Members’ News

September 2017

Hats off to the chefs: Sixteen graduate from Elior’s Chef School #

Sixteen aspiring chefs from Elior UK and Lexington graduated from Elior’s award-winning Chef School: a nine-month training programme which gives people in non-culinary roles the skills and confidence they need to start their career as chefs.
The graduation lunch was hosted where Chef School began, at the Prince William of Gloucester Barracks, Grantham. The lunch was attended by more than 100 guests, who were served a Great British Picnic prepared by this year’s graduates.
Stuart Nisbet, who led the design and delivery of Chef School, said: “This isn’t just about skills training, it’s about giving people the confidence and opportunities they need to pursue their dream job and be a proud part of the hospitality industry.”
Now in its third year, Chef School has delivered 117% return on investment and seen 95% of its 32 graduates from the last two courses start their dream jobs as chefs – with many of this year’s intake expected to follow suit soon. Due to its increasing popularity within Elior and Lexington, Chef School doubled in size this year, opening a second school at Redbridge College, London.
Murray Tapiki, development chef at Lexington, said: “This is the first year we have run the London-based Chef School and it’s proving a real success. It’s wonderful to see students become more confident and put their new skills to use in the kitchen."
2017 Chef School Graduates:
- Lauren Marie Bartlett – Catering Assistant
- Samantha Brannick – Cook
- Sinead Byrne – Kitchen Assistant
- Amanda Carter – General Assistant
- Rose Hunt – Commis Chef
- Joshua Jacques – General Assistant
- Daniel Millar – Chef
- Marie Rawlings – Catering Assistant
- Jonathan Reid – General Assistant
- Steven Ward – Kitchen Assistant
- Linden Fray – Trainee Chef
- Osman Jalloh – Kitchen Porter
- Mohamed M'Rah – Kitchen Porter
- Nabil Saadi – Commis Chef
- Conor Sweeney – Kitchen Assistant
- Balint Stosz – Kitchen Porter

sportscotland awards Elior UK contract worth in excess of £5.5m #

Elior UK has been awarded a five year contract worth in excess of £5.5m with sportscotland.
Following a multi-million pound redevelopment, the contract will see Elior brought on as a catering partner for guests at the Inverclyde National Sports Training Centre – the UK’s first inclusive residential sports centre and at the National Sailing Centre in Cumbrae. Elior will also be supplying cleaning services.
Elior will work closely with Irene Riach, national lead for performance nutrition at the sportscotland Institute of Sport. Together, they’ll create an offer that celebrates Scottish produce and supports the health, wellbeing and performance of guests – both professional and amateur, and no matter what their physical, cognitive or behavioral abilities.
Irene said: “Our aspiration is to create truly inclusive world-class dining facilities that will celebrate Scotland’s larder and change perceptions of performance dining – whether for high performance athletes or the occasional sportsperson. We believe Elior is the right partner to help us deliver that aspiration.”
In addition to full residential dining at both centres, Elior will provide a range of healthy grab and go style options in the café and bars, plus a full hospitality offer for conferences and events.
Cheryl MacLeod, Elior business development manager, said: “We understand that sporting teams all have different nutritional and dietary needs, which can be very specific. By working with the nutritionists at sportscotland – Elior will create specially tailored menus, to ensure our offer is optimal for performance.”
“Elior will also be implementing its specialist, tailored menu solution ProvisionPlan – designed for those with varying levels of ability, taking into account the different dietary requirements that reflect individual medical needs and preferences.”

Industry report reveals the role of technology in the ‘hyper-convenience revolution’ #

Hospitality sector encouraged to maximise innovations in technology to meet demand

New research has found that 42% of respondents now use technology when eating and drinking out of home*.

The survey by One Poll, in collaboration with Nestlé Professional, confirms convenience is king, with take-away apps proving the most popular form of technology, especially among millennials (41% say they use them).

It also confirms that the trend for on-demand food and drink remains strong, with over half of all respondents (60%) having eaten breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner on the go. In fact, 70% of those surveyed said they spend 10 minutes or less on breakfast and a staggering 95% spare less than 30 minutes to enjoy lunch.

The research marks the launch of a new BuzzBites, powered by Nestlé Professional report for the hospitality sector: ‘HYPER-CONVENIENCE: Breaking boundaries to meet the needs of the 24/7 consumer’.

Designed to provide inspiration on how businesses are using the latest innovations to gain a commercial advantage, the report explores the role of technology in shaping eating and drinking patterns.

Paul Lumley, brand and communications Manager at Nestlé Professional said: “In today’s 24/7 culture, fast paced technologies such as take-away apps, touch screen vending, smart ordering and contactless payment are promoting a convenience revolution that is changing the way we eat and drink.

“Our report draws together pioneering brands which are leading the way in embracing new technologies to shape innovation in foodservice. It also details how we at Nestlé Professional® are driving change with our new generation of tech-enabled coffee machines.

“The research shows technology and hyper-convenience are inextricably linked and businesses which recognise this within the hospitality sector can maximise their impact.”

To download a copy of the report: ‘HYPER-CONVENIENCE: Breaking boundaries to meet the needs of the 24/7 consumer’, go to 

* All data taken from a survey of 500 consumers. Research conducted by One Poll in collaboration with Nestlé Professional, May 2017.

More than half of office workers aren’t happy with their workplace coffee #

New research from One Poll on behalf of Nestlé Professional shows that more than half of office workers (60%) aren’t happy with the coffee offered in their workplace.

The results also revealed that 21% said it’s boring or outdated, 14% said it could do with a revamp, and 8% said they simply don’t like it. In fact, disappointing coffee (14%) is amongst the biggest workplace frustrations for office workers, alongside long meetings (45%) and emails not working (37%).

The big coffee opportunity
The opportunity this creates for workplaces to invest in great tasting coffee is clear:
The research revealed that good coffee can make all the difference to office workers, with 71% saying a good coffee helps to improve their working day, with fresh milk (43%), and convenience (34%) topping the office coffee wish list.

Lynn Little, standard ingredients lead at Nestlé Professional says: “Our research shows there is a huge opportunity for workplaces to invest in great coffee. The reality is that more than half of office workers (55%) begin their working day with a coffee, and almost three quarters (71%) feel their day is improved by a good mug, meaning the importance of great tasting coffee should not be underestimated.

“This is where the new Nescafé Gold Café Style Latte and Cappuccino Unsweetened Taste from Nestlé Professional comes in. Made from coffee beans and with milk sourced from British dairy farms, the new recipe has been tailored to meet the needs of small workplaces, without comprising on convenience.
“Featuring high quality ingredients, new branding and a luxurious taste, the range has been developed to deliver a more premium coffee drinking experience. Plus, with 57% of office workers saying that frothy coffee feels like a treat, the new coffee also features a luxurious café style froth, meaning office workers can create an attractive café style coffee without having to step outside of the office.”

The new Nescafé Gold Café Style Latte and Cappuccino Unsweetened Taste from Nestlé Professional is available now.

Fleet Street Communications awarded Be At One consumer PR account #

Fleet Street Communications (FSC) has been appointed to handle consumer communications for the cocktail bar group, Be At One.
FSC, a specialist consultancy in the leisure, hospitality, food & drink sectors has been awarded the brief following its appointment earlier this year to coordinate trade and corporate communications for the company.
The consumer PR programme has been developed to raise the company’s profile on a national scale, whilst supporting Be At One with regional communications and CSR initiatives as the portfolio of cocktail bars grows. The unique company values, culture and care for quality will underpin communications alongside an exciting new brand platform.
Established in 1998 by three ex-bartenders, Steve Locke, Leigh Miller and Rhys Oldfield, Be At One has grown from a single site in Battersea to national leaders and pioneers in the emerging specialist cocktail bar market, with over 30 sites throughout the UK.
Steve Locke, Be At One director, said: “Extending our relationship with FSC feels like a natural progression as their team becomes more immersed with our own. They understand our business and share our goals. The consumer PR programme is a perfect fit and we’re very excited by the new approach.”
Mark Stretton, managing director at Fleet Street Communications, added: “Be At One is a fantastic, unique and forward-thinking business that truly delivers on quality drinking experiences, has a rich and fun story to tell, and embraces and builds cocktail culture on both a regional and national basis. Having been awarded both the consumer and trade PR brief, we have designed and implemented a 360 degree communications strategy, shaped to deliver on overarching business aims.”

allmanhall gets ahead of the game with Clear Review #

allmanhall has just cemented its position as one of the area's top companies for employee care by adopting the Clear Review process for performance management of its team. The award-winning catering procurement company, based in Box, Wiltshire, began using Clear Review a month ago because a company feedback survey found the old performance review system unwieldy and outdated, and less likely to link team performance to the agile nature of business performance.
The Clear Review system of Performance management, through a fully interactive software platform, does away with the more static annual performance review. Line managers make a practice of checking in with each of their direct reports on a fortnightly basis, to ask two key questions: What are you going to do this month? And what help do you need from me? The team are thus able to get immediate and relevant feedback - and real-time course correction - rather than waiting for an annual appraisal. Plus, the managers regularly update their teams on the business direction and priorities, ensuring they are clearly aligned and kept up to date.
The other advantage of Clear Review is that staff are able to give and receive immediate feedback from not just their line manager but other members of the allmanhall team. Research has found that giving frequent informal and accurate feedback to colleagues increases performance by 39%.  
“Strong employee engagement is closely aligned with the ability to give honest feedback in a helpful way. A recent study of 22,719 leaders showed that those who ranked in the top 10% for giving honest feedback had subordinates who ranked at the 77th percentile in engagement.” (Source: Joseph Folkman, Forbes)
allmanhall prides itself on its employee engagement and recently won the Customer & Staff Care Award (Small Business) at the Wiltshire Business Awards 2017. This award reflects the emphasis on inspiring improvement in everything the company does and the importance allmanhall places on looking after its team. 

Chapter House Preparatory School is crowned champion in the 2017 McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year Competition #

Premier Foods announced that pupils from Chapter House Preparatory School were crowned the 2017 McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year. The team from York, baked its way to the top spot with its Queen Ethelburga’s Mess, impressing judges with their exceptional team work and a deliciously tasting recipe. Lara Haigh and Jack Bennett, both aged nine, supported by school caterer Sarah Middlemiss, used fresh strawberries, garden mint and locally sourced eggs within their recipe, adhering to the local produce competition theme. The final took place at LACA: The Main Event on Thursday 6th July, with the five schools cooking in front of a live audience.

Sarah Robb, foodservice channel marketing manager at Premier Foods, comments: “After two successful years, we were excited to see what this year’s finalists would bring to the competition. We were very impressed by the children’s imagination, dedication and enthusiasm throughout the competition and would like to thank everyone who contributed to making the competition such a triumph for the third year running.”

The judges – Andrew Green, representing the Craft Guild of Chefs; Carol Harwood, representing LACA; and Mark Rigby, executive Chef at Premier Foods – had the near impossible task of choosing an overall winner from the impressive finalists. Chapter House Preparatory School achieved high scores for teamwork and presentation, taste, aroma and texture of their winning dish. The school was awarded £1,000 worth of kitchen equipment, a prize which was presented to them by Sally Shadrack, Chair of LACA, helping the pupils to continue their passion for good food and cooking.

Sarah Middlemiss, school chef from Chapter House Preparatory School commented: “I really couldn’t be prouder of the team and their achievement in the competition today. Despite being a team member down due to illness, Lara and Jack threw themselves into the competition and worked calmly and meticulously to create their winning dish. They developed the recipe themselves back in our school kitchen in York, and I have been overwhelmed by their commitment to this competition.” 

Premier Foods celebrates 100 years of Ambrosia with sweet competition #

Premier Foods is celebrating 100 years of Ambrosia with the launch of an exclusive competition for the foodservice market. Running from August, one lucky chef or caterer will have the chance to win a year’s supply of the UK’s number one custard for their outlet. The brand’s milestone is also being marked with the introduction of a new Ambrosia Desserts Guide to help chefs delight their customers with classic dishes. Premier Foods’ executive chef, Mark Rigby, has selected ten of his favourite Ambrosia recipes to feature in the guide, which will showcase the versatility of the iconic brand.
Since 1917, Ambrosia has been produced in Lifton, among the rolling hills of Devon, and enjoyed by millions of households across the nation. It can be incorporated into delicious desserts featured in the guide such as Crumble Tart, Chilled Lemon Soufflé or Bread and Butter Pudding; or served as an accompaniment as part of a Baked Alaska. From pubs and restaurants using the Ambrosia brand name on the menu to help drive sales; to schools and care homes giving pupils or residents a taste they recognise from home; over 600,000 portions of Ambrosia custard and rice pudding are eaten every day in the UK.
Sarah Robb, channel marketing manager at Premier Foods says: “Our competition is a great opportunity for chefs to get involved in celebrating this landmark with us. With the brand reaching its 100th year, we thought what better way to celebrate its Devonshire heritage and versatility than by creating a guide full of history, recipes and hints and tips to accompany the competition.”
Chefs and caterers can download the guide and enter the competition at The competition is open until 31 October 2017.

Party in style this Christmas with Premier Foods #

Following its latest consumer research, Premier Foods has launched The Perfect Christmas Party Recipe Guide, to help chefs and caterers maximise the festive season opportunity. The new guide is designed to provide helpful hints and tips, as well as some inspiring recipes to drive sales and footfall over the Christmas period.
Premier Foods undertook research to discover what consumers are looking for when eating out during the party season. The findings revealed that British cuisine remains the most popular meal choice, with consumers preferring traditional choices when dining at Christmas parties. Developed with executive chef Mark Rigby, the new recipes have been created to utilise the products and ingredients chefs and caterers already have stocked in their kitchens at Christmas, for example Paxo Sage & Onion Stuffing; which can be used to create pigs in blankets.
The guide contains a number of traditional Christmas dishes redeveloped in a canapé format, as 77% of consumers enjoy a traditional turkey dinner as part of their Christmas party celebrations. The recipes can be used by chefs when catering for Christmas parties, as well as on Christmas Day, when customers arrive at the pub or restaurant, ahead of their main meal.
Sarah Robb, channel marketing manager at Premier Foods, comments: “For those planning Christmas parties, our guide offers unique recipes for chefs looking to add something a little different to their menus. Our latest guide provides inspiration on how to turn classic dishes into party favourites with a twist, such as Christmas Pudding Truffles, as 26% of consumers said they are looking for a more varied choice.
“We’ve also teamed up with a drinks expert to provide chefs and caterers with a selection of options that can accompany the dishes in the guide, which will be available on our website. We’ve worked with our expert to provide the ultimate match between our festive recipes and a selection of drinks.”
The guide is now available to download at

RSPCA Assured attends the National Trust's Fine Farm Produce Awards at Countryfile Live. #

RSPCA Assured was invited to attend the National Trust's Fine Farm Produce Awards at Countryfile Live. Supply chain manager, Julia Edwards, and business development manager, Debbie Hodson enjoyed the event, which was held in the beautiful grounds of Blenheim Palace.  RSPCA Assured member, Wimpole Home Farm in Hertfordshire, won an award in the Meat & Seafood category for their Rare Breed Traditional Pork Sausage.  

They met with the McDonald's team.  McDonald's was promoting its RSPCA Assured farms and supply chains through virtual reality tours for children and adults, explaining how they source their ethically reared pork and eggs.  Viewers can see that the animals enjoy a happy and healthy life, and that the supply chain is fully traceable from start to finish.

Paul Bates of Talkington Bates did a fantastic job running the RSPCA Assured food stand at Countryfile Live.  On the menu was slow roast chicken and a succulent hog roast.

RSPCA Assured was proud to sponsor its first industry award for promoting higher animal welfare in foodservice.

The winner of the category was drawn from a shortlist comprising of McDonald’s Restaurants UK, The Restaurant Group, Sodexo, The UK Foodhall, and Westbury Street Holdings.

McDonald’s won the award for its commitment to promoting higher animal welfare in foodservice, for its integrity and transparency throughout their supply chain, and for raising consumer awareness by using the registered RSPCA Assured certification mark.  McDonald’s source all its ethical pork and eggs from approved suppliers who are members of our scheme.  The award was presented by Clive Brazier, CEO of RSPCA Assured, to Peter Garbutt, Agriculture Manager for McDonald’s.

The Restaurant Group (TRG) was a very deserving runner up in this category.  Many thanks to Jo Paxton, Technical Manager of TRG, for her dedication and commitment to using RSPCA Assured eggs in their food service concessions, and for rolling out the RSPCA Assured certification mark across their brands.  

2017 is proving fruitful for CH&Co Group with over £58m of new and retained business in first six months #

CH&Co Group has declared a very successful first half of 2017 with over £58m in new sales and retained business achieved.
The new sales across the UK, which represent £26.7m in full contract term value, are with over twenty new clients including Farnborough Business Park, Coleg Gwent, Arqiva, Pall Europe, St Giles Hospice, Healthcare at Home and Neilsen.
The retained business, worth £31.5m in full contract value, is with a number of long-term clients including The Law Society, Sopra Steria, and East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf.
The announcement coincides with the latest results for the Group, lodged at Companies House this week, showing annual turnover reaching £191m in the year ending December 2016 and an EBITDA of £8.2m or 4.3%.  Operating cash flows were strong, driving an overall net increase in cash of £2.7m across the Group.
Bill Toner, chief executive of CH&Co Group, explains: “Our businesses, including The Brookwood Partnership which joined with CH&Co Group in July 2016, have continued to perform well with strong retention and a number of significant new contract wins.
“Our new contracts success demonstrates that the company is delivering what clients are looking for and the retention results show that our focus on clients is very much on the long term, providing the innovation and services they want and good value for money.”
Since June 2015, when HCM (Host Catermasters) merged with CH&Co to create CH&Co Group, The Brookwood Partnership (in July 2016) and Harbour & Jones (in June 2017) have also joined the group.  The projected annual turnover of the new combined company is £265m.
Toner continues: “The enlarged family has provided opportunities for all of the original companies involved to share best practice and update systems and IT to make sure we have state of the art technology, leading learning and development programmes, and the latest thinking in marketing; all geared up to providing the best service to our customers. The new expanded team features great talent, experience and verve, and we have attracted some strong industry players to join us.  We are in a very good place to drive the business forward to continued success.”

CH&Co Group becomes the first contract caterer to offer environmentally-friendly ‘Wine in a Can’ to UK visitor attractions #

This summer, CH&Co Group became the first contract caterer to introduce ‘Wine in a Can’ to its UK visitor attraction sites.
CH&Co Group is now serving wine in this sustainable packaging at ZSL London Zoo, Wakehurst Place, Tower of London, Elstree Studios, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Birmingham Botanical Gardens through its specialist commercial business, Ampersand. 
The initiative originated as a direct response to ZSL’s aim to become single-use plastic bottle free, thus providing beverages including wine to visitors at ZSL London Zoo without the use of plastics or glass.
Working with its wine supplier partner, Jascots Wine Merchants, CH&Co Group sourced the environmentally-friendly ‘Wine in a Can’ product, which is now being exclusively supplied in the UK to the contract catering group.
‘Wine in a Can’, by Winestar, is a high-quality wine served in 100% recyclable cans, featuring a unique technology that guarantees the preservation of the quality of the wine in the can, for optimum freshness. It is available in Appellation d’Origine Controllée Corbières red, white and rose varieties, in single-serve cans of 187ml, the equivalent of one glass of wine.
Katie Deem, senior category manager for CH&Co Group, said: “ZSL is a champion of #OneLess, which is driving change to reduce the amount of plastic entering our oceans and ZSL London Zoo is aiming to be plastic-free site by the end of the year. When we were asked to find a solution to serving wine that also didn’t involve the obvious hazards of glass, we were more than happy to accept the challenge.  Working closely with Jascots Wine Merchants, we discovered ‘Wine in a Can’, which although huge in the States, has not yet taken off in the UK. Given the clear sustainability benefits and quality of the product, it made perfect sense to introduce it to other visitor attractions within our portfolio.
“We take our commitment to sustainability very seriously and we’re thrilled to be leading the way in introducing this high-quality, environmentally-friendly solution to UK day visitor catering sites.”
Miles MacInnes, managing partner at Jascots Wine Merchants, explains: “We see huge potential for wine in cans in the future, as long as it’s high quality like these are. The environmental benefits are clear due to the much lighter weight and easier recyclability of can compared to glass and plastic bottles. There is also a trend towards smaller serve sizes as we continue to drink smaller quantities of higher quality wine in the UK but perhaps even more exciting than these benefits is the fresh, cool, unfussy feel of cans that has been promoted by the craft beer movement. For these reasons, we can see wine in cans being preferred by many, particularly younger, drinkers in the near future.”

CH&Co Group’s commercial division ups the ante with key appointments and promotions #

CH&Co Group’s commercial division has strengthened its commitment to providing the best innovative food and service to its clients through key operational and culinary appointments and promotions.
This is part of the strategy to drive strong growth for the division, which includes the brands Ampersand, Ampersand Events and Chester Boyd, and make it the catering partner of choice for the UK’s venues, visitor attractions and events market.
Sean Ritson has joined the team as operational director – commercial. In this pivotal role, Sean is responsible for generating organic growth with the existing customer base, retaining all current contracts and driving future growth opportunities.
He brings to the team 15 years’ experience in the competitive field of commercial retail businesses, having previously worked for some of Compass’ largest commercial B&I contracts and most recently as business director for bartlett mitchell, responsible for the Central London Business and Inn or Out Events. Sean’s skills in successfully motivating teams and delivering for both company and clients in high-volume environments, niche contracts and premium city contracts are perfect for CH&Co Group’s diverse commercial division.
Meanwhile, the commercial culinary team has also been strengthened with promotions that recognise the achievements of chefs from within the Group.  The talented, Craft Guild of Chefs award-winning, Karen Poynter, has been promoted to executive chef – commercial. Owen Hurley has also been promoted to day visitor catering development chef and Luke Smith is now executive support chef for Ampersand.
As executive chef, Karen will support Owen and Luke to develop menus that meet and exceed the expectations of today’s demanding consumer.  Their focus will be on ensuring the culinary teams continue producing innovative, seasonal dishes using fresh, quality ingredients with provenance that reflects the latest culinary trends and capture the individuality of each venue – from visitor attractions and historic royal palaces to London’s esteemed livery halls and unique event venues.
Karen is celebrated for her dedication and enthusiasm to mentoring and nurturing culinary talent within CH&Co Group and the wider industry.  In her new role, she will continue to develop rising stars and encourage more female chefs to embrace an exciting career in hospitality.
Robin Bidgood, managing director of CH&Co Group’s commercial division describes the changes as excellent news for the business and its clients: “We cater for a diverse range of commercial clients, from well-known visitor attractions and heritage sites to prestigious livery halls and venues, and have a strong reputation for creativity and high standards that capture the individuality of each one. The changes within the team will enhance our ability to deliver innovative food and service and meet our goal of being the caterer of choice in the commercial catering market. They will also help us attract new employees to our team and develop talent. The commercial division is stronger than ever and our clients, new and existing, will benefit from our expertise and innovation, whilst we continue to maximise growth opportunities for the business.”
CH&Co Group’s commercial business provides exceptional catering and service to a diverse portfolio of clients including: visitor attractions catering, such as ZSL London Zoo, Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; London’s revered livery halls; Historic Royal Palaces such as Kensington Palace and Hampton Court; and bespoke event catering at some of London’s most unique venues.

The Orangery restaurant at Kensington Palace wins global award for ambiance and atmosphere #

The team at The Orangery, Kensington Palace, celebrated winning the Best Ambiance & Romantic Atmosphere Award, Northern Europe at the World Luxury Restaurant Awards 2017.
Set within the idyllic grounds of Kensington Palace, The Orangery, which is run by Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) and its catering partner Ampersand, CH&Co Group’s specialist commercial division, is a stunning and memorable dining destination.
The spectacular example of baroque architecture houses an elegant à la carte restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea.  It attracts over 100,000 visitors a year who enjoy an indulgent and historic regal dining experience.
With soaring vaulted ceilings, imposing colonnades and a spacious terrace, the restaurant is light and airy, creating a luxurious and relaxing atmosphere.  Its terrace also offers enviable views of the palace’s well-manicured formal gardens, cared for by Historic Royal Palaces.
Commissioned by Queen Anne and built in 1704-5, the magnificent structure, which is thought to have been designed by architect Nicolas Hawksmoor, was created in the style of the grand palace to serve as a greenhouse to protect Queen Anne’s citrus trees from the harsh frosts of winter, and also as a sophisticated venue for fashionable alfresco court entertaining away from the hubbub of Whitehall.

Ricky Anthony, catering liaison manager for HRP, comments: “We’re thrilled to have won this award.  Dining at The Orangery is a unique experience that can’t be found anywhere else in London.  We’re very proud of the distinct ambiance that the breath-taking setting, architecture, delicious food, fine service and history create.”

Andrew Gittins, general manager at The Orangery for Ampersand, said: “We work very closely with our partners at Historic Royal Palaces to create a unique dining experience at The Orangery, so we’re thrilled to win this award.  It’s the only royal palace in London where afternoon tea can be enjoyed all year round and our tables, dressed with crisp white linen and bespoke Kensington Palace china, add to the splendour of this special dining occasion. It really is so easy for guests to become absorbed in the venue’s historic atmosphere and forget that the hustle and bustle of central London is only a stone’s throw away.”
Diners at The Orangery can choose from a selection of delicious breakfasts or lunches from a menu featuring British food, locally sourced wherever possible. The venue is also famous for its Afternoon Tea, which has been specially designed to reflect its heritage. As well as a delicious selection of sandwiches, scones and pastries, the afternoon tea orange-scented fruit scone is a showstopper.  The recipe, which can be found in the book called ‘Tea fit for a Queen’ that was published in association with Historic Royal Palaces, pays homage to Queen Anne and the collection of citrus trees she housed in the building.

The World Luxury Restaurant Awards recognise culinary excellence and memorable experiences, from outstanding atmosphere to service. It is open to luxury restaurants operating within any luxury or niche market and offering high quality food and service. The awards aim to highlight special features of restaurants, thereby increasing competition globally and ultimately raising the level of food quality and the standards of service in the luxury restaurant industry.

Bidfood gives the gift of Christmas back to hospitality workers #

Christmas will be just a little bit sweeter this year for a handful of hospitality workers who will get Christmas Day back, thanks to Bidfood’s Christmas Gift campaign.
According to The Trade Union Congress (TUC), there are around 42,000 chefs, 22,000 kitchen assistants, 15,000 waiting staff and 13,000 bar staff working in hotels, pubs and restaurants on Christmas Day. The campaign, which launches on 16 October, celebrates these tens of thousands of hospitality professionals who work on Christmas Day and Boxing Day in Britain.
Bidfood is calling on its customers to nominate* individuals in their outlets who are either working Christmas Day or Boxing Day this year (and/or worked last year), that go the extra mile to make the festive period special for thousands of others.
Winners will be chosen via a panel of judges – five leading influencers from across the industry - including Bidfood’s group sales & marketing director, Andy Kemp; Anne Pierce, chief executive at Springboard; Peter Hancock, chief executive at Pride of Britain Hotels; Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive at the British Hospitality Association; and Andy Jones, chair of the Public Sector 100 Group.
Six winners will be revealed on 1 December across the below categories, and each will receive Christmas dinner with all the trimmings from Bidfood in January, once the busy period has passed, and a Virgin Experience Day voucher. Categories include:
- Hospitals
- Care homes
- Restaurants
- Pubs and pub restaurants
- Hotels
- Other (includes schools/universities, QSR and B&I) 

Bidfood’s Andy Kemp says: “We know our industry works hard to make Christmas special for everyone in the UK, with thousands giving up family time in the lead up, and often on Christmas Day itself. We want to hear about some of the standout individuals in our industry and thank them for their contribution.
“There is definitely a growing emphasis on our sector to play a bigger role in people’s Christmas celebrations. Bookings for Christmas Day dinner have gone up 241% since 2011 alone – which highlights the importance of recognising and rewarding our diverse and skilled workforce, and ensuring that working in our industry is an attractive career path for younger generations.”
Entries are open from Monday 16 October to midnight on Friday 10 November and can be made online at
*Entries are open to those individuals that work in outlets supplied by Bidfood and who are involved in the preparation or serving of food and beverages. Full terms and conditions will be listed on the website once voting goes live.
Facts about Christmas in the hospitality sector:
- Almost 14 million Brits intend to visit the pub during the festive period, making it the most popular place outside of the home to spend Christmas (Eat Out, 2017).
- Recruitment is on average 47% up during November and December in the hospitality industry (The Change Group, 2016).
- Hospitality workers only manage to sleep for an average of five to six hours a night over the Christmas period (Matthew Clark, 2016).
- Hospitality staff will work an average of 28 hours’ overtime over Christmas. In the equivalent time behind the bar or in the kitchen, a member of staff could pour 840 pints of Guinness or cook 168 steaks (Big Hospitality, 2016). 

Bidfood to host second plate2planet Live! summit #

Food waste, food poverty and sustainable menus are all on the agenda for this year’s plate2planet Live! summit, which will take place on Thursday 2November.

Hosted by Bidfood at one of the world’s most sustainable venues, The Crystal in London, the event will build on the success of last year’s inaugural summit.

Under the theme of Responsible Production and Consumption, one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, the summit will once again bring to life the online platform and share best practice in the industry through lively debates, break-out discussion groups and a line-up of influential speakers – including WRAP, BaxterStorey and Unilever.

Hosted for the second year by Steve Malkin, CEO of The Planet Mark tm, the day-long event will focus on collaboration and bring together influencers from across the foodservice sector to address some of the most pressing sustainability issues facing the industry.

Head of sustainability at Bidfood, Shirley Duncalf, said: “The success and feedback from last year’s plate2planet Live! summit was overwhelming and we’re so pleased to be hosting this event again in November.

“We want to take this summit to the next level by carving out clear objectives for us to tackle together as an industry. By providing a more interactive experience, we hope to capture the views of the sector and collaboratively work together to create solutions to the challenges we all face.

“We’re embarking on an exciting journey with plate2planet and it made sense to bring back the summit for a second year to continue working with the industry on making positive change.”
For more information on plate2planet, please visit:

Hands up for hospitality #

Bidfood group sales & marketing director receives doctorate for services to hospitality
Bidfood’s group sales & marketing director, Andy Kemp, received an honorary doctorate from the University of West London (UWL) for his services to the hospitality industry, at Wembley Stadium on 25 July.
Andy – one of the best-known and most-respected faces in hospitality – has previously been a guest lecturer at the university’s London Geller College of Hospitality & Tourism. He has been a driving force in raising awareness of some of the vital issues facing our industry, more recently mobilising industry bodies to support the protection of Universal Free School Meals and particularly the benefits of children’s attainment through good nutrition and hydration. He remains on the work study group that is analysing and gaining data to support further evidence going forward. Andy is also passionate about highlighting the skills gap within the industry. 
His work with UWL is supported by an unwavering commitment to many of the industry’s leading charities and organisations including Springboard, Hospitality Action, the One and All Foundation and the British Hospitality Association, where Andy is focused on championing positive change across the industry.
Andy Kemp comments: “I am immensely proud and grateful to receive this honour from the University of West London, it is truly humbling.
“Over the course of my 36 years in this great industry I have been privileged to witness many challenges, opportunities and experiences. This is a great industry and it’s given me not only the pleasure of working with some amazing people but also the opportunity to play an important part in raising awareness of key issues facing foodservice and hospitality.
“Partnering with the University of West London gave me the opportunity to help broaden students’ knowledge around elements of food procurement, food safety and food distribution as well as creating awareness of the depth of employment opportunities in foodservice. The chefs and managers of tomorrow have a real opportunity to shape the next generation’s attitudes and appreciation of food and its service. Future work continues and will include focus on growth hormones and antibiotics in food and further work on nutrition and education attainment.
“It is an honour to support the University of West London in any way I can.”
Andrew Selley, chief executive of Bidfood, comments: “What makes Andy unique is his absolute passion for the hospitality industry and for those who work within it. 
“For over three decades, he has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to championing positive change across the industry – from both within the Bidfood business and beyond, via his tireless voluntary work for many of the industry’s leading charities.
“Andy is always prepared to go the extra mile to create a better future for hospitality, and the whole team at Bidfood is delighted that his efforts are being recognised today.”
Professor Alexandros Paraskevas of the University of West London, added: "We are awarding Andy this honorary doctorate in recognition of his lifetime contribution to the UK and international food industry. On top of his professional achievements as trail-blazer and policy influencer, he has done very significant work with many charities in advocating a better future for young and often vulnerable people. Andy has been an inspirational guest lecturer in our College and has provided students numerous industry links for placements, research and professional development.”  

Bidfood makes Christmas free-from hassle with the launch of its new 2017 festive range #

Bidfood unveiled its 2017 Christmas range, comprising its largest selection of on-trend, innovative, and inspiring products to date. 

This year’s range has been developed using industry insights to ensure the products meet emerging trends, operators’ needs and individual customer demands. With over 120 new products, and over 750 in the whole range, operators will be spoilt for choice.

Tapping into the widespread growth of free-from, which saw more than half of consumers purchase a gluten-free item during the first three months of 2017, Bidfood has introduced over 40 gluten-free products to its festive range. These include Northcoast Seafoods’ smoked salmon & dill naked fishcakes, Premium Selection brie & beetroot chutney tarts in kale pastry, and Everyday Favourites baked winter cheesecake.

Adding a twist to traditional items is the innovative turkey ‘cushion’ with pork & orange stuffing, individual turkey & duck ‘cushions’ with Morrello cherry stuffing, and ‘Christmas on a stick’ skewers with pork chipolatas, turkey cubes and stuffing balls (see attached photos), all from the Farmstead range. For an extra touch of indulgence, there’s also Northcoast Seafoods’ raw lobster tails, Pacific West slipper lobster, Premium Selection king scallops with chilli butter, and smoked salmon & prosecco centre parfait.

It also wouldn’t be Christmas without a tipple and this season Bidfood is going beyond its extensive ViVAS drinks offering with a range of alcohol-infused cheesecakes. Operators can choose from popping peach bellini, gin fizz & elderflower, and whiskey mac flavours.

To add that additional sparkle and build on the demand for all things glitter[ii], the dessert selection also contains Kara snowball sparkle cakes, Premium Selection individual truffle torte with a gold shimmering profiterole and Premium Selection individual gold bars.

Gail Bridgeman, campaign controller at Bidfood, commented: “While the holiday season is a time of indulgence, we also need to be mindful of different dietary requirements, such as free-from. This has been a big focus for us over the last 12 months, which is why we’ve created the largest selection of gluten-free options to date and have a dedicated section for these items within our Christmas brochure. 

“We’ve worked hard to ensure we offer products for everyone, regardless of allergies, and without compromising on taste.

“Christmas is arguably the biggest and busiest time of year for foodservice businesses. Last year 72% of consumers ate out during the two-week festive period. To ensure that operators are capitalising on this, we’ve developed this year’s range to cater for all customer demographics and price points. This doesn’t just mean food, we also have drinks, tableware, glassware, crockery and partyware items. With a mix of traditional favourites and exciting new products, the Bidfood 2017 range has a combination of what diners like to enjoy each year plus lots of new dishes to try.”

Compass Group UK & Ireland celebrate ‘Women in Food’ #

Compass Group UK & Ireland hosted an event celebrating female chefs as part of its ‘Women in Food’ programme at Somerset House, London. 

The networking event took place on Wednesday 6 September and was attended by around 200 people, including female chefs from across the industry.

Guests heard from key speakers including mother and daughter duo, Giselle and Emily Roux, who took part in a question and answer session hosted by Jeremy Ford, Executive Chef at Restaurant Associates, the fine-dining division of Compass Group UK & Ireland.
During the event, guests were also able to visit a number of showcase stands hosted by female owned food organisations.

In April last year, Compass Group UK & Ireland became the first company in the industry to tackle the shortage in female chefs through the launch of Women in Food. A key element of this programme is the organisation’s commitment to supporting female chefs in the industry and encouraging more women to consider a career as a chef.

Since the launch of Women in Food, Compass has introduced a number of initiatives supporting its female workforce including:

-  ‘Women in Food Ambassador Programme’ a network made up of eight Compass female chefs whose aim is to support and encourage the needs of their female colleagues.
- The business has launched a range of industry leading personal protective equipment (PPE) specifically for women to further support its diverse female workforce, from chefs to cleaners and security officers.
- A ‘Maternity, Adoption & Shared Parental Leave Pack’ has been rolled out across Compass to help inform and support employees who are expecting or adopting a child, as well as those returning from maternity, adoption or shared parental leave.
- Compass has launched a new and improved range of EatFair snackbars, a percentage of each bar sold will be donated to support the launch of the Women’s Leadership School for marginalised female farmers in Africa.

Emily Roux, who works as a consultant chef for Restaurant Associates, said: “As a young female chef I understand the challenges women may face when wanting to develop their career in this sector. Women in Food is a great programme to support the needs of female chefs and to encourage women to consider a career in the culinary world. It is great to see Compass taking positive steps towards attracting and helping female chefs.”

Dennis Hogan, managing director of Compass Group UK & Ireland, added: “As a people-powered business we believe our colleagues should be provided with the right support and development opportunities. I’m proud to be part of the Women in Food programme as it aims to further encourage an inclusive workforce for our female colleagues.

“When we first launched Women in Food our focus was to tackle the shortage in female chefs by encouraging more women to enter and stay in this vibrant industry.  However, we wanted to do more to further enhance the support we were providing not only to our chefs but our wider female workforce. So we have since broadened the programme through a range of initiatives to cater for women who work in various roles. This includes launching a range of PPE for women who work in a number of fields. We are committed to making a real difference and I really do believe we can have a real impact by providing the right support and encouragement through our Women in Food programme.” 

Compass opens Caffé Dallucci to the public #

Eurest, part of Compass Group UK & Ireland, launched the first public facing site of Compass’ Caffé Dallucci brand at Solent Business Park, Fareham.

Focussing on providing fresh food, great coffee and good company, the brand will now provide its premium food and beverage offer to a public audience, having launched a series of other cafes within client sites. 

Workers and visitors to the business park will be able to enjoy the selection of food-to-go options at the core of the Caffé Dallucci offer, including the new bespoke range ‘Chop Chop’, which includes sandwiches, salads, snack pots, sushi and hot pots. Additionally a selection of focaccias, ciabattas and croissants made by chefs on-site are also available, as well as deli sandwiches and pots of fruit and yoghurts.

Caffé Dallucci will provide customers with hot and cold hand crafted beverages, as well as a range of whole leaf teas, infusions and guest coffees. The new café will be open from 07:30 to 16:00 throughout the working week, catering for both the breakfast and lunch rushes. As part of the refurbishment, outdoor seating has been fitted at the rear for customers to enjoy their food and drinks while looking out over the picturesque lake.

Louise Pilkington, marketing director at Compass Group UK & Ireland, said: “This is a significant milestone in the development of our Caffé Dallucci brand. We created the original concept to respond to customer demand for great coffee, delicious food and a welcoming place to take a break or work, throughout the day.”

Steve Lovegrove, head of business excellence at Compass Group UK & Ireland, commented: “Opening our first public facing Caffé Dallucci is an exciting journey to embark upon. The brand has been really well received at our client sites, so we are looking forward to seeing the results from the new public facing café. This marks a new chapter for the brand with indicators showing great reception from consumers.”

Compass Group UK & Ireland first launched Caffé Dallucci at its Chertsey headquarters in 2015, after being brought over from the Germany business where it has had huge success. The concept was developed by the marketing team, enabling Compass to showcase how it can transform the “in-house” catering eating experience. 

Compass adds hot food-to-go to Chop Chop range #

Compass Group UK & Ireland is launching its innovative Chop Chop hot ‘food-to-go’ options, to be introduced across its various sectors and client sites in the UK this autumn.

Currently in trials around the business, the hot food-to-go range includes the new ‘hot pot’ concept, hot meals contained within a hand held pot, and specially designed Toasties and Paninis that can be held hot and ready to eat for up to two hours. This new range is the latest addition to the company’s Chop Chop food-to-go options, which already includes sandwiches, salads, snack pots, sushi and fruit pots.

A full selection of fourteen hot pot meals have been developed, ranging from more ‘traditional’ options such as a ‘Full English’ or Mac N’ Cheese, alongside more adventurous choices such as the vegetarian Halloumi, Butternut and Courgette Tagine and the Katsu Chicken Curry. Most of the range come in under 500 calories, and there are also Gluten Free and Vegan choices.      

Assembled off-site and sent to units chilled, the pots can be displayed as either hot held or chilled and ‘ready to heat’. The hot held options are cooked in microwaves, using Compass’ exclusive steam-cooking technology, allowing fresh vegetables to be cooked from raw to retain their nutritional value. Once cooked, the products are placed in hot holding units, maintaining the ideal temperature for a period of two hours. Alternatively, the chilled options are held in a refrigerated display cabinet for customers to take away and cook themselves at a later time.

Louise Pilkington, marketing director, Compass Group UK & Ireland, said: “Our new food-to-go range is based on extensive research into the market and consumer needs. As a nation we’ve come to expect tasty, healthy and filling meals in a matter of minutes. Chop Chop is a chef designed range of hot and cold grab-and-go food, which means time poor consumers don’t have to compromise – it’s a great food experience however and whenever they want it!”

This comes off the back of the launch of the chilled Chop Chop range earlier this year. The development of Chop Chop uses many insights from Compass’ ‘Eating Out of Home’ survey, which estimates that the grab-and-go market is now worth £20.1bn. The new brand brings a delicious range of food to go to Compass customers across the country.

Compass Group UK & Ireland is ‘catch of the day’ #

Compass Group UK & Ireland became the first major foodservice business to join the Sustainable Seafood Coalition (SSC), further demonstrating its commitment to using responsibly sourced fish.
Operating since 2011, the SSC is a partnership of UK businesses working to ensure a healthy future for our oceans. They work towards a vision that all fish and seafood sold in the UK comes from sustainable sources and all members commit to two codes of conduct on environmental issues.
Joining the SSC follows the launch earlier in the year of Compass’ Corporate Responsibility Report 2016, which outlined a commitment to avoid endangered species of fish, buy more certified fish every year through an existing partnership with the Marine Conservation Society and only use line and pole caught tuna in packaged sandwiches. In a further move to meet its commitments on fish sourcing, Levy Restaurant UK, the sports, leisure and hospitality catering specialists and part of Compass Group UK & Ireland, signed up to the Sustainable Fish Cities pledge in August 2016, making the commitment to buy, serve and promote only sustainable fish at all its venues.
Duncan Gray, head of corporate responsibility at Compass Group UK & Ireland said: “We love to serve excellent food and when it comes to seafood we know that a great seafood dish must be both delicious and sustainable. We’re proud to now be members of the Sustainable Seafood Coalition and extend our dedication to only using responsibly sourced fish across our business.”
Katie Miller, Sustainable Seafood Coalition coordinator, commented: “To have Compass Group UK & Ireland aligned to our vision is fantastic. They work behind the scenes at around 15,000 locations in so it’s brilliant to know people all across the UK will be eating responsibly sourced fish. Compass Group UK & Ireland is leading the way for other major foodservice businesses to step up their public commitments to seafood sustainability.”  
Compass celebrated its membership to the SSC at an event held at a top client of Restaurant Associates, the fine dining division of Compass. Focusing on the use of sustainable seafood, the event also celebrated the news that the client’s sites are to join the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), the body behind the ‘Food Made Good’ accreditation, and has worked in collaboration with Direct Seafoods to demonstrate the importance of sustainably sourcing seafood. Using only sustainable seafood, the Restaurant Associates team on-site provided a menu of soft herb crusted cod, pan seared hake or garlic & lemon steamed mussels for those in attendance on Wednesday 26 July. 

Tom Tanner, press & PR, Sustainable Restaurant Association, commented: “We welcome these sites joining the SRA at this special celebratory event. Sustainable sourcing of seafood is an important issue to address so it is great to see a top business responding to the matter at hand. The menu put on by the Restaurant Associates team showed how great tasting meals can be created using only sustainable products.”

Big School Bake Off winner revealed after a thrilling live final #

Dawn Twemlow, head cook at Intake Primary School, lifted the 2017 Big School Bake Off trophy following two fiercely contested heats at the LACA Main Event in July.
Finalists had one and a half hours to transform their paper entry into a showstopper under the watchful eyes of the judging panel, including chief executive of the Children’s Food Trust Linda Cregan, LACA representative Sylvie Babout and UFS executive chef Alex Hall.
At the end of the session the judges sampled each of the creations. The panel looked for taste, creativity, visual appeal and appropriateness for school menus. Each recipe had to be the baker’s own recipe and contain at least 50% fruit (half of the total ingredients’ weight) aligning with the School Food Standards in England for fruit-based desserts served at least twice a week.
Judge Alex Hall, Unilever Food Solutions executive chef said: “This competition gets better and better every year. It was an extremely close-run final and the creativity on show was of a high order – a brilliant example of the level of talent that’s out there in school kitchens the country over. Massive congratulations to Dawn.”
As well as the title of 2017 Big School Bake Off champion, Dawn took home £500 Love2Shop vouchers and a trophy, a further £100 Love2Shop voucher courtesy of competition supporter Hobart UK and a Let’s Get Cooking extravaganza for her school.

New guide helps chefs serve up authentic tastes of The Americas #

Unilever Food Solutions launched a new guide – Hello World: The Americas – to help chefs boost gross profit by offering authentic tastes of America, Canada and Mexico.
The new guide – created to help caterers boost volume and spend per head – is packed with cultural insight from street food expert Victoria Stewart and practical recipes and tips from UFS culinary lead Alex Hall.
Alex Hall said: “From Red’s True BBQ to Wahaca, chains serving up authentic tastes from The Americas have been booming. And demand is only set to grow in 2017. That’s why we’ve created a new guide packed with simple, authentic concepts with plenty of upsell opportunities.”
Recipes in the guide include tacos stuffed with pibil pork, honey glazed cornbread topped with bourbon glazed brisket, and poutine topped with the likes of flank steak and Portobello mushroom & garlic – to name but a few. All concepts are accompanied by a range of delicious sauces and sides.
Hello World: The Americas is the second Hello World guide Unilever Food Solutions has produced, following Hello World: Go East, released at the start of 2017.
Both Hello World guides are now available to download free of charge at

National Chef of the Year leads by example on allergens #

For the first time, National and Young National Chef of the Year finalists will be required to declare the allergen content of the dishes they enter in the final. The move was jointly announced by competition organisers, the Craft Guild of Chefs, and the competition sponsor, KNORR (Unilever Food Solutions).
In addition to marking skills and innovation, judges will also focus on the contestants’ knowledge of allergens within their menus. Finalists’ must be able to list any of the 14 declarable allergens their dishes include – in line with the Food Information Regulations of December 2014.
David Mulcahy, vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs and the competition organiser, said: “National and Young National Chef of the Year are the most prestigious culinary competitions in the country. By asking finalists to declare the allergens in their dishes, we’re putting out a clear message. No matter who you are, if you’re serving food, allergen legislation applies to you.”
It’s a message the industry needs to hear. 48% of foodservice operators still can’t name the top 14 declarable allergens[1] and many allergy sufferers struggle to trust venues as a result. Which could be costing the industry as much as £300m a year.
Alex Hall, executive chef, Unilever Food Solutions, said: “KNORR has long been a proud supporter of the National and Young National Chef of the Year competitions. By working with the Craft Guild of Chefs to get finalists to declare the allergen content of their dishes – we’re putting the issue firmly under the spotlight and setting an example for the industry as a whole.”
The announcement follows the release of Unilever Food Solutions’ guide – Managing allergens in your kitchen – designed to help operators feel confident about dealing with allergens safely. The guide is available to download free of charge from

Guest insight to boost your hotel F&B offering #

The latest research from guest experience management experts HGEM reveals diners’ views on hotel food and beverage, gathering information from both guests’ and non-residents’ experiences.  

The survey demonstrated an openness from both groups to dine in hotel restaurants, with 42% of non-residents dining in hotels at least quarterly and 74% of hotel guests visiting for more than one meal a day during their stay.

Meal preferences varied, with 90% of hotel guests most likely to eat breakfast and just 8% likely to stay in the hotel for dinner. For non-residents, however, over half (54%) said they would be most likely to visit for dinner and only 4% opted for breakfast. Those surveyed were generally positive about hotel menus, almost half (46%) rating the variety of dishes as ‘good’. However, 50% feel that there is room for improvement when catering for specific dietary requirements.

Social media and word-of-mouth emerged as the most popular ways to find out about hotel restaurants, yet a huge 87% said more could be done to advertise to non-residents. When questioned, 31% of non-residents said that they would visit a hotel restaurant to celebrate a special occasion, with others citing reasons including menu quality and hotel reputation. However, cost was deemed to be a factor, with 82% of respondents perceiving hotels to be more expensive than other venues.

Sally Whelan, founding director at HGEM, said: "Over the years we have seen the rise of “standalone” restaurants, typically run by renowned chefs. However, for most hoteliers, the challenge to keep residents eating more frequently in-house and attracting non-residents to enjoy their restaurants is greater than ever. These are unprecedented times, with so much choice and the immediacy of information and reviews on social media playing a major role. Competition is fierce.

"Our survey illustrates real opportunities for hoteliers around product, pricing and experience. Don’t operate in isolation – know what is on offer in your area and find a way to differentiate, whether through your menu, service or added value to create memorable experiences. Making it easy for potential guests to find out about your restaurant and book a table is also crucial.

"Hotels are used to managing food intolerances and allergies, so why not create a campaign promoting the initiatives you are using? A number of high street operators are already winning a loyal following through this and, as 50% of our respondents see it is an area for an improvement, it could mean a better experience for half your guests."

Christmas bookings: how prepared is you team? #

The latest research HGEM has revealed over 1300 guests’ views on making Christmas bookings.

The results show that guests like to plan ahead - when organising a work Christmas party over half (53%) prefer to book at least 3 months in advance, and 42% leave it no later than a month before the event to book a festive gathering with friends. Additionally, timing is key, with almost half of guests (49%) saying that the ideal date for their Christmas party would fall two weeks before Christmas Day.

When choosing a venue, half of guests (50%) rate the choice of dishes on the menu as the deciding factor, with restaurants emerging ahead of pubs, hotels and bars as guests’ preferred venue. A spend of between £15-£30 per head is expected by the majority of guests during the festive period, with a slightly higher spend anticipated when
celebrating with work colleagues.

During a telephone enquiry, a lack of knowledge and an unfriendly tone were rated as the most off-putting team behaviours, which could result in a lost opportunity to convert to a booking. Guests also anticipate an efficient booking process, with 68% expecting the call to take less than five minutes, emphasising the need for team members to be prepared with the relevant information for a seamless process. As the majority (86%) of guests expect to be asked about a deposit as standard, operators should avoid focusing on this and instead use the call to provide detailed and engaging information about their offering.

To help operators ensure that their team members are prepared to handle Christmas bookings effectively, HGEM isoffering recorded Christmas calls. These provide valuable insight into team members’ performance when taking bookings. Operators in the casual dining, pub and hotel sectors benefited from this actionable data during last year’s programme, with leading hotel brands Malmaison and Hotel du Vin improving their average call score by almost 20% in the months leading up to Christmas.

HGEM founding director, Sally Whelan, said: "We know that pre-bookings for the festive period play a critical part in overall Christmas trading figures. With menus, drinks offers and the marketing campaigns to support it now in place, how ready are your front line team? Do they appreciate the important role they now play? You need to be confident that every telephone enquiry is being handled professionally and that your team have the skills to convert these enquiries into bookings." 

Essential Cuisine lays foundations for £500,000 state-of-the-art ‘Innovation Playground’ #

Essential Cuisine MD, Nigel Crane, donned a hardhat to oversee the next exciting phase in the company’s story – the building of a £500,000 innovation kitchen; a dedicated creative space for him and his brigade of chefs to develop yet more class-leading products. 
The brand new state-of-the-art kitchen is set to open this autumn and will adjoin Essential Cuisine’s headquarters in Winsford, Cheshire.
Nigel commented: “With chefs at the heart of our business this kitchen will be a playground of innovation and new product development – a new home to accommodate our talented and growing chef brigade. The level of investment is symbolic of a desire to keep developing the business at its current pace – to never rest on our laurels – as we continue our quest to create yet more Essential Cuisine chef devotees.”
In 2013 the British supplier of stocks, jus, gravy, glaces, demi glaces and sweet sauces, opened the doors on a £1m 1500sqm production facility bringing the majority of its total production ‘in-house’ and opening up a number of jobs to the local community. In 2016, Essential Cuisine recorded its best ever sales performance in foodservice – with business up 30% in the first six-months of the year.

Essential Cuisine gravy the preferred choice of consumers and chefs in independent taste tests #

Cheshire Company’s No.1 Gravy Lives up to its Name, with ‘Gravy Amnesty’ Launched
Essential Cuisine’s No.1 Gravy has come out on top against all competitor products in independent blind consumer and chef taste tests, held this month.
Each of the company’s three-strong No.1 Gravy range was deemed the overall favourite by 100 consumers in all three-flavour categories – beef, poultry and vegetarian. Bolstering the findings further, 50 chefs from sectors across hospitality also undertook the tests, examining both taste and performance versus competitor products. Chefs rated the company’s No.1 Beef as their favourite compared to the 3 leading competitor products, while similarly more than half of chefs cited both No.1 Chicken and vegetarian No.1 Savoury as their gravy of choice versus the market leader’s equivalent products. Essential Cuisine’s No.1 chicken gravy was crowned overall favourite of all 10 products tested by the chef panel.
Supplied powdered in 1.5kg tubs each gravy in Essential Cuisine’s No.1 range is gluten-free, with no declarable allergens. Made in the UK, they also meet DoH 2017 salt targets and make an average 20 litres of gravy per pot – one of the industry’s highest yields.  
The comprehensive tests were undertaken by highly respected independent market research company, Good Sense Research with each gravy rated on the 9-point hedonic scale for sensory evaluation, against the key criteria of: appearance, aroma, taste, mouthfeel, aftertaste and overall enjoyment.
Nigel Crane, managing director for Essential Cuisine, says he is delighted by the findings but not surprised that the range he and his chef team created 10 years ago is the preferred choice for both consumers and chefs. He said: “Most of the gravies available to the modern catering market seem to have lost sight of what gravy is all about: a meaty, tasty and moreish accompaniment to many classic dishes. The No.1 range was created to help chefs reclaim and put their own stamp on this national staple; gravy as it is meant to be – made with simple stock and roasting juices. 

“Served straight, the flavours more than stand up on their own but, crucially, each provides the perfect base to let creativity shine through. We are delighted that consumers agree. With 70% saying they would be put off returning to a site that served sub-standard gravy, we urge chefs to look again at what they’re serving – good gravy is such an important consideration and the best gravy is essential.”
Gravy Amnesty
To celebrate the findings, and with British Roast Dinner Week (24 September to 1 October 2017) fast approaching, Essential Cuisine is calling on kitchens to swap out their pre-existing product for a full tub of one of its No.1 Gravy range.
Essential Cuisine’s ‘Gravy Amnesty’ is open throughout September and October, with the company offering up full 1.5kg tubs* of its class-leading No.1 range, supplied in Chicken, Beef and vegetarian Savoury, to kitchens who visit

*Limited availability. Tubs will be sent out to eligible entries on a first come, first serve basis. Full T&Cs apply – see online for full details.

The Good Eating Company joins Sodexo #

Sodexo announced the acquisition of leading London contract caterer, The Good Eating Company.

Sodexo and The Good Eating Company share a vision to grow their presence in metropolitan areas, including the highly competitive and dynamic workplace dining marketplace in London and Dublin.

Over the last 18 years The Good Eating Company has continually developed its offer to bring the definitive standard in workplace dining to leading organisations including those in the creative, media and arts, investment and financial management and pharmaceutical industries and in recent years has seen significant growth.

The Good Eating Company will continue to operate independently with chairman John Harris and managing director Carlos Mistry leading the business and its 260 employees. Rob Lindner, finance director, who has played a key role in the acquisition, has taken this opportunity to retire after 45 years working in the foodservice industry.

Sodexo will provide valuable support in terms of development and resource which will enable The Good Eating Company to continue to focus on delivering innovative food solutions. Sodexo in return benefits from a new premium, food-only offer to sit alongside its existing integrated facilities management offer which will help strengthen its position in the corporate market.

David Bailey, CEO, corporate services, Sodexo UK & Ireland said, “We are really excited to have the Good Eating Company join the Sodexo Group; their ethos and passion for food is a perfect fit for Sodexo.  We value everything John and Carlos have created and respect the different approach they have to delivering fabulous food.

"We continue to build a stronger food offer which integrates into our provision and that meets the requirements of organisations looking for an IFM solution but we acknowledge that some clients want a more boutique-style offering tailored to the needs of the client with food at the heart, and only food. This is where GEC excels and we are looking forward to being a part of their future success.”

John Harris, chairman of The Good Eating Company added, “We are passionate about food and that is what our highly skilled people do best, that will never change. Sodexo is a large organisation with a strong heritage in food and by becoming the new owners of The Good Eating Company it is are making a statement within the industry and beyond, that it is committed to the highest values in food.  This move will enable us together to take the next step in this exciting journey."

Global report reveals student demand for healthy, vegan and free-from foods at UK universities #

More than half of UK students (60 per cent) expect vegan or vegetarian food to be available at their university catering or retail outlets, and 49 per cent expect free-from foods, according to Sodexo’s International University Lifestyle Survey.

The report provides a unique insight into the lives and lifestyles of students across the world, polling over 4,000 students in six markets (the US, China, India, Spain and Italy, as well as the UK).
Almost 60 per cent of UK students say they try to eat healthily – more than the global average - and one in five (20%) believes it is essential to eat healthily. However this figure has been falling steadily since 2008 when 67% of UK students made this claim. Nearly half of UK students (46 per cent) expect Fairtrade or ethically-certified produce to be available at their university and 30 per cent said they would be happy to pay more for these items.
Sixty per cent of UK students think it is important for their university to be mindful of food waste, reducing it where possible – substantially behind India and China where 87 per cent and 82 per cent of students respectively think this is important.
Due to the increasing cost of living and rising university fees, the survey reveals students are looking for ways to save money in their day-to-day lives, and often their social lives are the first thing to suffer. Sixty per cent of students said they had not gone out with friends to save money and 31 per cent had skipped a meal.
That said, eating out is still an important part of student life. Sixty six per cent of UK students eat out with friends at least once a week and 60 per cent per cent go to a café on a weekly basis. The frequency with which students use their student union bar was quite different for students in different countries.  When it comes to lunch time, in a typical week, almost two thirds of UK students (65 per cent) make their own lunch and eat it in their student accommodation. Almost half (46 per cent) eat a packed lunch off campus, with an equal percentage (46 per cent) eating a lunch purchased on campus.
The report also showed that a third (34 per cent) were interested in learning cooking skills as part of their university experience,  and a similar proportion (32 per cent) like to hang out at their own or a friend’s house once a week.
Jo Cash, european marketing director, Schools and Universities, Sodexo, commented: “Universities have to meet greater demands from their students in relation to the catering services provided. By undertaking such an extensive study on a global level, we can learn more about students’ preferences, allowing us to create offers on site that respond to these needs. This year has shown a strong demand for vegan, free-form and ethically certified produce and this reflects our experiences at the universities where we provide catering."
Based on their profiles, the report set out five types of UK students in 2017 – with the ‘Healthy and Ethical Student’ being one. The Healthy and Ethical Student cares about the food they eat and how it is sourced. Eating healthily will be on their mind, as will their university’s ethics and impact on the environment. The other types of students today are The Sensible Student; The Money Conscious Student; The Home Comforts Student and The Career-Focussed Student.
The report can be read in full here

Sodexo wins 10-year deal with Farnborough International #

Sodexo won a 10-year contract with the new Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre.

Under the £30m deal Sodexo partners with Farnborough International at the new, purpose-built event space – at the home of the world-renowned Farnborough International Airshow – when it opens in February 2018.

Sodexo will deliver conference, banqueting and events services at the new Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre, in addition to providing flexible retail services tailored specifically to each event. Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events will support sales and marketing activity.

The Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre will become the largest exhibition space in the south of England outside London, with 12,500sqm event space, 2,500 conference seats and 14 multi-purpose function rooms.

The birthplace of British aviation, the venue is directly accessible by air, as well as being convenient for Heathrow and Gatwick airports. Farnborough is 35 minutes by train from London Waterloo.

Chris Bray, CEO sports & leisure, Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: “This new partnership with Farnborough International will see Sodexo bringing its innovative and sustainable ethos to what will be a flagship exhibition space in south of England. With its rich heritage and unrivalled accessibility by air, Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre promises to be a unique business destination. The flexible event space can be instantly tailored to different events every day, and promises to be a true pace-setter in the industry.
“Through our award-winning chefs, track record of building positive relationships with local suppliers and our inventive retail pop-ups at major events like Royal Ascot, we will create memorable food and beverage experiences for customers and delegates.”

Michael Watton, Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre venue director said: “We’re delighted to be working with Sodexo Sports & Leisure as part of our development. They were chosen because of their proven and tested ability and reputation to deliver first class food and service.

“They have taken the essence of our brand – pioneers in aviation – and interpreted it through a new and vibrant range of food and drink offers. Although still at concept stage, event delegates and visitors will be excited by the variety of unique concepts specifically developed for us. We are looking forward to working in partnership with Sodexo on delivering industry leading event experiences for our clients.”

Adrian Evans appointed as food transformation director for Sodexo’s corporate services business #

Sodexo appointed Adrian Evans as food transformation director for its corporate services business in the UK and Ireland.

Evans is a firm believer that foodservice providers have an important role to play in changing the way workplace dining is delivered.

In this newly created role, Evans will use his extensive experience of the foodservice market combined with the insights Sodexo has gathered to develop food experiences for its clients in the corporate services market which will positively impact on the workplace environment and productivity.

Evans has worked in foodservice industry for over 28 years. For the last nine years Evans led the operations for Google’s food programme across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

Adrian Evans, transformation director for corporate services, said; “I am delighted to be joining Sodexo at time when we are seeing workplace strategy becoming more and more important to clients and to the success of their businesses.

“Our clients’ employees are our customers and it is important that we understand their ‘customer journey’ in the workplace.  This could be around their health and wellbeing, the ambience and environment, all of these elements have an impact on employee engagement and their productivity and it’s up to us to make sure the foodservice offer supports their workplace strategies.”

Andrew Wilkinson, marketing director for corporate services UK & Ireland, said; “It is an exciting time, the workplace and how we all work is changing rapidly and at Sodexo we are embracing this change. Adrian is great addition to our team.  His experience, particularly at Google, will undoubtedly help us to develop and deliver innovative solutions to take to our clients to demonstrate how we can work in partnership with them to maximise their work space and create the right environment for their employees to thrive and their business to succeed.”

All smiles after 11 award wins at International Cheese Awards #

Futura Foods is all smiles after celebrating coming away with 11 awards at this year’s International Cheese Awards, Nantwich, Cheshire.

The annual awards are considered the crème de la crème in the industry, playing host to over 5,600 cheeses over the two-day event.

Futura’s Feta Cubes in Brine and 18 Month Grana Padano both received prestigious Golds whilst a total of five cheeses including Gran Levanto Italian Vegetarian Hard Cheese and Sheep’s Milk Cheese with Pedro Ximenez were awarded with a Silver medal. A further five cheeses came away with a Bronze Award or Very Highly Commended. The success of individual cheeses was only bolstered by the Futura team coming away with The Clawson Trophy for the Best Branded Packaging in Show – testament to the continual hard work behind the scenes at Futura HQ.

John Steele, national account manager, Futura Foods, commented: “2017 has been another successful year for us at the International Cheese Awards. The Awards are a real highlight in the Futura calendar – a time when everyone working in the industry comes together to celebrate the best cheeses in the country. To come away with 11 awards is an achievement all of us at Futura Foods are hugely proud of and rest assured we will be back in 2018 to put our cheeses to the test once more.”

Futura Foods to make debut at lunch! #

Futura Foods is making its debut at lunch! this September where it will be showcasing its wide range of continental cheeses.

Visitors to Stand B31 will be able to sample a huge range of continental cheeses including 18 Month Grana Padano and Feta Cubes in Brine – both recent Gold Award Winners at the International Cheese Awards.

lunch! will also be the first opportunity for many to experience Futura’s newest products. Due to launch at the show, Campesino Goat’s Log is set to be a popular option for cheeseboards over Christmas. Also tipped to be a hit over the festive period, is recently launched Provolone which comes ready to bake and serve in rustic clay pots.

For a taste of vegan-friendly cheese, the team will be cooking pizzas on stand using Mozzarisella. Made from rice, the cheese is suitable for vegans, vegetarians, coeliacs and those with a dairy intolerance providing the perfect solution for caterers struggling to cope with the increasing demand for these special dietary requirements.

John Steele, national account controller, Futura Foods, comments: “It is hugely exciting to be making our debut at Lunch! this September. We will be showcasing a huge range of cheeses as well as offering tips, trends and solutions for operators. Please do come along to Stand B31 to talk all things cheese!”

lunch! runs from 21-22 September at the ExCeL London.

Futura Foods introduces new Provolone pots to help boost seasonal profits #

With party season fast approaching, Futura Foods is introducing an authentic new Italian cheese into its range in a bid to help outlets drive incremental sales. 

The cheese specialist is launching a new Provolone, a semi-hard, cow’s milk cheese which originates from Southern Italy. With a nutty, slightly piquant taste which intensifies when melted, its versatility makes it a unique and delicious option for sharing boards, starters and mains alike in the run-in to Christmas.

Available in ready-to-bake 100g and 200g rustic clay pots, the cheese’s easy-serve format means busy chefs can create a theatrical dish with the absolute minimum of fuss. A premium serve with a highly profitable price-tag, especially when paired with quality add-ons.   

John Steele, national account controller, Futura Foods, says: “Cheese has always been popular at Christmas and so this year we have launched our Provolone pots to make it that little bit easier for operators to profit from a versatile festive favourite.

“Try serving with a rocket and rosemary salad garnish and crusty Italian bread for a popular sharing board. Or else simply sprinkle with paprika, chilli powder and basil for an easy and impressive starter. For the more adventurous, a provolone soufflé with porcini mushrooms and pea purée makes for a premium main that’s also suitable for vegetarians.”

Provolone pots are supplied in 100g and 200g formats and are available from selected wholesalers.

BaxterStorey continues growth in leisure and tourism sector with Winchester Cathedral win #

BaxterStorey is helping put Winchester Cathedral back on the foodie map with the relaunch of its historic Refectory.
An exciting new menu has now been introduced, celebrating some of the country’s finest food and drink from top Hampshire suppliers. The redesigned menu has been created by BaxterStorey to provide visitors with the very finest quality in locally sourced food and drink.
The new team of chefs will create innovative breakfasts, main meals and everything in between. The Cathedral Breakfast showcases some of the finest produce with local herbed sausage and Hampshire heritage tomatoes. Meanwhile, the sumptuous new cake table will tempt visitors with its showstopper Moss Cake and Lymington strawberry compote to accompany traditional scones.
Visitors to the city can indulge in the unique Summer Pimms Afternoon Tea – refreshing Pimms served with freshly baked cakes, seasonal finger sandwiches, warm scones and locally sourced preserves.
Sarah Miller, regional managing director at BaxterStorey, said: “Winchester is certainly a foodie-paradise and we are delighted to bring residents and visitors a taste of something completely new. Alongside the seasonal menu at the Cathedral Refectory, our pop up street food stalls will be located throughout the Cathedral grounds, from Jude’s ice cream bikes, to a Laverstoke Park Buffalo BBQ, offering a taste of delicious street food-style cooking.”
Located in a truly stunning setting, the Cathedral offers unforgettable spaces for a wedding reception, special occasion or event including the marquee or Wessex Suite. The Refectory relaunch includes a new corporate and events offering, with bespoke menus tailored for individual requirements.
Canon Annabelle Boyes, receiver general at Winchester Cathedral, said: “We are delighted to be working with BaxterStorey as, together, we launch our new food and drink offer. The new menu, look and feel really reflects the local heritage of our unique location, offering guests a complete and memorable experience. Hospitality has been part of our Benedictine welcome for almost as long as we have been here, which is quite a long time. Added to that, the benefit which comes from our more commercial activities is felt at the Cathedral’s core, supporting its thousand-year mission and ministry”.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard launches new menu inspired by history #

One of the country’s leading maritime destinations and home to three of the most important ships ever built - the Mary Rose, HMS Victory and HMS Warrior 1860 – is offering guests a taste of the past with seasonal menus inspired by history, created by BaxterStorey.
The menus give a subtle nod to history with cuisine that pay homage to the ships, including; stone baked pizzas inspired by the oven found on board the Mary Rose when she was raised from the Solent in 1982 and traditional fish and chips. Each dish is prepared using fresh, seasonal, sustainable produce from a number of local farmers and artisan suppliers including; Solent Butchers, Portsmouth Tea, Mary Rose Ale and Isle of Wight Gin, Biglands Bakery and The Real Jam & Chutney co. from Southampton and New Forest Ice Cream.
Surrounded by spectacular history and outstanding views the dockyard offers a unique backdrop for a culinary trip through time. Restaurants for attraction visitors on the 12-acre site include Boathouse 7, Boathouse 4 and the Mary Rose Café located in the same building as the only 16th Century warship on display anywhere in the world.
For a completely unique experience BaxterStorey hospitality is also available to hire among other providers for private and corporate guests. They can banquet next to the Mary Rose or on board both HMS Warrior 1860, once the largest and most powerful warship in the world and HMS Victory, The Royal Navy’s most famous warship and the oldest commissioned warship in the world.
Sarah Miller, regional managing director at BaxterStorey, said: “Attraction visitors can enjoy a freshly brewed coffee or a slice of homemade cake at the Mary Rose exhibit café or have a meal in one of the onsite restaurants with menus inspired by the rich history of the site. We felt it was important to incorporate historic references within our menu to try and bring the amazing story of the dockyard to life.”
“Our hospitality services are also now available to hire for corporate guests and private functions for the ultimate dining experience on board some of the world’s most famous ships. Private hire events in the Mary Rose Exhibit give guests the opportunity to quite literally breathe in the same air as the iconic Mary Rose while fine dining.”
Peter Emery, director of operations at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, said: “Our restaurants and cafes are open to the public seven days a week and often used by our local community as well as the many visitors and staff, so it was really important for us to appoint a reliable hospitality provider with a passion for locally sourced produce. The dockyard represents an important part of Portsmouth’s history and attracts a large number of guests daily so our dining options had to meet the high-standards expected. So far we have been really pleased with BaxterStorey’s enthusiasm and approach.”
Situated within a working Naval Base, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is the only place in the world to see the Royal Navy past, present and future and is a must see for anyone visiting the south of England.

BaxterStorey coffee star is named top UK female barista #

BaxterStorey’s Jana Slamova has been recognised as the highest scoring female competitor in the finals of the 2017 UK Barista Championships. Held in Bristol this weekend, the competition saw six finalists battle it out, with BaxterStorey representing as the only foodservice provider.
Jana, who has made it to the finals for the last three consecutive years, stormed ahead of her fellow female contestants and was placed as the top female barista in the competition, securing fourth place overall. The BaxterStorey national barista trainer showcased her creative and technical skills with a signature espresso drink of Tonka-infused beans with panela, creating flavours of warm spices, toffee and caramelised banana. Her eye for detail impressed the judges as she perfected the intense flavours whilst considering room temperature, machine conditions and her unique ingredients to create her unique signature drink. 
This year’s competition has seen BaxterStorey maintain their lead within the foodservice industry, with a total of five semi-finalists – the most individuals from any single company to progress this far in the history of the competition.
Tim Sturk, head of coffee training and development at BaxterStorey said: “This is an outstanding achievement for Jana and BaxterStorey, demonstrating why our training and mentoring programmes are so revered.
“To have five baristas through to the semi-finals is not only unprecedented in the history of the championships but totally unheard of within our industry. Eight of the top 16 semi-finalists came from independent roasteries so for our baristas to have come this far is a real reflection on how hard they’ve worked throughout their training. We’re really proud to see them recognised.”
Jana has worked as a barista at BaxterStorey for five years and quickly developed her skills thanks to the Barista Academy training programme, which teaches employees key skills to help them develop a greater understanding of one of Britain’s favourite drink.  

Tilda to showcase profitability of rice during National Rice Week #

National Rice Week returns this week (18-24 September) and Tilda is urging operators to get behind the campaign to help celebrate the UK’s favourite grain.

Since the 1970s, rice has become a true staple in the British diet with an average of 102 grams of rice consumed per person per week in UK households in 2015. Its nutritional value and incredible versatility makes it hugely popular, not only as a substantial side but also as an ingredient in starters, mains and desserts. Its gluten-free properties and excellent ability to absorb the flavours of different dishes has all helped to showcase rice as the wonderful ingredient it is.

This year, Tilda will be launching some brand new recipes over National Rice Week to demonstrate how rice dishes can be premiumised to create better profit margins for operators. Award-winning development chef, Dez Turland, Brend Hotels, has created a host of recipes such as Prawn Potsticker Dumplings, Truffle Arancini with Black Garlic Mayonnaise and Coconut Rice Pudding.

By using speciality rice such as Basmati & Wild, Fragrant Jasmine or Arborio in recipes such as these, the dish not only takes on another flavour profile but also  becomes more premium meaning operators can command a higher price tag.

Craig Dillon, head of foodservice at Tilda, says: “National Rice Week is a great opportunity to showcase the many benefits of rice and I am hopeful that it will encourage chefs to make more use of it all year round.  Dez’s recipes really show just how creative you can be when it comes to cooking with rice and I hope that chefs will take inspiration from these dishes, get experimenting and start to realise its true potential as an ingredient.”

The recipes will be available on from 18 September. Operators should also look out for some giveaways on @TildaChef Twitter throughout National Rice Week!

Boost seasonal profits with Tilda #

With the festive season fast approaching, Tilda is encouraging caterers to make a simple swap on their menus and replace existing plain rice with the more luxurious Tilda Easy Cook Basmati & Wild in a bid to boost profits.

With Christmas earmarked as one of the busiest periods in the catering year, savvy operators who enhance their dishes with premium ingredients will reap the rewards – commanding higher prices and seeing profits soar in the process.

In fact, recent research has revealed that 44% of consumers would pay a premium of 50p for Basmati & Wild, whilst a further 24% would pay more than 50p, meaning caterers who can work the flavoursome rice into their dishes can expect a lucrative return.

Approved by the Craft Guild of Chefs, Tilda Basmati & Wild is a blend of the finest fragrant Tilda Basmati and exotic Wild Rice to create a delicious combination and make a luxuriously different and visually appealing meal.

Craig Dillon, head of foodservice, Tilda UK, says: “Christmas is notoriously a time for indulgence, with consumers dining out more frequently and wanting to make the most of the festivities. This year, we are urging caterers to take advantage of this increased footfall and boost profitability by premiumising dishes with the addition of speciality rice variants like Tilda Basmati & Wild.

“What’s more, in true Christmas spirit, Tilda Basmati & Wild will be on promotion at a number of wholesalers in the run-up to the festive season, meaning caterers can improve their profit margins even further.”

Tilda Foodservice has partnered with group development chef for Brend Hotels, Dez Turland, to help showcase the wonderful versatility of rice and to inspire caterers looking to use Basmati & Wild in their recipes over Christmas.

Explaining the recipes, Dez comments: “Tilda Basmati & Wild is a fantastic ingredient that takes otherwise ordinary dishes to new levels. For an impressive starter that merits a high price tag, try Baked Tomato with slow cooked lamb neck, manchego cheese, anchovies, black olive and lamb jus. Or for an extravagant fish course the Smoked Haddock “Kedgeree” Coulibiac will prove a popular menu addition and wow customers.”

Caterers looking for great tasting recipes made using Tilda should visit  and follow @TildaChef on Twitter.

PFS: attracting, retaining and training staff – CESA maps out the fundamentals #

New training initiative explains Principles of Food Service to newcomers to the industry
The catering industry is suffering from a skills shortage and the need to recruit more staff.  Brexit is likely to increase this pressure.  What’s needed is a way to encourage people to enter the industry and, once here, to quickly pick up the basics and build a career.  That’s why CESA has launched the Principles of Food Service (PFS) training initiative.  It aims to give newcomers the knowledge they need to understand the industry, to help them make the most of their career choice – and to help them start making a positive contribution. 
The new training initiative has been born out of the success of the Certified Food Service Professional (CFSP) scheme, launched and run by CESA in conjunction with the University of West London. 
PFS is aimed at all foodservice organisations, both operators and suppliers.  It covers what the foodservice industry encompasses – such as pubs, leisure centres, hotels, prisons, hospitals and schools – and the differences between a domestic and a commercial kitchen, including explanations of some key industry technologies, like combi steamers.  It tells students what the key drivers in the industry are, including changing consumer tastes, technology, healthy eating and energy saving.  It explains how the food and equipment supply chains work and looks at areas such as food safety and hygiene. 
Based around a pictorially-based online presentation, the PFS course takes two hours to complete.  It is designed as a framework, allowing it to be adapted by the business using it to suit the audience.  It will be delivered by suitably qualified CFSP graduates.  Successful PFS candidates undertake discussion with their mentor as they progress and, based on the successful completion of the course, receive a certificate. 
“This is an exciting new initiative,” says Glenn Roberts, chair of CESA.  “Both operators and suppliers need to focus on attracting and retaining staff, upping their skill levels and fulfilling their personal development goals.  These elements are all going to be critical to the survival and success of our industry.  Initiatives like PFS are significant steps in the right direction.”  
To find out more about PFS, contact CESA by phone, 020 7793 3030 or email   

CESA conference 2017 aims to show way forward #

Moving Forward in a Changing World: economic business and technological changes
The CESA Conference 2017, in association with Cedabond, ENSE and the FCSI UK & Ireland.

15 -16 November at the DeVere Wokefield Estate near Reading
CESA’s 2017 conference at the DeVere Wokefield Estate welcomes back Steph McGovern, economist and broadcaster as Conference Facilitator. Steph is there to kick off the day’s agenda with an economic and business session as well as to link expert speakers from business and industry.
The conference offers insight and illumination encompassing economic, business and technological changes and their potential impact on the catering equipment supply chain as it evolves into a value chain.
“We live in challenging times for the foodservice industry,” says Glenn Roberts, chair of CESA. “The changes are coming thick and fast, no-one can risk being left behind. We have chosen speakers who have knowledge and insight to show delegates a real understanding of how to adapt to the way ahead.”
To maximise networking opportunities there are delegate packages covering the golf or activity day and informal dinner on Wednesday 15 November with overnight accommodation in preparation for the main business day on Thursday 16 November.  There is also the Thursday evening Gala Dinner with the presentation of the FCSI Sustainable Equipment Award and the CESA/Caterer Outstanding Achievement Award.
This excellent programme is open to all in the foodservice industry – operators, suppliers, consultants etc. Non CESA members are welcome.
Numbers are limited, to book your space visit, email or call 020 7793 3030

CESA’s essential seminars show CEOs how to thrive in a challenging market #

Unprecedented uncertainty brings opportunities as well as pitfalls
CESA has launched a series of high profile seminars designed to help catering equipment companies not only prepare for, but also to exploit the unprecedented challenges the foodservice market is facing.  The Building Business seminars are aimed at CEOs, managing directors and business owners and are free to attend for CESA member companies. 
The first seminar, ‘Strategies for an uncertain world,’ takes place on 25th October 2017, 10:30 to 14:00, at the CESA Offices, Albert Embankment, London.  The seminars will be led by Martyn Drake, one of the sector’s top consultants.  In this first one he will cover areas such as major trends and changes the industry needs to plan for, and how to define a company’s future. 
“At the end of the session, delegates should have clear understanding of their greatest potential pitfalls and opportunities,” says Drake.  “They will have a vision of what their organisation needs to become in order to thrive in the future, and a clear idea of where they need to invest time, money and resources to achieve success.” 
CESA’s latest research identifies five major challenges for its members: digitisation; margin erosion; recruiting and retaining talent; the circular economy; and the potential impact of Brexit. “The full programme of seminars will cover all these areas,” says Glenn Roberts, chair of CESA.  “We are in a period of unprecedented uncertainty.  The seminars, which will be will be highly interactive and challenging, are designed for entrepreneurial, forward-thinking businesses.  By helping them to anticipate the future we can help them to thrive.”
There are six Building Business seminars in the programme, running every two months from October.  Full details are available on the CESA website.  Places are free but are limited to 25 people per seminar, so interested companies are urged to book now.  

BSI honours the man who set standards in catering equipment #

CESA’s technical consultant, Bryan Whittaker, receives BSI Distinguished Service award
Bryan Whittaker MBE, CESA’s technical consultant, has been honoured by the British Standards Institute (BSI) with a Distinguished Service Certificate.  The award is a reward for decades of dedicated and professional service, especially in relation to establishing standards in line with EU directives. 
Bryan has served on 30 committees, often as chair, helping to establish standards for a huge variety of machinery and equipment – mostly, of course, in the catering field.  He’s worked with CESA for 28 years.  Keith Warren, director of CESA, says, “If there’s anyone who can claim to have helped set the standards in health and safety in foodservice equipment and design, it’s Bryan Whittaker.  He has done more than anyone else to support the work, and has had a profound influence on the development of UK and European standards.” 
“The highlight has to be 2005,” says Bryan. “That was when I was given the MBE for my work on the Machinery Safety Directive.  It was no easy task!  At the time there was a bit of a tussle between the various European nations involved.  But in the end we managed to find a typically British compromise.” 
The biggest change over the years has been the move from British to EU standards.  “BSI has morphed into CEN and CENELEC,” says Bryan.  “The maintenance of standards, and ensuring we are in line with Europe, are key issues facing us with Brexit.” 
The Distinguished Service Certificate, which was given to Bryan in August, states it is “Awarded in appreciation of the valuable contribution to the development of British, European and international standards.”