Members’ News

September 2019

Gather & Gather joins CH&CO family from Mitie #

CH&CO announced the acquisition of Mitie Catering, comprising Gather & Gather and Creativevents, the workplace catering and events businesses of Mitie.

The deal brings an increase in turnover of £137m to CH&CO, 330 more sites across the UK and Ireland, and an additional 3,600 team members to the CH&CO family.

Joining the CH&CO portfolio of businesses, Gather & Gather will benefit from being part of a company that is solely dedicated to food and beverages, whilst continuing to provide catering services to Mitie’s Integrated Facilities Management (IFM) clients under a strategic partnership agreement.

Gather & Gather has a strong reputation in the industry built up through an established workplace and event catering business which brings a complementary blend to CH&CO’s broad range of clients across multiple sectors including destinations, venues, education, livery and healthcare, as well as workplaces and events.  CH&CO also holds a Royal Warrant for the provision of catering services to HM Queen.

Bill Toner, chief executive officer, CH&CO, commented: “This acquisition is a key part of our growth strategy and represents a great opportunity for Mitie, Gather & Gather and CH&CO. We are very excited about the future growth potential for our business in our strategic partnership with Mitie – we bring scale and catering expertise; Mitie brings an extensive client list and innovation, and we both have a reputation for great customer service. The sharing of best practice will drive an even better service for our clients, and the enlarged CH&CO group creates unparalleled opportunities for growth.

“We also welcome a significant number of new clients to our family and we’ve gained a  footprint in Ireland.  It’s very much business as usual for all parties involved; the Gather & Gather name will be maintained, and clients will still deal with the same people as they do today.”

As part of the acquisition, Allister Richards will continue in his role as managing director of Gather & Gather. Catering will remain an important part of Mitie’s services but will now be provided to clients under an exclusive strategic partnership agreement with Gather & Gather and CH&CO rather than self-delivered by Mitie.

Allister Richards, managing director, Gather & Gather says: “It has been a great pleasure to build this business over the last seven years and I’m so proud that our committed team now delivers exceptional food and drink to more than 250,000 customers daily across workplaces, historic venues and large outdoor events.

“Our growth has been fuelled by a determination to do things our own way, and to serve our customers in a style that better reflects modern tastes and expectations.  To do this we have focused our efforts on our wellbeing programmes, inspiring collaborations such as our Gathered Table initiative, new technologies and of course our people, without whom none of this would be possible.

“Mitie’s input and support has been fantastic throughout, and we look forward to continuing working with them closely as a strategic partner. This next step is an exciting opportunity for us to be part of a group that is dedicated to providing catering and hospitality services to its clients. In CH&CO, we have found our business a home where we can build on our success and continue to thrive in new and existing markets. We are delighted to be joining their team.”

CH&CO reports 19% increase in turnover #

CH&CO has released its annual accounts for the financial year ending 31 December 2018 and they show a 19% increase in annual turnover to £286m, in line with the previous year’s projections.

The latest results for CH&Co Catering Group (Holdings) Limited, lodged at Companies House this week, show a £46m increase in turnover from 2017 to 2018 and an increase in profits to £17.2m EBITDA, representing 6% of turnover. 
In contrast to previous years, there was no merger and acquisition activity in 2018 but the integration of the 2017 mergers with Harbour & Jones and Concerto Group was completed.

Bill Toner, chief executive of CH&CO, explains: “2018 was another strong year for CH&CO and all of the M&A growth of previous years was successfully bedded in.  We introduced a simplified Group structure and undertook a complete rebranding to focus on seven core areas – workplaces, destinations, events, livery, venues, education and healthcare – and this was well-received by clients and team members alike. The performance of the company continues to be strong and we have a good track record of successfully growing our business through merging with like-minded companies.

“Economic uncertainty, particularly surrounding Brexit, continues to be a challenge for us and many of our clients but we are a resilient company in a resilient industry and I am confident that we can weather any storms that may come our way.
“Of course, 2019 has also been an exciting year for us so far with the merging of our Scottish business with Stirling-based Inspire Catering, and last month’s acquisition of Gather & Gather and Creativevents from Mitie.  We’ve also been delighted to welcome our new equity partners, Equistone Partners Europe, who share our vision for the company’s future in foodservice and will support us in our growth ambitions.”

Other successes for CH&CO in 2018 included the achievement of the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s top-level 3-Star rating, developing a Get into Work programme with the Prince’s Trust, and gaining ROSPA Gold accreditation again.

Essential Cuisine becomes Love British Food partner #

Essential Cuisine has partnered with Love British Food - the leading national promoter of UK produce - as the supplier of quality stocks and sauces, based in the North West of England, looks to proudly promote its dedication to working kitchens across Britain. 

Essential Cuisine products already form the base of some of the UK’s best loved dishes, from pies and gravies to casseroles, soups, stews and beyond. Now the British supplier is partnering with Love British Food on a shared mission of promoting locality, provenance, community and quality UK produce, with British Food Fortnight (21 Sept – 6 Oct 2019) providing a key focus.

A proud member of the Craft Guild of Chefs, Master Chefs of Great Britain and Skills for Chefs, Essential Cuisine is also a patron of the Adopt a School Charity, with its chef team paying regular visits to schools in their local areas to deliver cookery lessons and promote healthy, balanced eating. Alongside this, the company is a co-founder of the North West Young Chef of the Year competition, a sponsor of the South West Chef of the Year competition, and has, for the past decade, been a lead sponsor for The Culinary Ability Awards, the UK not for profit organisation, dedicated to championing people with disabilities in working kitchens.
When the company’s factory, based in Winsford, Cheshire, expanded in 2013, it was also able to offer employment to scores of people from the local area. It’s a sense of responsibility not just in terms of food but also community that has driven Essential Cuisine since its inception in 1995. The link up with Love British Food is, says senior business development chef, Jonathan Harvey-Barnes, a meeting of two likeminded organisations.

“As a champion of working kitchens across the UK we’re passionate about British produce and proud of our heritage. Love British Food’s ethos very much chimes with our own and we’re excited to be working in partnership with such a fantastic organisation – one that does so much to promote the best of British.”

Alexia Robinson, founder, Love British Food and British Food Fortnight adds: “Now in its 18th year, British Food Fortnight is the national food promotion that runs every autumn inviting communities and organisations across the UK to take part in celebrating the diverse and delicious, high quality food produced in the country. Last year in excess of 1.5million British meals were served during the Fortnight through schools, universities, hospitals, care homes and corporates. 3,000+ shops, restaurants and pubs took part, plus, thousands of events in villages and towns.  Changing times bring both challenges and opportunities for Britain's farmers and food producers and we are delighted to welcome Essential Cuisine to become a partner and join us to lead the way in celebrating and promoting British food.”

The iconic British afternoon tea is changing, with French, Spanish and other global themes dominating the scene, Délifrance reveals #

For Afternoon Tea Week 2019, new research from leading bakery solution Délifrance has indicated that the quintessentially British past time is evolving with new global cuisines and themes, as operators showcase distinct and exciting world flavours.
Using social listening tool Delve Insights, Délifrance revealed that French cuisine dominated the conversation with 43% share of voice, followed by Spanish (17%), Japanese (16%) and Indian (12%) afternoon teas.
With immense consumer demand for new and unique food experiences, operators such as hotels, cafés and department stores across the UK are making a conscious effort to adapt their afternoon tea packages and offer a unique experience. Notably the La Vie en Rose French-inspired tea at Sofitel London St James, Spanish tapas tea with Ametsa at Como The Halkin in Belgravia, and Daawat’s Indian afternoon tea in Covent Garden.
Stéphanie Brillouet, marketing director for the UK, Northern Europe, and North America, Délifrance, said: “One of the most quintessential British offerings is now being reimagined. With different world flavours proving popular amongst consumers, it's clear that the concept of afternoon tea is immensely versatile. Operators such as hotels and restaurants are evolving their businesses with the concept, creating new offerings of fun and diverse bakes and experiences, for anyone.”
Other key findings from the research include:
- In the last five months alone, there were 41,000 mentions of Afternoon Tea online across Twitter, Facebook, websites and blogs
- The most talked about hotel venue for afternoon tea in London was The Ritz, dominating the conversation with 37% share
- The Savoy (11%), The Dorchester (10%) and The Shard (9%) were other notable mentions
- Changing dietary needs have become a major consideration with the conversation focused on vegetarian (75%) and vegan (25%) afternoon tea options available

In its A la Folie! recipe booklet, Délifrance serves up afternoon tea inspiration for operators with a combination of savoury and sweet treats. Read the full recipe booklet here:

Kara announces partnership with CoppaFeel! as part of relaunch of floured baps range #

Kara, the foodservice specialists of the Finsbury Food Group, has announced a partnership with breast cancer charity, CoppaFeel! To coincide with the relaunch of Kara’s well-known and popular floured baps, a contribution from every case sold has gone towards the UK charity.   

Kara’s new and improved floured baps collection now includes a premium sliced sourdough option, which will be the perfect accompaniment for both operators and restaurateurs who are looking to enhance their menu offerings. 

In addition to the new sourdough roll, the existing range of floured baps have all been upgraded with an improved recipe that equips the products with a longer shelf life and allows each bap to maintain its high quality texture and softness. The entire range is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans, meaning that Kara’s floured baps can be enjoyed by all.   

Founded in 2009, CoppaFeel! is a national charity which aims to create awareness amongst young people about the importance of checking for signs of breast cancer at the earliest stage possible. 

Jane Olney, commercial director at Kara, commented: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have partnered with CoppaFeel! on this range and to play our part in the fantastic work that the charity does to educate and empower young people to be able to spot the early signs of breast cancer. We hope that operators really get behind this campaign and help support the charity. Kara also held a number of internal initiatives to further support the charity such as bake sales.”

Ellie Baldwin at CoppaFeel, commented: “We really couldn’t do our important work without the generosity and help of both individuals and companies, such as Kara, who believe in our mission as much as we do. We’d like to thank Kara for their support.” 

The entire Kara range of floured baps are supplied frozen and can be served in two different ways; either defrosted, for a soft eat or baked from frozen, for a crusty finish. 

BaxterStorey and Pearson Business School Launch First Degree Apprenticeship Scheme #

BaxterStorey has partnered with Pearson Business School to launch a new degree apprenticeship scheme.
This unique opportunity offers seven ambitious students a three-year Business Management Honours degree. The programme combines on-the-job experience with students working four days a week at one of BaxterStorey’s prestigious client locations, whilst completing a Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship one day a week at Pearson Business School.
A first for the hospitality industry, the degree apprenticeship will give students a foundation of training in hospitality and foodservice, where they will gain the practical and theoretical knowledge to craft a career in hospitality management. The programme’s unique hands-on approach to development will see students experience all elements of the business over a period of three years – spending time in the kitchen, front of house and within support functions including finance, health and safety and project management.
Student-apprentices will receive a competitive salary, which is set to increase after the three years. With tuition fees paid for by BaxterStorey, students will graduate debt-free.
Noel Mahony, Co-CEO at BaxterStorey said: “As the UK’s fourth largest industry, the hospitality sector offers many exciting, innovative and often global career prospects, and we see the value of promoting these opportunities to attract young talent. Training is the foundation of our business, we’re proud to have had 120 graduates complete our Graduate Training Programme since 2010, as well as those who have achieved success through our apprenticeship schemes. Our partnership with Pearson Business School is the next step for us in supporting future stars of the industry with their training and career development; we look forward to following the experiences of our students during their degree apprenticeship”. ­
Degree apprentice, Lillianna said: “I am so excited to have begun this exciting journey as one of BaxterStorey’s first degree apprentices. I’m really looking forward to meeting my colleagues, so I can show everyone what I have to offer. We’re only a week into the programme and we’ve already seen so much of the business, from exploring the street food scene at BaxterStorey’s London food festival, to meeting the team at social enterprise restaurant Brigade. I’ve already been given some great advice by location managers – this is just the beginning!”

Pan'Artisan introduces Aglio Pebble Tear And Share Bread #

Pan’Artisan extends its range further with the introduction of a new variety of its hand-made, artisan Aglio Pebble Tear And Share Bread; Aglio, meaning garlic in Italian and pronounced ‘Alio’.

The new addition perfectly addresses the increasing consumer demand for sharing platters and accompaniments, as the preference for more sociable and relaxed eating environments prevail, especially in the casual dining sector.

David Jones, sales and marketing director, Pan’Artisan Ltd;  “To compliment our existing Tear and Share Garlic Bread we have developed a new variant which is packed with flavour due to the delicious Italian herbs that are incorporated throughout the light and fluffy dough, plus a generous topping of fine quality, aromatic garlic butter that seeps into the bread on baking for a moist and flavourful menu choice, resulting in a truly Italian taste and delicious eating experience.”

The irregular round shape provides a rustic ‘homemade’ appearance whilst delivering a choice of portion sizes, suitable for both children and adults.

The bread is 7” in size, is quick to serve and easy to prepare; simply remove the paper liner, keep it in its baking case, place on a baking sheet and into a preheated oven 190-200oC for 8 to 10 minutes to allow the garlic topping to melt into the bread.  Bake until golden brown, then serve. Available in packs of 12 per case, 90 cases to a pallet.

Baffled Brits confused by bistro babble #

62% look up posh food terms when eating out because they can't understand the menu!

Two-thirds of diners find the meaning of words like quenelle, jus and ballotine baffling, according to a new study by one of the UK’s leading wholesalers, Bidfood(1).
Just 37% of those surveyed knew a quenelle was an egg-shaped spoonful, yet a quarter admitted to believing it was a type of hen. While one in seven thought a ballotine was a dance or a machine used to behead people in medieval times, rather than a boned chicken thigh!
Worryingly, one in 12 people thought jus, the trendy word for gravy, was something you put in your hair, according to the 2,000 diners surveyed.
With the UK foodservice market predicted to grow by an impressive 26% by 2021(2), the research aims to shine a light on the impact of menus when it comes to consumer dining habits to better support eateries. Not only will this allow them to better meet the needs of their consumers, but also help them to standout and boost footfall in what is an increasingly competitive market.
As well as the words to avoid, the survey also highlights those which are most likely to sway our decision when eating out, with ‘spicy’, ‘melting’, ‘marinated’ and ‘smoked’ surprisingly topping the list. In fact, a succulent, roasted or spicy chicken followed by a creamy cheesecake have been revealed as most likely to get our mouths watering.
However, while we may be overcooking the language used to describe some dishes, we’re undercooking it when it comes to describing healthier dishes the research found,
With 30% of diners finding that ‘boring’ or unimaginative healthy foods stop us from eating better(3), it’s not surprising that one third of Brits (38%) would like to see eateries switch up how they describe healthy meals to encourage us towards more waist-friendly options. This includes highlighting how meals are prepared with popular terms including ‘grilled’, ‘roasted’ and ‘baked’ as well as championing key flavours within ingredients such as ‘aromatic’ and ‘herby’.
What’s more; with a rising interest in where our food comes from, and the environmental impact our dishes might have; terms like locally sourced (37%), seasonal (33%), free range (30%) and sustainably sourced (26%) are becoming increasingly sought-after as we select our preferred meal.
However, eateries should craft their menus with care as ‘indulgent’, ‘sweet’, ‘rich’, ‘oozing’ and ‘sticky’ have been voted as the top 5 words most likely to make you fat!
Lucy Pedrick, senior insights manager at Bidfood comments, “It’s fascinating to see the types of words which are impacting consumers dining habits. Gone are the days where meals were chosen based on how good they’ll look on Instagram, or how fancy they sound with French phrases thrown in. Instead, Brits are looking for clear and enticing descriptions which tell them where their dish was sourced, how it was prepared and the flavours they can expect to enjoy.
“As we look to improve our health and wellbeing in everything we do, it’s also not surprising that we’re searching for eateries which really sell to us the enjoyment which can be had from lighter options. This is a huge opportunity for foodservice providers to review and refresh their menus when it comes to these types of dishes to ensure they are positioned as being as irresistible as something more indulgent.”
To learn more about the impact of words on our eating habits, please visit
Top tips for mouth-watering menus and satisfied customers!
- Use sought-after words like fresh, crispy, tender, grilled and marinated to appeal to diners – for two thirds (66%) the description on the menu is more influential than photos or nutrition
- A quarter of diners (23%) think healthy dishes aren’t exciting enough so really think about how the dish is prepared, what ingredients are used and bring the flavours to life on your menu
- Highlight locally sourced and sustainable foods and always make sure dietary requirements can be met
- Avoid the use of complicated and confusing terminology – for 38% of Brits this is a pet hate!
- Create descriptions which paint a full picture of the dish. A third of diners (34%) find themselves frustrated with single-word plates such as beef with potatoes.
- If you’re a fan of using random French words such as Pommes Frittes, stop! Two thirds (62%) were embarrassed to admit they regularly turn to Google for help when eating out because they don’t understand what they could be ordering.
- Ditch the pretty chalk menus – 30% of diners can’t stand them!

1. 3Gem and Bidfood research with 2,000 UK adults (male and female split)
2. Mintel British Lifestyles Report 2018
3. Tilda 2019

Registrations open for Nestle Professional Toque d’Or 2020 #

Individual student entry and more front of house opportunities are on the menu for 2020

Registrations for the prestigious 2020 Nestle Professional Toque d’Or competition for aspiring hospitality professionals opened on 19 September 2019.

Now in its 32 nd year, the Toque d’Or competition helps to bridge the gap between the theories of the classroom, work-based learning and the exciting reality of the industry. This year the competition will be more inclusive than ever, offering the same opportunities to front and back of house competitors to reflect the equally important roles within the industry.

To make the competition even more accessible, colleges will be invited to enter individual chefs and front of house students rather than teams, and front of house apprentices can apply for the first time alongside their chef counterparts. Entrants will also be able to register digitally via the new website. The new platform allows users to complete the registration process in stages, making entry quick and simple.

Katya Simmons, managing director, Nestlé Professional UK&I said: “Toque d’Or is
constantly evolving and this year is no exception. The competition is committed to helping to build a sustainable future for the hospitality industry and that’s why we’re so passionate about driving skills development both back and front of house.”

This year’s Toque d’Or winners have just returned from a once in a lifetime trip to Bilbao and San Sebastian in Spain’s Basque country. The hospitality stars spent four days on a gastronomic journey that included pintxos tours and a masterclass in Basque cider sampling and pouring. On top of this, the winners also experienced an evening at the Chef’s Table of three Michelin Star restaurant, Arzak, with Elena Arzak herself, as well as a tour of the kitchen, cellar and laboratory.

Simmons continued: "The trip provided a fantastic opportunity for the winners to get to know some truly amazing businesses, showcasing the very best the hospitality sector has to offer. Innovation and creativity are exciting prospects to aspiring talent and we want to inspire the future stars of foodservice by opening their minds to the possibilities that are available to them.”

Speaking about the experience, 2019 apprentice winner Drew Dawson, said: “It was an absolutely superb trip. I learnt so much. We explored the culture and got to see lots of different sides of the hospitality industry.”

So far Toque d’Or has helped to support the careers of over 8,000 contestants and worked with high profile chef partners including, Simon Hulstone, James Tanner and Adam Bateman.

Talking about the competition, Yasmine Selwood from University College Birmingham’s 2019 winning team, said: “If there was somebody who wanted to enter the competition, I would say to them absolutely go for it…it’s fantastic! You’re going to have the most incredible experience from start to finish, whether you get all the way through or only part way through.”

Entering the Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or competition couldn’t be easier. Whether you are a student or apprentice wanting to compete, or a lecturer or employer keen to open doors to new development opportunities, visit

Registration for the competition closes on 22 November 2019.

Sodexo appoints Social Impact Director #

Sodexo appointed Angela Halliday as Director of Social Impact with responsibility for driving Sodexo’s social value strategy for the UK & Ireland.

As a ‘green rated’ strategic supplier to government across a range of sectors including healthcare, education, justice and defence, Sodexo has pledged to improve contract processes through clear accountability and regular reporting of performance.

In her new role, Angela will work with Sodexo’s CEOs responsible for delivering services to the public sector, the organisation’s Executive Board and its Public Sector Board to embed a social value approach across the UK & Ireland region. The role will involve ensuring organisational governance and reporting on the social value Sodexo is delivering within its contracts. 

On her appointment, Angela said: “My whole career has revolved around making a difference to people and communities, from working in the third sector during a time when social value was emerging, to having spent the last eleven years with Sodexo whose philosophy is to have a positive impact on our communities through our quality of life services.

 “This new role demonstrates how Sodexo does business, where quantifiable and firm ethical principles are being put at the heart of everything we do. I am delighted and honoured to be Sodexo’s lead for such an important part of our work and am looking forward to demonstrating the added value we create for our employees, clients, customers and communities.”

Sean Haley, chairman of Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: “We deliver services for the public sector and therefore have a responsibility to conduct business that has a positive impact on the individuals, communities and markets where we work. We have committed to a public service ethos that drives progress and respects resources on which the future depends, and we are measuring the social impact of our work.

 "Angela’s appointment as Director of Social Impact reflects our ongoing commitment to transparency and achieving sustainable growth whilst remaining true to our mission – to improve quality of life wherever we operate.”

This appointment comes as Sodexo prepares to publish its third Public Service Pledge, an ethical manifesto on its commitments in relation to investing in its people, communities and customers.

She joined Sodexo in 2008 as head of prisoner management at HMP Addiewell where she also held the posts of Deputy Director and then Acting Director before heading to Australia to lead the mobilisation of a new female prison in Perth, WA for Sodexo.

Angela returned to the UK in 2017 as deputy director, Business Development, Justice Services before moving to the position of director, Business Development Government & Agencies. During her tenure, she has brought in some significant contract wins including the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and two regions for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Sodexo extends 30-year partnership with George Watson’s College #

Sodexo has won a three-year extension to its cleaning contract with George Watson’s College. 

The extension to the contract sees Sodexo build on its 30-year partnership with the Edinburgh based college, and includes a range of market-leading, environmentally friendly and innovative cleaning solutions carried out by Sodexo’s 39-strong team around the busy schedule of the college. 

George Watson’s College provides a world-class education for children and young people from Preschool to S6.

The College, which can trace its roots to 1741, is a single campus spread over 50 acres with 23 buildings and currently has 2,476 pupils enrolled.

Jeremy Alderton, managing director for Independents by Sodexo, said: “I am so pleased that we can extend our 30-year partnership with George Watson’s College for another three years. This is testament to the expertise of our staff and how they have helped ensure the best quality of life for pupils as they learn.” 

Su Breadner, chief executive officer at George Watson’s College, said: “We have been impressed by the quality of services the Independents by Sodexo team provide over our three decade long partnership. They have consistently put the needs of our pupils first and ensured that our pupils have the best opportunity to learn so we are thrilled to extend our contract with them.”

Sodexo bolsters commitment to local produce through partnership with Love British Food #

Ahead of British Food Fortnight, Sodexo is reinforcing its commitment to using locally sourced, sustainable produce through its partnership with Love British Food.

Love British Food leads the national promotion of British food and encourages retailers and caterers to make British food their preferred option. The year-round campaign culminates in British Food Fortnight, this year taking place 21 September to 5 October.

Sodexo provides catering services at hospitals, schools, prisons, offices as well as sporting venues and events across the UK, and when sourcing ingredients its ambition is to use British produce wherever possible.

As well as using local suppliers, Sodexo also promotes seasonal and sustainably grown products and is committed to sourcing Red Tractor assured products, sustainable fish and products that are in season wherever possible.

David Mulcahy, food innovation director at Sodexo, said: “We have supported Love British Food for a number of years now, and we are delighted to continue this partnership and really shine the spotlight on local food during British Food Fortnight.

“We know it’s important to our clients and customers that wherever possible we use locally sourced produce in the menus we serve, and we are proud that a large proportion of our recipes do use ingredients sourced in the UK.

“That means that across our sites, from hospitals to offices, schools to stadia, our customers will be supporting British food when they eat our meals.”

“From fruit and veg, to meat and dairy, there is a wealth of fantastic produce that is grown, reared and made in this country and British Food Fortnight is the perfect opportunity to celebrate it.”

Sodexo is also committed to partnering with small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), such as WB Chambers, a soft fruit expert based in Maidstone, Kent. 

James Miller, commercial director at WB Chambers, commented: “The UK has the highest standards in fruit production in terms of quality, flavour, variety of breeding and the minimal use of pesticides.

“It’s exceptionally important to producers like ourselves that companies such as Sodexo work with us to promote the wonderful, high quality British fresh berries that we grow and supply.

“We are proud to supply Sodexo with our raspberries, blackberries and blueberries so that their customers can enjoy home-grown fruits, and in doing so, really support the British economy.”

Independents by Sodexo continues growth in Belfast #

Independents by Sodexo has been awarded two contracts in Belfast – a brand new catering contract with Victoria College and a cleaning contract addition to existing services at Rathmore Grammar School – continuing its business growth in the region.

The new, previously self-operated, contract at Victoria College will see Independents by Sodexo provide catering and hospitality services to the 870 pupils at its Cranmore Park and Richmond campuses. The contract, launched in August 2019, is transforming the existing food offer by introducing a wide range of dishes with a focus on fresh, nutritious and seasonal food.

Independents by Sodexo has also extended its partnership with Rathmore Grammar School by securing the cleaning contract as of July 2019. The new cleaning services contract includes daily housekeeping, evening cleaning and out of term services to the 1,200+ pupils on-site, bringing innovation and efficiency to the previous cleaning offer. The company has been the school’s catering partner since August 2016.

Jeremy Alderton, managing director for Independents by Sodexo, said: “Following a competitive process, we are delighted to have been awarded these contracts, it is a testament to our team’s hard work and consistent delivery of quality services. 

“We are excited to start our journey with Victoria College, and look forward to continuing our well-established relationship with Rathmore Grammar School.”

Colin Tenner, head of corporate services at Victoria College, said: “At all stages of the tender process, we were impressed with the professionalism of the Independents by Sodexo team and their offer of healthy and nutritious food for our pupils and staff. We are really looking forward to seeing the new service in place, growing revenues, and delivering the quality of food expected by our pupils, parents and staff.” 

Donna Magee, Bursar at Rathmore Grammar School, added: “Over the last three years, we have been extremely pleased with the catering services provided by Independents by Sodexo. The addition of the school’s cleaning to the contract supports our vision of innovation that has already been bought to the food service helping to provide the quality education our pupils deserve.” 

Independents by Sodexo now operates across three education establishments across the Northern Irish region.

Winner crowned: Bisto Care Caterer of the Year, in association with Country Range #

The winner of the annual Bisto Care Caterer of the Year competition, in association with Country Range has been announced. After a tense live cook-off between five finalists, Kevin Price from Oulton Abbey Care Home in Staffordshire, was crowned winner of the coveted prize. Kevin’s menu of Bisto Slow Braised Ox Cheek, and Country Range Lemon and Ginger Tart, won him the top spot of first place at the competition. 

Held at Premier Foods’ head office in St Albans, the showdown saw the finalists prepare and cook three portions of their main meal and dessert dish bespoke recipes within 90 minutes. Each caterer was asked to include a Bisto product within their main dish and a Country Range product in their dessert, with the total budget for the two dishes not to exceed £2.25. The judges – Louise Wagstaffe, culinary advisor at Premier Foods and Emma Holden, group marketing nanager for the Country Range Group, had the tough decision of choosing one overall winner from the outstanding finalists’ dishes. 

Sarah Robb, channel marketing manager at Premier Foods, comments: “The final was an incredible day; the standard of dishes was impeccable and the contestants really thought outside of the box when it came to their menus, from the preparation to the final presentation. The detail that went into each dish was impressive, the contestants were asked to consider a lot of factors, from the cost of ingredients, to the final texture and taste. I want to say a huge thank you and congratulations to all those who took part and attended; you really did the care catering industry proud. Finally, a massive well done to Kevin whose delicious menu landed him the accolade of Bisto Care Caterer of the Year, in association with Country Range.” 

Country Range judge, Emma Holden, comments: “I can’t believe another year of the competition is over, it’s a great event in our calendar and a celebration which is really important to the team at the Country Range Group. The competition highlights the importance of shining a light on the care catering industry and the incredible work which they do. Mealtimes are a really key part of resident’s days within care homes and producing a menu which isn’t too time consuming, adheres to budget constraints and is an appropriate taste and texture, can be a real challenge. The contestants we saw today took that challenge head on and the final dishes were outstanding. I want to say a massive thank you to all those who entered, attended and a huge well done to our winner, Kevin.”  

Winner, Kevin Price, head chef, at Oulton Abbey Care Home, comments: “My passion is to serve a balanced menu that provokes nostalgia amongst residents and means they enjoy their dining experience every day. At the care home we strive to make meal times a relaxed, memorable and engaging occasion that in turn promotes good nutrition. The Bisto Care Chef of the Year, from entry to the final, was so well organised and highlights the importance of all of these aspects, it’s a fantastic opportunity to show the level of skill and passion that care home caterers strive for. It’s important to offer residents flavours that they may not have tried before, incorporating new trends, styles and cooking techniques into the dish, and those who partook demonstrated exactly this. The care sector is in fact one of the most rewarding industries to work in and I want to say a massive congratulations to all the talented chefs in the final, it is an honour to have been crowned the winner.”  

Speakeasy Ice Cream appoints Speed #

Agency hired to develop new storytelling strategy for the brand

Speed has been selected to deliver a communications and media sampling campaign for Speakeasy Ice Cream. Speakeasy is a new ice cream concept, which combines indulgent ice cream with our favourite alcoholic tipples.

Speakeasy’s founders challenged the agency to communicate their story, their focus on perfectly balanced flavour, and the increasing consumer demand for their products, across trade and consumer media.

The company’s innovative, quality products are produced in partnership with award-winning drinks brands and each ice cream is infused with a single alcohol at its core. Currently featuring six delicious variants across two ranges, the brand is on a mission to create ice cream that goes beyond the ordinary.

The work will be led by experts in Speed’s Foodservice & Hospitality and Consumer & Lifestyle divisions. The brief is to creatively relay Speakeasy’s updated consumer facing proposition and ensure it is communicated at a FMCG and retail level.

Kelly Pepworth, managing director at Speed Communications, said: “Our palates are becoming increasingly more sophisticated so this year is the perfect time to amplify Speakeasy’s versatile range, which is carefully curated for discerning experience and adventure seekers who want to bring flair to their table, dessert offer or menu. With 49% of adults interested in ice cream featuring alcohol* and the fact that we are becoming more obsessed with ingredients, flavours and well-
crafted quality, Speakeasy Ice Cream ticks all the boxes. This isn’t about settling for the usual ice cream but choosing a dessert that is out of this world.”

Jane Woodhead, co-founder and director, Speakeasy Ice Creams, said: “We are so excited to be working with Speed Communications. The team really impressed us with their knowledge, strategic expertise and excellent media contacts. We’re looking forward to raising awareness of our brand and concept making it a firm favourite for anyone who wants a fresh twist and new option to their favourite desserts.”

Speed has a long history of building innovative food and drink brands through creative consumer and trade PR activity, alongside a track record of successfully engaging audiences in innovative ways.

* Mintel Ice Cream UK Report November 2018

Caterplus announces 2019’s Care Chef of the Year after impressive Grand Final Cook Off #

After an intense Grand Final ‘Live Cook Off’ on 24 July, Elior UK’s care subsidiary Caterplus named Gary Topping its 2019 Care Chef of the Year.  Taking place at the Luton Electrolux Kitchen, the internal competition invited all care chefs working within any UK Elior business, rewarding brilliant creative talent in care catering.
Seven finalists from different sites across the UK were tasked with creating an innovative two-course menu suitable for service in a care restaurant within a budget of just £2.25 a head. One of the courses had to be a level four texture modified puree dish.

It was Gary Topping who impressed the judges with his ballotine of woodland chicken with fondant potato, crispy skin, radish, butternut squash puree, sautéed leeks and chestnut mushrooms and a stock rosemary reduction. His dessert, a summer fruits pudding served with Chantilly cream, Greek yoghurt and pistachio showed his creative flair - a perfect example of colourful, fresh texture modified food packed with flavour.
Darren Neal, executive chef at Caterplus said: “In its first year, the Caterplus Chef of the Year competition empowers our team to push boundaries of what is possible, proving that requirements such as texture modified foods can still be delicious, varied and colourful. A huge congratulations to Gary – his dishes were a brilliant example of our impressive, flexible and tailored care offering.”
Gary Topping, chef manager at Barnaby House Thirteen Group said: “I’m delighted to be named Chef of the Year, especially after competing against such talented chefs. I really enjoy cooking in a care setting – each menu is a new opportunity to liven our customers’ taste buds and get them excited about food.”
Aside from the coveted Caterplus Chef of the Year trophy, Gary was rewarded with £200 and afternoon tea at The Ritz.

Elior tackles Talacre beach litter with the Marine Conservation Society #

This summer, volunteers from Elior UK headed to Talacre beach in North Wales with the Marine Conservation Society, cleaning up 15kg of rubbish from a 100m stretch.
To raise awareness of litter’s impact on the ocean and its wildlife, the 15 volunteers created a survey, litter timeline, and even took part in a treasure hunt. They recorded and collected an eye-opening 502 litter items, of which 60% were made of plastic or polystyrene and at least 33% were from the general public.
Charlotte Wright, corporate social responsibility manager, Elior UK, said: “As a society we are becoming more aware of the impact of single-use plastics and other litter. But initiatives like our beach cleans remind us that further progress is needed to educate consumers and shape operational best practices for businesses. What the team found was truly eye-opening for a small 100m stretch of beach, and we hope that our findings encourage and inspire others to adopt new attitudes to waste.”
Lizzie Prior, beachwatch officer, Marine Conservation Society says:  "This is the second year Elior have helped with removing litter from our beaches and provided litter data by completing our survey - and absolutely crucial part of our Beachwatch programme.  By recording the litter they found on Talacre beach, MCS can identify the worst offenders and establish the source of the rubbish which helps us continue to push for change at industry and governmental level. The Elior team were incredibly enthusiastic and really understood the importance of data collection and how it can make such a huge difference."
The beach clean was organised in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society, the UK’s leading marine charity, which works to ensure our seas are healthy, pollution free, and protected. This annual initiative is part of Elior’s global corporate social responsibility strategy, the Elior Group Positive Foodprint Plan, focused on tackling single-use materials, sourcing sustainable ingredients, supporting communities, encouraging healthy lifestyles, and promoting a circular model.
To learn more about Elior’s Positive Foodprint Plan, visit

Elior achieves prestigious Princess Royal Training Award for employee development #

Elior UK has achieved a Princess Royal Training Award for its commitment to outstanding employee training and learning best practice. Elior was commended for its extensive development programmes, which are inspiring staff to excel and therefore boost business performance.
This year, HRH Princess Anne, president of City & Guilds Group, recognised a select group of public and private sector organisations of all sizes across a wide range of industries, such as BAE Systems, The Co-op, The Royal Navy and IBM UK Ltd.

The judges were impressed with Elior’s in-house Chef School and its 90 different learning opportunities, the company’s ‘hands on’ approach to understanding the challenges around chef recruitment (commissioning business-wide surveys and working with experts to understand industry learning trends), and its wide range of original learning resources.

Matt Jennings, learning & development business partner, Elior UK said: “We're delighted to receive this award recognising the hard work that goes into developing and inspiring our employees. At Elior, we know our business success is dependent on engaged and motivated individuals, forming expert teams that create exciting food and service for our diverse clients. This is why we continue to create new, interactive learning experiences, inspiring them to be the best they can be.”

Elior is now part of a Community of Excellence made up of over 150 employers recognised through the Princess Royal Training Awards. This has proved extremely valuable for previous winners, who have reported increased investment into training programmes, improved recruitment and retention and more.
Chris Jones, chief executive, the City & Guilds Group said: “We were thrilled with the quality and variety of entries this year. The work that HR and L&D teams do to train, upskill and reskill teams is critical; helping individuals to reach their potential and find meaningful employment, while supporting businesses in developing the skills for success, and ultimately producing the productive workforce we so urgently need. The organisations we recognise today all provide compelling evidence that tangibly proves the value that comes from investing in people.”
Elior and its 2019 peers will be awarded at a ceremony at St James Palace in London on Wednesday 30 October 2019.

Elior UK teams up with Water Unite to sustainably meet demand for bottled water #

In a market first for the UK foodservice industry, Elior UK and global water charity Water Unite have teamed up to launch a new campaign that sustainably meets the ongoing demand for bottled water. 

The initiative forms part a new emerging ‘plastics economy’ designed to ensure that plastics never become waste - aligning with the principles of the circular economy and Elior’s wider strategy focused on tackling single-use materials, sourcing sustainable ingredients, supporting communities and encouraging healthy lifestyles.

From 1 October, Elior will be making a donation for every bottle of still and sparkling water sold in all of its sites (Elior, Lexington, Taylor Shaw, Caterplus and Edwards & Blake). Water Unite will use the funds to invest in innovative plastics recycling programmes in India, Mozambique and Kenya which will ensure that plastic ends up as part of the circular economy.

Charlotte Wright, corporate responsibility manager at Elior, says: “Plastic pollution is a global problem with 300 million tonnes of plastic produced each year and approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans every day (1). 

“While our long-term goal is to completely remove single use plastic from our sites, there’s still a huge demand for bottled water. So we asked ourselves ‘What we can do right now? What immediate change can we make for a circular economy?’  This commitment with Water Unite is a significant first step in our long-term plan to reduce the impact of plastic on our oceans and environment. 85% of plastic in the ocean comes from developing countries due to the lack of recycling infrastructure. By repurposing plastic in these areas, we can focus on reducing plastic waste, positively impacting communities where plastic would have otherwise been environmentally destructive.” 

While demand for bottled drinks remains, the campaign is part of a wider acknowledgement to improve recycling, offering a realistic immediate solution to reduce the effect of plastic at every part of its journey. Only 10% of plastic is currently recycled, and each year, 1.3 billion tonnes of global landfill waste is generated (2). 

The new campaign will directly improve plastic recycling in some of the world’s poorest communities, raising money for long-lasting educational and practical initiatives. For instance, plastic will be repurposed as road bricks, improving transport and employment within these areas - making a lasting difference to global waste management. 

One of the projects Elior’s fundraising will support is Gjenge Makers, which provides durable, recycled construction material through Kenya and the African continent. Discarded plastic is collected and formed into bricks to build sustainable and affordable housing. What’s more, the project has created 112 jobs for people from marginalised communities.

Lord Malcolm Bruce, chair of Water Unite said: “We are delighted to welcome Elior as the first partner in the foodservice sector, their leadership in sustainability is world renowned. We invite all foodservice companies to join in Elior’s actions to be part of a global movement to address the issues of plastic waste and help build a circular economy.  Together with our partners, through a micro-contribution from bottled water sales, we can collaboratively raise up to $5bn a year to create sustainable planetary change.’

The fundraising initiative and a collective recycling effort will be encouraged at each Elior site, supported by a range of marketing materials, point of sale displays and a social media campaign. 

To learn more about Elior’s Positive Foodprint plan, visit 

1. Plastic Oceans, 2019,
2. Water Unite, 2019

Economy showing signs of stagnation against backdrop of continued Brexit uncertainty #

New figures from CESA show significant falls in sales, but with some positive indications too
CESA’s analysis of the state of the industry in mid-2019 shows its members reporting significant drops in sales during Q2.
Against a backdrop of an increasingly stagnant economy, with UK published figures on the economy showing overall retail growth in July increasing by only 0.3% - the lowest recorded figure for July since 1995 - and food sales decreasing 1.0% on a like-for-like basis (0.3% total), the catering sector is demonstrating that it too is somewhat unstable, but with positive indications in some areas.
Information from CESA members indicate that Q2 saw drops in sales between 10-15%, with multiple retail sectors having stalled entirely, in line with the consumer trading. Bucking this trend, the group brewery/pub market is holding steady overall, with some areas of expansion.
There are also signs that operators are trying to save money. The service and spares industry remains strong, indicating that equipment is being repaired rather than replaced.
Sales of light equipment are also high, indicating that consumer spending appears to be holding well with significant inbound tourism due to the declining value of the pound compared to other currencies.  However, there is a tendency for buyers to downgrade to cheaper products overall, suggesting that there is less willingness to invest in capital goods for the medium to long term. Project work remains very competitive, putting further pressure on the supply chain.
“These findings reflect what the latest government figures are saying,” says CESA director Keith Warren, “They are further evidence that the market is rather unstable at the moment. Certainly Brexit, or rather the continued uncertainty surrounding it, is part of the problem. We are at the heart of representing the issues with ministers and the civil service and are communicating the developments to members.”

CESA and CEDA launch Service Engineer CPD Forum #

New training initiative will help foodservice equipment service engineers do their job

A new training initiative has been launched that will help foodservice equipment service engineers do their job.  The Service Engineers CPD Forum, which has been organised by CESA in conjunction with CEDA, will cover a variety of service and maintenance hints and tips, as well as common diagnosis issues and prevalent faults that occur through lack of maintenance. Led by experts in their equipment category fields, the event takes place on Wednesday 9th October at the First Choice training centre, Cannock.  It costs just £42 (including VAT) plus booking fee for members of CESA and CEDA, or £84 plus booking fee for non-members.   

The Forum covers ten different equipment categories, of which delegates choose seven, allowing them to tailor the course to their needs.  The categories are fryers, refrigeration, combination ovens, warewashing, water treatment, accelerated cooking, induction, sous vide, ice makers and test equipment. 

“The whole idea is to give delegates key information and insight on day-to-day issues through one-to-one sessions with experts from relevant manufacturers and suppliers,” says Graham Skinner, chair of the CESA service providers and spare parts committee.  The content is aimed at foodservice equipment service managers and engineers.  “We anticipate they will share the in-depth knowledge and insights they gain with their work colleagues.” 

Once delegates have registered to attend the Forum, they can fill in an online form to select the sessions they want to attend. 

To find out more about the Service Engineer CPD Forum contact Jocelyn Carr at 0207 793 3029 or email

Tickets can be booked here.

CESA’s new website: ‘a resource reflecting the needs of the whole foodservice industry’ #

Association focuses on user-friendly approach with reengineered site
Where’s the best place to get unbiased advice on foodservice equipment?  Or guides on the latest commercial kitchen appliance regulations?  CESA is the voice of the foodservice equipment industry, representing 200 companies that supply, service and install equipment.  Now the Association has launched a new version of its website, designed to make it as easy as possible to get the latest knowhow and industry insight. 
The new site can be found at
The most obvious change is the fresh, modern look of the site.  “The site has been totally reengineered, from the ground up,” says Adam Lawrence, marketing manager of CESA.  “It needed updating, to more accurately reflect CESA’s approach and the work that the Association is involved in. We want to extend CESA’s reach beyond our members and create a go-to destination. Key to achieving this is making CESA and the work we do more accessible. We have made it easier for members to join product groups and committees, whilst we have also opened up the invitation to non-members who want get a taste of how CESA works.”
Under the surface, the design emphasis has been on using the most user-friendly software systems possible.  Experienced foodservice operators and those new to the industry will find extensive ‘open access’ areas where they can source detailed information about every aspect of foodservice equipment.  For members there are password-protected resources with important, valuable and relevant content, ranging from insight on upcoming legislation to information about training opportunities. 
The CESA website also has a comprehensive, fully searchable database, CESADEX, to ensure users can get right to the heart of the information they want, easily and quickly. Also included within this is a glossary of terms linked to terminology featured in the association’s market leading CFSP training programme.
“The ‘soft launch’ feedback has been very positive,” says Adam.  “Our testers have been impressed by the look, speed and clarity of the site.  We’d welcome comments from users, so that we can refine the site to create a resource that truly reflects the needs of the industry, for both equipment suppliers and foodservice operators.” 

CFSP foodservice equipment training course gains CPD certification #

CESA’s professional skills initiative passes rigorous test to meet CPD values

CESA’s professional training course, CFSP (Certified Food Service Professional) has been recognised by the Continuing Professional Development Certification Service and is now officially CPD certified.  The award confirms that CFSP complies with global CPD principles and underlines its position as a leading professional development course for the foodservice sector. 

“CFSP gives an holistic understanding of the way a foodservice kitchen operates, from delivery bay through to dining area,” says John Whitehouse, chair of CESA.  “The programme was conceived to raise professionalism throughout the foodservice industry, since many people only understand the part of the operation they actually work in, not the bigger picture.  CFSP gives operators and suppliers of equipment a real grasp of the whole, so they can appreciate how everything links – knowledge that, ultimately, helps them do their job better.” 

Following a rigorous review process lasting several months, the CPD assessment board concluded that CFSP conforms to its required structure and further learning values.  “A lot of hard work went into achieving CPD certification, and I’d like to thank the CESA secretariat for their dedication to the cause,” says Whitehouse.  “I’m absolutely delighted by their success.  CFSP is part of a raft of CESA training initiatives that are designed to improve our industry and help us tackle the skills shortage.  CPD certification highlights the value, usefulness and significance of CFSP accreditation.” 

The CFSP course comprises around two months of self-study, using the CFSP study guide, followed by a one day seminar and an exam.  “The study guide and its corresponding seminar provide a comprehensive overview of the numerous areas and disciplines that go into an effective and efficient foodservice design and operation,” says Whitehouse. 

CFSP seminars are held regularly during the year, in venues around the UK.  The cost of the course is £840 + VAT, or £580 + VAT for members of CESA, CEDA and the FCSI.  To find out more contact CESA or visit

Pedal power helps raise phenomenal £33,750 for Alzheimer’s Society #

Jon Leigh, head of operations for the North at Compass Group UK & Ireland, produced a Herculaneum effort cycling from London to Paris in the blistering heat, to raise much needed funds for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Jon raised over £20,700 from his gruelling 300-mile, five-day ride and with the support of his Healthcare Retail colleagues at Compass, who through additional fundraising activity, have driven this total up to a remarkable £33,750.

The Alzheimer’s Society is the chosen charity of the Healthcare’s division at Compass Group UK & Ireland and to date the company has raised nearly £320,000 since 2015.

​Full marks for Compass Baristas as they all pass top SCA exam #

All five of Compass’s first ever Master Barista cohort, selected from the Compass Barista Academy, have set the standard for future Compass baristas by passing their Speciality Coffee Association (SCA) Intermediate Barista Skills Module with flying colours.
This globally recognised qualification is offered as part of the Compass Master Barista scholarship where baristas receive special training, attend sponsor days to improve their knowledge and skills, and are put through the SCA curriculum. The group have now completed their Introduction to Coffee, Foundation Barista and Intermediate Barista Skills modules. In a push to achieve further excellence they will shortly be undertaking their SCA Professional Skills exam making them the first within Compass Group UK & Ireland to achieve this level of accreditation.
Sonali Tailor, coffee education and training manager said: "We are incredibly proud of this standard-setting success from the Master Barista group. They have set the bar high for all future recipients of the Master Barista scholarship and we hope this pushes the rest of the academy to strive for this qualification also.”
The Barista Academy, launched in 2018, was formed to continue Compass’ investment in developing a top range of quality coffee offers. The Master Baristas are now halfway through their two-year course. To read more about the Master Barista selection process click here.  
Sponsoring the Barista Academy are: UCC Coffee, Simonelli Group, Yew Tree Dairy, West Country Milk, Alpro UK Ltd., Brita, Hydracs, Teapigs, Continental Chef Supplies and Speciality Coffee Association.

Compass shines light on social mobility in hospitality industry by signing pledge #

Compass Group UK & Ireland has signed up to the Social Mobility Pledge in order to underline its commitment to equal opportunities and help improve social mobility across the UK. It is the first big player within the hospitality sector to do so.

The company employs over 60,000 people in the UK and has been recognised for its apprenticeship strategy and training programmes, so is already taking a number of positive steps to support social mobility. The pledge asks that its accredited employers partner with schools and colleges to provide careers advice and mentoring to people from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as work experience and apprenticeship opportunities. Finally, they must embrace transparent employee recruitment practices which promote a level playing field.

Donna Catley, HR director, Compass Group UK & Ireland says: “First and foremost we are a people business and signing the Social Mobility Pledge is an important landmark which goes hand in hand with the excellent work we’re already doing. As market leader I believe it is our job to lead by example, raise awareness and do all we can to make a difference. The educational and qualification barriers that exist in some industries simply don’t exist in ours, so we have a unique opportunity to help thousands of people progress and grow across the UK. We are deeply committed to this and it’s something many of our senior leadership are passionate about, having come from a range of different socioeconomic backgrounds themselves.

“In unison with our pledge we are also making commitments to our employees, as we seek to continue to support, grow and develop them. Finally, we will train several thousand managers over the next year to equip them with the people management skills and tools to support our ambitions.”

The Social Mobility Pledge was founded by former Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, and David Harrison, Chair of the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility.

Justine Greening MP goes on to say: “The Social Mobility Pledge is about Britain’s businesses making a practical and positive difference by spreading opportunities more widely. Really understanding the value of people is crucial to achieving social mobility and businesses are the key drivers. 

“I’m delighted that Compass Group UK & Ireland has signed the Pledge and by doing so they underline their commitment to equality of opportunity. I hope many more organisations will follow so that together we can create genuine social mobility in Britain for the first time.”

Since the Social Mobility Pledge was launched in March 2018, over 350 businesses have signed representing almost three million employees.

Compass Group UK & Ireland also signed the Care Leaver Covenant back in April this year to provide support for those leaving care looking for employment in the hospitality sector. They also partner with leading hospitality industry charity, Springboard UK on a number of initiatives throughout the year.

Top marks for Chartwells apprentice star who receives Special Award for Food Safety at Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or #

Chartwells is celebrating the recent achievements of apprentice star Kat Davie, who supports the day-to-day culinary preparation in the school kitchen, after recently competing in the Grand Finals of industry-hot competition Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or.Toque d’Or, the prestigious competition which has been running for over 30 years offers students and apprentices ‘unique and exciting real-world experiences.’ The competition demonstrates the huge number of opportunities within the hospitality industry and bridges the gap between education and industry service.
Competition judge, Adam Bateman, group operations and development chef said: “I found Kat a massive inspiration and genuine in her unassuming approach – she gave it her all, no matter what! During the National Heats, she cooked simple food but worked hard to maximise her flavours. Her dish of Beetroot and Feta Balls with Courgette Spaghetti was one of the stand out dishes, which got her through to the Grand Finals. Kat had a great attitude throughout the competition and was very humble, which can be hard to maintain in a very competitive environment.”
Following the competition Kat has received a Special Award from The Royal Society of Public Health for achieving the highest scores in food safety from the judges during the competition. 
Kat Davie, apprentice, Chartwells commented on her experience: “As if competing at Toque d’Or wasn’t enough, to now be receiving this award as well is completely overwhelming. The opportunities my apprenticeship has presented to me are never ending. My manager encouraged and championed me throughout this experience, and I can’t wait to continue learning and seeking out new opportunities to improve.”

​KFC - The first UK fast food chain to sign up to the European Chicken Commitment (“ECC”). #

EMW explains:

What is the “European Chicken Commitment”?

The 2026 European Chicken Commitment is an initiative that was introduced to improve the lives of all broiler chickens within the supply chain in the EU by 2026. A coalition of animal protection groups across the continent, including the RSPCA, World Animal Protection and Eurogroup for Animals, have agreed on a single set of welfare standards to govern poultry production. This follows concerns over inhumane conditions that predominate in the intensive large-scale production of chicken meat, such as over-crowding, over-breeding and the increasing use of “fast-growing” breeds that can collapse under their own weight.

What are the new requirements?

Food retailers and suppliers are now required to:

- comply with all EU animal welfare laws and regulations, regardless of where farming is taking place;
- use “slow-growing” breeds to promote welfare; and 
- improve the environmental standards for their livestock.

How is this affecting the industry?

The aim is to encourage food retailers and suppliers to commit to raising welfare standards by 2026. Marks & Spencer was the first retailer to sign up to the ECC, followed by Waitrose, Danone, Nestlé as well as Unilever, whose commitment is even more impressive as it covers all it’s bouillons and soups, where chicken is only used for ingredients in its products and where Unilever’s power in the supply chain is limited.

KFC UK and Ireland (together with their divisions in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden) signed this month and are the first UK fast food chain to do so. By signing, the company has committed to investing in environment enrichment, including perches, pecking objects and natural daylight and the biggest step – a commitment towards only purchasing slower-growing, higher welfare breeds. They have promised to work closely with their suppliers in both the UK and Europe, in order to raise welfare standards by 2026. KFC was graded “very poor” by campaign group World Animal Protection for their animal welfare earlier this year, due to a lack of commitments, targets or published data.

As KFC is one of the largest fast food chain in the UK, it is hoped that this will put pressure on other fast food chains to follow suit. Supermarket and restaurant giants are also being encouraged to sign up.

This initiative will also have a positive impact on consumers, who will no longer have to worry about different labels used on chicken meat, like RSPCA Assured, Red Tractor, Free-range or Organic, as ECC chickens will be higher welfare.

EMW's helps fight homelessness in Milton Keynes #

EMW has announces that its CEO, Joy Vollans, will be taking part in this year's CEO Sleepout on Thursday 7 November at Stadium MK to raise money to help fight poverty and homelessness in Milton Keynes.

There are lots of great local businesses taking part and EMW is delighted to join in the “fun" for this brilliant cause. 

Joy will be braving a cold night in November to help raise much needed funds. If you’re able donate, please visit the Just Giving Page

EMW people are getting on their bikes for Cycle4Cynthia #

EMW is delighted to announce that it's the lead sponsors for Cycle4Cynthia 2019!

The cycle ride takes place across the Northamptonshire countryside and raises money to support Cynthia Spencer Hospice. EMW has lots of volunteers to join in with the ride which will take place on Sunday 22 September!
Joy Vollans, EMW's CEO said: “We have taken part in Cycle4Cynthia for several years so when the opportunity to be more involved came up, we jumped at the chance. To be able to help Cynthia Spencer raise funds for all the wonderful work the hospice does, whilst doing something we enjoy, is brilliant!” 

If you’re able to donate to support the EMW cycle team and raise much needed funds for Cynthia Spencer Hospice, please click here.