service. What’s great about The WOW! Awards are that the nominees are put forward by clients, guests and our teams who have witnessed first-hand the high quality services our people deliver. Our Ambassadors bring to life our core values and are testament to the success of Rapport, so it’s always great when we acknowledge the lengths they go to.”

Derek Williams, CEO of The WOW! Awards, commented: “The WOW! Awards give people an independent assessment against the best customer service organisations in the UK, enabling us to shine a spotlight on those who go the extra mile. Rapport’s annual event demonstrates the consistently high level of work that its Ambassadors provide. Outstanding guest services is key to the success of Rapport and these awards acknowledge their achievements based on actual feedback from the people around them.”

Rapport is renowned as a great place to work and was this month again named in the Top 30 Best Places to Work in Hospitality for the fourth consecutive year. The business also claimed a Two Star rating with Best Companies, the organisation behind the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work for. Rapport’s HR and Training Team won the prestigious Catey Award for the way they engage and develop everyone in the company. The WOW! Awards are just another way that the business celebrates its people and the outstanding work that they do.