Members’ News

November 2019

BaxterStorey double award recognition from Soil Association #

BaxterStorey has been awarded two Bronze Standard Accreditations by the Soil Association for its catering operations at both Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the Barbican Centre. 
The certification, a first for both locations, recognises the high standard of BaxterStorey’s catering services provided to around 1,600 staff, students and artists in the Green Room staff and artist restaurant at the Barbican Centre and the Foyer Café and Milton Court Café at Guildhall School; as well as The Artists’ Bar, a café and hospitality space which serves artists performing in the many events throughout the calendar year at the Barbican.  
As part of the accreditation process, the locations were reviewed to ensure they met the highest standards of provenance and traceability and that all customers routinely received freshly prepared meals, using environmentally sustainable and seasonal ingredients. 
Soil Association Certification is the country’s leading organic certifier and offers a large range of organic and sustainable certification schemes across food, farming, catering, health and beauty and forestry.  
Following the audit, the BaxterStorey team were commended for using organic and free-range ingredients throughout their menus, such as grilled Essex reared chicken breast, with a focus on seasonality and provenance, including their seasonal vegetable tagine with cous cous.  
Head of commercial development at the Barbican and Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Adrian Morgan said: “We are delighted to hear that our catering partners BaxterStorey have been awarded the Bronze Standard accreditation from the Soil Association. We are committed to providing all our staff, visitors and students with high quality, fresh food, and work closely with BaxterStorey to continue in our drive for sustainable practices, such as our commitment to provenance”.  
BaxterStorey managing director, Sarah Miller added: “Creating a sustainable business is at the core of what we do at BaxterStorey. We’re incredibly proud of our teams at both the Barbican’s Green Room restaurant and Guildhall School of Music & Drama, who ensure our customers receive the finest food and drink possible in a sustainable and considered manner.”  

BaxterStorey's Louise Wheatly wins HR in Hospitality Rising Star Award #

BaxterStorey's Head of People Operations, Louise Wheatley, received the Rising Star Award at the HR in Hospitality Awards.
Louise, originally from Reading, joined the WSH Group in 2015 as a HR Apprentice. Following completion of her apprenticeship she was transferred to the BaxterStorey team as a People Adviser, a well-deserved promotion that kick started her career in HR.

The HR in Hospitality Rising Star award is given to an individual who will be a future HR leader, who is on a progressive career development path where their contribution to the HR team is really making a difference. At only age 22, Louise was successful at the HR awards because of her determination, career progression, and the success of projects she has undertaken.

Louise initially picked up and supported the Southwest region and set about building strong relationships, setting herself stretching targets and consistently delivering over and above what was required. The Southwest Region is made up of 35 sites, around £25m turnover and 300 staff. Louise has a key focus of supporting the Site Managers and Operations Managers on all aspects of HR, which is one of the reasons she is such a worthy winner of this award.

BaxterStorey’s Alex Borley awarded Rising Star at Foodservice Cateys 2019 #

BaxterStorey Account Manager Alex Borley was awarded the prestigious Rising Star Award at this year’s Foodservice Cateys. The Caterer magazine’s annual awards ceremony was held at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge on Friday and saw hundreds of industry colleagues attend the black-tie event. 
Alex joined the BaxterStorey Graduate Programme 3 years ago, when he was given his first role mobilising one of the company’s flagship locations, and managing a team of 28, aged just 24. The judges praised him for his exceptional engagement and impressive ability to stay on top of industry trends, going above and beyond to deliver on client expectation.  
Alex recently introduced a ‘Thirsty Thursday’ themed bar at his flagship location, as well as a silent disco, drag events celebrating LGBT month and a stand-up comedy event. Working closely with BaxterStorey’s strong food network, Alex invites numerous suppliers to host pop ups at his location, and recently launched ‘The Wagon’, an on-site truck serving a daily street food offering.   
Commenting on Alex’s success, co-chief executive Noel Mahony said: “We are delighted Alex has been recognised with this richly deserved Award. Since joining our Graduate scheme, Alex’s enthusiasm to keep pushing the boundaries of service excellence has never wavered. Training and development are the foundations of our business and to have three finalists, Alex, Scott and Esther, in the FoodService Cateys, has made us incredibly proud.”   Alex commented on the Award: “I was genuinely surprised to hear I’d been shortlisted for the FS Cateys, let alone that I had gone on to win the award! I’ve been lucky enough to work within a brilliant team over the last few years and had some fantastic mentors who have given me the opportunities to prove myself. I’m looking forward to my new challenge as Account Manager and hope to take my career to the next level with the business over the coming years.   “Aside from my day job, I’d love to inspire more people to follow a career path in hospitality – it’s a great industry for anyone with the right attitude and approach, that is often overlooked”. 

Natasha’s Law – what this means to the food industry #

On 5 September 2019, Parliament enacted ‘Natasha’s Law’, a statutory instrument requiring businesses in the food industry to include full details of ingredients on the labelling of foods which are pre-packed for direct sale.

The introduction of this legislation followed the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who suffered a fatal allergic reaction to a Pret A Manger baguette. Prior to the introduction of Natasha’s Law, full ingredient or allergen information was not required to be displayed on foods packaged for direct sale.

The legislation will come into force on 1 October 2021, and from this date food that is prepared and packaged for direct sale will be required to display a full list of ingredients for each product, emphasising any allergens. There is currently no legal definition of food which is prepared and packaged for direct sale, but guidance from the Food Standards Agency suggests that the legislation will apply to foods which have been prepared and packaged on the same premises from which they are sold. (Examples of this would include sandwich shops and takeaway outlets.) The Food Standards Agency will supply further guidance on the new rules in December of this year.

Labelling specialists, Right Label Solutions Limited have developed a new labelling system for use by businesses in the industry. The aim of which is to increase industry compliance with the new legislation. The company’s new software, the ‘Allergen Manager’, scans a product’s list of ingredient for 64 known allergens and produces a label highlighting these allergens, which can then be affixed to packaging. This system is currently the only one of its kind, but other technological firms may follow suit.  

For more information on this update, please contact Daisy Divoka or Sophie Gladwell or give us a call on 0345 070 6000.

Nisbets Essentials delivers great value for full kitchen solutions #

Nisbets announced the launch of the Nisbets Essentials range. The first phase of the collection launched to market in September 2019, the range has been designed to provide caterers with equipment solutions at a very competitive price point as an entry-level range, whilst complementing Nisbets’ long established brand catalogue.
With insight revealing that one third of professional caterers have a need for accessibly priced kitchen equipment[1], Nisbets Essentials has been designed to deliver a solution with fit-for-purpose equipment that offers great value to its customers. This summer, an initial collection of over 40 back-of-house solutions will launch to market including counter-top cooking appliances, clothing, kitchenware and refrigeration.
Richard Cromwell, commercial director, comments; “The Nisbets Essentials collection forms a basic foundation for every type of catering business. Alongside our existing and trusted own brands, introducing an Essentials range allows operators with big ideas – but smaller budgets – to have affordable access to the core equipment that any kitchen needs. Both simple and functional, we’re delighted to be able to supply our customers with essential tools of the trade at a guaranteed competitive price point.”
The Nisbets Essentials range will be available to purchase in-store and online from August 2019. For more information and to discover the full range of Nisbets equipment solutions, visit

[1] Context Consulting, Nisbets brand marketing

New report from Délifrance reveals key UK bakery trends for 2019 and beyond #

Prove It: The Great British Bakery Report, a new report from Délifrance, has revealed that artisanal experiences, health and wellness, new diets such as veganism, and demand for a larger variety of flavours are shaping consumer demands for the UK bakery market.
To understand what consumers really want in out-of-home bakery products, the report drilled down into the key categories of bread, viennoiserie, pâtisserie and savoury. Research revealed nearly a quarter (23%) of the nation is eating more bakery products than before, thanks to increased variety and quality. These discerning consumers are in search for new flavours and experiences across the categories, with provenance and authenticity telling a story about the products they buy. Health and wellness trends are also front-of-mind for the conscious consumer, demanding nutritious alternatives to suit changing dietary needs.
Stéphanie Brillouet, marketing director for Northern Europe & North America, Délifrance, said: “The UK bakery market is currently worth £11.5bn, predicted to grow 1.3% by 2022 (1), presenting a significant opportunity to smart operators.

“Our new insight has defined general consumer trends as well as the unique behaviours and demands of different demographics. We’ve also listened to what’s dominating online conversations and revealed the factors that would make consumers buy more bakery products. This is excellent information for operators to capitalise on – to maximise their offer and target their key customer groups most effectively.”
Other key findings include:
- 40% of consumers are eating bread products every day, and a further - - 44% are eating them a few times a week
- Freshness is one of the biggest priorities for consumers buying bread and viennoiserie 
- 29% of consumers would buy more pâtisserie products if there was a wider range of flavours, and 43% would buy more if there was a wider choice of healthy options
- 17% would buy more savoury products if there were more vegan options

Lunchtime is a prime opportunity for savoury products - 50% of people who eat savoury pastries eat them for lunchThe report’s findings are drawn from a UK-wide consumer survey of 1,000 adults, social listening tool Delve Insights, Délifrance market estimations and insight, external market data, and opinion from bakery operators and the Food and Beverage Manager’s Association (FBMA).
The report is available upon request from
1Global Data 2019 / Délifrance

Sodexo recognised for efforts to prevent single-use plastic waste #

Sodexo received the award for the best waste prevention project (non-food) at the annual waste2zero Awards, which are specifically aimed to give the foodservice industry a platform to showcase best practice and recognise excellence in this vital area. 

Sodexo received the award for the actions it has taken to eliminate single use plastics from its operations in the UK and Ireland.

Waste is one of Sodexo’s biggest collective challenges and it sees prevention as a key step in addressing it. Sodexo will always endeavour to prevent waste where it can. 

Sodexo’s actions and achievements in this area include a partnership with Simply Cups, the UK’s only paper and plastic cup collection and recycling service and was one of the first to remove plastic straws and stirrers from its operations in May 2018.

At the same time Sodexo made a public commitment to phase out single use plastic bags and polystyrene items such as cups, lids and food containers by 2020 and has made environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic disposables widely available in its business.

Sodexo has this autumn teamed up with the Marine Conservation Society (MSC) and so far, 52 Sodexo colleagues have volunteered their time to help the MSC’s Beach Clean initiative. Their efforts resulted in over 12kg of waste being removed from Brighton, Sand Bay, Mappleton and West Kirby beaches during the 100-metre monitored cleans. This included 3,808 small plastic pieces and 300 cotton bud sticks. Not only did Sodexo employees clear plastic/waste items that could have harmed marine life their efforts have enabled vital data to fuel MCS litter campaign and help affect real change.

At the waste2zero awards Sodexo was also named runner-up in the Best Waste Project Communication & Stakeholder Engagement Award for its annual WasteLESS Week employee, client and consumer engagement campaign which is held every October.

The 2019 WasteLESS Week campaign is currently underway, and this year continues the focus on reducing the use of plastics, with tools and resources also available on other critical areas such as food waste. 

Megan Horsburgh, head of D&I and CR, Sodexo UK and Ireland said: “We are thrilled to have received this award and our thanks go to our teams out there making a difference every day whether it’s through conversations with their clients, engaging their consumers to change their behaviour and finding ways specific to them to prevent and reduce the amount of waste our services generate. 

“Environmental protection is one of the key issues which we focus from a global and regional perspective. We acknowledge that action is critical to ensure that we, as responsible corporate citizen, do as much as it can to improve the quality of life of future generations and reduce the impact our business operations has on the environment.

“We continue to look at ways we can reduce our impact on the environment and look forward to hearing what our teams across the country achieve during this year’s WasteLESS Week. We can only reach our targets with the help and support from our teams delivering services to our clients and consumers every day.”

RAF Museum brought under the wing of Peyton & Byrne #

Events, hospitality and retail at the RAF Museum in London will now be provided by Peyton & Byrne. 

Peyton and Byrne and Peyton Events, who became part of the Sodexo family in October 2016, will operate the contract, worth £6m until 2023.

Peyton and Byrne will operate the three retail areas within the Museum, with Peyton Events running the seven dedicated conference and events spaces.

The Museum has  a wide variety of daytime event spaces available, including a 200-capacity tiered lecture theatre, a spacious exhibition room and smaller meeting rooms for board meetings and ‘break out’ spaces.

The RAF Museum also plays host to evening events with spacious hangars available to hire for dinners, receptions and parties.

Guests can enjoy modern British menus beside famous aircraft, including the Spitfire, Harrier Jump Jet, Eurofighter Typhoon and a Hurricane which flew in the Battle of Britain. Smaller hangars are available for more intimate dinners. 

Event planners will have the opportunity to incorporate tours of the Museum, the flight simulators or The Dam Buster virtual reality experience or into their meeting or event.

Barry Smith, director of visitor and commercial development at RAF Museum, said: “We are looking forward to working alongside Sodexo, through Peyton and Byrne and Peyton Events, to provide exceptional events and hospitality at this magnificent museum.

“There are such a wide range of options for people wanting to host events, away days or  meetings here, made even easier by the convenient transport links and extensive free parking for events, that I am sure our partnership will be a huge success.”

Charlotte Evans, site general manager for Sodexo, said: “We look forward to welcoming delegates and guests to the RAF Museum and are excited by the opportunities ahead of us. The Museum has a whole range of conference and events spaces and is now the largest of our London venues run by Peyton Events. The venue offers a truly unique experience and we are very much looking forward to bringing these to life here.”

A clean sweep for Sodexo at the Springboard Awards for Excellence #

Sodexo was presented with two awards – Best Apprenticeship Strategy and Springboard Individual Ambassador – at the 2019 Springboard Awards for Excellence held at Hammersmith’s Novotel London West on the 18 October 2019.

 As a food and service management partner for more than twenty years, Sodexo has worked closely with Springboard to help develop programmes that promote careers in the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry, demonstrating it as an employer of choice and showcasing it as a vibrant, dynamic and great place to work.

Sodexo won the Best Apprenticeship Strategy award for the successful delivery of its apprenticeship programme and implementation of initiatives designed to engage, support and recognise apprentices across its business and beyond. This includes its participation in national apprenticeship campaigns and the development of its internal apprenticeship strategy. The award was sponsored by Sodexo apprenticeship provider, HIT Training, who have supported Sodexo through the development of its programme.

Sodexo’s Michael Taylor, Learning & Development manager, was awarded the Springboard Individual Ambassador award for his commitment to promoting careers within the hospitality industry and his continued support of Springboard across multiple events.

On the award wins, Jo Manifold, director of Learning & Development, Sodexo UK & Ireland commented: “Winning both awards we were shortlisted for is a testament to our support of our people and the hospitality talent of the future. Congratulations to Michael Taylor and Sue Davison for all their hard work and to all those involved in the delivery of apprenticeships across Sodexo – you deserve this recognition.

 “Thank you to all the Sodexo teams that have supported this investment in our people’s development – this is aligned with our ambition to improve the quality of life for our people, our clients and our customers.”
Sue Davison, Apprentice Programme manager, Sodexo UK & Ireland added: “We have worked tirelessly to grow the Sodexo apprenticeship programme across the UK and Ireland, supporting the career development and skills of our people. We look forward to continuing this work and making the most of the amazing talent available within the hospitality industry.

 “A massive thank you to Springboard and HIT Training for recognising our efforts and thank you to all of our Sodexo colleagues who have helped us on our apprenticeship journey.”

Michael Taylor, Learning & Development manager, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “I don’t do this work for awards, but to support those who need help finding work and who have the talents to go far within hospitality. It has been a very humbling experience winning this award and one that I won’t forget – thank you Springboard for the award.”

The annual Springboard Awards for Excellence celebrate and promote the work being contributed to the hospitality, tourism and leisure industry by employers who have helped to promote careers while improving staff attraction and retention rates. Sodexo was nominated for two awards across 20 award categories.

Sodexo pledges support for SSAFA’s new Friendly to Forces campaign #

Sodexo announced its commitment to support SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity’s latest campaign, Friendly to Forces. The campaign is calling for more UK companies to challenge their perceptions about hiring service leavers, as their new research reveals concerning misconceptions over the benefits of hiring ex-servicemen or women. 

Sodexo has supported SSAFA for over 14 years and is proud to be one of the first to sign up to this new campaign. As a proud partner to SSAFA Sodexo already provides valuable support with sponsorship, employee volunteering and fundraising, and through Sodexo’s Stop Hunger Foundation funds SSAFA’s homelessness fund.

As an early signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant, Sodexo is committed to the continual support in the employment of ex-armed forces personnel and their families as well as those employees who are members of the Reserves. A commitment which has extended to its Public Service Pledge which includes an annual target to employ 200 ex-service personnel and their families.

Rachel Evans, HR Director, Government & Agencies, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “Sodexo is proud to support and provide employment opportunities at every level to those leaving the military. SSAFA’s latest campaign is a positive step in encouraging businesses to look at the skills ex-service men and women can offer.  

“As an employer we recognise the value, knowledge, talent, qualities and skills that ex-service personnel and their families bring to our organisation.  We also understand the challenges they encounter when transitioning from military into civilian life and are currently developing an employee support network specifically aimed at employees with a military background and reservists.

Research published by SSAFA has revealed that British ex-service personnel struggle to find work due to mental health stigma. According to the research almost half (46%) of UK recruiters worry about hiring a service leaver in case they had mental health issues and over a third (31%) of recruiters stated they feel reluctant to hire someone who had previously served.

SSAFA’s research also reveals the divide in understanding veterans in the workplace is profound. As on the other side of opinion, 43% say they would feel proud to work alongside a service leaver. In fact, workers cited being a team player (57%), driven (43%), a problem solver (42%), resilient (41%), quick thinking (40%) as qualities they associate with service leavers.

James Grant, head of corporate fundraising and events, SSAFA says: "One of the many selling points of joining the Armed Forces is learning skills that can be easily transferred into civilian life. Sadly, some businesses still don’t recognise these skills and service leavers are being discriminated against. We see that there’s also a false perception over Armed Forces personnel suffering from mental health issues. Mental health is a common condition affecting 1 in 4 people every year* – service leaver or not.

“A career in service to our country should always be met with pride and gratitude. That’s why we have launched our Friendly to Forces campaign, to challenge all businesses to do better when hiring service leavers.”

Sodexo’s support of SSAFA’s new Friendly to Forces campaign complements its work with the Defence Relationship Management (DRM) which includes its work with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP), as well as being recognised in 2017 with the Gold Employer Recognition Award for the company’s commitment and efforts to support the entire Armed Force community through its strong policies which include: 

- the positive recruitment of ex-military personnel
- the provision of employment opportunities for the spouses of service personnel posted into areas where Sodexo holds a contract
- a flexible approach to granting leave for employees which are members of the Reserves

Casual Dining goes big with first Keynote announcement for 2020 #

Three of the biggest names in casual dining: James Spragg and Steve Holmes, the CEOs of Casual Dining Group (CDG) and Azzurri Group respectively, and David Campbell, executive chairman at Bill's Restaurants – are on the Keynote menu at Casual Dining 2020.
The A-list speaker line-up for next year’s show (25-26 March, ExCeL London) also includes Amber Wood, MD of The Cosy Club at Loungers; Baton Berisha, MD of The Ivy Collection; Laura Harper Hinton, owner and creative director of Caravan Restaurants (and investor on the BBC’s My Million Pound Menu); Andrew and Prannee Laurillard, founders of Thai chain Giggling Squid; and Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality.    
Ex-wagamama boss David Campbell, who was appointed executive chairman at Bill's Restaurants last summer, says he’s looking forward to speaking at the Casual Dining show.  In his opening day Keynote interview, he’ll be focusing on the reimagining of Bill’s, where almost half of the estate has already been extensively refurbished, plus talking about the new openings that are now happening.
“We’re delighted to announce our first wave of speakers for Casual Dining 2020,” enthuses event manager Eva Ellis.  “While we can certainly promise plenty more big name announcements over the coming weeks, it doesn’t get much bigger than CDG, Azzurri Group, Bill’s, The Ivy Collection, and Loungers – who operate some of the UK’s most well-known casual dining restaurant brands – speaking exclusively at their industry show.
“This is a fantastic starting line-up to open our show registration and kick off the 2020 marketing campaign.  And, if that’s not irresistible enough, visitors also benefit from two action-packed days of product launches, demos and tastings from over 220 leading casual dining suppliers showcasing everything from ingredients to food and drink, from kitchen kit and front of house, to payment solutions and catering tech,” she says.   
Show features and highlights include 50+ speakers appearing in 25 free business seminars across two dedicated keynote theatres (both sponsored by Yumpingo), The Vineyard (new for 2020), The Taphouse (formerly the Craft Beer & Cider Zone), Artisan Spirits Lounge, and the Innovation Challenge Awards.
Exciting times for Casual Dining Group’s new CEO
Before becoming CEO of Casual Dining Group earlier this year, James Spragg was chief operating officer overseeing the Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Belgo restaurant portfolio.
When he last spoke at the show, he outlined CDG’s strategies for keeping its core brands fresh and relevant and made headlines with the launch of ‘virtual’ delivery brand Stack & Grill from Café Rouge’s kitchens.  This time around as CEO, his opening day keynote is expected to include an update on their delivery and digital strategy, plus insights into some of the ‘new initiatives and growth opportunities’[1] that CDG has planned for its 280+ restaurants (including the Las Iguanas and La Tasca brands).
Azzurri Group – Casual Dining Group of the year shares its success stories
Five years since he headlined Casual Dining’s second edition in 2015, Steve Holmes, CEO of the Azzurri Group (which won Casual Dining Group of the Year at the Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards in 2019), will be back to share his thoughts on the trends and issues shaping the casual dining industry.
Home to over 300 restaurants, including ASK Italian, Zizzi, Coco di Mama and Radio Alice pizzerias (plus, more recently, pod food), many of its brands have been high street favourites for decades. 
Under Mr Holmes’ leadership, the Azzurri Group’s continued focus on reviewing, refining and evolving its customer proposition helped deliver like-for-like growth in 2018 – despite (what he called) the ‘challenging environment faced by the UK casual dining market’[2].  It currently employs over 6,500 staff, serves over 21 million meals annually, and is set for further expansion.  He’ll be discussing all that and more in his highly-anticipated Keynote interview at the show.
220 exhibitors for 2020
2019 was a big year for Casual Dining in many ways.  Its first year at ExCeL (and sixth edition overall) saw attendance hit 5,038 and led to a record number of exhibitors rebooking onsite.  Fast forward nine months and it’s well on track to sell out of exhibition space ahead of the new March dates (25-26 March).
The ever-growing exhibitor list covers everything casual dining operators need to run their businesses successfully.  Among the returning exhibitors are AAK Foodservice, Ascentia FSE, Billington Foodservice, Britvic, Carlsberg UK, Coca-Cola European Partners, Diageo, Fentimans, Futura Foods UK, Givex, Harri, JJ Foodservice, Kobas, Lavazza, Lutosa, Major International, Molson Coors Brewing Company, Moving Mountains, Panasonic UK, Peka Kroef, Pizza Equipment, Tevalis, The Meatless Farm Co, and UCC Coffee.
Joining them are new names (to the show) like Cadbury, The Vegetarian Butcher, Kepak Convenience Foods, GCL Food Ingredients, Fourth, Canopies UK, Sodiaal, Design & Create Solutions, MIKADO Foods, Pathos Continental Foods, and Love Joes.
The initial exhibitor list will be available online next month.
Show registration now open
Over 5,000 attendees – from multi-site restaurants, pub and bar groups, to hotels, contract caterers and the nation’s best independents – will be out in force at Casual Dining next March.
The show’s prestigious visitor list annually includes the top buyers and brands from across the casual dining sector, including Admiral Taverns, Aramark, Azzurri Group, BaxterStorey, Benugo, Bill’s Restaurants, BrewDog, Carluccio's, Casual Dining Group, CH&Co Group, Charles Wells, Center Parcs, Côte Restaurants, Daniel Thwaites, Dishoom, Domino's Pizza Group, DoubleTree By Hilton, Ei Group, Elior UK, Flat Iron, Fuller's, Greene King, Hall & Woodhouse, Hard Rock Café, Harvester, ISS UK, Loungers, Marston’s, Mitchells & Butlers, Nando's, National Trust, NWTC, Oakman Inns, Papa John's, PizzaExpress, Pizza Hut Restaurants UK, Pizza Pilgrims, Prezzo, Punch Taverns, Revolution Bars Group, Shepherd Neame, Sodexo, SSP, Stonegate Pub Company, TGI Fridays, The Restaurant Group, wagamama, YO! Sushi, Young's, and more.
Summing up his show experience (as a speaker and visitor), Chris Hill, CEO of The New World Trading Company (NWTC), says: “Casual Dining at ExCeL is the premium sector show, bringing together fantastic debate, content and innovation.”
“Casual Dining 2019 provided a great opportunity to engage with innovative new suppliers, network with existing contacts and listen to some informative keynote speakers.  It’s a great event and one I look forward to returning to in 2020,” says Mark Carter, head of drinks category management at Marston’s Pubs & Bars.
“I thoroughly enjoyed Casual Dining at ExCeL this year – great show.  I’m sure 2020 will be even better!  See you there,” says Shamil Thakrar, co-founder of Dishoom.
Casual Dining returns to ExCeL London on 25-26 March 2020.  For further information, please visit and use priority code CD10.

[1] Source:
[2] Source:

Venners introduces Allergen Procedure Audit to support hospitality operators manage a safe environment in a sector where current compliance levels average below 75% #

Venners has added an Allergen Procedure Audit to the services it offers to the licensed trade in response to regular failings identified that could have fatal consequences. Early illustrations show that there are significant weaknesses in standards and processes, with average audit scores falling below 75%.

The audit is the latest service provided by the industry-leading supplier of stock control, auditing and advisory solutions and is centred around third party audits of a business’ allergen systems, training standards and procedures.  The audits take a logical approach to detecting sites that are failing to follow proper allergen management guidelines at any stage of the food and drink service process, thereby putting their customers and business at significant risk.

“We know that larger multi-site companies, in particular, have invested heavily in training and get a lot of things right” explained Malcolm Muir, director of consultancy at Venners “and there are a lot of operators who get most things right.  But there are an awful lot of businesses who get a lot of things wrong and some companies who don't appear to have done anything at all about managing allergens. With the failure of some basic processes recently highlighted by tragic fatalities, hospitality operators can’t be complacent and having an independent audit gives a realistic assessment of where their business is and where changes have to be made.”

Common mistakes often happen between front and back of house, with segregation of preparation and storage areas a common problem. Nuts, for example might be correctly stored in containers, but then put on a shelf above a general food preparation area and cross contamination from busy chefs sharing chopping boards and utensils is another obvious fail. Venners Allergen Procedure Audits have found oil being filtered from fryers with oil filtration systems to save money but then mixing the gluten free fryer with the others and filtering the amalgamated – and contaminated - oil back to all the fryers.

“The risks grow exponentially within a multi-site environment” continued Muir “which is why Venners scalable solution helps ensure there are no gaps in your allergen controls.  Allergen audits are the perfect way to check how much of your safety training your staff have absorbed and ensures that standards are being upheld, whatever the operational conditions, months after training has been supplied.  

“Where allergens are concerned, 100% is the only acceptable audit score but, worryingly, we haven't been able to award this to any site that we’ve audited. In fact, the average score is 73.6% which shows just how much work the industry still has to do.”

Venners has found that a lack of training is common and that established good practice can be overlooked when staff come under pressure.  One person may take an order, for example, whilst a series of different staff may wait on the table, serving the bread, bringing the starter, providing the condiments, serving the main, the dessert or handing out the drinks. Each one should be aware of any allergen information supplied, but this often isn’t shared amongst the whole team.  Sometimes key staff are excluded from allergen training - night staff or receptionists who might take hotel room service orders, for example, or sales staff who book catered events.

 Other common issues include not updating the allergen information when a menu is updated or accepting a replacement product in the food delivery without checking and communicating whether it has the same ingredients as the usual product. Allowing customers to serve themselves to buffet breakfast items, for example, or using self-serve ice cream scoops adds an opportunity for cross-contamination that can be difficult to control yet is allowed to continue unmonitored.

 “Due to the urgent need to remedy non-compliance, Venners auditors will immediately report failures so the operator can remove the risk and stop any negative effects on customers, brand and hard-earned reputation” concluded Muir. “There must be a fully robust backup system for when an electronic POS system fails, and an independent audit assessment of a business is becoming an absolute must to ensure it is allergen compliant and a safe environment for customers and employees.”

 Hospitality operators wanting to know more about the Venners allergen procedure audit should visit

CH&CO shakes up the venue sector with new full-service venue and events solution #

CH&CO has launched eve – a unique, market-leading full-service venue and events solution.

eve is the antidote to the needs and challenges of this fast-paced, competitive sector. The unrivalled combination of CH&CO’s impressive collection of iconic venues, extensive venue and event expertise, resources and network, and cutting-edge technology and AI will transform expectations and experiences.

From venue and event space finding and creative event management and production to innovative catering, event professionals can be sure that eve knows the landscape inside out, is well connected and always has their backs.

Built with the needs of event professionals at its core, eve’s technology creates a user experience that fully understands and supports how they operate and connects them to the right people and places to create extraordinary events. For example, empathy mapping optimises filtering and search for speedier results and the eve bot responds to customers 24/7.

It’s not just about finding the perfect venue for an event, eve is supported by CH&CO’s network of talented experts in event management, catering and production. In addition, it also has access to dynamic partners. From London’s number one summer and Christmas party organiser, Ultimate Experience, who are also skilled at award ceremonies, conferences, charity fundraisers, exhibitions and product launches, to event production specialists, FullCircle, and vibrant full-service events agency, Mask, eve has the resources and know how to create uplifting event experiences that will exceed all expectations.

From corporate event bookers and PAs to event agents and private clients, the event professional community is competitive, creative and innovative. CH&CO has invested in understanding their specific challenges, needs and drivers, and in eve it’s created a ground-breaking solution that reflects and champions this dynamic community. It supports them every step of the way with a personal, friendly base to book, plan and organise great event experiences.

Derick Martin, managing director for CH&CO Venues, said: “We’re very excited to launch eve. It brings together CH&CO’s extensive events and venue expertise and resources in one place that, thanks to the latest technology, will shake up the way event professionals research, book and manage their events for the better. It cements our position as the leading full-service operator of prestigious venues and we’ll continue to develop eve and its technology to stay ahead of the curve.

“We know venues and events inside out, we’re well connected, we have access to amazing venues, and we have a team of talented and driven event professionals who are always looking for ways to push boundaries and make what we do even better. Through eve, we offer unprecedented access to an iconic collection of venues with exciting and innovative full-service support in event management, catering and production, all delivered by a dedicated account management team.”

Hayley Miller, CH&CO’s Head of Marketing, adds: “We’ve invested heavily in understanding the end-user and developing a brand that can fully support them from the start of their event journey to the end. This is what makes eve so special. We’ve created something that will make the event professional’s life easier, whilst delivering events that take their vision to the next level. eve really is the start of something great.”

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Company of Cooks teams up with CH&CO #

Bespoke caterer, Company of Cooks, announced that it had joined forces with independent caterer and Royal Warrant holder, CH&CO.
Company of Cooks, which has business in London and the South East of England and a turnover of £35m and 600 employees, operates in the visitor attraction and cultural sectors, including at RHS Garden Wisley, the Royal Opera House and the National Portrait Gallery.
Mike Lucy, founder of Company of Cooks, will continue to manage the business and the Company of Cooks brand, ethos and tailored approach to its partners will remain.   He will also lead on sharing best practice across the combined portfolio.

Company of Cooks will gain the extra support that a larger organisation like CH&CO supplies in particular in back office functions but also in learning & development opportunities for team members.
Mike Lucy commented: “This merger provides a great opportunity for the loyal and talented members of the Company of Cooks band.  It also provides us with a greater ability to compete and, with the benefit of CH&CO and the Company of Cooks credentials and distinct personality, I’m confident that we can make a positive impact both in our own specialist market and to the wider CH&CO group. We’re looking forward to many more years developing our relationships with our existing partners as well as perhaps adding a few more, but for tomorrow it will be business as usual.”
Bill Toner, CH&CO’s CEO, added, “Company of Cooks is a lovely business, well-run with a great team and we’re delighted that they are joining us.  This merger gives us a broader foothold in the exciting Destinations sector and we can grow further on the back of it.  As always, the merger also means more opportunities for our teams and partners.”

CH&CO’s growth recognised in The Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 #

CH&CO entered The Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 at number 73.

Now in its 15th year, the respected league table that ranks Britain’s private mid-market growth companies with the biggest sales, was revealed yesterday (6 October) in the Business section of The Sunday Times.

CH&CO has grown significantly as a result of its strategy that focuses on merger and acquisition activity, as well as organic growth. Last month, its annual accounts for the financial year ending 31 December 2018 – a year that saw the integration of Harbour & Jones and Concerto Group completed, following the mergers of 2017 – showed a 19% increase in annual turnover.

This year, the business has strategically expanded further, with Inspire Catering joining the CH&CO family to increase the caterer’s foothold in Scotland. The summer brought the acquisition of Gather & Gather and Creativevents from Mitie Group plc, increasing turnover by £137m, and just last week, Company of Cooks strengthened CH&CO’s destinations portfolio when it joined the business.

CH&CO also announced a new equity partner, Equistone Partners Europe, who share its vision for the company’s future in foodservice.

Bill Toner, CEO of CH&CO, comments: “We’re thrilled to have entered The Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 league table, and within the top 100. Despite the challenging political and economic backdrop in which we all operate, we’ve remained resilient and continued to grow thanks to our clear growth strategy that focuses on merging with like-minded businesses and driving organic growth by always doing a great job for our clients.

“We’re delighted to have welcomed three dynamic new companies into the CH&CO family this year – Inspire, Gather & Gather and Creativevents, and Company of Cooks – as well as our new equity partners, Equistone. And, with a strong team in place, clear direction and plenty of talent and enthusiasm, we look forward to continued success.”

CH&CO crowns its Chef of the Year #

Alan Giannasi was declared the CH&CO Chef of the Year, following the exciting and nail-biting final of the caterer’s inaugural chef competition.

Eight finalists from across the diverse CH&CO business battled it out for the coveted crown in front of well-known, respected judges, including Jeremy Ford, the Director of Food at Gather & Gather, Paul Mannering, Chef Academy Principal at Hit Training, Stewart McQueen, Manager of the Seafood Training School within Billingsgate Market and Mark Hill, Executive Chef at the House of Commons.

To secure their places in the final, the talented chefs were challenged to create a three-course menu featuring a seafood starter, surf and turf main course with a twist, and an autumn dessert. At the final, they had just two hours to produce the menu, showcasing their technical skills, flair for great flavours, knowledge of seasonal ingredients, presentation and good hygiene practices.
Sticking with the seafood theme, the final was held at the famous Seafood Training School within Billingsgate Market in London Docklands in front of an audience of colleagues, clients and suppliers.

All eight finalists impressed the judges with their flair and creativity, but Alan’s menu stood out for his mix of flavours and techniques used. His winning menu was a starter of seafood suet rag pudding with a crab bisque sauce, squid ink cracker and torched langoustine. His surf and turf main consisted of a pan-fried pigeon breast and roasted monkfish Jerusalem artichoke puree, baby beets, watercress and pigeon jus. Alan’s Autumnal inspired pudding in the three-course competition was an orange, almond and bilberry cake with sloe gin ice cream, salted granola, yoghurt panna-cotta, bilberry gel and bilberry compote.

As well as overall Chef of the Year, Alan was also awarded Best Starter, with Adam Robson scooping Best Main Course and Rachel Stebbing the Best Dessert.

Steve Oram, culinary learning & development chef for CH&CO, said: “The inaugural CH&CO Chef of the Year competition was a resounding success.  What a great way to celebrate the culinary talent within the business and our unwavering focus on incredible food experiences and people development. Huge congratulations go to all the finalists and to Alan Giannasi for taking the title!

“The competition was designed to put food at the forefront for chefs. Our chefs love to innovate and push boundaries, and it allowed everyone to do this. They all demonstrated their passion for food, ingredients with sustainability, seasonality and provenance. This was an excellent platform for our chefs from across the business – from workplaces, education and healthcare to destinations, venues, livery and events – to showcase their incredible talents and creativity. I thank everyone involved in bringing the event to life, from colleagues to our supplier partners. We look forward to growing the competition for 2020!”

As well as the title CH&CO Chef of the Year, Alan Giannasi has won a meal for two at The Ritz plus a fantastic London Food Tour.

Rachel Stebbing and Adam Robson also won a bespoke Savernake knife, a Ritz cookbook and champagne, plus a trophy and certificate.

The CH&CO Chef of the Year competition was supported by Direct Seafoods, United Fresh Consortium and Churchill China.

Fairfax Meadow celebrates the opening of its new Innovation Centre #

Fairfax Meadow continue to lead the meat industry following the investment at their Tilbrook, Milton Keynes site, with the opening of a state of the art Innovation Centre.

The launch event to open the new development kitchen was an opportunity for customers, partners and colleagues to take a look at the new space and tour the production site.
The menu on the day, created by David Neale, Head of Development and Innovation, included a selection of fantastic canapes, including Casterbridge fillet of beef crostini with a truffle salsa.  In addition, guests enjoyed the Fairfax Meadow award winning pheasant sausages and mini rib cap cheeseburgers, created in the production factory.

Fairfax Meadow managing director Penny Tomlinson said, “We are delighted to open the Innovation Centre, the new facility is a significant investment for Fairfax Meadow and part of our commitment to lead the industry in product quality, innovation and service.”

Sales Director Chris Gadd added, “We see the Innovation Centre as a creative space for customers to attend product demonstrations, hold meetings and work on their menu development with our team. We look forward to welcoming our customers and potential customers on site, to showcase our range of products and demonstrate how we can support their businesses.”

Britvic adds sparkle to operators' sales with the return of limited edition J₂O Glitterberry #

Britvic is celebrating the return of the top performing, festive limited edition, J₂O Glitterberry. This blend of grape, cherry and winter spices with edible gold glitter has proved itself to be a strong performer in the festive party season with J₂O Glitterberry sales up +16% YoY[1], making it a key player for driving operators’ Christmas sales. What’s more, the relaunch is supported by a TV campaign and a wider activation plan that will reach 80% of consumers in the lead up to Christmas, helping to keep the product front-of-mind for consumers.
The festive flavour is designed to help operators tap into adult socialising occasions which is a big opportunity during the Christmas period as shoppers spend on soft drinks increases by +11%[2]. Its market appeal is further enhanced by the rising low and no alcohol trend, meaning that shoppers nationwide are looking for non-alcoholic drinks which are just as special as the alcoholic alternatives.
Adam Russell, director of Foodservice & Licensed at Britvic, said: “Operators can tap into the buzz of increased consumer engagement following the TV campaign by maximising space in display fridges for the eye-catching product, and ensuring that it’s at the top of the winter drinks menu choices. Given the trend for premiumisation at Christmas, topping J₂O Glitterberry with prosecco is a great way to elevate your customers’ experiences, and a rare chance to add to your cocktail menu with an exciting festive drink that is both cost effective and easy to make.”

J₂O Glitterberry is available now with an MRSP of £2.22 and the TV campaign will launch in mid-November to support this popular festive choice.

[1]Nielsen Scantrack,, Total Coverage, Value Sales , 12 w/e, 19.01.19
[2]Kantar Worldpanel, Take Home Panel, Value sales, 12 w/e, 30.12.18

Leo Kattou wins the 57 Hospitality Heroes foodservice competition #

Kraft Heinz and Arena announced Leo Kattou as the winner of their new competition, 57 Hospitality Heroes - Growing a Better World, at Arena’s Autumn event.

Recognising hospitality professionals under 30, the new initiative encouraged the entire industry to nominate their ‘hospitality heroes’ who are going above and beyond to give something back to the industry in their spare time.

A senior sous chef at the Michelin-starred Simpsons Restaurant in Birmingham, Leo impressed the judges with his outstanding commitment to charity work and support for the next generation of young chefs. His accomplishments include raising £11,000 for Help Refugees, mentoring young chefs, organising a Greek pop-up fundraising night, donating his hair to The Little Princess Trust and organising a charity run in memory of his friend Matt Campbell.

Audrey Dilmi, marketing lead foodservice UK from The Kraft Heinz Company said: “Congratulations Leo, and well done to our other finalists.  Leo was in fact nominated by two separate people for his unwavering dedication to hospitality and fundraising. The competition marks the 150th anniversary of the Heinz brand and we’re delighted we could use this moment to highlight those creating a better future for the industry.”

Leo was up against strong competition from other esteemed finalists Sam Ross (BaxterStorey and City of Glasgow College) and Oliver Darrington (The Landmark London).

Lorraine Wood from Arena said: “We will be delighted to welcome Leo to the Arena Board for the next 12 months. He will also receive a donation to the charity of his choice and enjoy tickets to Arena networking events throughout the year.”

GulfHost 2020: be part of the UK Pavilion #

CESA package eases UK exhibitors’ route to lucrative ME market
The Middle East continues to be a highly lucrative market, and it’s likely to get more important for UK foodservice equipment companies in the coming years.  That’s why GulfHost is such a significant exhibition – it provides direct access to a wide cross section of customers and dealers in the region.  CESA is once again running the UK Pavilion at GulfHost 2020 and, as well as taking bookings for stands, the Association has prepared a support package that will help participating companies to get maximum benefit from taking part. 
GulfHost 2020 is at the Dubai World Trade Centre, from 6 to 8 April.  “The UK Pavilion is in the same position as 2018, which is excellent news at it was very popular with our exhibitors,” says Steve Goodliff, who is chair of the CESA Export Group.  “GulfHost specialises in catering and serving equipment and tableware.  This focus means visitors know exactly what they can expect, and previous shows have attracted over twenty thousand buyers.” 
Stand space costs £643 per square meter, excluding add-ons such as insurance.  The CESA package includes stand construction with an enhanced shell scheme featuring an attractive design, lockable counter, carpeting, name board, lighting, power socket and table and chairs.  CESA personnel will be on hand before and during the show, to help with any technical or other issues, and the Association will be running a dedicated communications campaign on behalf of UK exhibitors to attract visitors to the stands. 
Steve Kirkby is sales director, UK and Middle East, for Tablecraft Ltd, who exhibited at last year’s GulfHost.  “The CESA package made it easy to attend,” he says.  “Everything flowed smoothly and was managed well.”   He was also pleased with the show itself.  “We were breaking into the ME market at the time and the show put us in touch with people from all sectors of the catering market, at all levels,” he says.  “We were able to get first hand feedback on our distributors and our products, including their place in the market.  GulfHost helped us develop our business in this region.” 
The UK Pavilion is open to any foodservice equipment or tableware supplier involved in exporting from the UK, whose products or services originate substantially in the UK.  CESA members and non-members are eligible to apply for the package.  Members receive a discount on their booking. 
“In the past CESA has managed to secure TAP (Tradeshow Access Programme) grants from the Department of International Trade, to help participating companies,” says Goodliff.  “We will apply for these again in the new fiscal year – if successful the value is £2,500 per qualifying exhibiting company.” 
CESA has produced a GulfHost UK Pavilion brochure, including a booking form.  For copies and information, contact CESA on 020 7793 3030 or email

The CE Mark: Brexit furore is concealing potential business pitfall #

CESA partners with SWCD to launch CE Mark Compliance service
CESA has warned that, amongst all the furore surrounding Brexit, one area that some British manufacturers and suppliers are overlooking is CE Mark compliance.  To be fair, it’s currently an issue that tends to be sorted then filed away in a drawer.  But, the Association warns, post-Brexit, CE Mark compliance is likely to be policed much more vigilantly than is currently the case, both for importers and exporters of catering equipment. 
For any business that is concerned about the issue CESA has partnered with specialist consultant Steve Witt Consultancy and Design Ltd, SWCD, to launch a CE Mark Compliance service. It includes a free consultation to establish whether or not the company complies with the necessary legal requirements. If more work is needed, SWCD can provide consultancy to steer the company through the work, charging a fee of £550 per day, which is quoted for and invoiced in advance through CESA. 
Before the initial consultation, interested businesses are invited to fill in a twenty ‘yes/no’ question report that should help them check compliance to see if they need to take further action to remedy any gaps. Once that’s done, if they are still concerned, they can contact CESA or SWCD to book the free consultation.  
“To keep doing business after Brexit, equipment suppliers will need to show they have the necessary level of documentation to meet the legal requirements of CE Marking or the EC Certificate of Conformity,” says Steve Witt of SWCD.   “They must also have the required procedures and record keeping in place, whether as the OEM or as the importer or distributor of finished products.” 
The CE Mark compliance service is open to both CESA members and other companies.  To find out more, contact CESA. 

LET the Forum begin… #

Book a stand now at CESA’s Light Equipment & Tableware Forum 2020
CESA’s popular LET Forum is now open for suppliers to book their stand for the 2020 event.  Taking place at Whittlebury Hall near Towcester on the 12th and 13th May, next year’s event costs just £2,500 for participating suppliers, which includes the stand, one night’s accommodation and a ticket for the annual LET (Light Equipment and Tableware) networking and awards dinner. 
The 2019 LET Forum attracted over eighty delegates, representing both national and regional tableware and equipment dealers, all eager to find out about the latest launches from the manufacturers and suppliers who took stands.  Dealer companies who sent delegates included Drinkstuff, Airedale, Parsley in Time, Alliance and Brakes. 
Andy Piggin of PFR is a regular exhibitor.  “Of all the events we do, this is the best,” he said, after the 2019 Forum.  Unsurprisingly, eleven suppliers have already reserved stands for 2020, and since the number of exhibitors is limited to a maximum of twenty, any companies wanting to book for the event should move fast. 
“The Forum is a great opportunity for any tableware or light equipment supplier,” says Steve Goodliff, chair of the CESA LET Group.  “You get to deliver practical, hands on product training and demonstrations to a large number of distributor sales teams, over a day and a half – it’s an incredibly efficient use of time, both for exhibitors and for delegates.  That’s why it gets better every year.” 
To book a stand at the 2020 LET Forum contact CESA’s events manager, Jocelyn Carr, via email, or phone 0207 793 3029. 

Essential Cuisine launches seasonal recipe guide in celebration of British Food Fortnight #

For British Food Fortnight (21 September – 6 October) Essential Cuisine, in collaboration with Love British Food, launched a seasonal focused recipe book, showcasing the best of British produce with invaluable hints and tips.
Available to download now: the Think Seasonal, Think British recipe book is a collection of classic dishes and some surprising twists using the best in-season British ingredients and including products from Essential’s class-leading range. From Vegan Burritos to Lancashire Hot Pot, Gluten- Free Tuna Pasta Bake to Chili Con Carne, a host of tempting recipes – created to work across a variety of sectors – are included.
The combined culinary knowledge of the Essential chef team has been collated in a dedicated “Seasonality Guide” section with handy chef tips and advice throughout for when it comes to cooking with the seasons.  
The recipe book also includes a foreword by Love British Food Founder, Alexia Robinson who evaluates the social and environmental impact of buying British produce and explains how, with the partnered support of Essential Cuisine, championing British food can benefit us all.
Senior business development chef at Essential Cuisine, Jonathan Harvey-Barnes, sees the recipe book as an embodiment of that partnership and comments; “We are delighted to be partnering with Alexia and Love British Food to celebrate and promote the very best of British farming and homegrown produce. We hope our new recipe book will encourage chefs and caterers to realise and take advantage of the amazing quality and value there is to be found in cooking with home-grown produce. We’re extremely proud to champion such an important cause!”  

Essential Cuisine Makes Hospitality Action Donation to Mark Mental Health Awareness Week Activity #

Essential Cuisine head of marketing Ben Forbes hands over a cheque for £1,400 to Hospitality Action Chief Executive, Mark Lewis. The amount is symbolic of the 1 in 4 people to experience a mental health problem in their lifetime*, and part of the company’s Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May, 2019) activity, which saw members of its chef brigade open up about their own struggles.
Ben said: “Hospitality Action works tirelessly for the good of the industry and so we’re proud to continue our support by way of this donation. Mental health and wellbeing in working kitchens are of such high importance – it’s crucial we get people opening up and talking about their experiences, and that we signpost them to organisations like Hospitality Action so they can get the help they need.”

To find out more about the work of Hospitality Action, visit:
To read about the experiences of the Essential Cuisine chefs, visit:

Essential Cuisine partners with Brakes to inspire next generation of chefs #

Essential Cuisine joined forces with foodservice business Brakes, Love British Food and school caterer Edsential to celebrate British Food Fortnight by delivering inspirational food education sessions to children in schools in north west England.
The sessions focused on scratch cooking, health and wellbeing and British produce and involved over 50 highly engaged pupils aged 7-9 from Darnhall Primary School in Winsford and Victoria Road Primary School in Northwich, respectively. Both are catered for by Edsential.
The day was overseen by Essential Cuisine senior development chef, Jonathan Harvey-Barnes who invited children to get hands-on using different foods to explore their taste buds and senses in a highly interactive session. Following this they were taught knife skills under Jonathan’s tutelage; including the bridge and the claw technique – chopping fresh vegetables and preparing their own salad with dressing.  
Each pupil was gifted a chefs’ hat and apron alongside a goodie bag filled with exclusive Essential Cuisine and Brakes items. 
Jonathan commented: “Both Essential Cuisine and Brakes are passionate advocates that a love of cooking and food should begin as early as possible. Engaging with kids at grass-roots level not only helps them improve and hone basic kitchen skills, it’s also vital in helping them understand food and its importance on their individual well-being.
“Edsential were delighted with the sessions and several of the pupils remarked after how they now wanted to become chefs and were excited about taking their aprons home to help their parents prepare meals – hopefully we have, in some small way, helped inspire the next generation.”  
“We are, once again, delighted to be supporting and promoting Love British Food/British Food Fortnight,” added Lisa Johnson, Brakes sector marketing manager – Education. “We see educating children about the great fresh produce and ingredients available on their doorstep as a key part of our role as a responsible supplier.”
As part of the initiative Essential Cuisine and Brakes are collaborating on a co-branded recipe book, available from your Brakes representative.
The Essential Cuisine team prides itself on offering education and support to fledgling and professional chefs of all ages. The company is a patron of the Chefs Adopt a School charity, an organiser of the North West Young Chef of the Year competition and a sponsor of the South West Young Chef of the Year competition. It’s chef team also regularly give up their free time to mentor young chefs throughout the industry.   

Compass Chefs shine at annual cooking competition #

Compass Group UK & Ireland celebrated its 20th annual Chef of the Year competition at The Restaurant Show, at Olympia in London.

Chefs from across the business applied to take part in the competition across three categories – Apprentice, Junior and Senior Chef of the year.

The judging panel was made up of prestigious chefs including celebrity chef, Brian Turner CBE; Peter Griffiths MBE, President of the British Culinary Federation; Chris Tanner – one of the founding partners of the Tanners Restaurant; Simon Hulstone, Chef Proprietor of the 1* Michelin The Elephant restaurant; Omero Gallucci, Chef Consultant; Nathan Aldous, Lead Pastry Chef for Team England; and last year’s Senior Chef of the Year winner, Daniel Lines, Restaurant Associates.

In the senior competition, the 10 chefs were given just two hours to cook four courses, including a sustainable fish course and a vegan or vegetarian starter. Chris Macleod from ESS won the gold award, with Andy Bunting from Restaurant Associates taking silver and James Newton from Chartwells walking away with bronze.

The junior event celebrates young talent and saw 10 competitors cook three courses in one and a half hours, which also had to include a vegan or vegetarian starter. Gold was won by Sam Kent, Restaurant Associates, Sunny Patel from Chartwells secured silver and Katie Smith from ESS took third place.

Ten apprentices took part in the apprentice category – they were given forty minutes to cook one dish. Miranda Cook from Restaurant Associates won the gold award, while Nathan Racey from Levy UK won silver and Natasha Smith from Levy UK secured the bronze.
Nick Vadis, Culinary Director for Compass Group UK & Ireland said: “I’m always so impressed by the high standard of cooking – it’s fantastic to see the skills both our apprentices and junior chefs have learnt and are learning. It’s also really exciting to see our senior chefs showcase their talent. Competitions like this are a great way for chefs to experiment, try new things and show their creativity and we’ve seen this through some fantastic dishes this year. A big congratulations to all those who competed and to those who took home medals.”

Chris Macleod, chef manager, ESS, winner of Senior Chef of the Year said of his win: “I am absolutely overwhelmed to have won, it is something I have dreamt about for a long time. I have competed in the senior chef competition on two previous occasions and to finally win on the third attempt means the world to me. I have recently become a father, and the added motivation and support I have received from my family has been amazing. I worked hard to create a menu that was inspiring and met the brief from the judges, whilst also thinking about our local suppliers and provenance.”

Sam Kent, sous chef, Restaurant Associates, winner of the Junior Chef of the Year commented: “I’m really proud of myself and everyone who helped me through the competition. I have learnt so much in doing it and am thankful for the support I had from my Head Chef. I tried to make my menu as seasonal as possible and use the ingredients as best I could and I’m so happy to walk away a winner!”
Miranda Cook, Apprentice, Restaurant Associates, winner of the Apprentice Chef of the Year added: “It feels absolutely amazing to have won. I entered the competition to challenge myself and to see how far I have come since starting my apprenticeship – this is the best feeling ever.”

As well as the status of taking the gold award in their categories, the junior and senior category winners will now travel overseas on a culinary journey to explore and experience culinary trends.

Chartwells successfully retains 25-year partnership with Middlesex University #

Chartwells secured a new seven-year contract with Middlesex University, commencing Autumn 2019.

Following a rigorous and highly competitive tender process, Chartwells came out on top as the strongest competitor, with a transformative and flexible approach to catering across campus. After 25 years in partnership with the university, Chartwells has continually evolved its catering service through development, reinvestment, food innovation and ultimately, great people.

Chartwells’ new contract promises to significantly enhance the already impressive catering experience over the next seven years. This includes evolving the food offers on campus to meet the increasingly diverse needs of students - including the growing requirement for vegan and vegetarian choices – as well as the introduction of new industry leading payment and pre-ordering systems to reduce queues and improve the overall customer journey and experience.

Richard Taylor, managing director, Chartwells said: “We are confident that our new catering offer will provide a positive change to our on-campus catering. One of the University’s core strategic aims is to create a vibrant student experience which promotes wellbeing and builds a sense of belonging and commitment. We are looking to achieve this with the creation of welcoming spaces and an engagement plan focused on collaborating with students - including chef demonstrations and supplier sampling throughout the year. We also recognise the need to remain flexible, to adapt with changing consumer, environmental and sustainable needs. I am looking forward to seeing the impact our new catering vision will have on campus.”

James Kennedy, Middlesex University interim vice-chancellor commenting on the partnership, said: “Middlesex is a university that puts students at the heart of all our decisions and choosing a new in-house caterer was no different. During the very competitive tender process we were very impressed by Chartwells’ commitment to meeting the diverse needs of our students. 

"Many of our students have long commutes to university and it is essential that when they are here, they have a choice of nutritious food that tastes good and meets their individual needs. We are continually seeking to improve the experience of our students and I have no doubt that this new partnership will contribute towards this.”

RA Group and Permira Foundation partner with Refettorio Felix in collaborative employability programme to support vulnerable people #

Restaurant Associates Group teamed up with global investment firm Permira to collaborate with the charity Refettorio Felix on ‘Step Up To The Plate’ – a seven-week culinary and life skills course, set up to create a guided pathway to employment within the hospitality sector.

Refettorio Felix serves meals to vulnerable people in a home-from-home environment and turns 1,280 kilos of food, that would otherwise be destined for landfill, into delicious lunches. Over 1,000 vulnerable people benefit from the services of the centre each year. The support from the Permira Foundation, Restaurant Associates Group (RAG) and Social Business Trust (SBT) builds on strengthening the sustainability of Refettorio Felix as well as creating an imaginative skills programme for the vulnerable people they serve.

With the support of RAG and Permira, Refettorio Felix has been able to design ‘Step Up To The Plate’ which helps individuals at the centre to learn more about nutrition, cooking and also encourages a pre-employability programme for those potentially interested in working in hospitality. The programme launched with 12 candidates in early September and included modules on culinary skills, health & safety, barista and front of house training, as well as CV writing and interview skills. After an initial induction, the three-hour weekly sessions were delivered over six weeks. In a celebratory finale, the 12 participants were challenged to plan and execute a three-course meal as part of their graduation ceremony.
Alice Woodwark, managing director of RA Group commented: “We’ve supported the excellent work that Refettorio Felix has been doing for over two years and when Permira presented us with an opportunity to further assist some of the vulnerable people that Refettorio Felix support, we jumped at the chance. We believe everybody deserves the same opportunity and by working together we hope we can successfully help in providing opportunities for these individuals. Our aspiration is that by providing mentoring and training we will help them on the start of a successful career path within hospitality.”
Alistair Kingsley, CEO of Refettorio Felix, added: “This has been an incredible opportunity for our vulnerable community to learn valuable culinary and life lessons from true professionals and to feel so supported on their journey to possible employment. It’s been a life changing experience for everyone who took part.”
The Permira Foundation is delighted to be involved in this project as it provides an opportunity to support vulnerable and socially isolated individuals in central London.  Michail Zekkos, Partner and Head of Permira London said: “The culinary and life skills programme at Refettorio Felix is a fantastic way to engage with a broad spectrum of individuals who have found themselves isolated by society. This initiative provides a clear purpose and direction for a more promising future.”
Permira and its Foundation works closely with Social Business Trust to support and grow outstanding charities and social enterprises. SBT is proud to have included Refettorio Felix in its network. SBT will help to improve Refettorio Felix’s marketing, sustainability, income generation and provide additional grant funding.
Adele Blakebrough, CEO of SBT, commented: “It’s fantastic to be involved with a charity who is serving some of our most needy citizens. We are so pleased to be able to further support The Permira Foundation and the Restaurants Associates Group in their engagement with Refettorio Felix. We all look forward to deepening our relationship with this exceptional charity."

Compass crowns inaugural Barista Champion 2019 #

Compass Group UK & Ireland held its inaugural Barista Championships, which saw four finalists from across the Compass portfolio take part in a highly competitive and thrilling championship final. The competition was designed to mirror the ‘World Barista Championships’ set-up, to prepare Compass baristas to compete nationally. Razvan Cojocaru, from Restaurant Associates, was crowned winner following two intense rounds, where he demonstrated strong technical ability as well as complex coffee knowledge in his skill, with strong professionalism throughout.

Razvan used a coffee from Costa Rica Cordillera Del Fuego which was processed using an anaerobic fermentation method and roasted by the team at Roastworks coffee. Razvan explained that the coffee was like “liquid apple pie”.

Competitors: Pariwartan Nepal, from Eurest, Thales Pona, from Restaurant Associates, Arthur Luccats, from Compass Ireland and Razvan Cojocaru seized the opportunity to demonstrate their skills. The competition focused on three key areas: Espresso, milk and a signature drink. All baristas were judged against SCA competition guidelines, using their rules, regulations and score sheets.

The final took place at Compass’ SCA accredited premier training campus at the company’s Chertsey HQ, complete with an esteemed panel of judges flown in from Italy and Switzerland as well as the UK. The judging panel consisted of Robert Ward, Cimbali – Technical Judge, Lauro Fioretti, Simonelli Group and Andre Eiermann, UCC – Sensory Judges. Having competed and judged at UK and World Championships themselves, the panel of judges were best placed to survey and assess Compass’s baristas skills. In addition, Compass Coffee Education and Training Manager, Sonali Tailor oversaw the judging team as head judge.

The winner received a trip of a lifetime to an Origin’s coffee farm in Costa Rica. Razvan will get to see first-hand where the humble coffee bean starts its journey, as well as the social community projects at origin.

Steve Lovegrove, head of business excellence, Compass Group UK & Ireland said of the event: “The standard and quality of the baristas competing has been exceptional, congratulations goes out to each and every one of the competitors who have put so much into this competition. It clearly demonstrates the great talent we have in our business and it makes me extremely proud that we can showcase the skills and talents of these individuals.”

Owen Thom, education business development manager, The SCA added: “It was a great honour to be a judge in the heats for Compass Barista Championships. Seeing all the talent on show, and the passion of all participants is a credit to the competition and the coffee education that the Barista Academy has in place. I look forward to seeing the journey of the winner and all the candidates.”
Razvan Cojocaru, Compass Barista Champion 2019 said of his experience: “Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me and this competition. I feel so grateful to have won and cannot wait to fly to Costa Rica. This has been such an amazing experience from beginning to end, and I feel so proud to be a part of the Barista Academy, it has given me the confidence and opportunity to take part and I can’t wait for more competitions.”

Prior to the inaugural final, baristas from around the Compass business took part in heats where competitors were tasked to present two espressos and two milk beverages of their choice within 7 minutes.

Nestlé Professional creates new UK partnership with Manchester City #

Nestlé Professional and Manchester City Football Club announced a multi-year UK partnership.

As the Official coffee, vegan and vegetarian partner of Manchester City, Nestlé Professional, will work with the club to provide new opportunities for its supporters across strategic channels.

The collaboration will deliver engaging content, matchday activations, promotions, rewards and events designed to push the boundaries of innovation and customer experience within the Nestlé Professional portfolio of food and beverage solutions.

Nestlé Professional’s new plant-based Garden Gourmet burger, Nescafé Azera coffee and YES! nut, fruit and vegetables bars will also be added to the matchday food and beverage offering at the Etihad and Academy Stadiums. 

The partnership also aims to create new opportunities for the local community using football and food service as tools for social change. 

Nestlé Professional will be supporting the Club’s charity, City in the Community, by lending its expertise to help develop a new employability programme. The programme will use football and the foodservice industry to provide young people with skills, qualifications and pathways into local employment opportunities.
Katya Simmons, managing director at Nestlé Professional, said: “The partnership with Manchester City, the Premier League champions, will help further boost the value we offer as a leading food and beverage company. This strategic collaboration aligns to Nestlé Professional and City’s shared values to create new opportunities to nurture talent, make more possible and help communities”.
Damian Willoughby, senior vice president of partnership at City Football Group, said: “Manchester City prides itself on partnering with some of the world’s leading organisations, so we are thrilled to be announcing this exciting new partnership with Nestlé Professional. By enhancing the vegan options throughout our stadiums, we are offering fans an even wider selection of high-quality food and beverage options.
“This relationship exemplifies the Club’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and throughout the partnership, we will be collaborating on several exciting initiatives that use football as a force for social good to empower better lives and help drive new opportunities”.
More details on match day activations, competitions and promotions will be made available over the coming months on the Nestlé Professional website and social media channels.

Catering to the next generation #

A new report from Nestlé Professional looks to the future of catering for the workforce

In its latest report, ‘Cater The Future’, Nestlé Professional explores how the entry of Generation Z into the world of work is evolving the demands being placed on workplaces and how this will play out in the future for contract caterers.

By 2020, Gen Z will account for 24% of the global workforce[1] and by 2030, Millennials and Gen Z combined are predicted to account for 75% of all employees[2]. This generation are different from those that have come before, with changing expectations of what the workplace should offer, from technology and social responsibility, to health and wellbeing.

Key areas explored in the report include:

A core message within the report is the call for contract caterers to embrace technology. Generation Z will be the first generation to have never known a world without technology.  Technology is a huge factor in appealing to the workforce, with 91% of Gen Z claiming that technology would influence their job choice among similar employment offers[3]. According to the report, caterers who introduce digital solutions such as apps or online booking tools can help gain an edge over competitors.

Flexible Working Conditions
Generation Z is also motivated by flexible working conditions, with 44% favouring a flexible working environment[4]. Whilst smarter working policies are more environmentally friendly, they can present problems for contract caterers faced with an empty canteen with more people opting to work from home. However, according to the report, caterers can prepare for lower footfall by introducing a delivery option or meal takeaway service to cater for those working from home. 

Corporate Social Responsibility
Increasingly, the workforce are showcasing a desire to work with organisations who have a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility, with Generation Z counting this as the second most important factor when choosing a job[5]. Organisations making decisions shaped by their employee’s values will be looking to choose carters who reflect similar principles; therefore this is something that caterers should be mindful when positioning their business.

Evolving food trends
Changing food habits will also be a major factor to think about, with 50% of people now considering themselves flexitarian[6] and 30% not feeling positive about the future of the environment[7].  In fact, Generation Z are willing to pay more for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact[8].

Commenting on the report, Stephen Norris, sales director at Nestlé Professional said: “The aim of the report is to provide caterers with the insight they need to connect effectively with the new generation of the workforce.”
“We know there are going to be huge changes to the workplace over the next few years and we want to provide caterers with a deeper understanding of what this workforce will look like and what they’ll be expecting from a food and beverage provision. By seeking to understand this generation fully, we can ensure we and our customers are prepared for the future.”
To download a copy of the future of the workplace report:

[1] Statista (2019)
[2] Deloitte Millennial Survey (2018)
[3] Dimensional Research on behalf of Dell Technologies, ‘Gen Z: The Future has arrived.’ (August to September 2018)
[4] The Centre for Generational Kinetics, State of Gen Z™ Research Study, (2017).
[5] Sodexo, ‘Aspirations of Generation Z’ (2015).
[6] Omnibus Kantar TNS, Total Population 1237 Adults aged 16+ (April 2018).
[7] The Environment Grocer ‘Survey (2019).
[8] The Conference Board® Global Consumer Confidence Survey, conducted in collaboration with Nielsen Q2 (2017).

More than half of shoppers recognise RSPCA Assured label #

As scheme celebrates 25 years improving welfare

RSPCA Assured - the RSPCA’s ethical food label - has achieved 58% recognition amongst its target market (young professionals and families) four years after it re-branded from Freedom Food.
This is more than two and a half times the awareness level (19%) measured when the new logo first launched in 2015, exceeding the charity’s expectations. General consumer awareness has also continued to increase from 15% in 2015 to 51% today[1].
The news comes as the farm assurance scheme celebrates its 25th year and nearly 25 million animals - plus many millions of salmon and trout - being farmed to the RSPCA’s higher welfare standards under the scheme[2]. 
This is a 54% increase in terrestrial farm animals since the scheme rebranded in 2015[3], and equates to about 11% of the UK farming market[4]. The majority of Scottish salmon farms are also now under the scheme.
Commenting on its success Clive Brazier, CEO of RSPCA Assured, says:
“Despite a difficult political backdrop of uncertainty for the food and farming industry, these
results continue to reflect the growing trend for ethical food and are further reassurance that consumers are standing firm by farm animal welfare.”        
Added to this, the scheme has today reported it now has nearly 1,300 different labelled products. Further, the amount of food carrying the RSPCA Assured label increased nearly 25% between 2016 and 2018[5]. Brazier continues:
“The RSPCA set the scheme up in 1994 with the aim of improving the welfare of as many farm animals as possible. Twenty five years on and with nearly 25 million animals - plus millions of fish - now being farmed under the RSPCA Assured scheme, we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved.
“But we couldn’t have done it without the hard work and dedication of all our members, retail and restaurant partners, and without consumers increasingly demanding higher welfare products.
“And with their support we are confident that whatever challenges or opportunities Brexit may bring, RSPCA Assured will continue to deliver further benefits for farm animal welfare, the food industry and consumers alike.”
More than 3,694 farms, abattoirs, processors and packers are now members of the scheme. Reflecting on its achievements one of its original members, David Brass from Lakes Free Range Eggs, says:
“About 95% of free range and barn eggs now come from RSPCA Assured farms. That’s more than 20 million birds, which is an incredible achievement and something all of its laying hen members should be really proud of. And not only has the scheme helped improve the welfare of hens, but so many other farm animals too.
“For me, ensuring the health and welfare of our birds is at the heart of everything we do. So from the outset becoming a member of Freedom Food, the best scheme for animal welfare - which became RSPCA Assured - was the only way for me to farm.”
[1] 4Media carried out a survey of 2,000 adults in October 2019 to measure awareness of RSPCA Assured
[2] Number of animals are taken at a single point in time - 1 June 2019
[3] An increase from 15.8 million animals in 2015 to 24.6 million 1 June 2019
[4] Market penetration is measured against DEFRA’s most recently available annual statistics for livestock numbers in the UK June 2018 (against the species RSPCA Assured covers only).  Figures are based on a single point in time - 1 June 2018 for DEFRA and 1 June 2019 for RSPCA Assured
[5] This figure is based on licence fee income for use of the RSPCA Assured logo

BT Murrayfield extends contract with Elior UK to a record 22-year partnership #

BT Murrayfield, Scotland’s largest sports stadium and the proud home of Scottish Rugby, has extended its catering contract with Elior UK for a further five years until June 2031 - making the partnership a 22-year deal.

For the last 10 years, Elior has showcased the stadium as a symbol of national pride, cooking up the best of Scottish produce for fans and hospitality guests. As a result, it has grown conference and events revenues by 75%, increased average customer dwell time by 21 minutes, rocketed retail spends by 137%, and delivered match day customer satisfaction ratings of 98%. 

Speaking on behalf of Elior UK, Kenny Finlayson, managing director, says: “Our relationship goes well beyond that of the traditional client and supplier - the entire Elior team feels part of the Scottish Rugby family. We’ve worked in partnership to deliver a first class offer based on customer experience.

“To align with the vision and values of Scottish Rugby, we’ve transformed our brand from the Murrayfield Experience to Scottish Rugby Hospitality, better representing the entire service and atmosphere we provide together with the Scottish Rugby team. We’re thrilled to be growing our businesses together at this fantastic venue.”

Scottish Rugby’s chief operating officer, Dominic McKay said: “The extension of our contract and relationship with Elior is great for Scottish Rugby and Scottish Rugby Hospitality. This long-term relationship has allowed us to redevelop the suites and ensure that we can carry on offering a consistent high-quality service to our customers and will take the matchday and visitors experience at BT Murrayfield to a whole new level.”

A world-class stadium and hospitality venue, BT Murrayfield offers up to 28 flexible conference spaces, one of Edinburgh's largest banqueting facilities and comprehensive exhibition space.

Thanks to the successful partnership, Elior has also won numerous prestigious awards in recent years. These include Stadia of the Year, Sports & Leisure Catering Awards 2017, Elior UK Star Site 2016, Best Specialist Entertainment Venue Awards, Best Bar None 2016, National Champion, Best Bar None 2016.

Lexington Independent Schools launches to better meet the need of schools now, and in the future #

Lexington has launched a new brand; Lexington Independent Schools, an exciting new service to better meet the needs of independent schools, bringing an innovative, high-end food and service solution offering to the market.

It will operate as a dedicated and specialist division of Lexington, and brings together the independent school clients that were previously managed by Elior, Taylor Shaw and Edwards and Blake.
Richard Glass, head of Lexington Independent Schools, says: “By bringing all our clients together in one specialist business dedicated to the independent sector – and providing them with the best resources in food offers and service innovation, nutrition, sourcing, training, health and safety – we will be able to contribute more to each school and its pupils.
“Food is valued as an increasingly important factor in the wellbeing of pupils at independent schools and the launch of Lexington Independents will allow us to better pull on the wide-ranging expertise of our team to deliver a bespoke solution based upon a first-class food offer. Lexington has built its reputation on excellence in food services and has all the right credentials to lead us into a new era in independent school catering with quality at its heart.”
Lexington Independents will put food that everyone loves at the center of school life, helping clients evolve the food and services that contribute to the wellbeing of pupils.
Julia Edmonds, managing director of Lexington, says: “We believe now is the right time to launch Lexington Independent Schools, as society moves increasingly towards food that is healthy and delicious, sustainably sourced, imaginative and offering excellent value.”
Lexington's reputation as a provider of high-quality bespoke catering services and multi-award winning food brands will:
- Strengthen the offer to existing independent school clients
- Support the team when approaching new independent school clients
- Position Lexington Independents as leading the way in wellbeing 

Elior and Urban Rajah announce new range Chilla Series to spice up autumn 2019 #

Elior UK and Ivor Peters (the TV chef and spice expert better known as the Urban Rajah) have launched a vibrant new range of warming vegan dishes, the Chilla Series.  

Re-mixing regional vegan Indian cuisine into 21st century modern classics, the menu concept is based on North Indian chickpea flour pancakes known as chillas. The protein packed pancakes are topped with Bangalorean lemon rice, vegan curries, chutneys and raita, and can be accompanied by a choice of colourful sides.   

The new range was created due to the growing demand for more vegan options. With one in three people cutting down on or cutting out meat entirely(1), the Chilla Series meets the need for rich, flavoursome and varied plant-based options.  

The Urban Rajah said: “Veganism is a lifestyle that has existed in the Indian subcontinent for centuries – it’s simply known as ‘food’. But food should never feel like Groundhog Day – it should be a multi-sensory experience!  

“Our chillas pack a punch, flavoured with zingy herbs, warming and aromatic spices, sweet and nutty tones and sharp citrus notes. And with so many flavour combinations, you’ll never get bored. Indulgence meets detox with this blend of rich flavours and nourishing ingredients – truly fit for a Rajah!” 
The Chilla Series consists of: 
Chilla pancakes: Rich in protein, these chickpea flour pancakes have a distinct earthy, spicy flavour, with hints of coriander 
Bangalorean lemon rice: zingy lemon rice combined with cashew nuts, curry leaves and mustard seeds 
Vegan curries: Southern squash cafreal, roast aloo ghobi, vegan keema matar, jackfruit rogan josh 
Chaat sides: street corn chaat, golden ghobi chaat, roast root chaat 
Chilla toppers: crispy fried onions, toasted chickpeas 
Chutneys and raita: prune and tamarind chutney, mint and cashew chutney, coconut and paprika raita 
Garnish: cucumber and radish pickle 
Drinks: golden cinnamon milk, strawberry chocolate lassi  

To bring the colourful concept to life, Elior sites can choose from a range of Urban Rajah branded items including T-shirts, aprons, posters and product cards. Visit to learn more about the Urban Rajah concept.  
1 Waitrose & Partners Food and Drink Report 2018-19 

All-female Elior chef team serves up success at Women of the Year Awards 2019 #

Elior UK supported Women of the Year for its 2019 awards lunch at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London, celebrating leading talent with an all-female team of Elior chefs.  
Led by Clare Clark, one of the world’s finest pastry chefs, the team of six chefs created a unique dessert for the occasion’s 460 guests including Theresa May, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick and Elior UK CEO and Women of the Year Committee Chair, Catherine Roe. 
The team executed Claire Clark’s modern twist on a blackberry and apple crumble, serving a blackberry mousse pebble with apple centre, with fresh figs, blackberry coulis and a fig and lime sorbet.  

Catherine Roe, CEO at Elior UK said: “What better way to honour women’s talent in the UK than with an all-female brigade? Female chefs often don't receive the same level of recognition as men, so we decided to bring them front and centre to showcase the amazing female talent we have at Elior. 
“The chance to work in a large scale 5* hotel environment with a world-class pastry chef was a fantastic training opportunity. As an equal opportunities employer with a supportive, inclusive ethos, these initiatives are extremely valuable for employee development.” 

The team represented Elior Group across the UK, with chefs from its Scotland and South England B&I divisions, premium city catering arm Lexington, and its care arm, Caterplus.  
As a national initiative, Women of the Year has championed women’s achievements for more than 60 years. Also, the Women of the Year Foundation hosts a premier lunch celebrating exceptional women each year.