Members’ News

December 2017

Essential Cuisine celebrates British Retail Consortium AA rating for third successive year #

Essential Cuisine has gained a coveted AA-grade accreditation from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) for the third consecutive year.

The BRC Global Standard for food safety is hard won, and even harder maintained, and ensures a company is meeting the highest standards of quality and safety in the manufacture of food products.

The accreditation means chefs can rest assured that they are not only using the finest stock products on the market, but can trust that this quality will be passed on to their customers every single time.

Nigel Crane, managing director for Essential Cuisine, said: “To secure an AA-grade accreditation from the BRC for the third year running is simply fantastic. Consistency is a watchword of our products, but can also now be applied to the standards in which those products are created. We take great care in producing our stocks; every batch we make is tasted twice by trained quality technicians. Recognition of such hard work and dedication from an esteemed body like the BRC makes it all worth it.”

Aircell® grab & go cabinet is a storming success at HOST #

Refrigeration innovator, Applied Design & Engineering Limited (Adande Refrigeration’s parent company), received positive feedback to the unveiling of its prototype ‘Crivat’ Aircell® refrigerated Grab & Go cabinet at the international hospitality show, HOST, held in Milan 20 – 24 October. The integral multi deck cabinet was fully operational on the stand, allowing visitors to gain first-hand experience of its food to go focused features. End users, manufacturers and distributors from around the world visited the stand to witness demonstrations of the ‘Crivat’ Aircell® model. Several visitors reported that they were keen to commit to in store trials, whilst others expressed an interest in incorporating the technology within their own cabinets and introducing the potential benefits to their high profile food retailing and foodservice customers. One European cabinet manufacturer described the concept as “ground breaking”.
Visitors noted that they could feel no chilled air whilst standing in front of the cabinet, which is testament to the minimal cold air spillage from the ‘Crivat’ Aircell® Grab & Go cabinet. Others commented on the reduced humidity in the cabinet, which was demonstrated by the fact that there was no condensation on bottles of soft drinks in the display, but condensation appeared on bottles when they were removed from the unit.
Visitors were impressed by the results of a field trial of a ‘Crivat’ Aircell® Grab & Go cabinet at Le Pain Quotidien food to go outlet in Soho, London. Over a three week test period, energy consumption of the ‘Crivat’ Aircell® cabinet was measured as 33% less than the store’s existing open front multi deck display. This reduction in energy consumption would represent an annual saving in electricity costs of £365. During the same trial, cabinet air temperature was measured to a bandwidth of 4°C in the ‘Crivat’ Aircell® model, compared with an average range of 11°C in the store’s existing open front multi deck. The narrow temperature range of the ‘Crivat’ Aircell® model helps to maintain the quality and fresh appearance of food to go, providing a more enjoyable eating experience for the customer and reducing waste.
The ‘Crivat’ Aircell® cabinet, provides a range of food to go focused features. Reduced energy consumption of over 30% delivers cost savings, tighter holding temperature means that food stays fresh for longer and minimal cold air spillage improves customer comfort levels. The ‘Crivat’ Aircell® cabinet has a larger shelf display area than competitive display cases with similar footprints, ensuring that there is more product on the shelves. This reduces the potential for shelf stock being exhausted and consequent lost sales, especially during periods of peak trading. It also reduces the frequency of shelf restocking.
The cabinet is ideal for busy grab & go outlets, where simple and speedy access to food to go is essential. The ‘Crivat’ Aircell® cabinet delivers all of the benefits of conventional open front cabinets, as well as the energy saving characteristics associated with glass door cabinets, to provide the customer with an improved and convenient shopping experience.
Applied Design & Engineering’s chairman, Nigel Bell, stated: “HOST has provided us with an ideal platform to introduce the ‘Crivat’ Aircell® Grab & Go cabinet to a global audience. We are delighted with the feedback we have received from visitors, which has demonstrated that the market recognises the tangible benefits of refrigerated display cabinets, incorporating Aircell® technology, provide for food to go operators. We are now preparing for the full commercial launch in the first quarter of 2018.”

Historic Royal Palaces extends partnership with Ampersand for a further five years #

The partnership between Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) and Ampersand, CH&Co Group’s specialist venue and visitor attraction catering business, has been strengthened with an extension of the catering contract for a further five years.
The £12 million contract will see Ampersand continue its close working relationship with HRP to provide a fresh, innovative food, beverage and service experience for the millions of visitors to the world-famous attractions; the Tower of London, Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace.
As part of the deal, Ampersand will also be making significant investment in the catering facilities at all three Palaces to realise ambitious growth plans and respond to demand. This includes increased seating at the popular cafés within the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace; plus an exciting enhanced food offer across the board.
Bill Toner, CEO of CH&Co Group, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with HRP for a further five years. Over the past five years we’ve developed a fantastic relationship with HRP, and in particular the retail & catering director, Gina George, and catering liaison manager, Ricky Anthony.  We’re looking forward to strengthening this further as we work together to implement exciting and ambitious plans that will take the catering at the much-loved Palaces to another level. The Tower of London, Kensington Palace and Hampton Court are part of our nation’s rich history and we’re privileged to have the opportunity to work with HRP in helping ensure the public continues to enjoy them now and into the future.”
Gina George, HRP’s retail & catering director, comments: “We’re very pleased to be continuing our strong relationship with Ampersand.  As the custodians of some of the UK’s most popular heritage sites, we know that a strong catering offer is crucial to a successful visit, and their team make a vital contribution to this.  We’re looking forward to working with Ampersand to realise some exciting plans for the restaurants and cafés across our sites which we’re confident will continue to delight our visitors over the next five years.”

CH&Co Group Commercial’s Executive Chef is made a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Cooks of London #

Karen Poynter, the executive chef of CH&Co Group’s commercial business, has been made a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Cooks of London.
The honour has been bestowed upon Karen for her achievements in catering and her links to the City of London.
In 2000, Karen was appointed sous chef at Chester Boyd, CH&Co Group’s specialist business that caters at many of the capital’s most prestigious venues and eight of the most highly esteemed London livery halls.  Since joining the business, she has risen through the ranks and established an enviable culinary reputation.  She is known for her exceptional skills, impeccable standards and the ability to blend creativity and innovation with the precise formal traditions that catering for London’s Livery Halls demands. Earlier this year, Karen was awarded the Banqueting and Event Chef Award at the Craft Guild of Chefs Awards 2017.
Today, as executive chef of CH&Co Group’s commercial division, she oversees Chester Boyd and Ampersand, which caters at well-known British venues and visitor attractions. 
Karen is also respected for her investment in nurturing chef talent.  She gives her team the benefit of her time and expertise, mentoring and developing them to reach their goals. She also supports the industry through her work with the Craft Guild of Chefs, the Worshipful Company of Cooks, the Academy of Culinary Arts and Springboard.
Karen said of her achievement: “It’s a great honour to be made a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Cooks of London. Its support of the catering industry and charitable activities is inspiring and I’m grateful for this opportunity to get more involved in the excellent work being done to raise the profile of our industry and to attract new young talent.”
Robin Bidgood, managing director of CH&Co Group Commercial, said: “Karen absolutely deserves this honour and the entire team is very proud of her.  She’s very humble about her incredible talent and it’s great that she’s been recognised in such a prestigious way. Her dedication to her craft and to the industry is second to none and she’ll add tremendous value to the work of the Worshipful Company of Cooks of London.”
The Worshipful Company of Cooks comments: "We are delighted to welcome Karen Poynter as a new Freeman. She brings with her a wealth of professional experience, wisdom and talent that will help us in pursuing our primary objective, to promote the craft of cookery within the City of London. We operate our own Apprentice scheme and expect that Karen's background and stature within the industry will not only serve to inspire our apprentices but also reinforce the Company's own standing within the City." 
Karen was officially admitted to the esteemed livery company, which is the smallest of London’s livery companies and one of the oldest, at a special ceremony held at Innholders Hall.

CH&Co Group and Concerto Group announce merger #

CH&Co Group has today announced its merger with the events catering and services company, Concerto Group.
The move puts the business in an enviable position of being able to offer clients a one-stop shop that meets all event requirements – from venue finding and booking to catering, production and entertainment – something that no other caterer can currently offer.
In the increasingly competitive events industry, combining the resources and expertise of these two successful, innovative companies will strengthen the Group’s reach and competitive edge, and realise new growth potential, particularly in conference centres and large-scale arenas.  The merger also opens up new opportunities within the hotel sector.
The development increases the Group’s turnover to £300m and it will now provide catering at over 750 sites across the UK and Ireland, employing more than 6200 people.
Concerto Group’s CEO, Adam Elliott, will continue to head up the business and its brands which include leading event caterer, Create, and brands such as Ultimate Experience, event management; bespoke event full service management agency, Mask; corporate team building business, Eventwise; venue finding specialists, Venueseeker; and Christmas and summer party specialists, JD Parties.  Concerto also operates at a number of prestigious venues around the UK including The Pavilion at The Tower of London, Old Billingsgate, Honourable Artillery Company, Roundhouse, Plaisterers’ Hall and The Royal Liver Building in Liverpool.  This month Concerto opened up The Lampery restaurant in a new food and beverage venture with APEX Hotels.
The deal is a positive move for both companies, says CH&Co Group’s CEO, Bill Toner, “CH&Co Group and Concerto Group are both well-known and respected players achieving great things in the events market so our union is a very positive development. Both companies bring a great mix of talent, expertise, creativity, resources and assets to the party, and together we create a really attractive proposition in this highly competitive arena.  It also gives us an introduction into the hotel sector.  This new territory for CH&Co Group is an area I know well and it's a very exciting prospect.
“This is great news for our clients too. We’ll be able to offer additional services such as team building events and specialist party and event options in many locations around the country.
“CH&Co Group has grown rapidly in recent years through welcoming a number of businesses into the family. As well as making sure this always makes perfect business sense, we’re committed to ensuring our people benefit from enhanced working practices and greater development opportunities that such growth offers.  This is no different, and we look forward to welcoming the Concerto Group team to our extended family."
Adam Elliott, chief executive, Concerto Group added: “For our clients and our teams it’s very much business as usual. As we enter what is perhaps the busiest time of the year for the events industry, our clients will enjoy the great food and service that our reputation is built on.  Looking forward, we will be working closely with our new colleagues to pool resources and expertise to maximise the strength of the partnership and capitalise on the new growth potential available to us.  The year ahead is going to be very exciting.
“Culturally, the two businesses are a great fit.  Looking after our clients and our people is at the heart of what we both do, and as a result, we are able to fulfil our desire to consistently deliver innovative and delicious food and great service that delights and surprises our clients and our teams.”  

New dessert range responds to rise in free-from diets #

Bidfood has launched Better 4 Me, a new dessert range that caters for the health-conscious consumer and the increasing demand for vegan and free-from food options.

The consumer trend for alternative diets is on the up. In fact, an estimated 542,000 people in the UK are now following a vegan diet[1], and the trend for free-from is continuing to grow (54% of the population bought a free-from product in the first three months of 2017[2]).

Better 4 Me features a selection of desserts under 300 calories (per portion), a range of vegan tarts
and a gluten free Chocolate & Olive Oil Cake, to satisfy diners who want to make healthy lifestyle choices but don’t want to miss out on an occasional treat.

Offering the indulgence you would expect from a premium dessert, but without the high calorie count, highlights from the less than 300 calorie range include Lemon & Raspberry Ginger Crunch, Chocolate & Berry Truffle Torte and Chocolate Orange Mousse Cake.

The tempting Better 4 Me selection also includes Vegan Coconut & Chocolate Tart, Vegan Apple & Plum Tart and a decadent Chocolate & Olive Oil Cake with naturally gluten free almonds. The addition of olive oil gives it a deliciously soft texture, making it a great option for all customers – coeliac or not.

Rachel Cook, category manager at Bidfood says:  “All too often we hear about operators missing out on potential ‘pudding profits’ as they’re not tailoring their menus to meet the changing needs of consumers.

“Over the past few years we’ve seen a surge in demand for ‘healthier’ and free-from dessert options. Consumers are increasingly aware of their health and their food choices, but at the same time they don’t want to miss out on an occasional treat. 

“The Better 4 Me dessert range answers this need. It offers consumers an indulgent treat but with the added benefit of being inclusive for all, regardless of lifestyle choice.”

[1] The Vegan Society (March 2014), How many vegans are there in Great Britain?
[2] Kantar Worldpanel (April 2017), Inflation continues as ‘free from’ booms

Bidfood toasts Christmas’ hosts with festive feast #

Bidfood has made the holiday season that little bit merrier by rewarding the industry’s unsung heroes through its Christmas Gift campaign.

With longer hours and busier service periods, it’s understandable that those in hospitality have a very different festive experience to those they are serving. With this in mind, Bidfood launched a campaign to find and recognise those who work on Christmas or Boxing Day and who go the extra mile to make the season special for others.  
From more than 100 nominations, a panel of leading industry influencers including Andy Kemp, Bidfood’s group sales & marketing director; Anne Pierce, chief executive at Springboard; Peter Hancock, chief executive at Pride of Britain Hotels; and Andy Jones, chair of the Public Sector 100 Group, selected eight winners across six industry sectors.   

The full list of winners and categories are as follows:
* Hospitals – Ian Smart, Kitchen Porter, Taunton & Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, Taunton
* Care Homes – Bev Wernham, Kitchen Assistant, Thistle Court Nursing Home, Monmouthshire and * * * Kate Bagwell Head Chef, the Laurels, Weston Super Mare
* Restaurants – Juanita Yansen, Restaurant Manager, The Blue Boar, Abridge
* Pubs and pub restaurants –  Janet Conaghan, Head Chef, The Gretna Inn, Gretna
* Hotels – Caroline Whitney, Head Chef, Vincent House, Notting Hill
* Other (including schools, universities and OOH) – Rachael King, Store Manager, Subway, Wilmslow and Marc Carpenter, Head Chef, CTC Kingshurst Academy, North Solihull 

Each winner will be treated to a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings for them to enjoy with family and friends, as well as a Virgin Experience Day voucher worth £150.

Andrew Selley, CEO of Bidfood says: “We know that around 92,000 chefs, kitchen assistants, waiting and bar staff work in hotels, pubs and restaurants on Christmas day[1], and many more across the whole foodservice industry will give up time with their friends and family. From care homes to restaurants, the kitchen and serving teams are all too often the unsung heroes at this time of year and we wanted to thank them for their efforts by gifting them back a dinner for them to enjoy with loved ones.

For more information about Bidfood’s Christmas Gift campaign and to hear about the winners please visit:

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 in the hospitality industry is up 47% up on average during November and December (The Change Group, 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).
[1] TUC (2015)

Laura Bell becomes first Modern Apprentice graduate for BaxterStorey Scotland #

Eighteen year old Laura Bell from Glasgow has become hospitality specialist BaxterStorey’s first qualified apprentice in Scotland, following the completion of her twelve month NVQ Modern Apprenticeship. BaxterStorey Scotland joined the apprenticeship scheme in 2016 and created its programme in partnership with Goal Training, Scotland’s leading provider of workplace hospitality qualifications.
During her training Laura was based at Scottish Water in Stepps, where she worked under the mentorship of BaxterStorey chef manager Ken Moody. She had the opportunity to work alongside the sites Sous Chefs, developing her skills in the kitchen and learning how to work in a fast paced hospitality environment. She graduated from the scheme with additional qualifications including Level 2 Health and Safety, Level 2 Food Safety and Allergy Training.
Since completion of her apprenticeship Laura has been offered a full time role with BaxterStorey Scotland and is now located at Arnold Clark in Glasgow as a commis chef. She has also joined BaxterStorey Scotland’s prestigious Chef Academy, a unique and creative learning programme which provides developing chefs with an exclusive platform to diversify their skill set, learn from experts in the field and take part in a diverse range of training exercises.  
Commenting on her Modern Apprenticeship, Laura said; “I have learnt so much during my apprenticeship with BaxterStorey and have been part of a truly inspiring team of colleagues. My training has given me the skills and foundation I need to progress my career and hopefully one day run my own kitchen. I can’t wait to get started in my new role with the company as a Commis Chef and to be part of the Chef Academy.” 
Ken Moodie, BaxterStorey chef manager, said; “It has been a pleasure to mentor Laura and see her really develop her chef skills and build her experience. Her passion for food and hard work has impressed everyone at BaxterStorey, so we are delighted to have given her the opportunity to stay with the business. We are sure there are many more great things to come from Laura in the future.”
Modern Apprenticeships are a government initiative that aim to tackle Scotland’s skills gap, helping employers to develop their workforce by training new staff and upskilling existing employees. For individuals an MA job allows them to earn a wage whilst gaining an industry-recognised qualification. 

Mark Hix wows guests with Brigade apprentices at social enterprise supper club #

The Brigade restaurant in London Bridge welcomed restaurateur and renowned chef Mark Hix MBE to its kitchen on Monday 4th December to host its next instalment of the pop-up supper club The Social Diner. Mark joined the seven strong apprentice team at The Brigade to prepare an exclusive gourmet four course dinner for 60 guests, which included Wiltshire Burrata with butternut squash salsa, Starts Bay red gurnard with bone sauce and seashore vegetables and marmalade and Kingston Black steamed pudding.
Each month The Brigade invites guest chefs into its apprentice kitchen to deliver a gourmet masterclass in fine dining to its apprentices on the social enterprise’s apprenticeship programme.

Dining guests can see the chefs at work in the restaurant’s impressive open kitchen while they dine on top quality food. Previous world-renowned chefs involved in the scheme include Michel Roux Jr, The Langham’s Chris King and Shay Cooper, Executive Chef at the Goring Hotel.   

Brigade is a unique social enterprise restaurant which is part of Beyond Food Community Interest Company owned by PwC, and managed by hospitality specialist BaxterStorey. Beyond Food runs four inspirational programmes, including the United Kitchen Apprenticeship that helps disadvantaged members of the community back into work through skills development, training and one-to-one personal support.
Ben, apprentice chef at the Brigade, said: “The supper clubs are amazing experiences and it's great to contribute to such high quality food and work alongside incredible chefs. It's fantastic how many people come to support us and enjoy the food, I can't wait for the next one and am already ready to learn from the amazing Mark Hix" 
Freshlife is a six-week series of motivational workshops that promotes well-being, passion for food and meaningful employment. The United Kitchen Apprenticeship is a fully certified training programme where apprentices study towards an NVQ Level 2 Diploma in Professional Cookery as well as receiving on the job training in the kitchens at Brigade. Since opening in 2011 the enterprise has employed over 100 apprentices from at risk groups including those suffering from substance abuse and homelessness.
For more information about future Social Diner events or The Brigade visit

Sodexo becomes a leading player in Sports & Leisure globally with the acquisition of Centerplate #

Sodexo and Olympus Partners announced that Sodexo has signed an agreement to acquire Centerplate, Inc. a provider of food and beverage, merchandise and hospitality services at sports facilities, convention centers and entertainment facilities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Spain, for 675 million US dollars from Olympus Partners.

Tracing its roots to 1929, with executive offices in Stamford, Connecticut, Centerplate, Inc. is the fourth largest operator by revenues in the United States Sports & Leisure market, the largest market globally.

Centerplate serves stadiums and arenas, annually hosting more than 116 million guests across its portfolio of premier venues for marquee events, including 14 Super Bowls, 36 U.S. Presidential Inaugural Balls, All-Star and Championship games for professional football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, collegiate athletics, and many of North America’s largest conventions. Centerplate’s last twelve month revenues to June 2017 were 998 million US dollars. For reference, Sodexo’s Fiscal Year 2016 revenues for the Sports & Leisure segment were 903 million euro.
This acquisition substantially strengthens Sodexo’s position in the North American market, and brings the Group’s Sports & Leisure business to scale in the region.  In the UK, the acquisition supports Sodexo’s strategy to grow its stadia and cultural destination portfolio. The acquisition also positions Sodexo as a leading player in Sports & Leisure globally, more than doubling its footprint. 

The combined entity will benefit from significant synergies gradually ramping-up from the first year. The acquisition is expected to be mildly accretive to earnings from Fiscal 2018.

Chris Verros, CEO of Centerplate, will lead the new combined business in the United States. Centerplate’s European operations will be integrated into Sodexo’s existing Sports & Leisure business in the region. 

The acquisition is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to be closed by end-2017.

Pierre Henry, vice-president of the Group Executive Committee and CEO Sports & Leisure Worldwide for Sodexo, said: “This acquisition is another step in our long-term strategy to become a leading player in every market in which we are present. Centerplate is an ideal partner with highly professional, dedicated teams who bring a wealth of industry expertise. We look forward to working together with Centerplate to bring exceptional Quality of Life experiences to tens of thousands of fans and spectators around the world.”

Chris Verros, Centerplate CEO said: "With Sodexo, we share the same vision to deliver a unique and memorable service for our clients and guests through our tailored food and beverage programs, unique hospitality design, rewarding event and retail services. Centerplate’s clients will benefit from Sodexo’s global capabilities, solution innovations, other on site services and geographic reach.”

Sodexo Energy & Resources scoops £4m worth of new contracts #

Sodexo announced two new contracts worth a combined value of £4 million.

The new contracts are with Chrysaor, the UK’s leading independent oil and gas company in the North Sea and BW Offshore, a leading global provider of floating production services to the oil and gas industry.

Sodexo’s contract with Chrysaor includes the delivering of facilities management services both onshore at Chrysaor’s offices at the iconic Capitol Building in Aberdeen and offshore at three of Chrysaor’s recently acquired North Sea assets, Everest, Lomond and Greater Armada.

Sodexo is delivering catering, cleaning, security and reception services for around 250 Chrysaor employees based at Capitol House and catering, housekeeping and laundry services offshore for the 200 plus Chrysaor personnel on the three assets.

The contract with BW Offshore sees Sodexo provide catering, housekeeping and laundry aboard a new floating production storage and offloading unit (FPSO), the BW Catcher.  It has a crew of 110 onboard, has an oil storage capacity of 650,000 barrels and a processing capacity of 60,000 barrels per day.

The BW Catcher mobilised from Singapore construction yard at the end of August and has now reached the end of its tow to the Catcher field in the North Sea. Two Sodexo chef managers were onboard for the duration, to support the crew on the journey.

Susan Elston, senior vice president for Sodexo’s Offshore & Marine business in the UK and Ireland, said “We are delighted to have been awarded these contracts. We believe that in the challenging environment of the oil and gas industry the wellbeing and safety of our customers is critical. We are looking forward to partnering with both Chrysaor and BW Offshore to ensure their employees are given the safest and most comfortable working, and living, environment we can.”

Sodexo is the leading quality of life services provider for offshore facilities around the globe, from Asian shipyards through towing operations to exploration and production locations around the world, serving thousands of men and women from the North Sea to Western Africa and from Singapore and Australia to the Gulf of Mexico.  

Sodexo recognises star employees at awards #

Sodexo held its annual Star Awards ceremony at the Westminster Park Plaza Hotel in London on Thursday (23 November).

The Star Awards ceremony the most outstanding of its 34,000 employees across 23 categories. This year it was hosted by Sodexo ambassador Matt Dawson and brand & communications director Melanie Duffett.

The ceremony, which was attended by over 600 people, began with a drinks reception, followed by a three-course dinner and prize giving led by Sodexo UK & Ireland regional chairman Sean Haley.

This year, the Sodexo Star Employee of the Year Award was won by kitchen porter John Holmes, from the Sodexo Education contract at St Edwards College in Liverpool .Judges described John as committed, a role model, hardworking and hugely fun loving, someone who lives the Sodexo values every day.

Malcolm Emery, executive chef in Sports & Leisure, was this year’s recipient of the coveted Alan Tilley Award. Alan Tilley worked for the company for over 40 years and was awarded an OBE for his services to hospitality. The award is given to an individual who exemplifies Alan’s qualities of dedication.

The Rising Star Award was won by category manager Simon Turner, who was acknowledged for his commitment for self-development and how he had taken control of his career path.

Sean Haley, regional chairman, Sodexo UK & Ireland, said in his opening speech: “This is the evening when we celebrate your success; the great things you do every day – day in, day out – that makes Sodexo successful.

“There are people in this room tonight who spend their time at work making every day a better day for our clients, consumers and each other. You deserve to be recognised and rewarded for everything you do; you are critical to the future of this business.”

Sodexo signs up to Government’s Disability Confident scheme #

Sodexo has signed up to the Government’s Disability Confident scheme to employ, support and promote people with disabilities.

The announcement came ahead of the United Nations’ International Day for Persons with Disabilities (3 December).

Sodexo’s head of diversity and inclusion for the UK and Ireland, Megan Horsburgh appeared on BBC Breakfast today (30 Nov) talking about employability skills for people with disabilities as part of the program’s week-long focus on disability in the UK.

To mark the United Nations’ International Day for Persons with Disabilities Sodexo is raising awareness of invisible disability with a campaign to raise awareness with its employees and externally.

Case studies from employees’ own personal experiences of invisible disabilities, such as anxiety and depression, diabetes and hearing impairments, will be shared through posters, internal communications channels and social media.

On Monday 4 December, Sodexo’s D&I team hosted a webinar – ‘making invisible disability visible’ – for all employees on the company’s approach to disability, including more personal stories from employees about caring for someone with disability or those delivering inclusive services to customers.

Disability is one of six focus areas within Sodexo UK and Ireland’s diversity and inclusion strategy, the others being gender, cultures and origins, sexual orientation and gender identity, generations and inclusion.

Paul Anstey, executive sponsor for disability at Sodexo UK & Ireland, and CEO for Schools and Universities in the UK & Ireland, Nordics & Benelux regions said: “Signing up to the Government’s Disability Confident scheme recognises our commitment as an employer of 34,000 people serving many more customers every day to recruit, retain and develop people with disabilities.

“I look forward to opening our webinar ‘making visible disability visible’ to mark the United Nations’ International Day for Persons with Disabilities. I would like to thank our employees sharing their personal experiences. By talking about these topics more openly we can break down stereotypes, challenge perceptions, and create an even more inclusive environment.”

The magnificent seven - new members elected to CESA Council #

At the CESA AGM, held during its conference, new members were elected to the Council. CESA is the voice of the catering equipment industry and the Council plays an active role in shaping legislation and implementing initiatives within the industry.
“We welcome these new members and look forward to their input on future CESA projects,” says Glenn Roberts, chair of CESA. “We had a lot of interest in the Council this year and some very worthy applications. I’d like to congratulate all those who were successful in getting elected, offer commiserations to those who didn’t make the Council this time and urge them to try again next year. We will be encouraging all those who stood to get engaged in CESA work, as their skills and experience are key to the development of the association.”
Three of the seven are re-elected members.  They are: Stephen Goodliff, Managing Director, Contacto; David Parsons, Financial Director, Classeq; and Stephen Hobbs, Managing Director, Grande Cuisine.  The four new members are: Simon Lohse, Managing Director, Rational UK Ltd; Paul Anderson, Managing Director, Meiko UK Ltd; Lawrence Hughes, Sales and Marketing Director, Falcon Foodservice Equipment; and Iain Munro, Managing Director, Hobart UK Ltd.

Connectivity at Hotelympia: CESA’s Connectivity Trail helps visitors connect; plus new Energy-Saving Equipment Guide #

Stand 4270, Hotelympia, ExCel London, 5-8 March 2018
At Hotelympia 2018 CESA has organised a Connectivity Trail, which will allow visitors to go straight to companies that offer ‘connected’ equipment, so they can find out more, direct from the experts.  CESA will also be publishing a new Energy-Saving Equipment Guide, with a handy list of ‘green’ appliances that are on show at Hotelympia. 
CESA has helped develop the new equipment area at Hotelympia, called The Professional Kitchen Show.  The Trail and the Guide are part of the promotion of this latest show feature. 
“Connectivity is going to have huge implications for anyone running a commercial kitchen,” says Glenn Roberts, chair of CESA.  “We want to help visitors understand the potential of the technology.  It’ll reduce costs.  It will help make your business more efficient.  It’ll reduce equipment downtime.  It will maximise the lifetime of equipment.” 
Connected equipment is linked to the internet and its operation can be monitored from anywhere, via a digital device such as a tablet.  “Perhaps the biggest impact will be on equipment maintenance and service,” says Glenn.  “For example, a connected appliance will warn anyone monitoring it if a component is failing, or if a consumable has run out, such as rinse aid in a warewasher.” 
CESA’s Hotelympia Connectivity Trail will feature a variety of different manufacturers and appliances, highlighting those that are featured at the Show. 
CESA’s guide to energy-saving equipment features all the latest ‘green’ technologies from CESA members, including those that are on display at Hotelympia 2018.  Refrigeration, induction hobs, commercial microwave ovens… there are new developments in every area of catering equipment and the CESA Energy-Saving Equipment Guide will be a useful reference tool for anyone involved in equipment purchase. 
Copies of both the Connectivity Trail and the Energy-Saving Equipment Guide will be available to download from   Visitors to the Show can pick up copies from the CESA stand, 4270.  

Premier Foods takes the top spot second year running #

Premier Foods announced that its Premier Foodservice team picked up the Service to Caterer’s Gold Medal at the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) awards for the second year in a row.
Voted for by FWD Wholesale members, this award recognises the Premier Foods foodservice team’s contribution to wholesale channel caterers.
Channel director for foodservice, wholesale, catering and B2B, James Porter, commented on the accolade: “We’re extremely proud to have won this award for a second year in a row. We recognise that this is a strong category with tough competition and so we are delighted to be able to take home the gold medal again. It demonstrates the high standards we set out to achieve here at Premier Foods and the team should be really proud of all their hard work, leading to such a great achievement, congratulations to all!”

Compass Group UK & Ireland launches EAT. partnership as part of Debenhams contract win #

Compass Group UK & Ireland has announced a  franchise partnership with EAT. – the leading high street grab-and-go brand.

This exclusive collaboration will be brought to life as part of a fantastic contract win for Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Instore business with Debenhams.

The EAT. partnership will initially be activted at two Debenhams’ stores in Basingstoke and Portsmouth, with a view to rolling this out across more Debenhams’ shops over the next few years. Debenhams restaurants, cafes and branded food partners serve the 19 million customers that use the 175 UK and Republic of Ireland department stores every year.

The EAT. concessions will provide customers with a variety of delicious fresh food, cooked from scratch every day and including hot food options such as pies, wok pots and soups, plus cold grab-and-go offers such as sandwiches, salads, cakes and pastries. Seasonal menus and ongoing recipe development will ensure the EAT. offer remains perfectly in tune with its customers. EAT. also serves great quality coffee, chilled frappes and coolers, as well as the finest tea.

EAT. will become a hugely valued addition to Compass’ growing partnership portfolio, as it joins a suite of leading brands that the business works with. These partnerships sit alongside a number of Compass own-brands, providing clients with the best of both worlds when it comes to choosing a solution that perfectly meets their individual requirements. This franchise partnership with EAT. highlights how Compass is meeting the evolving demands of the market, through offering a wide range of balanced and nutritional food-to-go.

Andy Rees, managing director for Instore, part of the Business & Industry division of Compass Group UK & Ireland said; “This new brand partner is perfectly placed within our Debenhams contract and will deliver a fantastic range of good quality food and beverages to our customers. We’re delighted to be bringing the EAT. brand into our business’ offer.”

Louise Pilkington, marketing director, Compass Group UK & Ireland said; “We’re thrilled to be extending our brand portfolio with such a well-respected national name as EAT. Our shared focus on providing customers with great tasting, seasonal food makes us an ideal match and will ensure we’re perfectly placed to adapt to the rapidly growing grab-and-go market. Our insights tell us food-to-go is what our customers increasingly look for, but they’re not prepared to compromise on taste and quality, so we’re confident working with EAT. is giving our consumers more of what they want.”

Andrew Walker, CEO, EAT. said; "It feels really good to be launching a new exclusive franchise partnership with Compass to operate EAT. stores inside Debenhams and potentially in the future expanding to hospitals and universities within the Compass client base. We hope this is the start of a long and fruitful partnership. This is a great opportunity for EAT. to work alongside other leading brands and to reach a wider audience. The first of these opportunities is within Debenhams, and we look forward to sharing our great-tasting, good mood food with Debenhams’ shoppers!”
Sam Shutt, head of external business – Food Services, at Debenhams commented; “Our partnership with Compass’ Instore business gives us the opportunity to maximise our customers’ shopping experience by offering a range of quality food and drink. We know our customers will love the EAT. brand and we’re looking forward to seeing it in two of our stores later this year.”

Compass’ recent ‘Eating Out of Home’ survey, estimates that the grab-and-go market is now worth £20.1bn in the UK.

New dishes launched as part of Autumn/Winter Steamplicity menu #

Steamplicity, the innovative steam cooking system created by Compass Group UK & Ireland, has launched its Autumn/Winter menu, bringing a range of new dishes to thousands of patients across the UK.

Steamplicity works using a unique steam valve to cook meals in minutes, using fresh and raw ingredients – ensuring a high nutritional value as well as meals that taste and look great. Compass’ Healthcare division use the system to deliver meals to over 6 million patient meals in over 70 NHS Trust and private hospitals across the UK.

The updated menu is based on insights from the Patient Association’s Patient First Report, commissioned by Compass Group UK & Ireland, which outlined 16 recommendations for a great hospital food and drink service. The new menu focusses on the provision of high quality food which satisfies the top three patient priorities: great taste, wider choice and correct temperature. Traditional and wholesome dishes, such as lamb and lentil stew or salmon and tomato pasta, are at the heart of the new menu alongside more adventurous meals, Chinese chicken curry for instance, offering comfort of choice in a menu with over 30 meals included.

Of the eight additions, three are vegetarian dishes, a decision made in line with patient feedback. These include a cheese and potato pie, vegetarian meatballs and roast potatoes, as well as potato, leek and pearl barley soup. There is also a choice of finger food, aimed at helping patients living with dementia eat more easily.

Steven Cenci, managing director – Healthcare, Compass Group UK & Ireland said of the new menu: “The innovative nature of our Steamplicity system allows us to cook fresh and raw ingredients in just minutes, enabling us to provide patients with food that is both great tasting and nutritious. Coupled with the findings from our Patient First Report we have the tools to continually perfect our patient dining offer and these new dishes really strengthen the choice we have on the menu.”

Kate Edgecombe, new product development manager Steamplicity, commented: “We have already gained great feedback from clients and patients, especially around the increased choice.  We work really hard to develop our menus, using insights to make informed decisions, so it’s great to see the new dishes being enjoyed by patients nationwide.”