Members’ News

May 2018

CH&CO introduces a new group structure and brand identity #

CH&CO Group has launched a simplified group structure that will operate across the UK under the name CH&CO and with a new, strong brand identity that clearly defines the marketplaces in which it operates.

An extensive review highlighted the desire to reduce the number of brands in the group’s portfolio and to simplify the structure going forward, focusing on its core strengths of creating simple, smart and stirring food experiences that are thoughtfully sourced, prepared and presented.

CH&CO will continue to operate in the same marketplaces it always has, but its 20+ brands are to be replaced with defined operating sectors: CH&CO Workplaces; CH&CO Destinations; CH&CO Venues; CH&CO Events; CH&CO Education; and CH&CO Livery.

A small group of endorsed brands will continue to operate where the unique nature of their marketplace dictates. These include Principals by CH&CO and ABsolutely by CH&CO; both specialist companies within the State catering sector. The Brookwood Partnership will become CH&CO Independent Education later this year.

From June 2018, all new business will be bid for under the new branding.  It is planned that following consultation with clients, existing business will transition to the new branding by October 2018. 

Bill Toner, CEO, CH&CO, said: “This is a very exciting and positive move for the group. We’ve been through a period of major change, driven by both organic growth and significant merger activity, which has taken us to a £300 million business. Our new strategic partnerships have inevitably created a group structure that’s more complex with a large portfolio of brands, with some areas of cross over.  This restructure and rebrand is an obvious next step. The CH&CO name is strong and well-respected in the marketplace and the company holds a Royal Warrant.  The rebrand also defines who CH&CO now is, it underpins our integration process, and cements our position and expertise in an increasingly competitive foodservice market.

“From talking to clients, consultants, other industry professionals and our people, it was clear that our group structure needed clarification and simplification to clearly define the marketplaces in which we operate and focus our time, energy and core strengths where it matters most; on our customers. And, this is what the new CH&CO structure will achieve.

“Our rebranding plans have been very well received by everyone we’ve spoken to and, most importantly, our clients. Given that we operate as ‘white label’ for most of our clients, the overwhelming feedback has been that our change in brand name is not an issue for them or their customers.  They want to continue to deal with the same people, maximise the systems efficiencies the group can offer, and continue to enjoy the service quality and innovation we’ve always delivered, and that will continue to happen. 

“We launched the new structure, vision and identity to our teams during our nationwide conferences a few weeks ago, and the feedback has been incredibly positive.  This transition is not going to happen overnight, but everyone is looking forward to working within our new identity that plays to our absolute strengths.”

University of Northampton appoints CH&CO as new catering partner #

CH&CO has been awarded the catering and hospitality contract for the University of Northampton, strengthening the independent catering and hospitality group’s position in the higher education sector.

The three-year contract is worth over £12million in turnover over the duration of the contract.

The University of Northampton, which has approximately 13,000 students, was the first UK university to be given Changemaker Campus status in 2013 in recognition of its work to help people and/or the environment.  As a leader in social innovation, it is opening a vibrant new campus, Waterside, in August 2018. CH&CO will partner the university to help bring its vision to life through a bespoke approach to catering and a sustainability focus.

CH&CO is providing catering and hospitality services at the food and drink outlets on the original campuses, extending to the new facilities on Waterside Campus from August.  The catering portfolio features nine outlets, including restaurants, cafés, hospitality services, vending and all soft services at a 32-bed hotel, which provides a live training venue for hospitality and tourism students. CH&CO will also refurbish Newton Café on Avenue Campus to bring it up to the high standards of the new facilities.

In a competitive tender, CH&CO stood out for its tailored offer that aligns with the university’s social impact initiatives and reflects its objective to engage with students and enhance their overall university experience through every touchpoint.  CH&CO’s extensive expertise and proven adaptability in large-scale retail catering, appealing menus that encourage healthy and sustainable choices, on-trend food concepts, and innovative sustainability initiatives shone through and secured the partnership.

The partnership has established a three-year sustainability plan that includes: initiatives to significantly reduce single-use plastics, such as removing plastic straws and giving every student a reusable cup; maximising all possible recycling opportunities, such as food waste, coffee grounds, disposable cups and effective waste sorting; using electric vehicles on campus; responsible sourcing that supports local suppliers and producers; and proactively promoting healthy and sustainable meal choices.

Charles Willoughby,business development director for CH&CO, said: “We’re very excited to be working with the University of Northampton. The new partnership strengthens our position in the higher education market, and we certainly mean business! The university is a dynamic, inclusive and forward-thinking establishment that really resonates with our own culture.  Quite rightly, we’ve created a bespoke catering and hospitality offer that reflects its innovative vision and sustainability focus and will enhance the students’ university experiences.  Every university is different, both physically and culturally.  There really isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach for this market and as we continue to grow our footprint in the higher education sector, we will do so with relevant individual offers and strong partnerships.” 

Robert Griggs, the University of Northampton’s project director, said: “The University of Northampton is looking to maximise the opportunities that will arise from our new campus development and we’re very pleased that CH&CO is on board. The team understands our vision and plans and its strong retail experience will be very helpful in ensuring that our model works and that our students receive a positive and thoughtful experience at every catering and hospitality touchpoint.

“The partnership so far has been very positive. The team has integrated seamlessly and the TUPE process is excellent. The incumbent staff have received training, even before the contract began, and everyone has access to CH&CO’s great learning and development programmes to progress their careers.  We look forward to working in close partnership with CH&Co in making our catering and hospitality services very successful.”

CH&CO achieves Gold with top-level health and safety award for 2nd year running #

CH&CO has been awarded the highest accolade of a RoSPA Gold Award for the 2nd year running.

The award reflects the group’s outstanding health and safety performance for 2017 across its entire estate and is confirmation of its commitment to raising standards of health and safety management.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Awards scheme, which receives entries from organisations around the world, recognises achievement in health and safety management systems, including practices such as leadership and workforce involvement.

As well as retaining this top-level accreditation from RoSPA, CH&CO has also scored an impressive 100% in the Achilles audit, which assesses health and safety practices and supply chains for compliance with laws, regulations and standards. 

Emma Hill, head of food, health, safety and environment at CH&CO, comments: “It wouldn’t be possible to gain these accreditations without the hard work of my HSE colleagues and the wider CH&CO team ensuring that our safety standards are maintained across all of our sites and offices.  From short refresher recaps to our in-depth training courses, everything adds up to ensure that we continually exceed our safety requirements. It’s wonderful that everyone’s dedication has been recognised with the RoSPA Gold Award.”

Julia Small, RoSPA’s head of awards and events, said: “The RoSPA Awards are the most highly-respected in the health and safety arena, with almost 2,000 entrants every year, and allow organisations to prove excellence in the workplace, demonstrating a commitment to the wellbeing of not only employees but all those who interact with it.”

CH&CO chief operating officer, Terry Waldron, added: “We’re extremely proud to have achieved this top-level accreditation for the 2nd year running.  It’s a clear indication of the emphasis the operations and health and safety leadership place on our health and safety culture across the entire group. CH&CO has been through a period of significant growth but this clearly hasn’t phased our team and we’ve maintained the same strong focus.  The RoSPA Gold Award shows that the health and safety systems in place are clear and robust and I congratulate and thank everyone involved.”

CH&CO will be presented with the award at a ceremony at ExCeL, London on Tuesday 19 June 2018.

Mark Sargeant launched new London restaurant and deli, Sargeant's Mess, at Tower of London #

Sargeant’s Mess,​ the new all-day restaurant, bar and deli from renowned chef Mark Sargeant, opened on 4 May.

The all-day restaurant, bar and deli, created in partnership with CH&CO and Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that cares for the Tower of London, brings modern British dining to the iconic Tower of London.

Set within the Tower of London environs, on the banks of the Thames and framed by Tower Bridge, Sargeant’s Mess will pay homage to the heritage of this historic location with a menu of modern British seasonal dishes for which Sargeant has become known. The all-day restaurant menu, created by Mark with head chef Simon Oakley - who has worked with Mark for over five years - will focus on British classics with their signature twists.

Of the partnership Mark comments, “​Our aim at Sargeant’s Mess is to create a modern British diner - we feel that this historic location demands a menu            that focuses on well-executed, iconic British dishes, offering quality food that is accessible and affordable."

In the restaurant, breakfasts will feature ‘S​moked haddock kedgeree cake with poached egg’ and ‘​Toasted waffles with bacon & syrup’. Lunch and dinner menus will include ‘Atlantic cod with dripping chips, mushy peas & tartare sauce’ and ‘​Roast red onion and Gruyére tart with celery & apple salad & walnut pesto’. There will be a rotating selection of daily specials, including ‘​Pressed shoulder of lamb, minted potatoes & mushy peas’ and ‘Crispy Gressingham duck leg with broccoli & mash’. The adjoining cafe-deli will focus on grab-and-go options, including fresh soups, vegan salads and filling sandwiches, served in biodegradable packaging.

The 85-cover restaurant will have a relaxed, modern look with restaurant seating and counter dining in the bar area. The adjoining cafe-deli will focus on takeaway options, with an additional 10 covers for quick lunches and coffee breaks.

Launching in time for summer, the restaurant will also have terrace seating offering an additional 40 covers, overlooking the river and the Tower. 

An accessible, affordable wine list, premium beers and seasonal cocktails have been chosen by Mark to complement the food offering, whilst a terrace bar will serve prosecco on tap, frozen cocktails and beer slushies during the warmer months.

The joint venture between Mark Sargeant, CH&CO and Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) is a result of CH&CO’s recent retention of its catering contract with HRP and its commitment to provide fresh, innovative food, beverage and service experiences for the millions of visitors to the world-famous attractions the Tower of London, Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace, and to those living and working within each locality.

CH&CO and HRP are delighted with this new partnership/addition, which is part of a significant investment in the catering facilities that will help realise ambitious growth plans and respond to consumer demand.

Effects of the ‘sugar tax’ already being felt #

BB foodservice – the delivered foodservice arm of Bestway Wholesale – has revealed it’s already seeing effects from the soft drinks industry levy, which came into play on Friday 6 April 2018.
Tony Holmes, sales director, BB Foodservice (Bestway Wholesale) said: “Several of our key suppliers have been making recipe changes in preparation for the levy, with Britvic already having cut sugar across its product range, including Fruit Shoot and J2O. And changing patterns in our sales data suggests operators are making changes too. Our March sales of lower and zero sugar variants are much higher than they were last year.”
Depending on how much extra sugar has been added to a drink, an additional levy of 18p or 24p per litre will be applied:
- No tax on drinks with less than 5g of sugar per 100ml
- Low tax (18p per litre) on drinks with between 5-8g of sugar per 100ml
- High tax (24p per litre): on drinks with +8g sugar per 100ml 

How the levy affects popular brands[1]
- No tax: Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Pepsi Max, Schweppes Slimline Tonic Water, IRN-BRU, and Red Bull Sugarfree
- Low tax: 7up
- High tax: Coke, Pepsi, Red Bull 
Tony Holmes concludes: “There’s no legal requirement to pass the additional cost on to customers. However, the government and policy makers have made it clear they expect to see price differences as a result of the levy. And we expect many operators will have little choice but to pass on at least some of the cost. Our advice is to review your offer, ensure you’re giving customers a wide choice, and replace your slowest selling lines with lower and zero sugar variants.”
[1] List supplied is non-exhaustive

Millennial demand for well-known table sauces explodes as new generation of diners prove big on brand loyalty #

With 72% of 18-35 year olds demanding branded table sauces when eating out (1), America’s number one selling mustard and hot sauce brands (2) – French’s™ and Frank’s RedHot™ – are helping caterers profit from a new generation of brand savvy consumers.
French’s and Frank’s RedHot have been ever-present on the tables and menus of UK restaurants such as Honest Burgers, Meat Liquor and Domino’s Pizza for some years, achieving close to cult status with millennial diners. New research with 1,000 UK-based 18-35 year old’s by the brands’ owner, McCormick Flavour Solutions (1), has revealed that over 90% consider both to be quality brands with over 85% consumer trust.  
In both cases, 70% of millennials – those highlighted by data analysts MCA Allegra as the demographic leading the drive for innovation in the eating out market (3) – agreed that French’s and Frank’s RedHot are innovative brands, with a resounding 90% declaring them to be ‘full of flavour’.
Chris Cannon, commercial controller at McCormick (UK) Flavour Solutions comments: “Many of the trends in the UK eating out market have originated from America, so it’s no surprise that French’s and Frank’s RedHot – as the US’s number one hot sauce and mustard brands – have already achieved iconic status with so many diners over here.
“In a marketplace where so many players are competing for spend, millennials are perhaps the most important demographic of diner – 53% have admitted to eating out at least once a week (4).  These people know what they want from the eating out experience and their demand for well-known brands on tables and menus highlights this.”
McCormick Flavour Solutions is turning the tables on uninspiring sauces, giving sites across the UK the opportunity to sample full size bottles to use front of house and in recipes helping them bask in the brand power of two of America’s biggest and most flavoursome exports.
1 (McCormick 2018 via Toluna (1000 18-35 year olds))
2 Nielsen - Latest 52 weeks ending 9/16/2017
3 MCA 2017
4 Morgan Stanley 2015
5 UK caterers can request the following free samples: 1 x 148ml Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce, 1 x 226g French’s Classic Yellow Mustard

“Good riddance to Q1…but there is hope on the horizon,” says Peter Backman #

Following a tumultuous start to the year, fuelled by both man-made and natural factors, the start of 2018 is a period most operators will want to forget, according to Peter Backman, analyst and commentator on the eating out market.
“Over-capacity, crippling business rates, supply issues and the Beast from the East have all played a part in the downward curve, which has inflicted many brands – many of which are beyond recovery.  There has been a 20%* increase on the number of restaurants entering administration compared to this time last year,” says Peter in his Quarterly Briefing Report.
The headlines have been awash with high profile restaurant closures from Jamie’s Italian to Prezzo, which have been caused by overcapacity, lack of innovation, very high business rates and increasing food costs.  Supply and distribution also has been affected, some of which was self-inflicted – KFC is a case in point – but, the major contributor was the adverse weather conditions.
Andy Kemp, group sales and marketing director at Bidfood comments; “The heavy snowfall earlier this year has certainly had an impact on the industry. During adverse weather conditions you still want to be able to deliver an excellent service to all of your customers, particularly those who rely on deliveries, for example; care homes, prisons and hospitals, but ultimately the safety of employees travelling to work and out on delivery is the number one priority. As a result of this, we’ve witnessed school closures as well as many companies forced to offer a limited service in the worst hit areas, which has ultimately led to the industry taking a hit to their Q1 figures.”
All of these problems were on top of an already decreasing consumer demand, that has been on the downward turn for the last nine months.  Consumers are simply not eating out as frequently, driven by take-away delivery, restaurant-branded food bought from the supermarket and a general lack of consumer confidence. 
So what does the future hold?

“The first quarter has been a hugely challenging start to the year, making the future look pretty bleak. The market is declining faster than it was 12 months ago, but, not as fast as it was three months ago.  So, there is hope on the horizon.  Whilst Q2 figures will largely mirror Q1, we hope to see the green shoots of recovery at some point this year.
“I’m currently looking at when the upturn will come, what factors are necessary to allow it to happen and what the concepts and offers will look like. Largely speaking, we are likely to see a move away from the big chains and a focus on independents, portfolio brands and a more personalised offer that gives the consumer a feeling of individuality,” concludes Peter.

The Foodservice Forum 2018 announces top-level programme #

Distinguished foodservice specialists will explore the power of fresh fruit and veg F raise industry profits at the interactive event in London.
This year’s programme has just been announced for The Foodservice Forum 2018 – the hugely successful one-day event dedicated to ‘Putting Produce First’ in the foodservice industry, which takes place on June 6, 2018 from 8.30am until 4.30pm in the Ballroom of the Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s iconic Park Lane.
A stellar line-up of high-profile foodservice, hospitality and catering industry experts are now confirmed to take part as speakers and panelists, in addition to event host Jason Danciger, a Paris-trained chef and restaurateur, who is now the UK managing director of the Hana Group.
Danciger explains: “This is a show that stands out from the rest of the pack by its vibrancy of relevant market information and fresh produce trend setting. It’s a must-see event that boasts a crystal ball to fresh produce innovation and market news in both retail and hospitality.”
Sponsored by Reynolds, The Foodservice Forum is the prelude event to The London Produce Show and Conference (LPS), and attracts major UK and international buyers, chefs, operators, suppliers and influencers from across the foodservice, catering, hospitality and fresh produce sectors.
‘Fresh Produce Boosts Profits’ is the central theme to this year’s programme, which will see industry heavy-hitters discuss how to effectively utilise fruits and vegetables to grow the foodservice business.
Topics to be explored include:
- how fresh produce can contribute to the bottom line;
- the role fresh produce has to play on menus with respect to health and wellbeing;
- the impact on kitchens of plant-based, vegan and vegetarian trends;
- how to grow your foodservice business;
- the changing face of procurement;
- the start-up newcomers to watch out for. 

Find the full itinerary for The Foodservice Forum 2018 here.
A live chef demonstration will also take place on the stage featuring Paul Gayler MBE. Representing LifeWorks Restaurant Group, Gayler is one of the UK’s culinary masters and a pioneer of vegetarian haute cuisine.
The Foodservice Forum 2018 will begin with a comprehensive overview of the current and future eating and drinking trends in the UK presented by Simon Stenning, the executive director of MCA, which delivers cutting-edge news, opinion, insight, data and market intelligence on the UK eating and drinking out market.
The growing interest in health and wellbeing will then be addressed by Kate Taylor, the founder of consultancy The Food Boss, who will chair a panel discussion on how foodservice operators can help to improve public health, and the significant role that fresh produce has to play on menus in terms of contributing to a healthy lifestyle.

The health and wellbeing panelists include: Andy Craig, head of fresh food, field team & food service at UK supermarket operator Sainsbury’s; Dan Kelly, the director of food at Vacherin, Amy Roberts, director of nutrition and food development for Holroyd Howe; James Greetham, business director at Levy Restaurants UK; and Steven Novick, the US-born founder of London-based healthy food company Farmstand.
After that, the spotlight will fall on the kitchen with a Chefs’ Round Table Discussion chaired by Lin Dickens, marketing director for bartlett mitchell. This presents an opportunity for a panel of top executive and development chefs to assess the impact that the hugely popular trend for plant-based, vegetarian and vegan meals is having on menu planning, ingredient sourcing, kitchen production and skills application.
The chefs taking part include: Lloyd Mann, global culinary director for Sodexo; Rob Kirby, chef director at Lexington Catering; Chris Knights, executive chef for Young & Co.’s Brewery; Simon Price, chef director for ISS Food and Hospitality; and Thomas Rhodes, executive chef at Twickenham Stadium.
After the lunchtime networking break, Chris Sheppardson, founder and managing director of both EP Business in Hospitality magazine and Chess Partnership, will conduct a special interview with a number of dynamic foodservice entrepreneurs to find out how to grow your foodservice business.
The interviewees will include: Nigel Harris, who is the founder of The Proper Food & Drink Company, and the former owner of Fresh Direct; as well as Tony Reynolds, managing director of Reynolds, one of the UK’s leading suppliers to the foodservice sector.
Following that, the second panel of the event will bring together some of the leading buyers, procurement specialists and influencers in the foodservice sector, featuring: Steve Fox, purchasing director of UK-based independent contract caterer, bartlett mitchell; Matt Jones, a senior buyer at Reynolds; Angela Malik, programme director at Gather & Gather and UK government advisor via The London Food Board; and Christopher C. Gaulke, professor of food & beverage management and food chain logistics at Cornell University in the USA.
The Foodservice Forum will then come to a close with a glimpse towards the future by showcasing the newcomers to watch out for, including Catherine Salway, CEO and founder of Redemption Bar, a healthy restaurant and alcohol-free bar with two sites in London.
The Foodservice Forum blends a mix of engaging and interactive seminars, discussion panels, and ideation sessions. It addresses the very latest eating and drinking trends, and the plentiful opportunities presented by the world of fresh fruits and vegetables to contribute to the UK’s diverse and thriving foodservice industry.
Delegates are expected to attend the third annual edition of the event from across the UK and international foodservice supply chain, according to London-based foodservice consultant Jeni Edwards of IjEss Consulting, who is coordinating the programme.
Edwards comments: “Foodservice remains a diverse and thriving industry in the UK, with plentiful potential to make fresh produce more prominent on plates.
“We’re gathering everyone from fresh produce growers and wholesalers to hospitality and foodservice providers to discuss issues related to the current market, as well as to expand their network.
“Those attending the forum this year can expect to learn more about how fresh produce can contribute to the bottom line and the changing face of procurement as the demand for fresh fruit and veg continues to grow.”
Danciger adds: “Overall, The London Produce Show and Conference is a genius touch point to understand the tidal wave of interest in fresh produce and healthy eating.”
The London Produce Show and Conference will continue to explore the role of fresh produce in foodservice, in addition to the latest cooking techniques, on the day after The Foodservice Forum in the Chef Demonstration Kitchen, which runs alongside the trade exhibition on Thursday 7 June.
This year’s line-up includes a number of high-profile chefs from a diverse background of culinary disciplines, including: Robert Ortiz (LIMA restaurants), Dipna Anand (Brilliant Restaurant and Dip in Brilliant), Tom Cenci (Duck & Waffle), Carlos Martinez (Chucs & KX) and Dr. Rupy Aujla (The Doctor’s Kitchen), plus Christian Weij (Puur-e), a celebrated Dutch chef, fermentation specialist, food designer and author.

Fleet Street Communications appointed by Casio #

Fleet Street Communications (FSC) has been appointed by Casio, best known for manufacturing state-of-the-art Japanese technology, as it continues to grow with its robust and reliable EPOS solutions for the wider on-trade.

Following a successful six-month period during which FSC implemented Casio’s first-ever digital content strategy, and as Casio pushes forward with supporting operators across the hospitality and leisure sectors, FSC will deliver a PR programme to raise awareness of the company’s innovative technology solutions. FSC will also be providing consultancy on market trends and developments, drawing on its wide expertise in the field.

Casio’s Lucy Allen said: “At Casio, we have been creating powerful and innovative EPOS solutions tailored specifically for hospitality businesses for over 40 years. The full-time appointment of FSC marks the next step in an incredibly exciting time for the brand. FSC’s experience, expertise and strong industry knowledge in the sector shone through, and we’re confident they are the perfect partner to help us demonstrate how our technology helps hospitality businesses improve customer service and drive sales.”

Mark Stretton, managing director at FSC, added: “We are delighted to be supporting Casio, a leading technology company with a rich history. We’re passionate about working alongside likeminded, forward-thinking businesses that truly deliver a unique and dedicated approach. Our specialist knowledge in digital communications, combined with our expertise across the wider leisure and hospitality sectors, will enable us to create quality content and build Casio’s profile in the industry.”

Elior UK refreshes ‘You & Life’ to help people lead healthier, happier lives #

Elior UK has refreshed You & Life – the programme which brings all its health, nutrition, and wellbeing activity together. The new programme has been updated to reflect the latest government guidance and has been strengthened with a raft of tactical measures to improve health and wellbeing.
Dr. William Cook, head of nutrition & dietetics, Elior UK, said: “People are more interested in ‘wellness’ than ever. But at the same time, we’re constantly bombarded with conflicting advice. At Elior, we think it’s our responsibility to help people achieve the right balance for them.
“Rising health problems linked to poor diets is an area where we can make a real, positive difference. That’s why we’ve refreshed You & Life with the latest government guidance, a more modern look and feel, and given it the teeth it needs to help people lead healthier, happier lives.”
The new programme will promote health and wellbeing in three key ways. Firstly, by educating customers, clients, and employees via the dedicated You & Life website, at healthy eating events, and with clear customer facing information – making it easier to recognise healthier choices.
The programme also includes ‘health by stealth’ recipe tweaks (e.g. using lower-salt, rindless grilled bacon in the all-day breakfast sandwich) as well as smart operational strategies like ‘Remove, Reduce, Replace’ (i.e. removing sugar sachets from tables, reducing the amount of sugar in recipes, and replacing high sugar items with healthier snacks). As a result, Elior’s cakes, biscuits, and puddings already meet the 2020 category reduction targets Public Health England have set on sugar reduction.
And to make the healthy choice the easy choice, Elior has launched an exciting new concept to sit inside the new You & Life programme – Elements. The award-winning range puts a strong focus on fresh, natural food (the elements for a super life) and has been hugely popular – forcing an average sales uplift of 8%.
To find out more about You & Life, visit Or to see some of the deliciously irresistible dishes in the Elements range, go to

Top chefs mentor Elior apprentices ahead of ‘Inspirational Dinner’ #

As part of Elior’s Chef School programme, Elior apprentices were given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work alongside top chef mentors like Tom Kerridge and Claire Clark as they served a four-course Inspirational Dinner at Lloyds of London on 26 April 2018.
The dinner saw the students cater for more than 150 guests – raising money for Elior’s charity partner, Heads Together, and building their skills and confidence as they look to pursue their dream roles as chefs.
Each course was designed by one of five chef mentors:
Canapes – The Urban Rajah (Ivor Peters)
Starter – James Goulding
Fish course – Tom Kerridge
Main – John Williams MBE
Dessert – Claire Clark MBE 

As part of their preparation, students worked alongside the chef mentors at their respective hotels and restaurants. And through its award-winning eXperience customer service training programme, Elior also handpicked four ‘service champions’ to be given masterclasses from Fred Sirieix.
Peter Joyner, food development director, Elior UK, said: “Catering for an event of this magnitude is no mean feat, but our apprentices put in the hard graft for months, soaking up everything they can from their chef mentors at some of the finest culinary establishments in the country.”
16-year old Imogen Pickles, who came third in Springboard’s FutureChef competition – which Elior sponsors – was also been given the chance to work on the dinner, as part of her prize.

Guests raise thousands for Heads Together at Elior ‘Inspirational Dinner’ #

Elior colleagues and guests from across the foodservice industry raised thousands of pounds for Elior’s charity partner – Heads Together – at the Elior Inspirational Dinner on 26 April 2018.
In exchange for their generosity, guests were treated to a phenomenal four-course dinner designed by the likes of Tom Kerridge, John Williams MBE, and Claire Clark MBE; paired with wines selected by Fred Sirieix; and cooked by chef apprentices from Elior’s award-winning Chef School programme.
Charlotte Wright, corporate social responsibility manager for Elior UK, said: “Mental health is an issue which can affect any of us at any time. Heads Together is doing fantastic work to help tackle stigma and provide life-changing support to people in need. With our help, and with the funds raised at the Elior Inspirational Dinner, Heads Together can continue to support those affected by mental health issues and ensure people can access help when they need it most.”
Elior has supported Heads Together – the mental health campaign of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry – as its partner charity since October 2017.
Lorraine Heggessey, CEO of The Royal Foundation, said: “Heads Together combines a public awareness-raising campaign to remove the stigma around mental health with innovative programmes, to provide people with the tools they need to support their mental health wherever they are and whenever they need it. It is fantastic to have the support of Elior staff; the help of companies such as Elior, Heads Together enables us to continue our work in this vital area, so thank you for all of your support.”
As well as making charitable donations for the dinner, guests raised thousands buying tickets for the raffle – which included chocolates from William Curley and hampers from Fortnum & Mason and Paul Rhodes – and vying for incredible prizes in the silent auction.
The auction lots – which included tickets to Scotland v South Africa at BT Murrayfield, lunch at Galvin at Windows, and a pair of tennis balls signed by Venus and Serena Williams – even sparked a good-humoured bidding rivalry between two Elior colleagues. The highest bidder finally achieved victory by a margin of 1p!

New look, new brands and new sites: Délifrance UK celebrates 30th anniversary in style #

Délifrance  is celebrating its 30th anniversary in the UK with a refreshed visual identity, new brands and an investment in new and existing sites.
Fresh, French style: the new look Délifrance UK
A complete refresh of Délifrance’s look and feel unifies the brand’s global identity, and its foodservice and retail offers.
Stéphanie Brillouet, Délifrance UK marketing director said: “A key part of our new-look brand is to put people first. We’re so proud of our people and what we call our human chain. Our farmers, our millers, our bakers and all our employees play a huge part in delivering incredible flavours, creating much-loved products and making every day delicious. We’re always creating, testing and tasting, and our bright, colourful new brand reflects the creativity we deliver every day.
“Délifrance is present in 100 countries around the world. Each country has different trends and tastes, but we sell a little bit of France wherever we operate. This new visual identity stretches across every country Délifrance operates in, bringing all 100 countries a little bit closer together to show that wherever we may be, Délifrance is always inspired by age-old French know-how to ensure quality in every product.”
The brand refresh includes a new look logo, colour scheme and Délifrance UK website. It’s quintessentially French – eye-catching, stylish and modern – and reflects the brand’s mission: to live everyday delicious.
A range for any requirement: restructured brands
Alongside the new look, Délifrance UK has restructured its vast array of viennoiserie, patisserie, savoury and bread products into a range of distinct brands: Core, Essentials, Heritage, ‘Feel Good’, ‘à la folie!’ and ‘A taste of’.
The brands are designed to make it easy for customers to find the exact products they need, with each brand bringing a unique and diverse product offering:
- Core: tasty, genuine and honest Délifrance products
- Essentials: simple pleasures to suit every taste and budget without compromising on quality
- Heritage: the highest quality flavours thanks to the best ingredients and French artisan know-how
- Feel Good: wholesome pleasures to treat taste buds and bodies well
à la folie!: premium treats providing a highly sensorial and sophisticated experience
- A Taste Of: authentic flavours from the world, enhanced by Délifrance’s long-lasting know-how and quality 

Baking the very best: 30 years and counting
This year marks Délifrance UK’s 30th anniversary, 25 years since the brand started producing bread at its Wigston factory, and 10 years since that factory began fresh viennoiserie production.
Today, Délifrance is continuing to grow and expand. It’s investing further into its Wigston factory to increase capacity, and is opening a new Ireland headquarters. Away from the UK, Délifrance has recently acquired Heinz KG Bakery in Germany, providing a new site that will see Délifrance expand its premium, artisanal bread range.
Stéphanie said: “It’s an exciting time for us at Délifrance UK and across the wider business. We already develop upwards of 300 new products a year, and these new sites and expansions will help us create and deliver even more.
“It’s been a fantastic 30 years for us in the UK, and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store.”

Premier Foods appoints Damian McLoughlin as new Foodservice Director #

Premier Foods has appointed former Unilever Sales Director, Damian McLoughlin, as its new Foodservice Director. McLoughlin joins the Premier Foods foodservice division after a successful 17 year international career at Unilever.
Commenting on his appointment, Gary Taylor, sales director at Premier Foods, said: “We are really delighted to have Damian on board to lead the future development of our strategy. We are confident he will continue to lead the foodservice division to success with a breath of new and fresh ideas, as well as expert industry knowledge and we can’t wait to see the vision develop as he settles into role.”
Damian joins Premier Foods following a busy start to the year, with the foodservice team launching the fourth successive McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year competition and the second stage of its award-winning Dysphagia Solutions Programme.
On his new role, McLoughlin says: “I am looking forward to getting fully immersed into the Premier Foods business. It is the success and passion I have seen from the foodservice division, coupled with such innovative campaigns and leading brands that I have admired. As a priority, I am committed to exploring new ways to use data and insights to generate actionable solutions that meet the broader business needs of our chefs, caterers and operators.”

‘McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year 2018’ shortlist unveiled #

Premier Foods announced the five shortlisted schools for its McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year competition. Reaching top scores in the preliminary judging, congratulations go to the following schools: Mendip Green Primary School, Overleigh St Mary’s CE Primary School, St Martin & St Marys Church of England Primary School, Woodlands Primary School and Gurnard Primary School. The shortlist will compete in a live final held at catering exhibition LACA (Lead Association for Catering in Education) ‘The Main Event’ in Birmingham on Thursday 12 July.

Sarah Robb, channel marketing manager at Premier Foods comments: “Since the start of the year, we have been overwhelmed by the number of recipes which have rolled in and we have thoroughly enjoyed the tricky task of sifting through to identify our potential winners. We’re now in the fourth year of the competition and the entries continue to get bigger and better. It’s always exciting to see which local ingredients the schools have chosen, we’ve seen vegetables grown in a school garden, eggs from the local dairy farm, locally sourced honey, and one school which organised a trip to personally visit a nearby farm to select their ingredients. A huge congratulations to everyone who entered and good luck to those who’ve made it through to the final, we are looking forward to the competition.”   

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

The McDougalls Young Baking Team of the Year competition helps school caterers to encourage teams of up to three children, between the ages of 7 and 11, to develop an interest in cooking skills by baking either one sweet or one savoury recipe, including a product from the McDougalls Flours or Flour Based Mix range. Continuing with the successful theme of ‘local produce’, teams were also required to include an ingredient that had been sourced within a 30 mile radius of their school, a great way to encourage children to learn about food sourcing and provenance, and to cook with local ingredients.  

The five finalists will compete for the chance to win the jackpot of £1,000 worth of kitchen equipment for their school. All runners up will also receive £250 worth of kitchen equipment in this year’s new and tempting twist.

Lead association for catering in education (LACE) announces major new sponsorship deal for School chef of the Year competition with Premier Foods #

LACA Ltd and Premier Foods’ flour mix brand, McDougalls have announced a new sponsorship agreement for the School Chef of the Year (SCOTY) competition, starting from the 2019 competition.  The competition has been running for over 25 years and every year receives significant interest from both the industry and consumers with extensive TV and press coverage.  The competition is operated to fit with the school food standards that every school in the country is asked to adhere to and that form the basis of the menus that provide every five to seven year old in England with a school lunch through the government’s Universal Infant Free School Meals programme.
The new sponsorship agreement will give the industry judges an opportunity to review the competition criteria and to align it further with current school food standards and consumer eating trends, it will also allow the team to modernise the marketing and entry processes.
Neil Porter, LACA chair of events, commented: “We are very excited about this new partnership. McDougalls is an ideal brand to support SCOTY as it grows and develops into one of the industry’s highest profile chef competitions.  The team at Premier Foods bring an extensive knowledge of the education catering sector, which will help us to make the competition easier to enter, and more exciting and dynamic for competitors and observers alike.”
Sarah Robb, channel marketing manager at Premier Foods, added: “We are delighted to be announcing our new sponsorship of SCOTY, which has such a credible reputation within the industry. We are looking forward to delving head first into the competition mechanic and entry process to make it an easier and more attractive opportunity for caterers.
“Our McDougalls range of flour based mixes offer an easy to use base for a range of sweet and savoury dishes, so school chefs can really get their creative juices flowing when developing and mastering their school compliant recipes for the competition,” adds Robb.
The 2019 competition will be launched at the LACA Main Event on July 11th 2018 at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, where current School Chef of the Year, Michael Goulston from Peartree Spring Primary School, Hertfordshire, will be cooking his winning dishes for all visitors and delegates to taste at The Main Stand.  The winner of the LACA School Chef of the Year 2019 will be announced in March 2019.

Commercial Kitchen gains further association support #

ceda, FCSI, UKHospitality, BSA, PAPA, HCA and more to host association led Keynote sessions at the show
Commercial Kitchen announced its first speakers and new panel sessions for 2018.  The event returns to the NEC Birmingham on 5-6 June.
Reflecting the show’s strong industry support, Commercial Kitchen has more than doubled its association partners this year, with many of them also set to host dedicated Keynote sessions that focus specifically on the kitchen or back of house. 
Returning associations include: ceda (the show’s lead partner); The Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) (partner); and Hospital Catering Association (HCA).   New association supporters include: UKHospitality; The Pizza, Pasta and Italian Food Association (PAPA); The British Sandwich & Food to Go Association/Café Life Association; British Institute of Innkeeping (BII); National Association of Care Catering (NACC); and Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA).
“ceda is delighted to be involved at the highest level with Commercial Kitchen, returning as Lead Partner for 2018.  As the UK’s only show dedicated to the commercial kitchen industry, it provides a great opportunity for ceda Partners to showcase their equipment to ceda members and end-users, who are looking for the latest innovations in professional catering equipment in one place.  We strongly encourage all our members to visit,” says Adam Mason, director general of ceda.
The show’s exclusive big name panel sessions will cover everything from the smallest to the biggest kitchens, including equipment innovations, technology, procurement, design, efficiency, sustainability, and best practices.
Keynote highlights include:
Big questions for kitchen houses (hosted by ceda)
Clare Nicholls, editor of Catering Insight, will lead a panel of some the country’s most influential kitchen project experts giving their take on recent design developments.  Panelists include ceda chairman Mark Kendall, director of Inox Equip; Anna McNamara, MD of Catering Equipment Solutions (Peterborough); Jack Sharkey, owner & MD of Vision Commercial Kitchens; and ceda’s southern region chair Cathy Wilcox, MD of Wilcox Burchmore.
ceda’s Award Winning Kitchen Design panel, also led by Ms Nicholls, unites this year’s ceda Grand Prix Award winners of Best Small, Best Medium and Best Large Projects to discuss their cutting edge commercial kitchen design and execution.  The panelists will be announced after the awards on 27 April.
As in previous years, visitors will also be able to view (and be inspired by) all the shortlisted entries from the 2018 awards in the ceda Awards Gallery (located near the show’s entrance).
Big questions for consultants (hosted by FCSI)
Managing food waste, shrinking commercial kitchen footprints and working with an increasingly younger, more diversified operator base – are just some of the topics that Michael Jones, editor of FCSI’s Foodservice Consultant Magazine, will be covering in this exclusive session.  Julian Edwards, chairman of FCSI (UK&I) and owner of Food Service Allergen Management, and Matthew Merritt-Harrison FCSI, managing partner of Merritt–Harrison Catering Consultancy, are among the panelists already confirmed.
“The FCSI is delighted yet again to be a Partner on Commercial Kitchen and foresees the 2018 event to be a true celebration of the best equipment and innovation available to food business operators in and out of the UK!” says Mr Edwards.
Hospitality in the UK – reasons to be cheerful (hosted by UKHospitality)
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the newly formed UKHospitality, will chair a panel of leading operators discussing the growth potential for the hospitality industry and, in turn, commercial kitchens in the UK.  Panelists will be sharing their success stories and reflecting on the many opportunities ahead.
“The kitchen is at the heart of many vibrant and exciting hospitality businesses and venues across the UK.  We are delighted to support Commercial Kitchen and are looking forward to a great event,” says Ms Nicholls.
Compact Kitchens – being innovative in smaller spaces (hosted by the BSA and Café Life Association)
Martyn Clover, head of food at Tortilla – the UK’s largest fast-casual Mexican restaurant chain, and Tyron Stephens-Smith, creative & project director at TAG UKltd, will be among the panelists discussing the considerations and best practices when it comes to operating innovative, efficient and ergonomic kitchens in smaller spaces.
“Brilliant, innovative, sustainable equipment is really important to Tortilla, so Commercial Kitchen is the best place to source and test the things that make our kitchens work even better,” says Mr Clover.
“We are pleased to support Commercial Kitchen,” says Jim Winship, director of BSA & Café Life Association.  “Having the right equipment is vital for food-to-go businesses, where the speed and efficiency of service are so critical to success.”
The Perfect Pizza Kitchen Panel (hosted by PAPA)
What does it take to turn a good kitchen into the perfect pizza and Italian restaurant kitchen?  Jane Treasure, food & beverage director at PizzaExpress, Tom Mullin, executive chef at Pizza Pilgrims, Marco Fuso, founder of London International Pizza School, and TAG UKltd's creative and project director Tyron Stephens-Smith, will be sharing their thoughts on the absolute must haves, in terms of equipment and design, to deliver a show stopping offer for customers.
Building Better Kitchens in Hospitals (hosted by HCA)
Public Sector hospitality is under increased pressure to be adaptable in today's foodservice industry.  Juggling growing expectations, cost restrictions, nutritional care et al while keeping up with today's catering technology and equipment to meet the highest of standards, is incredibly challenging for healthcare catering providers.  ‘Building better kitchens in hospitals’ would seem to be the answer…
The HCA’s national chair Stewart McKenzie will be joined in this session by representatives from the NACC (Roger Denton, national secretary) and ceda (Mark Kendall, chairman).  Together, they’ll address some of the key challenges for 2018 and beyond, and share their vision of how to take the Public Sector forward.  The panel will be chaired by Phil Shelley (immediate past chair of the HCA) and will also feature NHS hospital trusts consultant Andy Jones, chair of PS100.
“Expanding the knowledge of healthcare caterers is essential if we are to broaden our experiences and provide exemplar services.  As the only UK show solely dedicated to catering equipment and services I strongly encourage all our members to attend this not to be missed event,” says Mr Shelley.
“Suppliers to the care sector are incredibly important.  The support they offer care caterers and chefs through innovation, insight and advice is most valuable.  Commercial Kitchen is a must-attend event – I urge all our members to visit the show, talk to the exhibitors, listen to the speakers and join in the debates,” says Neel Radia, national chairman of NACC.
Commenting on the phenomenal industry support the show has inspired, event manager Katie Tyler says: “Our association partners represent tens of thousands of professionals working across the hospitality and foodservice industry.  We’re delighted with their support and together they’ve been helping us to develop an even stronger event for 2018.  We look forward to welcoming their members and partners to Commercial Kitchen for two days of unrivalled product launches, innovation, free education and networking.”
“Having a show dedicated to the commercial equipment market, showcasing suppliers’ new products and innovations, is great.  Even more so that it’s centrally located, which means more of my staff, including designers, estimators and my technical project sales team, can attend – allowing them to keep abreast of new developments,” says Jack Sharkey MSc, MD of Vision Commercial Kitchens.
Free trade registration
Commercial Kitchen returns to the NEC Birmingham on 5-6 June 2018.  Show features include a free two-day seminar programme, the Innovation Challenge Awards, and ceda Awards Gallery.
For further information, and to register for a free trade pass, please visit

Sodexo wins Glasgow 2018 European Championships contract #

Sodexo has won the contract to deliver catering for the Glasgow 2018 European Rowing Championships and European Triathlon Championships at Strathclyde Country Park – part of the new multi-sport Glasgow 2018 European Championships.

Around 160 elite triathletes and 600 of Europe’s best rowers are expected to compete at the venue between 2 and 11 August.

Sodexo will provide nutritionally-balanced meals made from the finest Scottish ingredients to athletes and team officials, technical officials, volunteers, Championships Family and spectators.

Over the course of the 10-day competition it is expected more than 10,000 meals will be served to teams and staff, alongside catering for the general public.

With plans to recruit around 50 additional staff to provide support during the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, Sodexo will be providing employment opportunities to locals and those with catering industry experience.

David Forbes, account manager, Sodexo Sports & Leisure, said: “We are delighted to be the chosen caterer for the European Rowing Championships and European Triathlon Championships.

“Thanks to our wealth of experience we have both the knowledge and infrastructure to deliver the highest-quality service to locals and visitors to Strathclyde Country Park.

“Many of the team who will be working on the Glasgow 2018 European Championships also participated in our work with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, putting us in a prime position to deliver an outstanding service.”

The Glasgow 2018 European Championships is the biggest sporting event to be staged in Scotland since the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and will take place in venues across Glasgow and Scotland.

For more information visit

Sodexo cooks up trio of new appointments #

One of the world’s leading catering organisations has the recipe for success, following the creation of three new appointments.

Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events has consolidated its position as a leader in the field with a number of new roles which will help drive the business forward. Tom Beauchamp, who has worked for the company for five years, has become Development Chef UK and Ireland for Sports and Leisure, working on a range of strategies. This includes looking at the offerings at all the venues run by Sodexo, along with ways of further developing their chefs
“My new role has been amazing so far,” said Tom. “And although my title is development chef, this isn’t just about developing our food offering, it’s also about introducing practices which will help our huge team of chefs to grow and innovate so that we are always offering something new and exciting to our customers
Tom still remains involved in major events and will also be running the food operation at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.

Also in a new role is Ben Dutson, who has taken up the position of Regional Executive Chef, which will include overseeing the food operation at Ascot Racecourse, Bateaux London and Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre.

At the same time, Ben will be responsible for culinary innovation and delivery of Sodexo’s major events business which represents some of the most prestigious dates on the British events calendar, including Royal Ascot, RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Henley Royal Regatta, The Open and Hampton Court Flower Show.

Joining the company is Ian Page as Head Chef for Major Events, who has a wealth of experience working in hospitality for major events as well as private companies.

Natasha Carr marketing manager for Sodexo prestige Venues & Events said: “All of these chefs not only have impeccable credentials but bring with a vast amount of knowledge and experience to the business.They are aware of the need to offer the highest standards, incorporate the latest trends and anticipate the next and to concentrate on important issues like seasonality and provenance in everything we do. We are delighted to have such a strong team in these very important roles.”

Nicola Morris appointment strengthens Sodexo’s corporate services team #

Sodexo has appointed Nicola Morris as divisional managing director and head of food within its corporate services business.

Nicola joined on 1 May and has assumed responsibility for a number of Sodexo’s large corporate accounts and the company’s contract portfolio in London. Nicola will also lead in the delivery of the UK corporate services food strategy and joins the executive team for corporate services UK & Ireland.

Nicola joins Sodexo from Compass where she gained vast experience in operations, marketing, business development, business excellence and customer experience.

David Bailey, CEO, corporate services, Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: “We are delighted to have Nicola join our team. Nicola brings extensive experience from the industry and together with our two other divisional managing directors, Sam Scott and Lee Morgan, we have a strong leadership team to support our clients and customers and our operational teams across the UK.”

Sodexo enters franchise partnership with Crussh #

Sodexo has signed a franchise partnership with Crussh to introduce the high street brand to its retail offer across the UK and Ireland.

The deal will see Crussh outlets opening at Sodexo client sites with large volumes of customers, including universities, hospitals, major events and corporate workplaces. Crussh will be an exclusive offering to Sodexo’s clients in these markets.

Founded in 1998 as London’s original juice, smoothie and healthy fast food retailer, Crussh now has 30 stores in the capital where the focus remains on wellbeing of employees and customers.

Sodexo is committed to providing and encouraging consumers access to healthy lifestyle choices as part of its sustainability roadmap Better Tomorrow 2025.

The deal will see more than 35 Crussh franchises open at Sodexo sites across the UK and Ireland over the next five years, with the first due to launch later in 2018.

Dan Corlett, Sodexo Service Operations head of food platform, said: “We’re delighted to partner with Crussh and bring this innovative and healthy brand to our clients and customers, and complement our sustainability strategy Better Tomorrow 2025.

“Crussh will be taking a creative approach to the requirements of each location, so customers could see food trucks and pop ups as well as traditional café formats.”

Shane Kavanagh, CEO of Crussh, said: “This is a really significant partnership for us, provides an incredible opportunity to bring our brand of healthy food to a new audience in locations where we think we can make a real difference. 

“Our goal at Crussh is to improve the wellbeing of our people and our customers, and since we began this process we have felt a great alignment with Sodexo’s aim to promote quality of life services. We have been working on this for some time, and we can’t wait to get the first site opened.”

Bidfood expands reach in the north with new Penrith depot #

Bidfood has expanded its reach in the north of England, with the opening of a new depot in Penrith, Cumbria.

The depot was acquired from Blakemore Cash and Carry and sees the transfer of experienced local staff previously employed at the site over to the Bidfood team.

Alongside these employees, Bidfood will be looking to provide even more employment opportunities, from warehouse roles, to office support and drivers.

Featuring a 21,357 sq ft ambient centre and 5,078 sq ft freezer development, Bidfood’s Penrith depot will service a variety of customers within the region, including Centre Parcs and Beacon Hill School. To help streamline customer services, the depot now features a customer Click & Collect service and a Same Day Delivery option. Bidfood is also planning to work closely with local cheese and meat suppliers to offer its national customers local Cumbrian produce.

Norman Wemyss, COO at Bidfood said: “Having started my foodservice career many years ago in Carlisle, I understand the desire that customers have to trade with wholesalers who are truly embedded within the local community. Whether that is through involvement in local projects, providing employment for local people, or supplying locally-sourced products.

“In order for Bidfood to continue to meet local caterers’ needs, it’s vital for us to offer a truly local service, with the majority of our depots no more than 80 miles away from our customers. The investment into the new Penrith depot will help us to continue to deliver this.”

Alan Joyce, general manager at Bidfood’s Penrith depot, said: “These are exciting times for Bidfood with the opening of our new Penrith depot.

“Penrith is strategically placed so that we can improve our service offering into the surrounding areas of Keswick, Windermere, Carlisle, Workington and Penrith.”

Survey finds 77% of consumers would spend more when tempted by the smell of a barbecue #

Research by Bidfood[1] has revealed that the aroma of a barbecue would attract more than three quarters of consumers (77%) to eat at a pub or restaurant, even if they were only planning to have a drink. This figure highlights significant potential for the sector to maximise sales this summer through an enticing alfresco dining experience.
To tempt customers, pub and restaurant operators need to ensure they have a varied barbecue menu. While the traditional English selection will continue to draw favour, with two thirds (66%) of consumers choosing it as their favourite, a taste of America follows hotly on its heels with 59% of respondents stating this amongst their preferred barbecue options. Bidfood’s research also shows that world cuisine offers standout potential with the spicy, fragrant flavours of Jamaica and the Caribbean appealing to over one third (36%) of consumers surveyed.
As expected, the usual meat options continue to rank highly with barbecue fans but, perhaps surprisingly, chicken has taken the top spot with over half (52%) of respondents choosing it as one of their most wanted barbecue items. Beef burgers came in second at 47%, closely followed by sausages at 46% and steak with 42% of the votes. However, mirroring broader dining demand, 80% of those surveyed agreed it is important for pubs and restaurants to offer vegetarian and vegan options – think jackfruit and vegan duck – after all there are now 42,000 people in the UK following a plant-based diet[2].  
Lucy Pedrick, insights manager at Bidfood said: “The summer season is arguably one of the most crucial trading periods for a pub or restaurant, with 76% of those we surveyed visiting between 1-5 times a month. Barbecues present a potentially lucrative incremental revenue stream, where publicans and restauranteurs can seize the lunch-time, post-work and early evening drinks sales opportunities, and extend dwell-time considerably. As the survey results illustrate, the open-style cooking and aroma of a barbecue is appealing enough to lead consumers to put their hands in their pockets and make an unplanned food purchase.”
Pedrick continued: “With publicans and restaurateurs often running a barbecue pop-up alongside lunch and dinner menus, it’s important that chefs find ways to work smarter, not harder, to ensure they can deliver.
“Operators need to maximise consumer insight, tapping into the potential to offer not only a well-thought-out range of barbecue items, but also easy to manage toppings and sides that enable consumers to customise their purchases. For example, Bidfood’s Create Summer range includes everything from American-inspired staples such as Farmstead Tomahawk Steak and Perdix Battered Chicken Escalope to Premium Selection Barbecue Pulled Pork with Jalapeno Peppers – perfect on its own or as a burger topping – and Lion Maple and Bourbon BBQ Sauce to add that finishing touch.
“Here at Bidfood we’re big on flavour and offer a wide selection of authentic marinades, rubs and seasonings from around the world, which work perfectly for barbecues. These include Franks Red Hot Chilli ‘N’ Lime Sauce, Lion Korean BBQ Sauce and Middle Eastern Za’atar marinades. What’s more, tapping into the booming vegan trend, Bidfood’s Chefs Choice Jackfruit and a range of vegan cheeses are also on offer, along with a huge host of other meat-free options.”
Investing in high-quality, premium cuts of fresh meat that are fully traceable, means consumers can be reassured they know where their food is coming from. Bidfood takes food sourcing seriously. It’s fresh meat brand, Farmstead, is based on an ethos of trust, consistency, quality and value and comes from approved BRC accredited providers and is compliant with the EU Animal Welfare Directive 98/58/EC. The range is Red Tractor accredited and consists of over 300 products sourced from selected suppliers that we have built longstanding relationships with. Farmstead is a member of the Quality Standard Mark scheme, which is one of the highest levels of independently inspected quality assurance for meat – specifically beef and lamb. It also offers a range of Halal items, catering for all tastes and needs.
For more information on Bidfood’s Create Summer and Fresh Meat ranges, visit:

[1] Survey of 500 respondents conducted by Toluna on behalf of Bidfood (April 2018)
[2] The Vegan Society (December 2017)

BaxterStorey launches dedicated Barista Academy training centre #

Building on the success of its bespoke Barista Academy courses, BaxterStorey, has launched a dedicated training centre for its coffee-loving academicians.  
Since its inception in 2009, the academy has trained over 300 employees a year on average in the art of coffee service. However, a new, devoted training space has been created at the BaxterStorey London office in Gray’s Inn Road to meet the increasing demand for training from the business.   
The centre includes eight functioning stations for teaching, a range of hand-built espresso machines, brewing equipment and a reverse osmosis waterfiltration system.  
The BaxterStorey barista training team are all Speciality Coffee Association-qualified trainers who deliver fully certificated training to teams. The new training centre joins BaxterStorey’s already award-winning learning and development initiatives including the Chef Academy and the recently launched Service Academy. 
Jana Slamova, Barista Academy manager said the new space created for the Barista Academy supported the business’s passion for fresh food with beautifully made coffee: “The Barista Academy has trained client teams to enhance their coffee knowledge, the quality of the coffee they serve and the way in which they serve it. The training centre in London is great space and provides a dedicated and professional environment for all our baristas and aspiring baristas in which to learn”. 
Noel Mahony, co-chief executive of BaxterStorey said: “BaxterStorey’s passion for coffee and training has not only spearheaded great quality coffee offers to clients, but has also placed our baristas in the highest tier of coffee specialists within the UK.” 
Two baristas from BaxterStorey’s AXA headquarters contract in Brussels recently finished first and second in the 2018 Belgium Barista Championship, and first-placed Remy Poirot  will now go on to represent Belgium at the prestigious World Barista Championship 2018, which is being held in Amsterdam in June. 
Noel continued: “Our mission is that everyone in our business that touches coffee service will have undertaken training with the academy team. We will continue to evolve our training to encompass the best of quality and delivery of hot beverages throughout our business, one cup at a time.”

Alastair Storey takes number one spot in The Caterer Top 100 #

Alastair Storey, chairman and CEO of Westbury Street Holdings (WSH), and president of the Institute of Hospitality, took the top spot in The Caterer Top 100 Most Powerful People in Hospitality list, which publishes today. 
Storey, whose WSH portfolio includes leading brands BaxterStorey, Benugo, Caterlink, Holroyd Howe, Portico and Searcys, as well as restaurants The Woodspeen, Mere and Hix, beat JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin and global restaurateur and TV personality Gordon Ramsay to number one in the sixth power list to be published by The Caterer. Hotel icon Nick Jones of Soho House & Co (a new entry to the list) and Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand follow the top three in fourth and fifth place, respectively.  
Back for the first time since 2012, The Caterer Top 100 Most Powerful People in Hospitality recognises key players whose actions have the greatest impact, and ranks candidates on criteria ranging from direct power, proven record of financial success, innovation, future potential and their wider influence across the sector. 
The 2018 list marks the second time that the hospitality operator has clinched the top spot, with organic growth among the group’s subsidiaries delivering more than £800m in turnover. Latterly, WSH has expanded its public dining offer thanks to collaborations and joint ventures with chefs John Campbell (The Woodspeen restaurant and cookery school), Mark Hix (Restaurants Etc) and Le Gavroche alumni Monica and David Galetti (Mere).  
It also follows his appointment as an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2017, a year after being named president of the Institute of Hospitality. In 2016 he became the first foodservice operator to be inducted into the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame, organised by The Caterer in partnership with its sister brand Travel Weekly, in recognition of his commercial success and for his extra-curricular work which includes chairman of the trustees of the front of house-focused Gold Service Scholarship and  Patron of the Edge Hotel School.  
Commenting on his position at the top of the list, Storey said: “It is a tremendous honour to be recognised by one’s peers, but I am indebted to the teams around me at WSH, as well the organisations that I work with on a broader scale, and the great work that they do day in, day out."   “Looking at the list, there are lots of household names and companies represented that offer fantastic training and development programmes. The power list sends a strong message to people, and especially mums and dads, that this is a solid and vibrant industry that’s worth joining for a colourful and varied career."   
“There is so much opportunity, and the UK hospitality sector is now in a really great position globally so we really can offer people incredible roles and career paths. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a degree, but if you like people, you like dealing with people and you like looking after people, it’s the place for you.   

“Over the last three or four decades, the industry has come on massively and, arguably, comes pretty close to the top of the list in terms of career choices, and its suits those who have energy, excitement and a desire to be at the top of their league perfectly.” 
Chris Gamm, editor of The Caterer, which this year celebrates its 140th year of publishing, said: “It is fitting, as part of our 140th anniversary celebrations, to recognise the operators that have achieved phenomenal success and had a major impact on their sector, business and teams.

“As well as heading the UK’s largest independent foodservice business, Alastair Storey has overseen the expansion of WSH into the public dining arena and played and inspirational role in raising the profile of front of house staff through the Gold Service Scholarship.

“Alastair is an inspirational business leader who has remained at the top of his game since The Caterer last compiled its Top 100 Most Powerful People in Hospitality list in 2012 and is a worthy recipient of the number one position.” 

BaxterStorey recognised in Birmingham City University People Awards #

BaxterStorey announced that employee Marianne Philippou (General Manager at Birmingham City University’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire) was awarded winner of the Enterprise Individual Award at the University’s first annual CFO People Portfolio Awards earlier this month.  
The Awards were introduced by Birmingham City University Chief Finance Officer, David Wilkins, with the aim of recognising the exceptional contribution that the University’s staff make within the organisation. BaxterStorey Hospitality Manager, Adam Warden, was also nominated for the Enterprise Individual Award and the BaxterStorey catering team was nominated for the Student Transformation Team.  
Food at the event was catered for by the fabulous catering team, with over 150 guests enjoying a festival of street food inspired dishes from braised aubergine curry, edamame bean and quinoa salad, chilli and mint chicken skewers and more. 
Commenting on her award, Marianne said: “I’m thrilled to have received the Enterprise Individual Award. It’s great to work in such a rewarding environment, where students and colleagues appreciate every bit that we do at the University’s Royal Conservatoire. I couldn’t have achieved this without my incredible team who are always amazing me with their skills and resourcefulness, I’m very proud of us all”.  
Jane Grimmett, assistant director of estates and facilities at Birmingham City University said: “The Awards are a fantastic initiative and way for us to celebrate the great work being achieved within the organisation.  Considering this is our inaugural year, the volume and calibre of finalists has been outstanding. Marianne and all of our winners are examples of the dedication from our partners to give our students and guests the best experience at the University.” 

BaxterStorey works alongside West Lothian organisations to promote rural careers #

‘Farm to fork’ event gives school pupils a look into rural career options 
Pupils from across 25 schools in West Lothian, participated in a unique event designed to introduce them to the variety of food-associated careers and industries within Scotland.  
Organised by Scotland’s Rural College, Developing the Young Workforce's (DYW) West Lothian regional group and Lantra Scotland, it was a day of learning and understanding about career development opportunities and the farm to fork food chain journey. 
Held at SRUC’s Oatridge campus in West Lothian, pupils took part in interactive workshops run by employers across food development, horticulture and hospitality industries including BaxterStorey, Dawnfresh, Quality Meat Scotland and MacDonald Hotels; giving the pupils a taster of the industry career choices available to them in the next few years. 
The Oatridge BaxterStorey catering team were on hand to talk to the children about the role and responsibilities of a hospitality provider, including the training and development available through its award-winning training academies.  
Gemma Lilgert, BaxterStorey catering manager at SRUC Oatridge said: “It was fantastic to be involved and it was a big team effort providing breakfast, lunch and refreshments to event attendees, as well as running a stall at the event.  
“It was really rewarding being able to talk to the next generation of potential hospitality stars and to share with them how rewarding a career in this industry can be. We also had fun with the children, asking them to guess the names of unusual vegetables, which they loved. We had some great answers – some children thought purple potatoes were stones”.  
Learning resources manager at SRUC Des Martin, said: “The Farm to Fork event was an outstanding success. Local schoolchildren learned more about the many different industries involved in producing the food we eat. It was great to see so many youngsters inspired by the range of interactive activities and a huge thankyou goes to everyone involved.” 

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland celebrates two decades of growth and success #

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland has announced it has reached two major milestones: exceeding £100m sales turnover and employing over 500 people across the UK & Ireland. The Total Coffee Solution provider has also revealed its new visual identity and a fully refurbished headquarters.
With the support of Japanese parent company UCC Holdings, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland has invested £1.3m into refurbishing its Milton Keynes headquarters – an investment that will benefit the company’s team and its customers. The new-look HQ includes a new training and demonstration facility, dedicated to its industry-leading COFFEEWORKS training programme. The training area gives UCC Coffee’s team of coffee specialists the perfect stage to support customers on how to produce consistent, exceptional coffee regardless of scale. The site’s unique live-streaming capabilities will enable more customers than ever to benefit from training in a time and way that suits them.
Its on-site workshop has also seen a complete upgrade, making it more efficient for UCC Coffee’s service and maintenance team – the largest in the country – to support the installed base of coffee machines across the UK. The space has doubled in size providing a significant increase to capacity for preventative maintenance of machine modules and roll-outs of coffee machines, with heavy investment in technology, including a new telemetry hub. The hub allows engineers to manage machines from afar and pre-empt issues using live diagnostics, giving customers predictive maintenance and the benefit of maintenance efficiencies.
The refurbished office is just one part of continuous investment across the business, all to make processes more efficient and beneficial for customers. UCC Coffee’s Dartford roastery will be increasing its capacity to 18,000 tonnes by the end of 2018 to cater to ever-growing customer demands. Also, alongside the refurbished office, UCC Coffee is launching its new visual identity, complete with a brand new website. The new look and brand refresh gives UCC Coffee UK & Ireland an aligned identity with the UCC European Group.
Elaine Swift, managing director, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, said: “We’ve gone from strength to strength over the past two decades becoming the UK’s leading Total Coffee Solution. In that time we’ve worked with the biggest names across international retailers and foodservice, as well as smaller businesses all looking to deliver the highest-quality coffee possible. Everything we’ve done and do is built on an ethos derived from our Japanese heritage – innovation, hard work and a dedication to delivering exceptional coffee to every customer.
“The past has been great to us, but now we’ve hit these major milestones it’s time to look forward. With our growing team, global network, new look brand and website, and the vast investment we’ve put into our Milton Keynes headquarters and Dartford roastery, the future for us and our customers is more exciting than ever, and we can’t wait to get our Total Coffee Solution in front of more businesses.”

Chartwells Independent scores top marks with Merchiston School #

Chartwells Independent, Compass Group UK & Ireland’s specialist provider of catering to the independent education sector, has been awarded a new contract to provide catering, hospitality and cleaning services to Merchiston School, in a deal worth £5 million over five years. 

Merchiston School, based in Edinburgh, is Scotland’s only all-boys independent boarding school. Founded in 1828, it is located in 100 acres of parkland and has over 450 pupils in attendance.  

Chartwells Independent will be developing a tailored food offer that will match the calibre of the school and reflect its ethos, which is based on people and relationships, as well as the development of personal character and traditional values. Chartwells will be serving breakfast, lunch and tea seven days a week at the school, as well as delivering hospitality catering.

In line with the school’s commitment to pastoral care, whereby all boys have a defined support structure in place to monitor and mentor their well-being and happiness, Chartwells Independent will be complimenting this by supporting the school’s health and nutrition mission. Examples of this include Chartwells’ Smart Food programme which ensures pupils can make positive food choices, resulting in a well-balanced diet.  

Richard Taylor, managing director, Chartwells commented: “Chartwells Independent is proud to be working with Merchiston School to provide catering, hospitality and cleaning services that reflect the school’s quality. We will be working side by side with pupils and colleagues at the school to enhance the dining experience, drawing on the knowledge and experience of our expert chefs and nutritionists to create delicious and nourishing meals.”

Pippa Axon, bursar, Merchiston School, Edinburgh added: “Chartwells has a proven track record in the independent education sector of successfully understanding the unique requirements of each and every school, providing pupils and staff with well-balanced, healthy meals. That’s why we looked at all the available options and have decided to work with Chartwells. As Merchiston School, Edinburgh moves into the future with confidence and vision, we are delighted to be working with Chartwells for the next five years. Together, we have much to achieve!”

Compass House accredited as Speciality Coffee Association (SCA) Premier Training Campus #

Compass Group UK & Ireland has become the first Speciality Coffee Association (SCA) accredited Premier Training Campus in the UK’s contract catering industry.

This move will make Compass Group UK & Ireland the third campus in the UK and the first globally in Compass Group to be awarded the accreditation. Compass’ headquarters in Chertsey, reflects the investment Compass has put into developing an outstanding coffee offer for its customers and clients.

SCA Premier Training Campus accreditation is the pinnacle of coffee training, reserved for facilities that offer a unique setting for coffee education. To receive the prestigious accreditation, Compass had to ensure the provision of a faultless education environment, including the very best in espresso, brewing and water treatment equipment, as well as a perfect atmosphere in which baristas can learn.

In addition, Sonia Carvalho, head of hot­­­­­­ beverage at Compass Group UK & Ireland, has achieved Authorised SCA Trainer (AST) accreditation, joining an elite group of coffee professionals from across the UK. Compass will now be authorised to deliver accredited SCA barista training at foundation, intermediate and professional levels in-house to further develop the capability and skills of Compass’ baristas.

Stephen Lovegrove, head of format (café and foodvenience) – Compass Group UK & Ireland, said: “Receiving the prestigious Premier Training Campus accreditation from the SCA is a huge moment for coffee in Compass as we work towards our goal of having the best coffee, the best training and the best people. Mixed with Sonia Carvalho’s training accreditation, we are now perfectly placed to provide our baristas with the very best training available.” 

By receiving both Premier Campus and AST accreditation, Compass will ensure the highest quality of training for its baristas, representing an important step in the development of its coffee offer, as well as the careers of its colleagues. Foundation SCA training is mandatory for all baristas in Compass’ developed coffee brands – namely Peak St., Crackle & Hum and Caffé Dallucci, while higher standards of training will now be available to those baristas who want to further their skills.

Commenting on how her training accreditation, which allows the SCA Coffee Skills course to be taught in-house, will raise Compass’ coffee offer, Sonia Carvalho said: “I am excited to be joining an elite group of coffee training experts and, more importantly, to start providing this high level of training to our passionate colleagues. This is great news for the business, our baristas and ultimately, our customers, who will benefit from coffee prepared by our highly trained colleagues.”

Owen Thom, quality coordinator – SCA, said: “We are delighted to be working with Compass Group UK & Ireland, a long-time partner and supporter of coffee education. Their continual focus on coffee quality and training will ensure outlets across the country will be serving great quality coffee to a consistently high standard.”

Compass recently opened registration for its first Barista Academy, an elite group of baristas from within the business. Once established, the Academy will become a source of best practice, used alongside the advanced educational capabilities of the SCA Premier Training Campus and Sonia Carvalho’s training accreditation to keep raising the standard of Compass coffee offer. 

Medirest continues partnership approach with St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust with renewed contract #

Medirest, the healthcare division of Compass Group UK & Ireland, has secured a contract to continue its facilities management, retail and patient dining services at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, in Merseyside.

Starting in June, the long term partnership will see Medirest continue to provide patient catering with its innovative Steamplicity cooking concept, which includes meal options ranging from poached salmon, vegetarian Cottage Pie and fish and chips. This is in addition to services such as portering, security, receptionists and a range of retail offers.

Medirest has been working with the Trust for a decade and in this time the two organisations have established a true partnership approach, which puts the patient first. In August last year the Trust was named the best acute NHS Trust in England, according to The Patient Led Assessments of the Care Environment (PLACE) programme. The Trust achieved the highest marks in the country in every area of the inspection including cleanliness and food. As a result the Trust presented Medirest with an “Outstanding Achievement” award at its annual awards event last month.

Steve Cenci, managing director of healthcare at Compass Group UK & Ireland said: “We are really proud of our track record with the Trust and our team has done a fantastic job in delivering the best possible quality of services to the patients at these hospitals. Through this new contract we strive to continue this excellence and to strengthen our partnership further.”

Ann Marr, chief executive at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospital NHS Trust said: “The Trust is pleased to continue its partnership with Medirest, which over the past ten years has been very successful. The Medirest team deliver their services with great efficiency, which means we can focus on delivering the best possible care to our patients, in the best environment. The results of the PLACE inspection speak for themselves in terms of how successful this partnership is.”

St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust provides a full range of acute healthcare services across a number of sites including inpatient, outpatient, maternity and emergency services.

Slice of success for Compass’ sandwich range #

Compass Group UK & Ireland has been named the ‘Workplace and Catering Sandwich Retailer 2018’ for the second consecutive year at The British Sandwich Industry Awards (The Sammies).

The awards ceremony, which took place on 10 May, celebrated the very best of the sandwich and food-to-go industry. Compass received the title for its Chop Chop sandwiches, which launched across the business in early 2017 and are available in client sites including hospitals, universities and retail outlets.

Over the past year, Compass has continued to develop the Chop Chop offer, introducing two seasonal ranges, reviewing and enhancing premium items and launching a hot food-to-go offer, as well as significantly cutting calories from its products. As a result, Chop Chop has seen sales growth of over 30% since launch.

Louise Pilkington, marketing director at Compass Group UK & Ireland, said: “Winning a Sammie two years in a row is great news. After launching Chop Chop, we’ve continued to review and improve the range, through frequent competitor benchmarking and product development led by market insights and customer feedback. This has kept Chop Chop current and competitive and this award, alongside our growth in sales, demonstrates we’re hitting the mark.”

Chop Chop was developed by Compass’ in-house food development and nutrition team in partnership with high profile chefs, suppliers and Foodbuy, Compass’ procurement division. It now includes around 150 items including sandwiches, salads, snack pots, paninis, toasties and fruit pots.

Essential cuisine strengthened by key European acquisition #

British stocks and sauces manufacturer acquired by European savoury ingredients supplier in partnership that will see opportunities for both to enter new territories.

Essential Cuisine has been acquired by Solina, a leading European producer of savoury ingredients, for an undisclosed sum. It’s business as usual for the leading British manufacturer of stocks and sauces, who will retain its current full product portfolio and customer base across both foodservice and manufacturing channels.

Founded in 1995 by Nigel Crane, Essential Cuisine has established itself as a key player in the UK foodservice market, generating double digit YOY growth and sales of £14m in 2018. Solina UK country manager, Adam Jones, is set to lead the integration program, with the local shareholder team of Nigel Crane, Neil Corlett and Jamie McGregor remaining with the business over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition of ownership.

Adam Jones was keen to point out the reasons behind the acquisition, citing joint innovation agendas and plans for expansion into new territories.

He said: “Essential Cuisine is a great addition to our portfolio. We have long sought to complement our leading presence in B2B sectors by securing a strong foothold in the UK foodservice market. The acquisition of Essential Cuisine not only opens up this channel for Solina, but we also see great opportunity in the combination of our shared innovation, market and product philosophies.”
Nigel Crane added: “This company has been a labour of love for me and everybody involved in its success since 1995. As shareholders we realised that maintaining such growth on our own would become more and more difficult, so decided last autumn to find the right future partner for Essential Cuisine. As shareholders, we had been adamant from the off that we would only sell to a business willing to let it continue its incredible success story. In Adam, we have a more than worthy successor, someone with the vision and backing to take Essential Cuisine to the next level and open up new, untapped markets. I’m confident that the combined group will become stronger and a more attractive partner for our UK customers.”

Carden Park protégé takes North West Young Chef crown #

A promising senior sous chef from Cheshire’s luxury Carden Park Hotel has scooped the title of North West Young Chef for 2018 in a tense six-way cook off, held yesterday at Cheshire College – South and West.
Cyril Gabriel, 23, cooked his way to glory, seeing off tough competition including chefs from Northcote and the Punchbowl at Crosthwaite. The judging team included Essential Cuisine business development chef, Jonathan Harvey-Barnes; ex-Le Gavroche head chef, Steven Doherty; Paul Askew of Liverpool’s The Art School; Graham Price, formerly of pub group Brunning & Price, and Master Chef of Great Britain and chairman of the judges, Brian Mellor. 
Mai Trising of the Black Swan Hotel in Kirkby Stephen, cooked his way to the runners-up spot.
With ‘local’ and ‘seasonal’ the key watchwords of the competition, Cyril – making his second appearance in the competition – was praised by judges for his dogged determination in returning to the fold, his methodical approach and good handle of flavour.
His winning three-course menu consisted of: Wye valley asparagus served with free range poached egg and Hollandaise sauce starter; a main course of Welsh mountain Lamb saddle served with pickled baby carrots, pea textures, carrot jam, creamy mashed potato and lamb jus and a Lime biscuit Dacquoise served with cherry cremeux, stuffed caramelised cherry, praline Chantilly cream, lemon balm and cherry beer ice cream dessert.

On the win Cyril said: “It was a hard day for all of us, real pressure and a hot kitchen, but I’m so happy to have come through as winner.
“For the Final I submitted a more challenging menu than the one carried out in the semi-final as I wanted to push myself and show more skill. I was nervous in the lead up because of this but once I got in the kitchen and started cooking, the nerves fell away.”
As well as the coveted title, Cyril will receive £500, a weekend for two at Cheshire’s The Mere Golf Resort & Spa, and an automatic qualification into the semi-finals of the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Young National Chef of the Year competition, where he will square off against the best young chefs from the rest of the country.
Brian Mellor said: “Yet again the technique on show across the board has been excellent, this was one of the hardest competition’s we have ever had to judge, but in the end, Cyril’s consistent quality shone through. There was also real passion, pride and endeavour on show – something we’ve come to expect from the competition, but should never take for granted. We will be flying the flag for Cyril, come the national semi-finals.”
A well-attended inaugural dinner and awards ceremony was also held to mark the competition.
Brian added: “Special mention must go to Cheshire College for hosting the event. It was great to see so many people come out to support the young finalists. Thank you also to each and every one of the catering and front-of-house students who helped on the day – a truly inspirational group of young people and the next generation of this fantastic industry.”
The Finalists in full:
Cyril Gabriel (Carden Park) WINNER
Mai Trising (Black Swan Hotel) RUNNER-UP
Oliver Mather (Punchbowl at Crosthwaite)
Ruairi Erwin (Northcote)
Sion Hughes (Rogan & Co)
Alasdair Aitken (Chefs Table) 

The North West Young Chef Competition is sponsored by CHR, Sousvide Tools and Essential Cuisine, and calls on chefs to produce a restaurant quality, three-course meal for two with an emphasis on the very best of local and seasonal produce.
Also supporting the competition were several business partners; Villeroy & Boch, Robinsons, Oliver Harvey, Robert Welch, Lancashire Life, RD Wines, and The Mere.