Members’ News

July 2017

Eat Out Awards 2017 - Nominations open #

Nominations are now open for the Eat Out Awards 2017, which will be held at Freemasons' Hall on November 1st.

The deadline for entries is 11 August and details on how to nominate can be found here

There are a total of 15 award categories available plus the Special Achievement Award. Details on categories & criteria can be found here

For more information on sponsorship opportunities contact Stuart Barnett on or 020 269 7913.

Cyrus Todiwala will be a special guest at the awards and will be presenting each award category as well as revealing the winners and runners-up of the hotly-contested Nation's Favourite Pub Company of the Year and Nation's Favourite Restaurant Company of the Year - details of which will be announced soon.

‘McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year 2017’ shortlist revealed #

Premier Foods is pleased to announce the five shortlisted schools for its McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year competition. Achieving top scores in the preliminary judging, congratulations go to the following schools who will now compete in a live final at LACA – The Main Event on Thursday, 6th July: Chapter House Preparatory School (York); Cranbrook CEP School (Kent); Mendip Green Primary (North Somerset); Coed Eva Primary (Cwmbran) and Perran-Ar-Worthal (Cornwall).

Sarah Robb, channel marketing manager at Premier Foods comments: “With our McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year competition in its third year now, it is great to see new schools getting involved and we’ve been overwhelmed by the creativity in the recipe entries we received.  Well done to all those who entered and especially to the five finalist teams who we can’t wait to meet at the live final. It’s set to be an exciting day and I know the judges are looking forward to watching the delicious sweet and savoury dishes being produced and crowning the overall winner.” 

Judges Carol Harwood, attending on behalf of LACA; Andrew Green, director of operations at the Craft Guild of Chefs; and Mark Rigby, executive chef at Premier Foods, will be putting the teams through their paces, marking them on taste and presentation.

The competition helps school caterers to encourage a passionate team of up to three children, between the ages of 7 and 11, to develop an interest in food preparation by baking one sweet and one savoury recipe, including a product from the McDougalls Flours or Flour Based Mix range. Fitting in with this year’s theme of ‘local produce’, teams were also required to include an ingredient that had been sourced within a 30 mile radius of their school.

The five finalists will compete in the live final at LACA – The Main Event to be in with the chance of winning £1,000 worth of kitchen equipment for their school. 

BidFood is crowned McDougalls Wholesaler Baking Team of the Year 2017 #

Premier Foods has announced that Pamela Maclean, Alison Carmody and Vicky Mogford from foodservice distributor Bidfood, have been crowned the winning team of the McDougalls Wholesaler Baking Team of the Year competition.  The final took place on 27th June at the Premier Foods head office in St. Albans, where teams went head to head in a live cook-off. The winning team wowed judges with their recipe for Persian Flapjacks with rose petals, pistachios and pomegranate, using McDougalls Flapjack Mix.

Sarah Robb, foodservice channel marketing manager at Premier Foods, comments: “We launched Wholesaler Baking Team of the Year in order to drive engagement with our customers and the wider industry. All of the dishes created at the live final were of exceptional standard and showcased the skill and creativity within the wholesale industry, but there can only be one winner. On behalf of everyone at Premier Foods I would like to wish the winning team from Bidfood a massive congratulations and would like to thank everyone who was involved in the competition, including our prestigious judging panel.”

The judges – Andrew Green, director of operations at Craft Guild of Chefs; James Bielby, chief executive at FWD; and Mark Rigby, executive chef at Premier Foods - had the tough task of choosing an overall winner from the final teams. The winning team from Bidfood received high scores for teamwork, presentation, taste and texture, and received £500 towards their chosen charity, the British Heart Foundation.

Pamela Maclean, team captain comments: “Our team was delighted to be shortlisted to go through to the live final and we are now thrilled to have won the competition, it’s been a fun day and brought out the competitive streak in all of us! We are proud to be able to donate the cheque to the British Heart Foundation, a charity which is very close to our hearts. The experience was a great initiative from Premier Foods and has allowed us to showcase the versatility of products with just a little imagination.”

Essential Cuisine donates £8,000 to Adopt a School Trust #

Managing director of Essential Cuisine, Nigel Crane, has handed a cheque for £8,000 to Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, Sara Jayne Stanes OBE, with the academy’s charity, the Adopt a School Trust, the grateful beneficiary.
Presented at the company’s Cheshire headquarters, the proceeds were collected during a December 2016 promotion where the purchase of an exclusive pack of Essential Cuisine’s class leading Premier Veal Jus resulted in an instant donation of 25p per unit.
Essential Cuisine has long been a supporter of the Trust, encouraging its chefs to adopt school sites in their local areas and welcoming local schools to its Cheshire HQ for regular, interactive tasting sessions. The Essential Cuisine chef brigade marked the inaugural Chefs Adopt a School Week, held this February, by delivering a programme of inspirational and fun cookery workshops and classes in schools throughout the UK.
Nigel Crane, managing director for Essential Cuisine, said: “Basic kitchen skills and nutrition are so integral for young people to learn, which is why we wholeheartedly support the Adopt a School Trust in their efforts to engage at grass roots level.  This donation is evidence of that continued support – hopefully it will go some way to continuing the stellar work that Sara Jayne and her team perform day-in-day-out to try and safeguard the health of the next generation.”

L’Enclume protégé scoops 2017 North West Young Chef crown #

A young chef from the world-famous L’Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria, has emerged victorious from a field of competitors described by judges as “the best yet” in the climax of Essential Cuisine’s 2017 North West Young Chef Competition.
Thomas Reeves, 22, kept a cool head to see off five other young charges, including 2016 winner Daniela Tucci, who came second this time around, during a live two-and-a-half-hour cook off, held at Manchester College. Judges including British Culinary Federation chairman, Matt Davies, ex-Le Gavroche head chef, Steven Doherty, award winning-chef, Mary-Ellen McTague and Master Chef of Great Britain, Brian Mellor, praised Thomas for his focus, consistency and superior marriage of modern and traditional techniques.
With ‘local’ and ‘seasonal’ the key watchwords of the competition, Thomas’s winning three-course menu consisted of:  Asparagus, Poached Egg and Hollandaise, a main of Lamb Short Saddle, Baby Artichokes, Black Garlic and Potato, and a Strawberries, Buttermilk, Apple Marigold and Hazelnut dessert.
On the win Thomas said: “It’s unbelievable and so exciting. When I entered, I knew I had a chance of getting to the final but never thought I’d win. I just tried to focus on my cooking and keep my head down rather than look at what the other finalists were doing.”
Thomas was quick to praise mentor and L’Enclume Head Chef, Tom Barnes, for his support alongside that of his brigade. As well as the coveted title, he will receive £500 and an automatic qualification into the semi-finals of the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Young National Chef of the Year competition, where he will square off against the best young chefs from the rest of the country.
Thomas added: “Last year I saw the Young National Chef of the Year finalists at the Restaurant Show and wanted to get into it. With this competition offering a guaranteed seeded entry, it was perfect for me. I’ll try my best to go and win it for the North West!”
Chairman of judges, Brian Mellor said: “What a year! Yet again we’ve seen the standard of competition raised to new levels – which makes Thomas’s achievement even more remarkable. He was methodical, consistent and an absolute pleasure to watch – attributes that would have been drilled into him at a quality establishment like L’Enclume.”
Essential Cuisine Business Development Chef and judge, Jonathan Harvey-Barnes, added: “Congratulations to Thomas, and the entire field of young chefs who cooked with a composure and assuredness beyond their years of experience. They’re listening to what’s happening in the industry with regards to trends and styles and this is evident in their cooking.  It makes me and the Essential Cuisine team proud to be part of the North West’s thriving culinary scene.”
The finalists in full:
Winner: Thomas Reeves, 22, L’Enclume, Cartmel
Runner-up: Daniela Tucci, 20, The Art School, Liverpool
Cyril Gabriel, 22, Carden Park, Chester
Ryan Lee, 21, Rothay Manor, Ambleside
Kieran Gill, 22, The Art School, Liverpool
Mai Trising, 21, The Black Swan, Kirkby Stephen
Essential Cuisine’s North West Young Chef Competition calls on chefs, aged 23 or under, to produce a restaurant quality, three-course meal for two with an emphasis on the very best of local and seasonal produce.
This year the competition underwent a radical format change, brought about by the surge in gifted chefs from the area and the growing recognition of the region’s importance to the talent pipeline.  The new format comprised two semi-finals, held at Warrington College and Kendal College respectively, with chefs from multiple regions squaring off in dual high pressure cook-offs.    

Essential Cuisine offering chefs the ultimate day off for Cornish culinary tour #

Essential Cuisine is calling on chefs to describe their perfect day away from the action of the kitchen, with the ultimate all-expenses-paid culinary tour of Cornwall’s world-famous Padstow up for grabs. 
Open for entries now, the company’s #ChefsDayOff competition has been launched to celebrate its headline sponsorship of the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Universal Cookery and Food Festival (UCFF), dubbed the ‘Glastonbury of chefs’, which returns this September (20th).
Open to kitchens across all sectors, all chefs need to do to be in with a chance of winning is visit Essential Cuisine’s Twitter page – @essentialcuisin – and describe their ideal day off using the hashtag #ChefsDayOff. Entries can be registered via video, gif, image or a simple tweet, with creativity and good humour – the hallmarks of kitchens up and down the UK – actively encouraged.
The winner will receive two tickets to UCFF, including an exclusive beach foraging tour and complimentary food and drink for the day, plus dinner for two the night before at the Michelin-starred Paul Ainsworth at No6 and an overnight stay for two people at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant. 
Nigel Crane, managing director, Essential Cuisine, said: “As chefs ourselves, we know that kitchen life can sometimes be so involved, that a day away from the pass is extremely precious. To help celebrate our headline sponsorship of UCFF we’re inviting all comers to tell us what their perfect day off would entail and offering up a truly tantalising prize – Michelin-starred food, the very best Cornish hospitality, insight, inspiration and the chance to get back to nature. A chef’s day off to live long in the memory.”
A celebration of food, seasonality and the harvest, The Universal Cookery and Food Festival offers the chance for chefs across the country to get out from behind the pass and rub shoulders with farmers, foragers and growers as well as suppliers, industry insiders and fellow chefs. In 2017 it is being held at Padstow Farmshop, in the centre of Cornwall’s culinary capital. 

CH&Co Group and Harbour & Jones announce merger #

Harbour & Jones, the independent and innovative caterer, has merged with CH&Co Group in a move that enhances the group’s diverse portfolio of specialist businesses and strengthens its position across the hospitality market, and particularly in education and the London region. 

The merger increases the Group’s turnover to £265m and it will now provide catering at over 700 sites across the UK and Ireland, employing more than 6,000 people.

Harbour & Jones’ founders and managing partners, Patrick Harbour and Nathan Jones, will continue in their roles and the business and its brands, H+J, Fare, Tonic, Principals and Upfront, will maintain the names for which they are known and respected.

As the catering market continues to be increasingly competitive and challenging, compounded by global political influences, merging the resources and expertise of these two progressive companies will extend the reach of both in the business and industry, leisure, heritage, events, and education sectors, allowing them to continue to vigorously compete and grow.

The deal is the right fit for both companies, says CH&Co Group’s CEO, Bill Toner, “Harbour & Jones and CH&Co Group are both dynamic businesses enjoying sustained growth. By combining our assets, knowledge, skills and expertise we will increase our strength to compete across the board, which is a very exciting prospect.”

“CH&Co Group is a collection of small businesses with their own distinct characters and specialisms.  We’ve undertaken a number of mergers in recent years and have proven that being part of a larger company doesn’t dilute a business’ personality or personal touch. Quite the opposite in fact, it gives each one access to the group’s robust resources, systems and support to allow them to continually innovate and vigorously compete. We’re thrilled to have Harbour & Jones join the CH&Co Group family and we look forward to realising the opportunities this merger creates for the business, our clients and our teams.”

Harbour & Jones’ co-founders, Patrick Harbour and Nathan Jones, will continue in their roles as Managing Partners. Harbour said, “For our clients and our teams it’s very much business as usual. We’ll continue to deliver the great food and service for which we have become known but behind the scenes we’ll be looking at how we can all pool our creativity and our verve to strengthen all the businesses within the newly-expanded CH&Co family. I’m looking forward to working with our new colleagues in the merged business and excited by the opportunities it will bring for all of us.”

Jones continues, “It’s been clear from the outset that CH&Co Group is a great fit for Harbour & Jones. The merger also makes sense on a cultural level. Both businesses are made up of well-established, high-calibre brands with strong values. We’re driven by a desire to deliver delicious, innovative food and great service, and to uphold our strong reputation for looking after people.”  

Ampersand and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew launch new botanical dining experience #

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Ampersand, CH&Co Group’s specialist venue and visitor attraction catering business, have opened a new dining experience for visitors to the world-famous botanic gardens – The Botanical.
The new table-service restaurant, located in the heart of the Gardens with stunning views of the Palm House and lake, has been specifically designed to enhance the unique Kew Gardens visitor experience. Ampersand is working with horticultural experts at Kew, including top tree man Tony Kirkham, to forage for herbs, plants and flowers within the garden walls to include in the mouth-watering seasonal menu. Meanwhile the curation of the space acknowledges the building’s former role as a museum, with artefacts on display in glass cases.
Serving brunch, lunch and afternoon tea, The Botanical offers modern British dishes and twists on classic favourites that uphold a strong commitment to seasonality and locally-sourced produce, and exceptional service.  Reflecting the availability of ingredients and products, the innovative menu will change regularly throughout the year.
Dishes available include, for example, Hand Picked Kew Wild Garlic and Nettle Soup; Pan Fried Sea Bass with mixed grain tabbouleh and roast gem lettuce heart; and Botanical Garden Salad with heritage radish, elderflower and lime dressing.
Athena Morse, head of visitor operations, said: “We are thrilled to have opened The Botanical restaurant, which offers visitors a very different dining experience to our other catering outlets. The view from the building is perhaps one of the best in the Gardens, stretching out across the water to the magnificent Palm House. We are confident that along with this visual feast, Ampersand’s menu, full of exciting, seasonal recipes, will lure visitors back again and again.”
Rob Santos, operations manager for Ampersand, said: “The Botanical is so much more than a restaurant. It’s part of the Kew Gardens experience. Visitors can enjoy a delicious bowl of wild garlic and nettle soup, overlooking the Palm House and lake, knowing that the ingredients have been hand-picked in Kew Gardens within walking distance of where they are sitting. There aren’t many restaurants in London that can say that!
“The beauty of The Botanical is that through foraging for some ingredients and forging close relationships with local suppliers, we have the scope to develop the offer throughout the year. Working closely with Kew experts, we will continue to discover exciting ingredients and create innovative dishes that capture the botanical essence of Kew Gardens.”
Advance booking of tables is recommended and can be made online at or on 020 8332 5155.
Ampersand was appointed caterer at Kew Gardens in September 2016 and provides all catering services for Kew’s 1.5million annual visitors, 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.

The Lusso Barista Championship serves a winner #

Lusso, the specialist City caterer and part of CH&Co Group, has crowned Sylvia Begun its number one barista at the Lusso Barista Championship 2017.

The gifted barista showed first-class technical skills, knowledge and creativity at the final to beat tough competition and claim the title.

Among other prizes, Sylvia will enjoy an educational five-day coffee trip to Bologna, where she will learn all about coffee, from production through to service, and enjoy tasting some of Italy’s finest!

The Lusso Barista Championship, which is delivered in partnership with coffee supplier Bewleys, celebrates the UK coffee culture and upholds Lusso’s commitment to quality coffee prepared and served by talented, professional baristas, and developing the skills of its employees.

Demonstrating the consistent excellence of the Lusso coffee offer, every site was ‘mystery shopped’ in order to select the ten finalists, who then received specialist competition coaching at the Barista Academy.

At the final, competitors were challenged with producing and serving an espresso, a cappuccino and their own signature drink in a strict time frame that included preparation and clearing.  The panel of expert judges, which featured an international competition judge, were looking for technical skills, taste, knowledge of the drink and coffee blends, as well as organisation and hygiene practices.

Lidia Concilio scooped second place and the Best Signature Coffee accolade for her Raspberry Coffee Caipirinha, and Giulia Mastino took third place.

Paul Hurren, Lusso’s managing director, said: “The Lusso Barista Championship was a brilliant event.  The talent and enthusiasm of all the competing baristas was palpable. Huge congratulations to our winner, Sylvia, but also to all the competitors who did a fantastic job.

“Coffee is a very important part of the Lusso offer and this competition demonstrates just how seriously we take it.  Every finalist delivered an exceptional standard of skill and creativity that our customers will see every day at our sites. Our customers can also expect to see Lidia’s winning signature coffee on the menu next year, as it will be our special edition Summer 2018 drink.”

The Lusso Barista Championship took place at PRS for Music, King’s Cross, and was attended by Lusso and Bewleys colleagues and Lusso clients.

CH&Co Group reduces salt usage by 28% during Salt Awareness Week #

CH&Co Group strengthened its ongoing commitment to minimising salt in its recipes during Salt Awareness Week 2017, reducing the amount used across the business by an impressive 28%.
The group-wide activity demonstrated that by adapting recipes, where possible, with the use of herbs and spices, the amount of salt needed can be decreased.  Every site was challenged to look at its dishes to see where further salt reductions could be made.  Each site weighed the salt used in the kitchens prior to Salt Awareness Week and then for the week itself, to measure the impact of the changes.
 Judy Roberts, creative director at CH&Co Group, said: “The results clearly show that by getting creative with herbs, spices and perhaps of dash of lemon or lime, the amount of salt used in recipes can be easily reduced without compromising on taste and flavours. 28% is a significant reduction and if you forecast a potential salt reduction across the business for one year, this figure translates into a mind-blowing four tonnes!
“Reducing salt in our recipes has been a core focus for the business for many years and it’s a key part of the Chef Nutrition Workshop that we offer.  It’s really important that we help our kitchen teams to understand the role they can play in improving the diets of our customers. The Salt Awareness Week activity was a great way to strengthen our commitment and refocus salt-reduction efforts across our sites. The changes made during the week will benefit our customers ongoing, and our chefs will continue to identify new opportunities to keep salt usage to the minimum.”
The business was also a sponsor for the awareness week that works to increase public knowledge of the health implications of consuming too much salt.

Bidfood launches campaign to back British bees #

Bidfood has launched a pioneering pollination campaign to help raise awareness of declining bee colonies in the UK.

The falling bee population is an important issue for the food industry. In fact, 70 of the top 100 food crops are pollinated by bees, which supplies about 90% of the world’s nutrition.

Set to run throughout the year, the initiative aims to foster a healthy environment for bees. With 24 Bidfood sites across the country involved, activities include building bee ‘hotels’, creating bee-friendly gardens and helping local bee keepers by donating sugar and sponsoring local hives.

Bidfood’s Paddock Wood depot has three hives and approximately 300,000 bees, and has introduced fruit trees and bee-friendly plants and flowers to help aid the pollination process.

Speaking about the campaign, site excellence manager and lead beekeeper, Mike Apps said: “One in three bites of food is only possible thanks to bees pollinating our crops. It’s easy to take something so small for granted, but the importance of bees to the food industry, and our survival, is huge.

“Our campaign is already gathering a great deal of momentum across the business. Addressing the issue doesn’t necessarily require owning a hive, planting the right flowers can help bees to pollinate and flourish for future generations.”

Bidfood’s Basingstoke depot has also been busy collaborating with local family-owned beekeepers and honey suppliers, Becky’s Bees, by sponsoring 50 hives at their site in Andover. It also works with Hill Farm Oils, Bidfood’s supplier of rapeseed oil, by sponsoring the placement of 40 hives across 1,200 acres of rapeseed and borage.

Dr Ivor Davis, director of communications, British Beekeepers Association said: “We are delighted to see Bidfood spreading the word about the importance of bees and taking on such an active role at each of its sites.
“Honey bees, bumblebees and solitary bees, as pollinators of commercially grown insect-pollinated crops in the UK, have an estimated economic value of over £400 million per year. However, due to the expansion of global trading in recent years, bees are threatened by new parasites and diseases that have been brought into this country by error.
“This policy by Bidfood will help us all protect our valuable army of pollinators.”
For further information on the British Beekeepers Association visit: or on advice and information on being a sustainable operator.

Bidfood serves up Scotland’s first hospitality hub for the food and drink sector #

Bidfood Scotland has opened its doors to a brand new, purpose built hospitality hub in Larbert, which will serve as the first of its kind for the £14 billion Scottish food and drink sector.

Opened by Fergus Ewing MSP on June 15th, the hub sets out to work in partnership with Scottish food and drink suppliers as a dedicated ‘centre for excellence’, testing and developing new products as well as supporting menu development and innovation for some of its 5,000 customers across hotels, restaurants, cafes, care homes, healthcare and education in Scotland.

The launch is part of the Scottish foodservice provider’s wider strategy to drive product innovation and growth for its Scottish suppliers, as well as seeking opportunities for its existing suppliers to gain national listings across the rest of the UK, where Bidfood has a further 40,000 customers.

Speaking about the hub, Fergus Ewing, MSP and cabinet secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity said: “I’m delighted to have opened Bidfood Scotland’s hospitality hub. The wholesale sector represents a huge part of our food and drink economy in Scotland, and it’s fantastic to see Bidfood’s investment in this innovative facility and the exciting prospects it will bring for Scottish food and drink suppliers and customers throughout the country.”

The food and drink industry, along with farming and fishing, are among those most valuable to Scotland’s economy, and Bidfood works in close partnership with Scotland Food and Drink, VisitScotland and the Scottish Tourism Alliance to support the delivery of Scotland’s strategy, which is to double the value of the Scottish food and drink sector to £30 billion by 2030.

Katie Sillars, business development manager for Bidfood Scotland said: “It’s been so exciting to finally open our doors to the hospitality hub and showcase what the site can offer.

“We’ve been planning the hub for a long time, so it’s fantastic to see our vision coming to life, and to celebrate this with industry colleagues. We look forward to sharing this concept with our customers and partners over the coming months and in the future.”

The brand new hub comprises a bar, deli, a fully operational industrial kitchen and non-food catering suite. The kitchen is the focal point of the facility, and will be used to showcase products and keep customers up to date with the latest food trends, inspiring them with new innovative ideas and techniques used by executive chefs.

Scottish suppliers featured at the launch included The Scottish Salmon Company, Scotlay Eggs, Yester Farm Dairies, Inverloch Cheese company, First Milk, Cobbs Cakes and Aulds desserts.

The launch of the hub coincides with the company’s new Scottish brochure which showcases more than 600 products from local Scottish suppliers.

Futura Foods launches vegan cheese #

Futura Foods has launched Mozzarisella, a vegan cheese, to help operators cater for the growing demand for vegan-friendly dishes.

Veganism has soared in popularity and prevalence in recent years, with the number of vegans in Britain rising by 360% in the ten years between 2006 and 2016*. As such, chefs and caterers are starting to realise they must adapt their menus accordingly in order to be able to cater for the variety of special dietary requirements they may encounter.

With the vegan movement growing in momentum, a product such as Mozzarisella can help chefs create great-tasting dishes and encourage, rather than alienate, vegan diners.

Commenting on the launch, Kenneth Axen, MD of Futura Foods said: “‘Suitable for Vegans’ is a phrase that we are starting to see more and more of and outlets who fail to offer customers a vegan option undoubtedly stand to lose out in the future.

“Mozzarisella is a fantastic vegan cheese alternative which tastes great and even has the same stringy effect as Mozzarella when melted on pizza. It already features on the menu of a popular Italian high street chain, and as more people start to come across it I am certain it will become a firm favourite with caterers and vegans alike.”

Mozzarisella is made from rice and is suitable for vegans, vegetarians, coeliacs and those with a dairy intolerance. It is available in several formats including an Individually Quick Frozen Grated variety to be used straight from the freezer, for quick and easy use and to limit wastage.

*Ipsos MORI 2016

Over two thirds of workers believe better coffee means a better workplace #

New research by UCC Coffee UK & Ireland has shown that over two thirds of workers believe high quality coffee makes the workplace a better place to be. Its survey of 750 consumers showed that coffee quality is more important than having a supply close at hand, with only one fifth of workers saying they prioritise convenience over quality.

Consumers’ appetite for coffee is stronger than ever. The survey reveals that the average worker drinks 2.96 cups of coffee a day – and with 54% of respondents saying they would stop buying high street coffee if the quality at work was improved, the opportunity for operators to maximise their coffee sales and boost profitability is too good to waste.

Other key findings include:
- Half of respondents leave work to buy coffee elsewhere, 58% of these seeking better quality
- Workers will spend £1.78 on a cup of coffee – but this increases to £2.18 for a quality offer
- 23% bring coffee to work from home – and a third of these for ‘better quality’
- 45% would buy coffee more often if a loyalty scheme were in place
- The top factors for the ultimate coffee are: (1) Strong; (2) Tasty; (3) Fast; (4) Consistent
- The Latte is still flying high as the coffee of choice for 41% of respondents, with the Cappuccino (35%) and Americano (26%) in second and third place

Phil Smith, head of category & insight, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, comments: “B&I caterers must compete with high street operators and satisfy consumers demand for a quality coffee. Our findings show that 54% of workers would buy coffee at work instead of on the high street if the quality was good enough, which presents a perfect opportunity for operators to increase coffee sales. 

“Operators looking to improve their coffee offer to give consumers the experience they want and compel workers to stay on site for their coffee break should focus on delivering consistency and great taste – factors that consumers believe make for the ultimate cup of coffee. And with workers prepared to increase their spend by over 22% to £2.18 for premium coffee, a quality coffee offer is the key to healthy profit margins.”

For the full insight on the coffee drinking habits in the workplace, visit

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland adds new syrup and hot chocolate models to super-automatic range #

Two new additions to Swiss-made Black&White4c range meets operators’ need for customisable drinks menus and efficient use of counter space.

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland has launched two new additions to its Black&White range exclusively to the UK market – Black&White4c with integrated powder and flavour station and Black&White4c with under-counter refrigeration.
The two models are part of the Swiss-made Black&White4c range – the most compact bean to cup machine on the market. The launch of the two new models allow operators to customise the machine to meet their specific coffee service needs while retaining its simplicity of operation.
The integrated powder and flavour station model means that operators can expand their drinks offer to include hot chocolate and syrup-based drinks to take advantage of seasonal and upselling opportunities, building on the machine’s pre-set menu of 30 barista-standard drinks. The under-counter refrigeration model means operators can benefit from the super-automatic machine’s patented milk system without sacrificing counter-space.
Marcus Swift, head of sales and marketing, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, said: “Since its launch in September 2016, the Black&White4c has made barista quality coffee accessible and practical for the foodservice and hospitality market. We’re constantly listening to our customers’ needs – we’ve brought these two new modules to the UK to allow non-specialist operators to both expand their core drinks range or and increase efficiency behind the bar. The new models have increased the capability of the machine while retaining the reliability and barista-standard product that comes from its high build quality. Reliability is critical for consistency, which is fundamental for customer satisfaction”
The Black&White4c, which is hand-crafted by Swiss manufacturer Thermoplan, packs a host of unique features into its ultra-compact footprint. Freeing up valuable counter space, its slim design and intuitive interface enable non-specialist operators to achieve barista-quality coffee and milk-based drinks with simple one-touch operation. The new under counter model is the slimmest on the market.
The Black&White4c with powder & flavour station and Black&White4c with under-counter refrigeration are available exclusively from UCC Coffee UK & Ireland from 12 May 2017. For the range’s full product specifications, video or to book a demonstration visit

Stale coffee shop food menus leave consumer unsatisfied #

A new report by UCC Coffee UK & Ireland says coffee shop food menus are falling short of the mark, with operators missing vital food sales opportunities. And with over two thirds of consumers buying coffee shop food regularly, it’s never been more important for operators to up their food menu game to maximise profitability.

Fierce competition between operators has raised the bar when it comes to offering the best quality coffee. The report, created in conjunction with UCC Coffee UK & Ireland chef ambassador and pastry chef, Sarah Hartnett, explores how operators can go beyond coffee to create a point of difference.

Sarah Hartnett, says, “Innovative and exciting menus are a key success factor for coffee shops – the battle to attract and retain customers will be fought on food. The UK is a world leader in hospitality, breaking ground and shaping food trends that traverse sectors and borders. Despite our impressive coffee culture, this is not always reflected in coffee shops.

“People want to buy food and stay on site to eat. Operators aren’t just selling a coffee – they’re selling an experience. Venues that elevate the experience beyond coffee, with
well-paired, innovative and on-trend food offers, will cement their reputation as a great destination. And people will be willing to pay.”

Gareth Davies, head of coffee excellence, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland comments, “The way your customers choose a snack or a dessert comes down to the taste – the decision is based on the experience they are craving when they reach the counter or at the end of a meal and how it’s going to make them feel. Operators need to ensure this craving is met in the context of coffee by understanding the basics of drink types for example a flat white versus black filter, and roast profile from light to dark.”

Other key findings from the report include:
- One quarter of consumers eat and drink on coffee shop premises
- Consumers are willing to pay more for quality food
- Breakfast products are most in demand
- 74% of consumers ordering food with their coffee opt for cakes or pastries
- The top foods purchased with coffee are: (1) cakes; (2) sandwiches; (3) pastries
- The top cakes purchased with coffees are: (1) chocolate; (2) carrot; (3) cheesecake
- One in three regularly buy healthier food with coffee
- A lack of healthy options means operators miss food sales opportunities on one in seven visits
- Indulgence is on the decline, with healthier food a key success factor
- The most sought after healthy menu addition is fresh salads 

For the full insight on how coffee shop food menus leave consumers unsatisfied, and how operators can raise their game to attract and retain customers, visit

Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Healthcare team raise over £150,000 for Alzheimer’s Society #

Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Healthcare team marked Dementia Awareness Week by raising a staggering £151,555 for Alzheimer’s Society in just two years.

Support for Alzheimer’s Society was announced in May 2015 and the team has since reached the £151,000 target required to fund essential research into ‘dysphagia’ (difficulties in eating, drinking, and swallowing) in people with dementia in a residential care setting.

Lindsay Collins, an Alzheimer’s Society clinical fellow at the University of Bradford, is leading the research to better understand how and why eating and drinking can be disrupted in people with dementia. Her findings will help healthcare professionals to provide better care for people with dysphagia and dementia, helping to improve their quality of life.

Successful fundraising activities have included ‘Elf Week’ which saw colleagues across Compass’ Healthcare Retail business dress up as elves during the Christmas period. The initiative raised an impressive £71,000. The team also raised £26,000 in support of Simon Brown, regional manager in Compass’ Healthcare Retail business, for taking part in the London Marathon in April.

A cheque was presented to Michael Dent, director of fundraising at Alzheimer’s Society, during Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Healthcare Conference on May 18.

Steven Cenci, managing director of Healthcare at Compass Group UK & Ireland, said:  “We are thrilled to have raised the full £151,000 needed to fund such a fundamental piece of research into dysphagia. We are extremely proud of our partnership with Alzheimer’s Society and are pleased to be supporting the charity in the work they do around dementia. The study will help enable care professionals and families to ensure people living with dementia and dysphagia can receive better care.”

Michael Dent, director of fundraising, at Alzheimer’s Society, added: “Eating, drinking and swallowing can become very difficult for people living with dementia as it can lead to many issues like poor nutrition, dehydration and weight loss. So we are extremely grateful and delighted by the hard work Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Healthcare team have done to raise the £151,000 for research into the effects of dysphagia. The funding will help many affected by dementia to live better in the future.”

As well as fundraising for Alzheimer’s Society, the Healthcare division at Compass Group UK & Ireland launched its “Dignified Dining” toolkit, in over 60 hospitals and care homes last year. The toolkit outlines our ten key nutritional related guidelines, enabling residents and patients living with dementia to be given more personalised and specialist support in relation to their food provision.

In March, the team also launched the use of blue plates trusts alongside providing specialized finger-food options across 30 hospital trusts. Both have been specifically designed to support people living with dementia.

Compass Group UK & Ireland also celebrated Magical May, a business-wide initiative, where each of its 15,000 units are challenged to raise money for charity. 

Medirest secures new contract with North Middlesex University Hospital Trust #

Medirest, the healthcare division of Compass Group UK & Ireland has secured a contract to deliver soft facilities management and retail services to North Middlesex University Hospital Trust.

Starting in June, the five-year contract valued over £48million, will see a team of approximately 400 people delivering a range of new services including: patient catering, portering, security, pest control and uniform management.

Medirest has been providing retail services to North Middlesex University Hospital Trust for over 15 years and as part of the new contract the business will extend its offer within the hospital site.

The team will refurbish its retail space to introduce a new Wellspring Restaurant offering staff, patients and visitors a range of healthy food and drink options including the ‘Whole+Sum’ food offer, giving visitors a choice of various hot food options, all of which are 500 calories or under. A self-service salad bar as well as a pop-up counter featuring global food concepts will also be on offer and hot and cold beverages will be available at Costa Coffee.

Steven Cenci, managing director of healthcare at Compass Group UK & Ireland, said: “We are really excited to be building on our offer at North Middlesex University Hospital Trust by providing a range of soft facilities management services. Through this contract we aim to continue delivering an outstanding service to the client with a wider offer of services and we look forward to strengthening our partnership further.”

David Sowoolu, head of soft FM services, at North Middlesex University Hospital Trust added: “We are proud to be teaming up with Medirest who will be delivering soft facilities management services to our hospital in addition to the retail offer that has been provided since 2009. We are looking forward to further developing our partnership with Medirest as a result of this new contract.”

North Middlesex University Hospital Trust is one of London’s busiest acute hospitals, serving more than 350,000 people living across North London. 

Eurest announces charity partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity #

Eurest, part of the Business and Industry division of Compass Group UK & Ireland, has announced Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity (GOSH Charity) as its new charity partner.

The year ahead will see the Eurest team working to raise over £25,000 for the charity, to support some of Great Ormond Street Hospital’s most urgent needs. These include pioneering new treatments and research, providing specialist equipment and supporting the essential refurbishment of the hospital to provide state-of-the-art facilities that match the hospital’s world-class care.

Eurest’s fundraising efforts were kick-started by managing director, Ollie Baker, who ran a sprint triathlon as part of Compass Group UK & Ireland’s dedicated charity month Magical May. The race took place earlier this month in Stratford-upon-Avon, starting the momentum for further fundraising ventures across the business. Other plans include a series of sponsored activities such as sky diving, abseiling off a client’s office building and taking part in baked bean bathing.

Ollie Baker, managing director of Eurest, said: “We are really proud to start our partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. The Eurest fundraising efforts are led by our nominated ‘charity champion’ Claire Swift, but we’re all really passionate about this charity and we’re committed to raising our ambitious target over the next year. Through our fundraising work we hope to be able to support GOSH which provides such invaluable care to children, young adults and parents across the UK.”

Sophie Powell-White, head of corporate account management at Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity, said: “We’re so grateful to everyone at Eurest for choosing to support Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity and we’re really looking forward to the exciting year of fundraising ahead. Their support will help make a real difference to the lives of seriously ill children from across the UK.” 

Compass Group UK & Ireland signs new partnership with Milton Keynes University Hospital #

The Healthcare sector of Compass Group UK & Ireland will be offering retail services to Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as part of a new 15-year contract worth an estimated £25.5million overall.

As part of the deal, Compass is supporting the hospital’s growing services and has created a new and innovative space to include retail offers. The modern main entrance to the hospital, funded by Compass as part of the brand-new development, offers staff, patients and visitors a welcoming reception area complemented by popular high-street brands including Costa Coffee, the Subway® brand and Little Fresh convenience store.

The hospital officially opened the new entrance on May 26. The contract will see 50 new jobs created at the hospital.

Steven Cenci, managing director of healthcare at Compass Group UK & Ireland, said: “We are extremely excited to have introduced a new entrance to our client and their visitors and staff as part of our partnership with Milton Keynes University Hospital. The creation of a new reception area with familiar high street brands will not only provide the hospital with a new look and a welcoming entrance but will also meet the requirements of staff and visitors in particular, providing healthy and high-street food options as well as a grab-and-go convenience shopping offer.”

Professor Joe Harrison, chief executive officer at Milton Keynes University Hospital added: “We are incredibly pleased with the new main entrance building that the Compass Group UK & Ireland has delivered. It will provide us with a much needed space for staff, patients and visitors of the hospital and will ensure that we have a main reception area that is fully equipped with all the facilities you would expect to see from convenience stores to patient information services. This is an incredibly exciting time for our hospital as we continue to grow our services and we look forward to building a strong working relationship with Compass over the coming weeks and months.” 

SUPERIORPLUS K72G scoops latest energy efficiency award #

Hoshizaki’s latest generation 5 technology has scooped its 12th award as the SUPERIORPLUS K72G takes home first place in the Foodservice Footprint energy efficiency category.
A leader in energy efficiency, Hoshizaki took an innovative approach in the development of its Gram SUPERIORPLUS 72 range resulting in significant energy reduction and lower annual energy bills for operators.
Cementing its position within the marketplace the SUPERIORPLUS K72G’s energy use and running costs have decreased massively from 509kWh year to 285kWh, based on a rate of 10p kWh the average operator can expect to spend only £28.50 per year running the unit. Whilst the hydrocarbon refrigerants present (along with the majority of Hoshizaki’s portfolio) have a zero Ozone Depletion Potential and Global Warming Potential of just three, compared to the more damaging hydrofluorocarbons more commonly used in many refrigeration appliances.
The award is now in its 7th year reward businesses for demonstrating significant energy reduction and for bringing to market technology that helps the whole industry reduce its carbon footprint. The expert judging panel unanimously agreed that the SUPERIRORPLUS K72G met all the category criteria including innovation in design that led to reduced energy consumption. 
Steve Loughton, Hoshizaki UK director of UK & Ireland, comments; “This award has proven that our reputation for highly energy efficient and sustainable products is well founded. Our generation 5 technology is thus far unrivalled, with the SUPERIORPLUS K72G being positively received by operators and chefs alike. We will continue to strive to lead the market and drive forward the sector, to ensure the market offers customers the most innovative technology available.”

Hoshizaki Places First UK Snowflake GII Freezer #

Hoshizaki UK’s first Snowflake GII Freezer has been installed at the Japanese Embassy in London. The Embassy took delivery of the new Hoshizaki model at its prestigious Mayfair address earlier this week, further strengthening its relationship with the Japanese-owned manufacturer – international leaders in refrigeration and icemakers.

The Snowflake GII has joined the consulate’s existing portfolio of Hoshizaki cooling solutions, in response to its search for a durable freezer that offers optimum operational performance.

Hoshizaki UK continues to have a long-standing relationship with the Japanese Embassy, founded on a trust that they provide the highest standards in durable and functional kitchen equipment. Combining decades of refrigeration design experience from the energy efficient pioneers Gram, and innovative Japanese technology engineering, the brand-new Snowflake GII offers unrivalled quality, making it the perfect fit for the ambassador’s residence.

The Hoshizaki Snowflake series is the latest in its range of high-performance, innovative refrigeration units. Developed to meet the complex and varied needs across the foodservice industry, the Snowflake GII is available at a competitive price point, providing the ideal solution for buyers seeking to purchase the very best quality without the need to compromise on budget.

A spokesperson for the Japanese Embassy, comments: “When sourcing new equipment our decisions are made based on quality and durability. With energy efficiency being a key consideration, the Snowflake GII offers extra flexibility in our demanding catering environment. Hoshizaki always caters for our specifications and we now regularly use a range of their refrigeration and freezer solutions, including the UK’s very first Snowflake GII.”

Simon Frost, Hoshizaki UK’s director of field sales and national accounts, comments: “We are really proud to have our first UK Snowflake GII in situ at the Japanese Embassy – a natural home for our latest products. The installation is a real testament to the trust the Japanese Embassy has in our products and we aim to continue to answer their cooling solution needs for years to come.”

Susan Bolam appointed managing director, Jellybean Creative #

Jellybean Creative announced the appointment of Susan Bolam as managing director.
Susan assumes this role from Fiona Rickard who set up the company in 1987; after thirty years of heading up the award-winning agency Fiona will continue to be involved in the business as CEO.

Susan has worked alongside Fiona for 16 years and brings a wealth of agency experience and knowledge of the foodservice industry to the role. Since joining Jellybean in 2001, she has been fundamental to the achievements of the company, successfully leading clients in strategy, as well as playing a pivotal role in new business. Susan will now take up the position of managing director, building on the company’s outstanding reputation in the industry.
Fiona Rickard, CEO, Jellybean Creative said: “Susan is integral to Jellybean’s success, her extensive and comprehensive skill set, as well as her industry knowledge, means there is no one better qualified to lead the business going forward. As the company founder, you look for people with passion, commitment and talent - Susan has all this in abundance and I look forward to continuing to work with her in her role as managing director as I take up the position of CEO and focus on the continued success and growth of the business from behind the scenes.”
Susan Bolam, managing director, Jellybean Creative commented: “I’m very excited to start this new chapter in my career at Jellybean.  We’re trusted by companies to create impactful, strategic and creative campaigns that really deliver for our clients.  Alongside the great team at Jellybean I will continue to build on our success and reputation. To be appointed managing director – on this our 30th year – is a huge honour and one that I intend to live up to.”

Grab a coffee-to-go with Huhtamaki #

‘Grabbing a coffee’ is now firmly entrenched into our lifestyles, according to research conducted by Huhtamaki.  Takeaway coffee sales continue to accelerate, with *80% of the adult UK population buying takeaway drinks and *77% of these being coffee based.

Britain’s love of coffee continues to evolve and the once favoured ‘coffee with milk’ has now been usurped by a multitude of options that all cater to the love of the bean.

For those looking for a drink to boost their attention, a study at Clarkson University** has revealed that Mocha (caffeine and chocolate) can indeed help to improve attention span. 

Clarkson University researcher Ali Boolani says. "Cocoa increases cerebral blood flow, which increases cognition and attention. Caffeine alone can increase anxiety. This particular project found that cocoa lessens caffeine's anxiety-producing effects - a good reason to drink mocha lattes! The results of the tests are definitely promising and show that cocoa and caffeine are good choices for students and anyone else who needs to improve sustained attention.”

For those who need more than a mocha and are brave enough to experiment with their morning brew, there are now more choices of coffee than have ever been seen before, here are a few of the more interesting options courtesy of freelance writer, Hanna Woodside:
- Yuenyueng - A mixture of tea and coffee to create one drink, popular in Hong Kong, it combines three parts strong black coffee, with seven parts tea sweetened with condensed milk. Served hot or cold.
- Red Eye - A regular black filter coffee, super-charged with a shot of espresso. Add two shots and it’s a ‘black eye’. And three and it’s a ‘dead eye’.
- Kaisermelange - An Austrian creation which mixes an espresso shot with a raw egg yolk to make it richer, then a bit of honey. (Whipped cream and a shot of brandy are optional). The Vietnamese have a version of this egg-coffee, where up to three yolks are whisked with condensed milk to create a super-smooth, custardy coffee.

With all of this creativity in the café, the barista can be safe in the knowledge that whatever coffee is requested, Huhtamaki are able to provide the perfect single use cup to match.

It’s essential that a high quality single use cup is used to ensure the hot drink of choice reaches its customer in perfect drinking order. Huhtamaki’s range of Double Wall Paper Hot Cups offers the perfect solution for those looking to complete the premium take-out beverage experience. With a choice of smooth and embossed varieties available, the range offers outstanding insulation – essential when serving hot takeaway drinks.  Double Wall Paper Cups not only retain the heat of the drink but also ensure that the cup is comfortable when held: vital for on the go drinking. Alongside the technical properties of the cup, aesthetics are also important.  Huhtamaki provide a range of takeaway cups which feature attractive designs or which offer a tactile appearance; and these can help add value to the offering.  Alternatively, custom print is available on the takeaway cups to drive awareness of a café’s own brand and business.
It’s not only coffee that’s been given an overhaul, there are now lots more choices of ‘milk’.  Whereas the usual decision is full fat or skim, consider now Soy, Almond, Oat or Coconut milk to add to that double shot latte. With worldwide sales of these milk alternatives more than doubling between 2009 and 2015 to $21bn, according to Euromonitor. 
To match the experimentation with new types of coffee and milk, consider Huhtamaki’s ‘Sorello’ smooth double wall paper hot cups.  They provide consistent insulation around the entire cup as well as the possibility to accommodate a more detailed custom print, as demonstrated by the ‘Café Life’ stock design.
Some cafes may prefer a more vibrant and bold takeaway cup and should look to Huhtamaki’s colourful ‘enjoy’ Impresso double wall paper hot cups.  Guaranteed to add an eye-catching pop of colour to counters, the cups’ cheerful ‘smile’ logo is certain to elicit a grin.  Featuring an embossed ‘bubble’ texture, which provides enhanced insulation and gives customers an improved grip; ‘enjoy’ cups feel even more comfortable to hold.  9oz, 12oz and 16oz size cups are available, in a mixed sleeve of four contemporary colours – ‘Hot Cerise’, ‘Zesty Orange’, ‘Nice ‘n’ Natural’ and ‘Citrus Lime’.
Along with the sustainability of the coffee bean and the importance of Fairtrade coffee, customers are more and more environmentally astute than ever.  Strong environmental and sustainability credentials are important and Huhtamaki’s research shows that well over half of customers (68%) want to know about the environmental credentials of the packaging used to serve takeaway hot drinks. Of these, 82% want to know if the packaging is recyclable.  Huhtamaki’s double wall paper cups are made with 100% PEFC certified paperboard and are fully compliant with the EU Timber Regulation No. 995/2010; and they are also recyclable as well as being made in the UK at the company’s factory in Gosport.  Huhtamaki are continually innovating within the industry and launched Bioware: cups that can be composted in industrial composting facilities within 60 days.  The cups hold the European EN13432 certificate.
*Independent consumer research commissioned by Huhtamaki into consumer attitudes towards takeaway hot drinks and the use of disposable cups within beverage services found on the UK high street.
**Ali Boolani, Jacob B. Lindheimer, Bryan D. Loy, Stephen Crozier, Patrick J. O’Connor. Acute effects of brewed cocoa consumption on attention, motivation to perform cognitive work and feelings of anxiety, energy and fatigue: a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover experiment. BMC Nutrition, 2017; 3 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s40795-016-0117-z

Speed ramps up Food & Hospitality focus with senior hire #

Speed has appointed Cat Jennings to the role of director to lead the agency’s Food & Hospitality division.

The appointment follows Speed’s acquisition of boutique PR agency, The Splash Partnership in 2016, one of the UK’s leading communication specialists in the foodservice and hospitality industry. Splash’s clients include Nestlé Professional, Bidfood and TUCO (The University Caterers Organisation).

Prior to Speed, Cat held senior roles at Golley Slater, Ketchum and Cohn & Wolfe in addition to working in an in-house consultancy role at Apple. She has managed global, European, regional and UK campaigns for a wide variety of global B2B and B2C brands. Cat has led accounts in the foodservice and hospitality industry for Hilton and P&G Professional.  She has also consulted and partnered with tourism boards, chefs, new start-ups, pubs, restaurant chains and industry bodies such as The British Hospitality Association.

At Speed, Cat will be responsible for evolving the Food & Hospitality division of Speed, creating new initiatives across the client base and working on an innovative business drive to partner with foodservice and hospitality brands interested in being future forward.

Kelly Pepworth, managing director at Speed said: “We brought Cat on board as she has an exciting vision and impressive track record.

“She has a highly influential, creative and commercial background in strategic planning and creative communications.

“Her talents and skills will help Speed build an unrivalled Food & Hospitality offer to support our existing service scope and grow our potential client base.”

Commercial Kitchen up for two best trade show awards #

Commercial Kitchen was shortlisted for ‘Best Trade Launch Show’ and ‘Best Tradeshow under 2,000sqm’ by the Association of Event Organisers, in its hotly contested annual Excellence Awards.

The first dedicated trade show for the UK’s entire commercial kitchen industry, Commercial Kitchen is now one of only a few events to ever have been shortlisted by the AEO as a finalist in both these categories (Diversified UK’s Casual Dining show also enjoyed the honour in 2014).

The exhibition industry’s equivalent to the Oscars, the double award nomination reflects the show’s highly-focused appeal. The 2016 event welcomed over 1,700 attendees, including many of the biggest catering equipment purchasers and specifiers from across the foodservice sector.  Attracting the right quality of visitor was key to the show’s success. Resulting in glowing testimonials from exhibitors and visitors alike.  

“We're absolutely delighted to be nominated for these prestigious awards.  It really is a wonderful endorsement for the show,” says group event director Chris Brazier.

“It’s also a great recognition of the impact that Commercial Kitchen has made within the industry in just its first year.  We’re excited to be able to share this nomination with our innovative exhibitors, association and media partners, and all the incredible end users, distributors, project houses and consultants that attend the show."

“Commercial Kitchen is the ideal show to visit, whether it’s to sense check your kitchen equipment against other brands or to find new suppliers of equipment to suit your kitchen needs. It’s a must attend,” says Chris Knights, group executive chef at Young's Pubs and Geronimo Inns.

The annual AEO Excellence Awards recognises achievements by organisers, venues, suppliers and contractors across the exhibitions industry.  

Big School Bake Off finalists unveiled #

Nine school caterers have made it through to the live final of the national Big School Bake Off competition at the LACA Main Event on Thursday 6 July 2017.
Judges from The Children’s Food Trust and Unilever Food Solutions handpicked each finalist after reviewing their paper entry during a ‘blind’ judging session. Each recipe had to include at least 50 per cent fruit (half of the total ingredients’ weight) to align with the School Food Standards in England.
The finalists will have one and a half hours to transform their paper entry into a showstopper during the final at the LACA Main Event where the judges will look for flair, creativity and technical ability.
Alex Hall, executive chef at Unilever Food Solutions and part of the judging panel said: “Our aim for this competition has always been to encourage school caterers to bake from scratch and show the skill that’s out there in this part of the industry. We’ve seen some great fruity bakes on paper. I can’t wait to taste them and see how they shape up at the live final.”
The 2017 Big School Bake Off finalists are:
Tara Reeves, Capel St Mary CofE Primary School (East of England)
Kamila Kosla, Stradbroke High School (East of England)
Daren Offer, The John Roan School (London and South East)
Karen Talbot, Hartburn Primary School (North East)
Allyson Norris, King George V College (North West)
Clare Harris, St Leonard’s Primary School (Scotland)
Karen Cuthbertson, The Mary Erskine School (Scotland)
Christine Parr, Warmsworth Primary School (Yorkshire & Humberside)
Dawn Twemlow, Intake Primary School (Yorkshire & Humberside)
The 2017 Big School Bake Off champion will win £500 Love2Shop voucher, a trophy for them and their school, a Let’s Get Cooking extravaganza for their school and a further £100 Love2Shop voucher, courtesy of competition support Hobart UK.

Sodexo recognises outstanding customer-facing employees #

Sodexo recognised the achievement of 21 of its most outstanding customer-facing employees in its sixth annual Service Excellence Awards.

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

The event was attended by 250 employees, and was held at Ascot Racecourse on Tuesday (9 May), where Sodexo holds the hospitality contract.

Regional chairman Sean Haley and HR director Andy Rogers were accompanied on stage by Sodexo subject matter experts from each of the specific service lines to recognise the winners and runners up in 21 categories.

Sodexo employees attending were encouraged to pledge up to three days’ volunteering for a good cause to celebrate Stop Hunger day, also on 9 May. The Stop Hunger charitable foundation was set up by Sodexo to fight hunger and malnutrition.

The coveted Kathy Ridgard Award, presented in honour of Kathy, who was director of Sodexo’s Centre of Excellence before sadly losing her battle with cancer in February 2013, went to kitchen porter at Wellington College, Alan Lenthall. Alan was also recognised for the Kitchen Porter of the Year award.

Sean Haley, regional chairman of Sodexo UK and Ireland, said in his closing speech: “Today just goes to show exactly why clients and prospects highlight you as our key strength. I’m always very humbled when I come to this event; seeing the commitment and loyalty of our teams across the business, the focus on doing everything to the best of your ability, and a genuine desire to make people happy and improve their quality of life is what we’re all about.”

Independents by Sodexo wins contract with King’s Hall School #

Independents by Sodexo has been awarded a £1.4m a year contract by King’s Hall School and King’s College, Taunton to provide student and staff dining, and hospitality.

King's College is an independent co-educational boarding and day school with over 460 pupils aged 13-18 years. Its sister school, King’s Hall School, is a prep and pre-prep with over 300 boys and girls from the ages of 2 to 13. It offers full, weekly and flexi boarding for children from the age of 8 years. Both schools are members of the Woodard Corporation, the largest group of Church of England schools in England and Wales.

This is first time that King’s College has outsourced its catering and the first time the schools have worked together on their food offer. Sodexo will be tasked with providing a joined up approach to catering across the schools, offering pupils and staff a wide range of dishes, with an emphasis on fresh, nutritious and seasonal food.

Sodexo will invest in new facilities at the school and 35 staff will transfer to Sodexo as part of the contract win.

Jeremy Alderton, managing director of Independents by Sodexo, said “Independents by Sodexo is delighted to begin a new partnership with the King’s Schools. We look forward to providing pupils and staff with a wide selection of fresh and seasonal dishes cooked by our highly skilled chefs.”

Miles MacEacharn, director of finance at King’s said “We were impressed by Sodexo’s approach and innovative menus. We are confident that the whole community at both schools will benefit greatly from the team’s culinary expertise and a new joined up approach.”

Two Sodexo employees among top BAME role models #

Two Sodexo employees have been named among top ethnic minority leaders, published in the Financial Times.

Sodexo’s service operations finance director Amolak Dhariwal is listed in the Empower Top 100 Ethnic Minority Leaders.

Sodexo head of digital communications Stephen Marshall is named number one of 30 EMpower Top Ethnic Minority Future Leaders.

The EMpower Role Model lists are a reflection and celebration of the incredible achievements of the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) business community in UK, Ireland, United States and Canada.

The lists are published annually, in partnership with the Financial Times, showcasing the top 100 BAME Business Leaders and top 30 BAME Future Leaders.

A British-born Sikh, Amolak has had a diverse, prominent and successful career at Sodexo over the last 13 years, for the last two years has been responsible for finance for Sodexo’s service operations which includes supply management, IS&T, health & safety, food, soft and hard platforms.

Externally, Amolak has recently become a governor at a local academy to encourage the understanding and development of the BAME agenda, and has established close links with other organisations outside Sodexo to help understand best practice in this area..

A Londoner of Caribbean heritage, Stephen is responsible for Sodexo UK & Ireland’s corporate website, intranet site, social media, delivering global digital projects and developing Sodexo digital marketing strategy.

Stephen joined a team coaching programme last year and through this is looking to obtain a professional coaching and mentoring qualification. Stephen’s goal is to become a mentor in Sodexo and outside the company.

Amolak and Stephen are co-chairs of the Sodexo UK & Ireland Origins employee network which has a membership of over 300 colleagues.

Under Origins Amolak and Stephen launched a Sodexo-wide campaign called ‘My culture and me’, which is aimed at raising cultural awareness of people from different BAME backgrounds within the organisation to create a more inclusive workplace.

Suki Sandhu, CEO and founder of EMpower, said: “The EMpower lists exist to encourage more business leaders and companies to drive forward the diversity agenda and inspire the next generation to succeed. Despite the fact that 14% of the population are BAME, only 4% of the CEOs in the FTSE100 are from BAME backgrounds. This lack of representation and diversity at the highest levels is why the EMpower Ethnic Minority Leaders and Future Leaders lists exist. They’re here to showcase visible, inspiring BAME role models at all levels, who are demonstrating that background or ethnicity should not and will not be a barrier to professional success.”

Amolak Dhariwal, Sodexo UK & Ireland service operations finance director, said: “The experience of BAME people in the workplace could clearly be different and we exist to help them develop, be promoted and be included. It is my personal privilege to have been given the opportunity to lead this within Sodexo UK & Ireland and then to be recognised externally for work key to Sodexo’s diversity and inclusion programme.”

Stephen Marshall, Sodexo UK & Ireland head of digital coomunications, said: “I’m honoured to be recognised amongst my BAME peers for my achievements and delighted and surprised to not only be included on this list but receive the number one nomination. I work very hard in my professional life to deliver successful results and am passionate about helping others to develop. I’m ambitious to drive real change in the workplace where people from BAME backgrounds are accepted and have equal opportunities to develop and be selected for senior positions.  

“While representation on this list is a great honour, it’s existence reflects the lack of diversity and under-representation of senior leaders that still exists within many businesses today. I hope that I and others from diverse backgrounds can change and level the playing field to pave the way for future BAME leaders.”

Sodexo’s ‘Green & Lean’ meals wins Footprint ‘Sustainability in Education’ award #

Sodexo was awarded the ‘Sustainability in Education Award’ at the recent Footprint Awards for its Green & Lean sustainable meal project.

The Footprint awards represents the annual celebration of the work that organisations in the foodservice industry and its supply chain are doing to in some way redress the balance for the benefit of themselves, their community and the industry at large. It is a celebration of initiative and innovation, of commercial imagination and endeavour that recognises those organisations leading the way.

Sodexo has been working with conservation charity WWF over the last three years with the joint objective to take WWF’s expertise in sustainable eating and bring it to life in a food service setting.  Through the partnership we have trialled and developed meals that are both healthy and sustainable, but still tasty and attractive to consumers, while raising consumer awareness of sustainable eating. Given its ethos and approach, Independents by Sodexo was a great test-bed for WWF and Sodexo to develop, trial and embed sustainable meals, and indeed to educate our young consumers about the impact of the food production on the environment.

Sodexo and WWF agreed 10 criteria to ensure the meals were nutritious, lower-carbon and responsibly sourced. The meals are based on the idea that by making simple switches, such as serving more wholegrains, vegetables and pulses, using dairy products lower in fat, and where necessary adding sugar and salt sparingly, meals will be better for our health. And by selecting seasonal fruits and vegetables and sourcing certified and sustainable meat and fish we can serve up food that is better for our planet too.

Independents by Sodexo is currently serving Green & Lean meals every week in 40 schools in England with plans to reach even more people in the coming year.

On Sodexo’s winning entry, the judges said; “A good project in independent schools which sets out what has been achieved. Obtaining WWF collaboration was a great achievement.”

Nick Hughes, food sustainability adviser, WWF-UK commented:  “ We’re delighted that Sodexo has been recognised for its work in creating sustainable meals that are good for health and good for the planet. We look forward to working in partnership to develop more Green & Lean meals and ensure more people can choose great-tasting dishes packed full of vegetables, pulses and wholegrains.”

Jeremy Alderton, managing director, Independents and Private Schools UK & Ireland, said; “We are so thrilled and proud to have been awarded the ‘Sustainability in Education’ award at the recent Footprint Awards. To be recognised for improving sustainability in our Schools through our Green & Lean menus is just fantastic.

“We have worked hard and continue to engage with our clients and WWF to ensure we stay at the front of sustainable principles with a solid understanding of what our customers expect from Independents by Sodexo as a leading sustainable, healthy and nutritional food partner.”  

CESA sees positives in election confusion #

No hard Brexit is good news for the whole foodservice industry
The biggest concern in the catering equipment industry is uncertainty, according to CESA’s Business Barometer surveys, and the election result would appear to have made the situation worse.  However, CESA says there may be real positives in the result. 
“One thing that is crystal clear is that there is no mandate for a hard Brexit,” says Glenn Roberts, chair of CESA.  “In our discussions with the May government we’ve argued all along that our industry needs tariff-free access to the EU market, and that any new immigration controls have to allow us access to the skills and the labour we need.  The prospect of a ‘no deal’ is terrifying: it could be disastrous for the catering equipment industry and the foodservice industry as a whole.” 
The latest Business Barometer, which measures CESA members’ sales expectations and attitudes to the economy, covers Q1 2017.  On the questions of what the UK government’s priority should be in negations with the European Union, it showed that access to the single market was the number one, with access to skilled workers second.  Member’s three top concerns over the next 12 months are uncertainty over the UK’s role in Europe, raw material prices and inflation. 
“We look forward to continuing our Brexit discussions and negotiations with the next government,” says Roberts.  “The decisions being made will be critical for the future of the industry.” 
The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA) is the authoritative voice of the catering equipment industry, representing over 190 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment - from utensils to full kitchen schemes.  

CESA guide to F-Gas regulations #

New guide from CESA explains what foodservice operators need to know about new EU regulations
As part of the requirements of the Kyoto Protocols, the EU is introducing new regulations to help control fluorinated greenhouse gas (F-Gas) emissions. The European Fluorinated Gases Regulation which came into force in July 2007 is currently being revised, the most important new measure being proposed is the phasing down of the supply of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the most commonly used of the F-Gases. This is part of an initiative that will reduce European HFC supplies to 21% of 2015 levels by 2030.
In order to help operators understand the new directives CESA has put together a guide outlining the new changes to the regulations and the responsibilities of operators and users introduced by them.

The main focus of the regulations is to minimise the emission of F-Gases from equipment, through leak reduction, repair, containment and recovery. The responsibility for this lies with caterers, operators and users of catering refrigeration rather than those selling or servicing it.
These responsibilities can be boiled down to setting up a regular schedule of inspections, repairing leaks as soon as possible, ensuring the recovery of F-Gases by certified personnel and the installation of leak detection systems on systems weighing over 300kg.
“The reduction of fluorinated gases is a key part of the Kyoto Protocols,” explains Glenn Roberts, chair of CESA. “This guide explains everything caterers need to know about the timeline the new regulations sets out for the phasing out of these gases”.
The guide is available to download from CESA’s website

Brexit starting to bite, says CESA #

Latest Brexit Watch figures make ‘difficult reading’
Brexit is really starting to hurt, according to CESA.  The latest Brexit Watch, produced by EURIS, (European Union Relationship and Industrial Strategy), of which CESA is a founder member, makes difficult reading. 
“The indicators we look at are, for the most part, disappointing,” says Glenn Roberts, chair of CESA.  “The stats underline the need for a Brexit that gives our industries what they want – especially access to the single market and access to the EU workforce.” 
This issue of the EURIS Brexit Watch comes exactly one year after the referendum.  The main points are:
- Sterling’s average exchange rate fell by 1.1% with the US Dollar in the first 23 days of June 2017, compared with the May 2017 average.  
- Input prices increased by 15.6% in April 2017 and 11.6% in May 2017.  
- The Consumer Price Index rose by 2.9% in the year to April 2017, the highest 12 month growth since June 2013.  
- The index of production grew by 0.2% in the month of April 2017 but fell by 0.8% compared to April 2016. 
- The second estimate of UK GDP growth in first quarter of 2017 was revised down by 0.1% to 0.2%, equivalent to £471 billion. 
- The provisional construction output, at constant prices, fell by 0.6% in the year to April 2017, the highest 12-month fall since May 2013. 
- Turnover fell across the four monitored manufacturing industries in April 2017.  On a yearly basis, only the mechanical manufacturing industry showed some growth (0.9%).  Compared to April 2016, electronics fell by 5.0%, fabricated metals fell by 2.6% and electrical fell by 0.6% 

There were some positives:
- Business investment for all industries grew by 0.6% to £43.8 billion in 2017 Q1. 
- Although exports fell in value terms by 0.1% in April 2017, to £49.8 billion, compared to April 2016 export growth was up by 10.2%.  

“We’ll continue to lobby and negotiate with the government for a Brexit that works,” says Roberts.  “In the short term, however, it looks like business is going to be difficult for many manufacturers and suppliers.”  

Adande supplies refrigerated drawer systems to Young's pub #

Adande, in partnership with National Facilities Management, has supplied refrigerated drawer systems to Young’s pub, The Castle in Tooting Broadway, south west London. Located on the high street, this local has been part of the Young’s brewery pub company since 1832 and underwent a refurbishment in 2014. The Castle is now one of 15 Young’s pubs at which Adande refrigerated drawers have been installed.

The Castle offers an impressive outside space, bar and dining room, as well as an open kitchen, which allows diners to
experience all the theatre of food preparation and cooking. Serving the best of British, using seasonal produce, the menu includes premium steaks and poultry, Young’s handcrafted burgers and fresh fish, as well as the restaurant’s popular
Sunday roasts. Typically, the kitchen serves over 2,500 covers per week, including 350 Sunday lunches.

Adande supplied a two drawer unit, mounted beneath a combination oven. The top drawer is typically used for the chilled storage of raw or pre-cooked food, whilst the bottom drawer is configured as a blast chiller. Joints of meat are slow cooked overnight for optimum flavour and maximum yield, before being transferred to the blast chiller the following morning. The meat is pulled down to a food safe temperature of below 8 degrees centigrade within 90 minutes, eliminating the possibility of bacterial contamination.

Adande also supplied a single drawer Chef Base unit, which is located beneath the kitchen’s in-line cooking equipment. The unit is used for the storage of raw steaks, burgers, chicken and fresh fish for the restaurant’s grilled food menu.

"The Adande® maintains temperature no matter how frequently the drawers are opened. As a result meat and fish retains its moisture and appearance, meaning that there is no food spoilage. The fact that the drawers can function as chillers, freezers or blast chillers, at the touch of a button, gives us cold storage flexibility to meet seasonal variations in menu. The versatility of the Adande also means that we don’t need so many refrigeration units." Stuart Mills, Head Chef, The Castle

"Pub kitchens are notoriously tight for work space. The large capacity of the Adande® drawers, relative to their compact footprint, helps us make the best use of the available floor area. The units are inherently robust and well insulated, allowing us to mount cooking equipment on them for even greater space savings in the business area of the kitchen. Our only frustration is that we didn’t fully appreciate the operational advantages of the Adande technology earlier." Chris Knights, Executive Chef, Young’s Brewery