Category Archives: Blog
In the very heart of England, Worcestershire borders Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire.
Renowned for fruit farming and the cultivation of hops, today only the Vale of Evesham has orchards still worked on a commercial scale.
Banner Foods are based in Bromsgrove, was established over 100 years ago back in 1906 by Sam Banner and his wife. Nowadays the business has three distinct sectors: a farm shop butchery with takeaway food; a manufacturing unit that produces meals for all catering establishments; and most recently a restaurant.
The butcher’s side of the business provides excellent cuts of meat, including lamb in mint and onion gravy, lamb Marrakech with orange, sultana and chickpeas and lambs liver. More exotic meals include curried fragrant guinea fowl breast and rich venison casserole.
Fruits of the Earth
One of the Worcestershire food producers serving the UK is Primafruit is based in Evesham. It is the place for fresh fruit. The company specialises in the sourcing and supply of fresh fruit and works with some of Britain’s best-known retailers and foodservice customers.
Fruit is sourced from around the world and Primafruit prides itself in its excellent relationship with growers and suppliers. The product range includes stone fruit, citrus, grapes, kiwi and pineapples all year round as well as melons and bananas.
No waste is sent to landfill; with a local dairy farm taking significant volumes of fruit waste as cattle feed and compost material.
Ice Cream and Herbs
For those who love ice cream then Bennetts is a familiar name in the county with a delightful selection of traditional and contemporary flavours. All recipes are suitable for vegetarians and are gluten free except amaretto, lemon meringue and champagne sorbet.
There are over 50 flavours of truly traditional ice cream to choose from. This made on the farm in Worcester from milk supplied by Bennett’s own dairy herd and fresh double cream from a local independent dairy.
The farm holds 240 Holstein/Friesian cows. In the summer, the cows graze in luscious pastures, set between the rivers Severn and Teme. The creamiest and freshest morning milk is collected, pasteurised and turned into delicious ice cream within 24 hours. There is a huge choice from Banoffee Fudge, Blue Bubblegum, Caramel Honeycomb & Fig Ice Cream, Coconut & Pineapple Ice Cream or Honey & Ginger.
Finally let’s talk about herbs! Red Deer grows fresh herbs in Worcester and then distributes them nationwide. Established in 1986, Red Deer Herbs concentrates on processing herbs and related crops to the highest quality standards. The choice includes red and lemon basil, chervil and chives, lovage and fennel and borage, a taste similar to cucumber.
Worcestershire food producers are the last in the first AC Services series of local food producers in the area it serves. But there are so many good local ingredients, we’ll soon start spotlighting some more.
We are now back at work having had a busy but successful Christmas period. Although we had plenty of call-outs, no client had to take the drastic step of cancelling bookings due to an inoperable oven!
However, there were numerous calls to us regarding last minute breakdowns preceding and following Christmas. The majority of these calls were for replacement parts: luckily all of our engineers carry the necessary parts so the majority of ovens were fixed quickly and efficiently.
New Year New Start
The message this week is simple – New Year, new start so get your ovens serviced now. Although we obviously coped with the inevitable last minute rush before the end of last year, it makes better sense to arrange a service package with us. Customers that do find it suits everyone’s calendars and budgets.
A Rational Oven service starts from £185 plus VAT depending on model and age. During the visit we will sort any of those annoying little faults that, left unchecked can compromise performance. Remember that our policy is to keep our vans fully stocked so we can deliver a fix on the first visit in more than 95% of call-outs whilst we are with you.
- function testing and commissioning of elements,
- checking the operational mode of water, gas and electrical connections,
- testing electrical components, gas specific parts and steam generation.
Every part of the oven is tested and checked for total peace of mind and should any faults be detected, then they will be dealt with as a priority.
And don’t worry about forgetting the date of your scheduled Rational oven service. Every customer who gets their oven serviced will get a reminder the month before it is due next year. We prefer not to give you any excuse to forget!
Coming Up Fast
The next three months will see some significant annual events loved by the catering industry. Valentine’s Day is the major event of February followed swiftly by Mother’s Day then Easter. Before we know it, silly season including the FIFA World Cup will be upon us.
So take advantage of the down season and book a service with us today. Don’t procrastinate!
We also have the Winter Olympics in South Korea and the Invictus Games in Australia and loads of other sporting attractions.
However, 2018 also promises to be a huge year for the Royal family, with an eagerly anticipated wedding between the world’s most eligible bachelor and a glamorous American actress and the birth of the fourth in line to the throne.
Listed below are some sporting and other interesting events in chronological order: start booking those days off well in advance or prepare events for your customers:
Jan 15-28 Tennis Australia Open, Melbourne, Australia
Jan 15 World Religion Day
Jan 25 Burns Night
Jan 25-28 Extreme Sports Winter X Games 22, Aspen, Colorado, USA
Jan 26 Australia Day
Feb 4 Gridiron/Football, Super Bowl , Minneapolis, Minnesota
Feb 9-25 Multi-sports, Winter Olympics, Pyeongchang, South Korea
Feb 13 Shrove Tuesday
Feb 14 Ash Wednesday, Lent begins
Feb 16 Chinese New Year , Year of the Dog
Feb 28 – Mar 4 Cycling World Track Championships , Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
March 1 St David’s Day, Wales
March 9-18 Multi-sports, Winter Paralympics, Pyeongchang, South Korea
March 17 St Patrick’s Day, Ireland
March 21 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
March 30 Good Friday
Apr 1 Easter Sunday
Apr 5-8 Golf Masters, Augusta, USA
April 4-15 Multi-sports Commonwealth Games , Gold Coast, Australia
Apr 14 Horse Racing, Grand National, Aintree, Liverpool
Apr 23 St George’s Day, England
May 16 Ramadan begins
May 19 Royal Wedding , Windsor
May 19 Football FA Cup final. Wembley Stadium, London
May 26 Football UEFA Champions League Final, Kiev, Ukraine
May 27-Jun 10 Tennis French Open, Paris, France
14 Jun -15 Jul Football FIFA World Cup, Russia
15 Jun Eid al Fitr, end of Ramadan
Jul 7-29 Cycling, Tour de France
Jun 14–17 Golf, US Open , New York
Jul 2 Tennis, Wimbledon
Jul 19-22 Golf, British Open , Carnoustie, Scotland
July 20-22 Rugby World Cup Sevens, San Francisco, U.S.A.
Jul 21-Aug 5 Hockey World Cup, Women, London, England
Aug 4-12 Multi-sports, Gay Games, Paris, France
Aug 16-19 Golf, US PGA, Town and Country, Missouri
Aug 18-Sep 2 Multi-sports, Asian Games, Jakarta, Indonesia
Aug 27 Tennis, US Open, New York, USA
Sep 1-9 Rowing 2018 World Rowing Championships, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Sep 9 Rosh Hashanah/Jewish New Year
Sep 11-23 Multi-sports, Summer Youth Olympics, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Sep TBC Multi-sports, Invictus Games, Sydney, Australia
Sep 28-30 Golf, Ryder Cup , Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France
Oct 25 – Nov 3 Gymnastics, World Championships (Artistic), Doha, Qatar
Nov 6 Horse Racing, Melbourne Cup, Victoria, Australia
Nov 7 Deepavali (also known as Diwali), Festival of Lights
Nov 24-Dec 16 Hockey (Field) World Cup – Men, Bhubaneswar, India
Dec 7-11 Swimming, World Swimming Championships, Hangzhou, China
Don’t forget that while this is the World Events Calendar 2018, there are lots of local events and celebrations around which to create a theme.
We began 2017 with global uncertainty and sadly, we end the year in the same environment. Donald Trump was inaugurated at the 45th President of the United States and the world speculated. In the ensuing months, unease grew, particularly as the war of words with North Korea escalated. Twitter however, relished his appointment: never has the social medium seen so much attention. Theresa May fared little better with the Brexit shenanigans but at least she kept away from social media!
2016 was the Year of the Grim Reaper, but 2017 also took a few great names, from Fats Domino and Tom Petty to Hugh Heffner, Roger Moore and Cheggers. The creator of Paddington, Michael Bond died within days of the screening of the second film of the world’s favourite bear.
New words and phrases were added to the dictionary. Complicit was named word of the year and fake news and Meghan Markle became familiar to all. However, convefe holds the record as the most puzzling and incomprehensible virally released word of 2017.
In the world of food, Forbes has just released the year’s best food and restaurant trends, evaluated by an esteemed panel of culinary experts, which may find their way over the ocean to our shores.
This year’s trends are generalised around healthy eating, with emphasis on vegan and curative foods as well as sustainable practices. There is also a shift towards ethnic cooking, where second- and third-generation children of immigrant families are taking traditional ingredients and recipes into their own hands.
Activated charcoal powder has become favoured for two reasons: its benefits in detoxification and its ability to turn foods black. Black foods are “a social media darling, the Goth food answer to the recent rainbow and unicorn trend. It also helps that black food and drinks are very Instagrammable.”
Ashes and powders are increasingly being used mainly as relishes, decoration or taste. Various dehydrated substances (vegetables, meat, fruit etc.) are used to splash decoratively onto plates. They also enhance and intensify flavour.
Bring Back the Veg
Vegetables are making a mark in top cuisine with crudités becoming more sophisticated than just mange-tout and baby carrots. When combined with a healthy tasty dip, they have become extremely popular, as have exotic grains. The trend towards gluten free has seen the emergence of maranth, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, sorghum, teff, black and white quinoa, chia and flax seeds.
Finally, look out for zero-waste cooking. In the US, 40% of food goes to waste somewhere within the food chain. Increasingly, chefs and recipe writers are making a commitment to using all parts of the plant or animal to drastically cut down on waste.
All that is left is for us to wish you an extremely happy and safe Christmas with good company, good cheer and good food. If you need our services over the festive period, check out our opening times. We will see you in the New Year.
BREAKING NEWS! Mary Berry has been spotted chatting with Marcus Bean, Nadiya Hussain and a whole host of other top chefs. But rumours of a rival show to the Great British Bake Off have, were quashed as the chefs were united at the annual Good Food Show Birmingham NEC from 30 November – 3 December 2017.
With four days of live entertainment, shopping, innovative products and cooking demonstrations galore, over 450 exhibitors took part. They were joined by an exciting menu of top chefs and cookery experts. Mary Berry, Tom Kerridge, Michel Roux Jr, James Martin, The Hairy Bikers, Raymond Blanc, Anjula Devi and Nadiya Hussain were in attendance bringing demonstrations and advice to the masses who came through the halls.
The Big Kitchen super-theatre was the highlight of the Good Food Show Birmingham. Here the celebrity chefs cooked festive recipes and warming winter foods. This year brought a new element to the first day. Visitors who had booked the session, were able to enjoy a free Eat Like a Local session.
New for this year was the Friends and Family Festive Kitchen, hosted by Chris Bavin. Live cookery demonstrations and inspired recipe ideas gave plenty of thought for the Christmas period. These included ideas for a Caribbean Christmas and the perfect Christmas dessert.
There were plenty of other opportunities for the public to hone their cookery skills in the Skills School. On offer were masterclasses in Naked Cake Decorating with Sophie Godwin and a Sourdough Workshop with the BBC Good Food cookery team.
There was also the chance to learn a range of knife skills from the Zwilling professionals. This included different sharpening techniques, which type of knife should be used, how to use a knife for specific techniques and how to master the pinch grip.
Finally in the Skill School was the Sipsmith Gin Tasting. Historically, alcoholic tipples were almost exclusively served warm as a cosy way to get through the long, cold nights. The Sipsmith masterclasses offered tips on serving the ideal hot G&T.
Whisky and Northern Ireland Highlights
There was special interest in The Whisky Blending Lab from The Whisky Lounge. Blended whisky has apparently been ignored for far too long. So the idea was for visitors to construct their very own blended whisky. Those who took part not only blended the whisky but named it and walked away with a labelled bottled miniature!
Our final highlight was the Taste the Greatness of Northern Ireland Sampling Theatre and Pavilion. This was hosted by chef, Paula McIntyre, alongside a selection of producers. According to the showguide “Northern Ireland is a place of greatness because of a deep down determination to make the best of everything they’ve got. That same determination has taken hold of producers, processors and restaurateurs alike and is winning awards and international acclaim by producing world class ingredients and causing an explosion of authentic producers.”
Perfect for getting us in the mood for Christmas, the Good Food Show Birmingham returns to the NEC at the same time next year.
Hopefully, you will have ordered the necessary cleaning accessories and have had your oven checked over before the holidays begin.
But rest assured that although we are closed on the key dates, we will have engineers on call on the days in between.
There are a few simple tips to help you look after your oven and ensure that it is running to its maximum capacity. Have a look here for a list of useful tips for cleaning and maintenance.
AC Services Christmas 2017 Opening Times
Here are AC Services Christmas 2017 opening times:
- Thursday 21st December – normal opening hours – 8.30 a.m. to 5.15 p.m.
- Friday 22nd December – 8.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m.
- Saturday 23rd December – office closed – Engineer on call for emergencies
- Sunday 24th December – office closed – Engineer on call for emergencies
- Monday 25th December – office closed
- Tuesday 26th December – office closed (can’t face any more turkey)
- Wednesday 27th December – office open 8.30 a.m. – 5 p.m. (engineers available)
- Thursday 28th December – office open 8.30 a.m. – 5 p.m. (engineers available)
- Friday 29th December – office open 8.30 a.m. – 5 p.m. (engineers available)
- Saturday 30th December – office closed – Engineer on call for emergencies
- Sunday 31st December – office closed – Engineer on call for emergencies
- Monday 1st January – office closed.
It’s back to normal working hours on Tuesday 2nd January.
If you have an emergency with your appliance telephone 01454 322222 and press the appropriate option so we can help you as quickly as we can. If you have a non-urgent issue, leave a message for when the office is next open.
Leave nothing to chance. We understand that you will have a lot to remember for the festive season but don’t forget to order stock parts and cleaning products.
The last date for guaranteed Christmas delivery for an order to be placed is Wednesday 20th December at 5 p.m. We recommend that you CHECK your stock now, to make sure that you have everything you need.
There is no excuse for not knowing what is happening. The adverts are on the television. The decorations are up in the high street and we’ve just survived Black Friday. Not to mention the start of I’m a Celebrity and the Ashes! Yes, Christmas is just around the corner and here at AC Services (Southern), we are advising all of our customers to pay special attention to their ovens NOW.
From extensive experience, ovens are generally overlooked in the run-up to the big day. Food takes priority: the turkeys have to be ordered, the menus finalised and the staff rotas arranged. So the oven gets forgotten.
However, take time out to check essential items, especially cleaning materials. Order your materials before Christmas and avoid time-consuming manual cleaning and worst case scenario, appliance failure when you need it most. Over Christmas, you need your Rational oven to be performing at its peak.
Order Cleaning Products
Make sure that you have plenty of oven cleaning materials in stock. Most professional ovens, (and Rational Self-Cooking-Centres in particular), have automatic cleaning programs built into their software. When used with the right cleaning materials (which ACS Southern always hold in stock), you get cosmetic and hygienic cleanliness.
Order your approved cleaning products now. As a reminder, we supply all the assistance you need to service and maintain your oven, from Rational Grill Cleaner, Rational Rinse Aid, Rational Oven Cleaning Tablets for the SCC (SelfCooking Center®) range and for those with Care Control, Rational Care Control Tablets and accessories. For a full list of cleaning products, click here.
Also, there is still time for us to come and service your oven. If you haven’t recently had a scheduled service, give us a call and let us come and check that everything is working as it should. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t have time: it doesn’t take long and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Just imagine the nightmare of the oven packing up over the Christmas period.
There are some simple tasks that can be carried out on a daily basis to ensure optimum performance of Rational ovens. We advise our customers to take note:
- Clean your appliance daily with the relevant Rational oven cleaning products.
- Wipe down the door gasket at least daily with non-abrasive cleaning agents.
- Check the air filter regularly: your appliance will let you know when the air filter needs cleaning.
- Clean the drip tray collector.
- Apply vegetable oil or grease to the inside of the cooking cabinet at regular intervals (every two weeks or so) to prevent corrosion.
Be prepared and make sure your Rational oven is in working order for Christmas service. Call us now and we can talk you through the options available on 01454 322 222 to make sure the Christmas season goes ahead effortlessly.
The land use is mostly agricultural. The county is renowned for its fruit and cider production, and the Hereford cattle breed as well as its famous spring asparagus. Herefordshire stretches from Ross-on-Wye in the Wye Valley to Leominster and Mortimer Country, from Kington and the Golden Valley to Bromyard, Ledbury and the Malvern Hills.
Herefordshire food producers are recognised throughout the UK for quality and taste, as Trecorras Farm can testify. Last year the company showcased its charcuterie to London restaurants and chefs at The Tower of London including the new kid goat meat charcuterie range.
The company produces high quality kid goat meat as a passion. Rural Herefordshire provides the perfect environment for the young kid goats – currently one of the hottest food trends – to thrive. Trecorras supplies many chefs and restaurants locally and nationally with kid meat, charcuterie and merguez sausages.
Another company that has been acclaimed for its produce is Tigg’s. Tigg’s salad dressings and sauces are made in Bodenham by two brothers. They have added their own personalities to their former ‘Granny Tigg’s’ artisan-style labelling to make a more generic label, ‘Perfect Match’.
“We tweaked our brand to a play on dating amongst food, in which different all-purpose sauces and dressings might find their match with different foods as well as different customers,” said Jacob James of Tigg’s. The company produces naturally colourful, all-purpose dressings and sauces that can be used on salads and as ketchups, pasta sauces, marinades and even pizza bases! Flavours include Sweet Original, Bold Beetroot and Cool Basil & Pea.
Wye Valley Produce is grown by fourth-generation farmers, the Chinn family, in the Wye Valley. Having planted its first asparagus crop in 2003 it has since expanded to include rhubarb, blueberries and green beans.
According to the company, “the light, sandy soil and south-facing slopes of the meandering Wye Valley capture the earliest spring sunlight, and create a microclimate that is perfectly formed to produce some of the earliest, and the best, produce in the UK”.
Cider and perry are integral to the Herefordshire region. Gregg’s Pit was established in 1994. It makes real Herefordshire cider and perry using 100% juice of vintage varieties of apples and pears, harvested from traditional standard orchards. The company still uses traditional methods with an ancient stone press, which dates from the 18th century.
Herefordshire food producers also have global recognition, with beef perhaps the most familiar to most people. Companies like Heggies provide free-range Hereford beef, sourced from a farm in Leominster. All beef has been aged for 21 days. Then it is delivered to the customer in an insulated container to ensure optimum freshness and quality. The company also has a range of award winning sausages, with ten flavours made on the premises.
Herefordshire is in the heart of England and has been producing fine food and beverages for generations. With traditional methods marrying with modern technology, the county has much more to offer on a global scale. AC Services is pleased to support Herefordshire food producers and catering businesses.
It’s that time of year when you should be thinking about stocking up on Rational oven cleaning products and parts, if you haven’t already.
Prevention is easier than cure and regular cleaning is the easiest form of maintenance. Winter is fast approaching and if you have any problems with your oven; spare a thought for our engineers, who may be hampered by bad weather to get to you.
As a reminder, AC Services (Southern) supply all the assistance you need to service and maintain your oven.
We stock Rational Grill Cleaner, Rational Rinse Aid, Rational Oven Cleaning Tablets for the SCC (SelfCooking Center®) range and for those with Care Control, Rational Care Control Tablets and accessories.
From December 1st, all cleaning products, Rational spare parts and accessories are increasing in price by around 5%. See below for examples:
- 56.00.210 Cleaning Tablets now £59.00 increasing to £62.00 (for SCC units SE, SG, SH and SI)
- 56.00.211 Rinse Tablets currently £39.00 increasing to £41.00 (for SCC Units SE only and CM Units MI only)
- 56.00.562 Care Tablets currently £74.00 increasing to £78.00 (for SCC Units SG, SH and SI and CMP MI)
- 9006.0153 Grill Cleaner Liquid currently £45.00 increasing to £47.00 (for CPC units and CM units ME to MH only.)
However, for those who order before noon on Friday December 15th, current prices will apply on Rational cleaning products (cleaning tablets, rinse tablets, care tablets and liquid grill cleaner). So a simple choice buy now at current prices or wait until after 1st December and use the code TINSEL to get your discount.
The Full Range of Rational Cleaning Products
Here at AC Services, we provide a full range of Rational oven cleaning products. If you have more than one oven, then you may need different cleaning product combinations. As a reminder, we supply:
- Rational Oven Cleaner Tab (x100): highly concentrated tablets specially developed with a new complex set of active ingredients designed to guarantee maximum cleaning power.
- the Rational Oven Care Tablets (x150) with special scale-dissolving ingredients contained to prevent limescale building up, giving reliability without a water softener and the need for time-consuming descaling.
- Rational Rinse Tablets (x50) highly effective care products ensuring active protection.
- the Rational Grill Cleaner (10 litres) for use with a hand spray gun.
- Rational Rinse Aid (10 litres).
We also supply for water filtration. This is either the Brita Purity 1200 Quell ST Filter Cartridge or the Brita Purity 600 Quell ST Filter Cartridge. Water filter products are not in the sale.
To order your Rational oven cleaning products, simply go to our on-line shop. Or call us on 01454 322222 for more advice of how to keep on top of your Rational oven cleaning and to book a service so your oven is fully ready for the Christmas rush.
Fast food and mass catering may appear to be the invention of the 20th century but catering for the masses transcends millennia. Evidence has been excavated at the site of the Pyramids. This revealed a mess hall for the workers, long benches and tables and fish and meat bones. Armies throughout history were fed en masse (possibly not with the healthiest food but fed nonetheless) so catering as a trade has a long heritage.
The modern idea of fast food evolved with the inception of the motor industry where it became easier for people to pop into a store to buy a burger. By the 1950s in the USA, fast food was in full swing. It wasn’t long before heavy advertising and the introduction of children’s meals made it a firm favourite. Today, the global contribution of fast food outlet revenue is in the region of £500 billion.
Fast Food Growing
According to a recent report in the Guardian, the total number of takeaway food shops in England has risen by 4,000 in the past three years. This is an increase of 8%. There are currently 56,638 takeaways in England. They comprises more than 25% of all the country’s food outlets.
Many of the 326 local authorities in the UK have seen significant increases in the number of fast food outlets. Between 2014 and 2017, 20 record rises of more than 20%. Only 40 councils (12%) have seen the number of fast food outlets fall or stay the same.
Since 2012, the fast food and mass catering industry has performed relatively well. Takeaway operators have responded to higher levels of consumer expenditure by introducing higher quality food, often using organic produce and ensuring low-fat, low-sugar and low-salt meal options.
Despite the constant criticism of unhealthy and high calorific food content, fast food is still very popular . Reasons include affordable prices, busy lifestyles and increasing on-the-go consumption. There is also a much wider variety of products available to accommodate different dietary requirements.
With any mass catering, the emphasis is on efficiency and hygiene. This is true whether it is for a fast food chain or a mess hall, hotel, hospital, airline or school. Too many instances of bad practice resulting in food poisoning or infection have been traced to bad habits in the kitchen or inadequate cooking facilities.
An oven, such as the Rational units, must not only cook the food but also synchronise the cooking of each individual element. It should also be fast and reliable in performance. In addition, the oven must be regularly serviced and checked. This is best as part of an ongoing maintenance regime to ensure top performance.
Contact AC Services on 01454 322222 if you are a fast food and mass catering organisation for appliance best practice .