Members’ News

July 2021

M&S and their commitment to 100% RSPCA Assured chicken for 2022 #

We’re thrilled to see that M&S has committed to stocking only slower-growing chicken. 

M&S already stocks the biggest range of RSPCA Assured products on the market. Now the bar has been raised even higher by a commitment to move to 100% slower-growing fresh RSPCA Assured chicken by autumn 2022.

Chris Sherwood RSPCA Chief Executive said "With its move to RSPCA Assured in this category, M&S has extended its already leading position and can assure its customers that they are buying higher welfare chicken, reared to the RSPCA’s high standards – throughout its entire range.

It’s a landmark achievement for animal welfare, which we hope will set a leading example for others in the sector. By simply switching to using only slower-growing breeds of chicken, retailers can make an enormous difference to the lives and welfare of millions of chickens reared in this country every year for their meat

M&S has a long history of leading the way on animal welfare standards. In 2017, M&S became the first major retailer to source its fresh milk from RSPCA Assured dairy farms, and in April this year became the first retailer to exclusively sell 100% outdoor bred RSPCA Assured pork.

M&S Food Managing Director, Stuart Machin said: “M&S has a long history of leading on animal welfare standards, working with our M&S Select farmers we know and trust. We were the first retailer to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment, the first major retailer to move to 100% Free Range eggs and all our pork is 100% outdoor bred. 

“We already have the biggest range of RSPCA Assured products on the market but we constantly want to raise the bar - that is why we are making this industry-leading commitment. It will lead to a step-change in UK farming standards and show customers that our determination to maintain the highest welfare standards means they will always get exceptional quality and trusted value at M&S.” 

“With its move to RSPCA Assured in this category, M&S has extended its already leading position and can assure its customers that they are buying higher welfare chicken, reared to the RSPCA’s high standards – throughout its entire range. 

“It’s a landmark achievement for animal welfare, which we hope will set a leading example for others in the sector. By simply switching to using only slower growing breeds of chicken, retailers can make an enormous difference to the lives and welfare of millions of chickens reared in this country every year for their meat

Customers can already buy slower-growing chicken at M&S but from next year all fresh chicken products will be RSPCA Assured. M&S is taking its commitment to farm animal welfare to the next level by being the first retailer to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment. These slower-growing birds are fed on a multigrain diet, specifically designed to support their slower natural growth and muscle development.

This is great news and an important step towards showing all retailers that customers care about higher welfare standards. The RSPCA is now calling on other retailers to follow M&S’ lead with its ‘landmark’ commitment to welfare standards.

Dr Tracey Jones, Director of Food Business at Compassion in World Farming said: “We applaud M&S for being the first retailer to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment, the first to start transitioning supply, and the first to roll out product on shelf with their ‘Oakham Gold’ fresh chicken. 

“Making commitments across the entire supply is a major step towards higher welfare chicken becoming a baseline standard, however concrete plans and contracts with suppliers are imperative to move the market forwards. Companies that have made the Better Chicken Commitment must start their transition now and those that are yet to sign up need to get on board. 

“M&S are leading the UK market and we urge others to follow suit if we are to succeed in achieving genuine change for chickens

Pubs and restaurants continue to gain channel share, driving average spend up #

According to the latest data from Lumina Intelligence Eating & Drinking Out Panel, consumer participation in the eating out market grew by +2ppts in 4 w/e 13 June 2021 (vs. 4 w/e 16 May 2021), to 58%. Visit frequency also increased from 0.7 times per week to 1.4 times over the same period.

With the re-opening of dine-in hospitality, including indoors, in the last 4 weeks, there has been a shift in channel share in the last 4 weeks. Pubs & bars and restaurants have both gained share, +3.5ppts and +2.3ppts respectively; whilst quick service restaurants (-2.9ppts) and coffee/sandwich (-2.5ppts) lost share. This change in channel usage has also led to an increase in average spend, which rose
+7.2% to £9.55 in 4 w/e 13 June 2021.

As a result of the reduced restrictions, an increasing proportion of out of home meal occasions were ordered and bought at the venue, accounting for almost 7 in 10 occasions, an increase of +4.1ppts vs the previous 4 weeks. Meanwhile both delivery and click & collect saw share fall by -2.0ppts and - 3.0ppts respectively.

Commenting on the results, Insight Director at Lumina Intelligence, Blonnie Whist, said: “With the re-opening of indoor dining, we’ve seen an increase in participation and frequency of eating out and the shift towards higher spend channels such as restaurants and pubs/bars has also driven up average spend. As predicted, the increase in on-premise dining has led to a drop in delivery and click & collect
occasions, but these remain an important route to market for those consumers who remain nervous about venturing out to venues and as a continued source of revenue for operators

Find out more about Lumina Intelligence’s Eating & Drinking Out Panel here.

Win a night in a top hotel and help futureproof hospitality – all for a tenner #

The Springboard Charity is offering the opportunity to win a luxury night in some of the UK’s best hotels and help futureproof hospitality - all for a tenner, thanks to its Summer Raffle.  
Among the top-notch prizes are:
*  An overnight stay with breakfast for two at The Dorchester
*  An overnight stay with breakfast for two with welcome Champagne at The Berkeley
*  A one-night stay with dinner at Cameron House, Loch Lomond
*  An overnight stay with dinner and breakfast for two at Coworth Park
*  A night at the Royal Lancaster London with breakfast for two 
Tickets are just £10 each and, as well as being a great treat for yourself, can make brilliant gifts for colleagues, friends and family.
The profits made are being used to support young and unemployed people in the UK into sustainable work in hospitality and futureproof the talent pipeline for hospitality and tourism.
Springboard’s raffle will run through until 31st July and winners will be drawn at random on Monday 2nd August 2021.
To see a full list of the incredible prizes and to buy your tickets, visit:

Compass Sectors Bring Home Multiple RoSPA Awards #

Leading food and support services business, Compass Group UK & Ireland, is celebrating an impressive haul of RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) Health and Safety Awards, which recognise the incredible efforts during the pandemic from five of its sectors or regions.

RoSPA is widely acknowledged as being world-leaders in health and safety practice, and the importance of these awards are now more crucial than ever before. Every year nearly 2,000 entrants apply to achieve the RoSPA standards in what is the UK’s longest-running HSE industry awards.

The healthcare arm of Compass has been celebrated for work carried out across its entire estate – 20 NHS Trusts; its private division, Medirest Signature; retail business and White Oaks, in care homes – winning the prestigious RoSPA Hotel & Catering Sector Award for health and safety performance. This is particularly special, as the business has been at the forefront of infection control throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Steve Cenci, Managing Director, Compass Group UK & Ireland – Healthcare, said of the win: “The pandemic has brought recognition for the amazing work our people do in keeping hospitals and care homes across the country running and this award is testament to them. I’d like to personally thank our brilliant people and congratulate them on this fantastic award.”

A number of Compass sectors and regions enjoyed a continued run of RoSPA Gold Medal Health and Safety Awards, signifying sustained high standards over consecutive years:

- ESS Defence and Government achieved Gold for the 12th year running following continuing excellent standards of health and safety practice.
- InStore has been awarded a President’s Award after 10 consecutive Gold Awards.
- Compass Ireland received its seventh Gold in a row alongside a NISO award for higher distinction.
- Levy UK has achieved its sixth consecutive Gold.

Mark Armstrong, HSE & Technical Services Director, Compass Group UK & Ireland, said: “I’m delighted that Compass has been so successful at this years’ RoSPA Awards, it emphasises the hard work put into health and safety throughout a very tough year. We have worked at pace to follow government guidelines throughout the pandemic and evolved our procedures to meet the ever-changing situation. As always, we will continue to strive for excellence in health and safety throughout the business.”

Nestlé Coffee Partners teams up with Key Experts to launch report to help to support workplace productivity #

Nestlé Coffee Partners has teamed up with top experts to help workplaces nurture productivity, as employees return to the office.
The collaboration, with insight from specialists Humanyze and workplace design experts Brainybirdz, sees the release of ‘Thinking Smart About Productivity’. The dynamic report uses in-depth scientific research and insights to show the science behind productivity, how to boost it, as well as what makes an effective workplace and how to increase collaboration.
An interesting topic highlighted is the attractors of movement– which include everything from the physical journeys we take, to everyday tasks that influence and affect interactions with others. Findings suggest that hot beverages are a powerful facilitator for movement in creating moments of planned and unplanned interactions in the workplace.
The report offers a range of ideas for businesses, including how to enable flow and focus with the use of hot beverages to stage ‘strategic interventions’ via a hot beverage station. Elsewhere, kitchen space can be used as a high-quality coffee breakout area, to facilitate better breaks or offer ‘happy hour’ options for businesses.
Hot drinks can also be used to encourage more productive teamwork, the report finds, with collaborations over coffee or in a more casual ‘café’ area helping to drive productivity.
And, according to the experts, ‘unplanned interactions’, which are often more informal coffee moments, can help build trust, spark new ideas and promote different ways of thinking.
David Basson, Head of Beverages UK&I, Nestlé Professional says: “As workforces return to the office – be it full-time or just for meetings - encouraging productivity is important. Our report uses scientific thinking to help businesses engage effectively with their employees and facilitate productivity in a range of ways.

“At Nestlé, we understand the merits of meeting over a coffee, and are pleased to see that hot beverages are a powerful facilitator of productivity. Nestlé Coffee Partners has a portfolio of brands that, when used for the right need, helps to deliver against consumer expectations.

The Nestlé Coffee Partners range of solutions caters to three main drivers: Coffee as a reason to take a well-earned break from work; Creating a coffee shop experience to help attract and delight employees and; Helping to harness coffee as the Social Connector, connecting with colleagues and visitors over a cup.

Having understood the concept of attractors, the behaviours they create, and the common elements of productivity, each consumer experience can be matched to Nestlé Coffee Partners solutions to support the workplace.
Simon Baggaley, Category Manager Beverages, Nestlé Professional adds: “To truly ‘think smart’ about improving productivity with hot beverage solutions, careful thought and consideration needs to be given to every element, including the client, their consumers, the category, and ultimately the brands a business chooses to partner with. We are confident that Nestlé Coffee Partners can provide the right solution for any workplace.” 

National Hospitality Day: Celebrating the Places We Love 18 September 2021 #

Springboard has partnered with a taskforce made up of hospitality’s main trade associations, professional bodies and charities. The newly-formed alliance is calling on people from across the UK to support the hospitality industry by visiting their favourite venue on 18th September - National Hospitality Day.
National Hospitality Day will be a nationwide celebration of the industry’s brilliant and resilient hotels, restaurants, pubs, bars and foodservice outlets, and the suppliers that support them. It will help showcase all that’s great about UK hospitality; a collective shout-out to the places we’ve all missed; and a financial shot in the arm for a sector that’s been hit hardest by Covid-19. It will also provide a chance for the country to say “welcome back, we’ve missed you” by supporting these beloved venues. 
We’re inviting all operators and suppliers to do what they do best: delight customers and guests by putting on exciting activities, offers and events. Activities could be as ambitious as hosting a gala dinner with a celebrity guest chef or as modest as laying on some free nibbles and hosting a quiz, or cooking a hog roast in the beer garden. How you decide to support is up to you.
The common aim is for participating businesses to showcase the industry at its best: creative, entertaining, nourishing, engaging – at the hub of our communities, and providing jobs and income for the country. 
We’re asking participating businesses to build a fundraising element into their activities to support UK hospitality’s four main charities: The Springboard Charity, The Drinks Trust, Hospitality Action and The Licensed Trade Charity. By doing so, businesses will help support individuals from the hospitality industry, especially those negatively impacted by covid 19, with employability skills and career development, financial assistance and mental health support.  
The pandemic hit the hospitality industry like a hammer blow. Restaurants, pubs, bars, hotels and venues have all grappled with an existential threat to their business, this past year, as have the farmers, brewers, manufacturers and distributors that supply them. Businesses, livelihoods and lives have been lost, and many of our favourite places have sadly closed forever. 
Those that are still open are fighting a daily battle for survival. They need support if they are to survive, thrive and continue to provide the experiences that make life worth living. 
The pandemic has taught us how much richer our lives are for having hospitality in them. Until last March, we took our favourite destinations for granted. When they closed, we realised how keenly we missed the venues at the hearts of our communities. National Hospitality Day will give the nation a chance to show its appreciation by venturing out and re-engaging with the places they love.
National Hospitality Day marks the first time the sector’s main associations, bodies and charities have joined forces. Participating organisations include UKHospitality, The Institute of Hospitality, the British Beer & Pub Association and the British Institute of Innkeeping. 
Chris Gamm, Chief Executive of The Springboard Charity said. ‘We’re delighted to be working alongside so many industry partners to deliver National Hospitality Day. The UK’s restaurants, hotels, pubs and events spaces deserve recognition and celebration for the vital role they play at the heart of their communities. Springboard stands side by side with hospitality businesses and their brilliant workforces to support their recovery and help them to thrive once again through promoting the industry as a great place to work and giving young and unemployed people up and down the country the skills to launch their career, futureproofing the talent pipeline for hospitality.”
Mark Lewis, Chief Executive of Hospitality Action said: “On one amazing day, we’re going to spark the mother of all parties – and all to help the businesses that have been thrown to their knees by Covid-19, and the people who work in them.” 
By supporting National Hospitality Day, the public can provide a vital injection of trade which could save their favourite places from closure. 
Hospitality businesses looking to participate in National Hospitality Day can register their interest at 

Nutritics, a market leader in food and health software solutions, announces strategic acquisition of Ten Kites, the UK’s most innovative menu publishing platform, to drive international growth and scale #

Nutritics, a market leader in food and health software solutions, has today announced the strategic acquisition of Ten Kites, a menu publishing platform that empowers food businesses to publish fully compliant, personalised digital menus across multiple customer touch points, including web pages, mobile apps and digital displays.
The deal, for an undisclosed amount, will enable Nutritics to include the innovative Ten Kites solution as part of its overall software offering, delivering increased value and business benefits to customers across 100 countries. It also enables Ten Kites to continue their international expansion with access to new market segments across Europe, Middle East and Australia. The combined entity currently employs 50 staff and this number is expected to continue to grow quickly to support further international expansion.
Ten Kites was founded in 2013 by Stuart Wilson to meet a growing need in the sector, the ability to publish accurate and up to date allergen information to menu pages. His vision was to bridge the divide between recipe systems with front-end web-pages, in a way that was scalable, reliable and automated.
Ten Kites now supports some of the UK’s biggest multi-brand groups across casual dining, pubs, bars and restaurant groups, including TGI Fridays, Fullers Pubs, Shepherd Neame, Carluccios and Wagamama, with thousands of sites reliant on their automated solutions. Prior to Ten Kites, Wilson founded StarLogic (and developed its market leading product StarChef) in 1995 which sold in 2010.
The multi-award winning Nutritics Food and Nutritics Health software solutions are used in over 100 countries by a wide range of food businesses and health, sport and education professionals. Nutritics Food provides menu management and food labelling solutions for multi-site food service operators, caterers and hospitality sector leaders.
Nutritics is currently the only company in the world to have been awarded the Gold Standard Recipe Calculation Accreditation by the European Food Information Resource (EUROFIR). Nutritics Food clients include LEON, Aramark and Starbucks. Nutritics Health is used by NHS, Public Health England and Manchester City FC, alongside over 90% of all third level universities in Britain.
Commenting on the acquisition, Stephen Nolan, Managing Director of Nutritics said; “Ten Kites represents the very best in UK food industry innovation. We are delighted to be able to complete this significant acquisition and start to bring their remarkable technology to our customers worldwide as we continue to scale internationally.
We believe that together we can empower food businesses all over the world with smart tools that deliver a personalised, instant and reliable digital experience to their consumers. Stuart and the team at Ten Kites have built a fantastic business and we look forward to supporting them to grow their offering in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Australia
Stuart Wilson, CEO of Ten Kites noted; “We are extremely pleased to join forces with Nutritics. They, like us, have a culture of collaboration, innovation and service. Our strategic focus is to bring the Ten Kites solution to new international markets. This is the next step in our journey - one that opens up new opportunities for our brand, both at home and abroad. Ten Kites will continue to serve its customers and partners with the same level of collaboration and support, while also growing our reach in overseas markets, with support from Nutritics.”

Customers are seeking greater transparency about what they eat, both inside and outside the home. Nutritics and Ten Kites will continue to support the industry with this increasing demand. Currently, both organisations are supporting the foodservice sector to provide ingredient list information as part of the ‘Natasha’s Law’ food labelling regulation being introduced across the UK on 1st October 2021. Thereafter, Nutritics and Ten Kites will support the industry to display calorie information on menus in a modern and customer friendly format as part of the calorie labelling legislation being introduced in April 2022. Combined, Nutritics and Ten Kites are strongly positioned to bring the most accurate and user friendly solutions to the UK and international food and hospitality sector.

Speed grows Food & Hospitality offer with new Head of Division #

The award-winning, full-service PR and communications consultancy, Speed has today announced the expansion of its Food & Hospitality offer with a new Head of division, Helen Collingborn.

The appointment coincides with the agency announcing its latest contract win with BRITA Global after Speed’s campaign for BRITA UK received 10 industry award nominations and four award wins.

Helen has led the agency’s food & hospitality offer for two years, growing the specialism significantly and attracting multiple award wins for creativity and content. She has managed global and UK campaigns for a wide variety of B2B and B2C brands. Her role has seen her lead accounts in the food and hospitality industry for brands including Nestlé, Bidfood, HIT Training and the Celtic Manor Resort.

Helen will be responsible for evolving the Food & Hospitality division of Speed, creating new initiatives across the client base and working on an innovative new business drive to partner with foodservice and hospitality brands interested in being future forward.

Kelly Pepworth, MD commented: “The effects of the pandemic on the food and hospitality sector have been significant. Helen is a fantastic and highly experienced consultant in this space and, along with her experienced team, will help many brands in this next phase of recovery and growth to authentically and meaningfully engage with audiences. With Helen leading, we will further grow our specialist offering to brands in the sector, delivering market-leading strategic thinking, stand-out creativity and impactful activation.

Helen commented: “I’m really excited to provide a strategically solid and creatively robust approach to helping brands engage across the food & hospitality sector. This is an incredibly innovative time for the industry and I’m really thrilled to be working right at the centre of it. Speed’s rich heritage in this area coupled with the range of expertise it can offer in house make it ideally placed to creating innovative communications to support brands in this space.”

Sodexo awarded FM contract for new COVID-19 laboratory in Leamington Spa #

Sodexo has been awarded the contract to provide a range of facilities management services at the new Department of Health and Social Care owned and run Rosalind Franklin Laboratory in Royal Leamington Spa. 

The new laboratory, named after Rosalind Franklin, is part of the NHS Test and Trace laboratory network and will increase the UK’s COVID-19 testing capacity by hundreds of thousands a day as it scales up its operations over the coming months. 

As part of the facilities management contract, management positions are already being filled from the local area to assist in the mobilisation of the new laboratory and a local waste management provider has been contracted for waste and recycling services at the laboratory. 

When fully operational, 90 people will be employed as part of the facilities management contract, recruited as much as possible from within a 30-mile radius of the laboratory. 

The range of services which Sodexo will provide includes communal area cleaning, security, grounds maintenance, waste management, logistics, maintenance and 24/7 catering services. 

Due to the 24/7 operation of the laboratory Sodexo will implement a micro market to provide a flexible and consistent food service for all staff working, any time of the day. The micro market will be a contactless catering solution offering customers diverse range of drinks, healthy and indulgent snacks, sandwiches and salads, plus hot meal options. Staff at the laboratory will be able to scan and go using self-service tills. 

Stuart Winters, CEO Healthcare, Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: “I am extremely proud that we continue to play our part in the fight against this pandemic, supporting NHS Test and Trace, to increase the UK’s COVID-19 testing capacity. 

“We know that working in close partnership with our client, being agile and responsive to their needs, is absolutely vital and I am delighted that we have been recognised for our ability to do this for NHS Test and Trace. 

“We look forward to providing high quality services which will improve the daily lives of everyone working at the new Rosalind Franklin Laboratory in Royal Leamington Spa, helping them provide an important service as part of the continued fight against COVID-19

GARDEN GOURMET launches #FlexUpYourMenu Toolkit to support Operators #

Garden Gourmet has identified three key ways to improve plant-based menu options. This comes in light of research that shows more than two thirds of flexitarians are actively trying to cut down on meat.
The plant-based meat alternative brand has partnered with Julie Cleijne from the Sustainable Kitchen Consultants to produce a practical toolkit to guide operators on how to flex up menus successfully and drive appeal of plant-based dishes amongst flexitarians, vegans, and vegetarians alike.
Along with expert advice and insight, the toolkit includes handy printable posters that can be used as reference points for operating sites, including a calendar of plant-based national days and events; also included is a checklist for operators to support them through the process of evolving their menu options.
The toolkit delves into three key areas for operators to consider when building their summer menu:
·       Language on menus – Menu descriptions should be evocative and eye-catching, and above all they should entice the diner into ordering. Too often plant-based dish descriptions focus on what the dish doesn’t include, rather than what it does. Operators need to be wary of this and consider all the reasons diners might be choosing something plant-based and cater menu wording accordingly.
·       Staff engagement – From the chefs making the food, to the waiting staff out front, it’s important to remember that if everyone believes plant-based dishes can be great, customers will buy into this too! See tips for how to get team members on board to ensure success of plant-based dishes.
·       Marketing and awareness building – There are plenty of ways for operators to shout about plant-based offers, whether through online groups, across social media, or in-house via pointers towards vegan drinks offers or dairy-free menu items.
Rohini Alam, Category Manager for Savoury Food at Nestlé Professional comments: “Research has shown that 45% of meat-eaters aged 25–34 have cut down their meat consumption in recent months. This, coupled with the fact that the number of Brits adopting a vegan diet in 2020 skyrocketed by 40% shows that the demand for plant-based dishes in the out-of-home sector is growing at pace. We know lots of consumers like eating meat; they like the flavour and the texture – our products are designed to deliver this same experience. It doesn’t have to be a case of missing out if you are opting for tasty meat-free alternatives!
Expert consultant and toolkit partner Julie Cleijne, founder of the Sustainable Kitchen Consultants, adds: “Consumers are increasingly seeing the link between what they eat, their health & the health of the planet, and making conscious food choices as a result.  Recent research shows only a dedicated subset of consumers are fully committed to having zero animal products in their diet, with more wanting to reduce their intake, rather than fully remove animal products completely - i.e., flexitarian rather than fully plant-based.  So, it makes good commercial sense for operators to make sure their menu offering can cater to as many customers as possible, with some great plant-based options to choose from.
Garden Gourmet offers consumers nutritious and more sustainable plant-based alternatives to conventional meat dishes. Plant-based diets represent a major opportunity to help reduce the environmental footprint of the food system. The range includes products such as plant-based burgers, mince, meat-style balls, and fillet pieces which are all versatile enough to be used in a selection of dishes. The cook-from-frozen format means minimal food waste for operators, and, in addition to this Garden Gourmet has challenged itself to achieve carbon neutrality by 2022, accelerating its ambition to make the world a better place while enjoying great food.
To download the free #FlexUpYourMenu toolkit for visit:

The latest on-demand content from HRC Connects, plus Virtual Salon Culinaire ends on a high #

As lockdown restrictions continue to ease, it’s more important than ever to keep up with the latest industry trends, products and insights on Hotel Restaurant & Catering’s digital platform HRC Connects.  

On-demand right now is ‘The Green Room’ where Chris and Kieron from hospitality services agency EXP101 discuss sustainability, culture and building a great team with Crofters Arran MD Ealana Jean Boyle.  

Members of the HRC Connects community also have access to a free whitepaper, ‘The Secrets for Delivering a Winning Experience in Hospitality’ from KAM Media, which focuses on improving the hospitality experience. We can’t please all the people all of the time, but there are some key areas where small changes can make a huge difference to the customer experience.   

International Salon Culinaire 

Friday 18 June saw the conclusion of the series of virtual culinary challenges organised by historic chef competition International Salon Culinaire and headline sponsored by Compass Group UK & Ireland.  

The competition series saw over 500 entries from 23 countries as chefs around the world tested their creativity in menu design and visual flair, as Covid-19 restrictions meant that the series judges were unable to taste the food first-hand.  

Salon Director Steve Munkley commented: “This year's virtual Salon Culinaire cookery competitions exceeded our expectations, with entries coming in from over 23 different countries. The quality of entry was amazing with judges really getting to understand what the chefs were trying to achieve, wetting their taste buds by the descriptions, even though they couldn’t taste the dishes in person.  

Our military services had a great presence in every category with a military chef entering every single competition, including the pastry element. Cakes and sugarcraft was as strong as ever, putting our judges – award-winning authors, bakers and lecturers Lesley Herbert, Jane Hatton and Kelly Mackenzie – through a testing time marking all the fabulous work. You guys smashed it!” 

Check out all the latest on-demand content, including the Virtual Salon Culiaire competition series, on HRC Connects.  

Highly acclaimed Spanish chef José Pizarro opens two restaurants at the Royal Academy of Arts #

London’s much-loved Spanish chef José Pizarro – who owns and runs the acclaimed José Pizarro group of restaurants, pubs and tapas bars – is delighted to announce that this August he is to open two vibrant restaurants at what he describes as “London’s most precious and prestigious art space”: the Royal Academy of Arts.
In what is José’s first foray into central London, and to celebrate ten years since he first opened the doors at José on Bermondsey Street, the exciting new ventures allow him to bring together his two biggest loves – food and art. The two locations in the iconic venue on Piccadilly have been created in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Arts and its longstanding creative catering and hospitality partner, Company of Cooks.
On the ground floor, the Poster Bar by José will offer an informal, drop-in, all-day menu of delicious tapas and drinks, whilst upstairs José Pizarro at the RA is a seated restaurant, located in the Dorfman Senate Room, with the same relaxed style and an all-day menu centred around high-quality produce and the best of Spanish cooking. 
José has created a beautiful menu for both rooms.  José Pizarro at the RA, as graceful as it is grand, will be offering tempting plates, including the universally loved Jamón Ibérico and Presa Ibérica; his Strawberry gazpacho, bursting with the colours and flavours of summer; Chipirones encebollados, beautiful baby squid cooked in caramelised, sticky, sweet onions; Leeks with Jose’s famous romesco sauce – nutty, vibrant, and picante; Mediterranean red prawns cooked with chilli and garlic; Hake in salsa verde; and Black ink croquetas. The room is light and airy and the perfect setting for José’s delicious menu.
Downstairs at the Poster Bar by José there will be more of the feel of José on Bermondsey Street: a buzzy, vibrant, informal tapas bar. The offer is a casual, café-style menu, including the must-have Truffle Sandwich as well as several of his classic, smaller plates: Tortilla de patatas, cheese and charcuterie boards, and a changing menu, all perfect for sharing. Also available will be the delicious Empanada Gallega – a beautiful Galician pasty stuffed with tuna, confit onion and caramelised red pepper. Chorizo with vino and quince and José’s unique Pan con Tomate are always huge hits, as are his famous, mouth-watering Spicy Prawn fritters with silky lemon allioli.
Drinks too are all proudly Spanish. The wine list is laden with exquisite labels from Spain's foremost wine making regions, including Rioja, Penedés, Priorat, DO Rueda and Ribera del Duero, and features José’s own beautiful Chardonnay and the gorgeous Syrah Cuvee from Tierra de Cádiz.  Alongside an extensive list of sherries, there will be beer on tap from Estrella Damm.
Friends and fans of José will know that he has loved and collected art for many years.  He says, “When you see art, it’s all about how it makes you feel… your whole body responds, it’s the same with food – well, good food anyway!  The creativity and soul that you find in food and art is the same… you get the same excitement. To be able to bring the two together makes me so happy – it’s an incredibly proud moment for me in my career.”
Jo Prosser, Director of Audience and Experience at the RA, says: “Conviviality has been part and parcel of the Royal Academy for the past 250 years: a place to meet, to talk, to debate, to celebrate art and artists, often with a glass in hand and good food on the table.  We are truly delighted to welcome José and his team to the RA, whose passions and commitment to quality are so closely aligned with our own.”
Rob Fredrickson, Managing Director of Company of Cooks, who specialise in hospitality in the visitor attraction and cultural sectors, comments: “Creating fresh and exciting food, beverage and service experiences for our partner venues is what we’re all about. And enjoying José’s exquisite food in the exceptional surroundings of the Royal Academy of Arts is going to be something rather special. This is a fantastic collaboration and our whole team is enthusiastic to learn under the great man himself and we can’t wait to open and bring this unique experience to our customers.
Poster Bar by José and José Pizarro at the RA will both open at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, on August 11th 2021.
Poster Bar by José will open for breakfast and remain open all day 10am - 6pm. Walk-in only. 

José Pizarro at the RA will be open from 11:30am - until 6 pm. Bookings can be made by visiting   

For further information, full menus, or to talk more with José, please contact Hannah at Nourish PR on / 07881 805000.

The Universal Cookery and Food Festival is heading to Mudwalls Farm (Warwickshire) on 14 September 2021. #

This unique event gives chefs up and down the country the chance to get out of the kitchen and rub shoulders with farmers, foragers and growers as well as suppliers, industry insiders and, of course, other well-known chefs.
The event will feature:

 On-trend topics and demos from an esteemed list of chefs and industry experts
 Unique Orchard Walk which provides festival goers to have the opportunity to get up close and
personal with Georges’ collection of top British fruit trees and discover what it takes to nurture,
breed and grow some of the finest seasonal fruit around
 The farmers’ market featuring a mix of national and local suppliers showcasing their products and
 Ground Up Cookery Experience with Colin Wheeler-James and HIT Training, they will take you on
a journey to discover the edible wild species that grow on and around Mudwalls Farm
 Brassica Ramble experience to follow the journey Mudwalls Farm have through the growing year
 A band & BBQ evening
 And much much more!
Tickets for ucff 2021 are priced at £120 +VAT per person. The ticket price includes full access to the event, with refreshments, food, evening band and BBQ.

To book your place or to express interest in featuring your company at the event please visit or call 01293 854 403.

Casual Dining reveals world-class Keynote Speaker line-up #

Line-up includes Peter Borg-Neal, Nick Collins and Zoe Bowley

The organisers of Casual Dining, the definitive restaurant, pub and bar event, have revealed a world-class Keynote Speaker line-up for their comeback show at London ExCeL on 23-24 September. The seminars take place alongside the event across three Keynote Theatres (sponsored by Yumpingo) and offer trade attendees exceptional access to industry leaders and experts. 

The award-winning trade show has announced the welcome return of industry leader Peter Norg-Neal, Chief Executive of Oakman Group, which was recently named by Alix Partners as the UK’s fastest growing pub business. Peter recently said that “Casual Dining has very quickly become a must visit event in the industry calendar. As well as learning about new innovations on the supply side it provides a great networking opportunity and some hugely informative debates and speaker sessions.”

Also returning to the show are Nick Collins, who in only six years as CEO of Loungers has overseen the group’s expansion from 56 to 166 sites across the UK; and Zoe Bowley, Managing Director, Pizza Express. A regular at the show, Zoe recently commented that “the sheer scale of Casual Dining and seeing our industry brought together in one place always reminds me that this an industry that people can join and thrive in. It reflects how big and great we are and, particularly post-COVID, it demonstrates how our industry will be a force for good in the future.” 

Casual Dining has also confirmed a ream of fantastic first-time speakers gracing the stages this year, including Chris Miller, Founder & CEO, White Rabbit Projects; Darrel Connell, Partner, Imbiba; Duncan Mcewan, Executive Development Chef, The Big Table Group; Laura Morris, Co-owner Director, Yard & Coop; Paul Barham, Founder and Director, Red Engine – Flight Club and Electric Shuffle; Rob Pitcher, CEO, Revolution Bars Group; Steve Wilkins, Founder, Little Gems Country Dining; TV Charlie McVeigh, Founder, Bunker Projects; and Winston Matthews, Commercial Director, Busaba. 

As in previous years, the show is supported by UKHospitality, whose CEO Katie Nicholls will be leading an exclusive session providing an overview of the government strategies needed to help the sector recover and grow. 

The organisers have also confirmed an array of compelling panel sessions, including the first ever Casual Dining Investors Panel, looking behind the scenes at how some of the most talked about brands are funded. The panel features Charlie McVeigh, Founder, Bunker Projects; Chris Miller, Founder & CEO, White Rabbit Projects; and Darrel Connell, Partner, Imbiba. 

Other panels bringing together industry leaders, experts and chefs include Menu Innovation for Multi-Site Restaurants Panel, featuring Steven Mangleshot, Global Executive Chef & Brand Ambassador, Wagamama; Winston Matthews, Commercial Director, Busaba; and Duncan McEwan, Executive Development Chef, The Big Table Group. At the new-for-2021 Pub & Bar Keynote Theatre, sponsored by Yumpingo, the Pub Leaders Panel will feature Simon Bunn, Managing Director, Brewhouse and Kitchen; Joycelyn Neve, Managing Director, Oakman Group; and Anthony Pender, Co-Founder, The Yummy Pub Co., whose discussion will cover business rates, staffing, wages, Brexit, rooms and surviving the pandemic. Other panels will also focus on key business areas and innovations – operations, marketing, going global and the next big thing. 

Reflecting the challenges and innovations of the post-COVID landscape, Peter Bachman will be presenting a session on delivery and virtual brands. Attendees can also gain invaluable market insights from KAM Media, The NPD Group, CGA, Peach 20/20 and FutureFoodservice, whose Founder Simon Stenning recently described the show as “an absolute must attend for all stakeholders across restaurants, pubs and fast food, as it is the place to see, share, hear and meet all of the most important trends and people leading the way in which consumers eat out.” 

Event Manager Eva Ellis commented: “With this year’s show there is a real sense of coming together and celebrating the innovations that have emerged from a challenging 18 months. The calibre of this year’s Keynote Speaker line-up (not to mention the exhibitors and buyers!) really reflects just how passionate and resilient this sector is.” 

Other speakers include Brian Trollip, Managing Director, Dishoom; Laura Harper-Hinton, Co-Founder, Caravan; Mark Derry, Executive Chairman, Brasserie Bar Co.; Mark Selby, Co-Founder & CEO, Wahaca; Mark Wogan, Creative Director, Homeslice; Seamus O'Donnell, Culinary Director, The Alchemist; Simon Potts, CEO, The Alchemist; Simon Wilkinson, CEO, Famously Proper Ltd; Steve Holmes, CEO, Azzurri Group; Susan Chappell, Divisional Director, Mitchells & Butlers; Toby Harris, CEO, State of Play Hospitality (Bounce); and Tom Barton, Co-founder - Director of Food, Innovation & Sustainability, Honest Burgers. 

Casual Dining is being described by many as a critical event for the industry, with Steve Holmes, CEO, Azzurri Group calling it “the most important Casual Dining show yet”, and Steven Mangleshot, Executive Chef, Wagamama commenting: “We need to get together, find innovation and support each other more than ever. See you at Casual Dining 2021.” 

Casual Dining takes place on 23-24 September at ExCeL London and is co-located with lunch! and Commercial Kitchen. Registration is free and strictly for members of the trade only.

More big-name speakers from across the restaurant, pub & bar event sector will be announced in the coming months. 

For further information and to register for a free trade ticket, please visit and use priority code VCD1

Claire Atkins Morris appointed as Sodexo’s new Corporate Responsibility Director #

Claire has over 11 years’ experience working for Sodexo, starting in Healthcare as a Waste and Environment Manager. Since then she has held several positions, including Head of Waste Management, Head of Soft FM Development and Head of Service Support, a role that saw her support the business to effectively bid and mobilise.

With an MSc in Environment Management, Claire is a Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) and an external assessor for the Institute of Environment Management & Assessment (IEMA). She started her career with the Environment Agency before progressing into further environment consultancy roles.

Her new role will see her embrace her passion of embedding sustainable practices and demonstrating impact through building on Sodexo’s Social Value Pledge and the Better Tomorrow Roadmap. 

Sean Haley, region chair, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “As we continue to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our business, having a strong position on corporate responsibility is now more important than ever. 

“Claire’s skills and expertise make her an outstanding appointment for the role and her ability to engage stakeholders and build relationships will ensure that our CR actions continue to make a positive impact and support the communities in which we live and work.”

Sodexo has strengthened its corporate responsibility ambitions with two further appointments. 

Simon Mussett has been appointed to the role of Head of Environmental Sustainability while Louise Richardson has been appointed as Head of Community Development – Social Value UK & Ireland. 

Simon has been with Sodexo for over nine years and has previously held the post of Head of Waste Management for the region. He will lead on the company’s environmental agenda, with specific focus establishing its Net Zero Carbon position. 

Since joining Sodexo in 2019, Louise has been a pivotal part of the Government & Agencies business development team. 

In collaboration with colleagues across the business, Louise will formulate the social value community strategy, supporting the Sodexo’s  approach to designing solutions that position social value at the heart of its offers and services and that help improve the communities in which we work and live. 

Since it was founded in 1966, corporate responsibility has been at the heart of Sodexo’s business.  Earlier this year the company published its latest Social Impact Pledge, and continues to make strides with its commitment within its Better Tomorrow 2025 roadmap.