Category Archives: Events
The BBC Good Food Shows have kicked off the season. Last week, it was the turn of the NEC to host one of the most eagerly-awaited food shows of the year.
With Christmas just around the corner, the flagship Winter Show offered a feast for visitors of produce and entertainment. Top chefs joined exhibitors to present a veritable smorgasbord of culinary delights. These included demonstrations, new products and fabulous retail opportunities.
The Birmingham Winter Show combined the UK’s greatest cookery experts, with plenty of festive inspiration and live entertainment in the Big Kitchen and other stages. Greeting visitors to the NEC was the show’s new contribution, Street Food. Brand new for 2018, delicious street food made a successful appearance at the Show. An army of street food vendors in the outside areas, brought a huge selection of ready to eat food for all visitors.
The Big Kitchen is always the highlight of the show. Here top celebrity chefs cook festive recipes and share tips for seasonal winter foods. Tom Kerridge and Michael Roux Junior were just two of the famous names demonstrating their skills to the public. The highlight was the demonstration by everyone’s favourite Bake Off judge, Mary Berry.
This year, the Big Kitchen was sponsored by Travelsphere, who offered additional free themed sessions to the menu. This included a taste of India with Cyrus Todiwala, chef patron of Cafe Spice Namaste, award-winning Pan-Indian restaurant in London and also Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen and The River Restaurant (in Goa). A taste of Spain was presented by José Pizarro described as the Godfather of Spanish cooking.
BBC Good Food Stage
Barney Desmazery hosted the BBC Good Food stage. There, he offered live interviews into our favourite chefs’ success and seasonal advice from some local foodie experts too. The sessions involved an interview with Nadiya Hussain and a masterclass from Stacie Stewart.
The BBC Good Food Pop-Up Restaurant offered a sit-down meal, of two or three courses, inspired by some of the most popular seasonal dishes from the country’s leading food website, www.bbcgoodfood.com. The succulent menu presented delights such as:
- chicken, leek, smoked bacon and apricot terrine with watercress salad,
- baked goat’s cheese with beetroot, honey and thyme and
- main courses including garlic cheese-stuffed turkey breast wrapped in pancetta, with parmesan roast potatoes, buttered sprouts and glazed carrots.
The Winter Kitchen, sponsored by Magimix inspired by a range of seasonal dishes for the festive season with contributions from Mary Berry, James Martin, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith amongst many other top chefs. Complementary to this was the Skills School where a number of experts shared their secrets from knife skills with Zwilling to sourdough masterclasses.
At AC Services Southern, we think it’s always a good idea to attend the Good Food Shows. These help us to learn new trends and to judge consumer reactions. That way our business never gets stale.
11 November 2018 marks a significant date in the history of the world. At 11 o’clock on the 11th day of the 11th month, the First World War – the Great War – ended. Germany signed the armistice prepared by Britain and France and the guns fell silent. Britain, France and all of the countries that supported them, celebrated the end of a heinous war that lasted four years and four months. Millions died, not only in battle but from the terrible living conditions they faced during that time.
Since then, the red poppy has become a symbol of peace and remembrance used since 1921 to commemorate military personnel who have died in war. It was inspired by the WWI poem In Flanders Fields then adopted by military veterans’ groups in parts of the British Empire and then throughout the world.
Lest We Forget
Remembrance Day 2018 commemorations will take on a special centenary meaning for all those involved. Across the country, beacons will be lit and special services taking place to mark the 100 years since the end of the war. Weymouth is conducting a Beacon Lighting event, known nationally as the `Battles Over’ taking place at the Nothe Fort starting at 6pm on 11 November. The event will feature performances from the Bovington Military Wives Choir and the Decadettes followed by a service and will encompass elements of the traditional Remembrance Service normally held at Holy Trinity Church.
In Wales, Gwent’s St Woolos Cathedral will host a free day of events to mark the centenary with music from the U3A choir, Newport rugby club choir, and the local Boys’ Brigade band. Re-enactments will include a World War One surgeon, a Monmouthshire Regiment infantryman, and a member of the Royal Flying Corps. Caerleon Remembers will mark the centenary with a tribute of words and music from local choirs as well as an exhibition. The concert will take place on Saturday, November 10 from 7pm at St Cadoc’s Church. 100 red poppies will also be seen on the Wales Air Ambulance (WAA) aircraft as a sign of respect.
Poppy of Honour 2018
In Wincanton, a commemorative Poppy of Honour has already been unveiled. Over 250,000 individual volunteers and businesses have joined forces to create an eight-foot steel and glass poppy-shaped sculpture, the first memorial of its kind, dedicated to the 1,117,635 British and Commonwealth service personnel, killed or declared missing in action in the war. 1,117,635 individual poppies are contained within, all labelled with the details of the men and women who died. In early 2019, the Poppy will embark on a major tour around the United Kingdom and Southern Ireland, before being displayed at the Tower of London.
And in Bristol, The Bristol Festival of Remembrance will take place at Bristol Cathedral on 10 November, presented by Terry Waite CBE. The evening begins with orchestral pieces, choral works, readings and a performance by local children, and the night will finish with a performance of Karl Jenkins’ The Peacemakers, a piece dedicated to all those who have lost their lives during armed conflict. On 11 November, also at Bristol Cathedral is Duruflé’s Requiem performed by Bristol Cathedral Choir. Admission is free.
Finally, the annual act of remembrance at Wells Cathedral this year will feature John Rutter’s Requiem, a free event taking place from 3-4pm on 11 November followed by a devotional service, interspersed with War Poetry.
Boutique hotels are categorised as small and intimate establishments, far away from the mighty conglomerates that appear in every town and city of the UK. These hotels are usually located in the most hip and fashionable urban areas. Their charm generally lies in their stylish design decor and personal touches that distinguish them from other hotel brands.
Interestingly, it wasn’t until 1981 that the first official boutique hotel opened in London.
Over the past two years, the sector has seen stellar growth. Independent hotel rooms still comprise more than half of the serviced accommodation rooms in the UK. The Independent Hotel Show managed to encapsulate the enthusiasm for the future development of the sector.
Over the two days seminars addressed relevant topics and offered advice to independent and boutique hotel owners and managers. These seminars covered everything, from managing websites to design using limited space, offering the best service possible and tips and tactics to ramp up food and beverage options to keep menus fresh.
Among the more interesting discussions was one on trends for the future. A hotel stay is more than just a room for the night and customers expect more than just the basic levels. Guests want to know what else is on offer. This has led to the rise of combination hotels. A basic example is the hotel and spa. This has expanded to giddy heights such as a hotel and art gallery in Beijing and a hotel and perfumery in Paris. These hotels are now known as slashy hotels. This term first came to prominence in the film, Zoolander, where it referred to model/actors.
On a more local level, visitors want to book a whole experience in one place. The 2018 Independent Hotel Show offered invaluable advice on how hotels can best offer local expertise and knowledge via local experience packages. The Show also focused on the importance of technology offering convenience. These include being able to control the temperature and lighting in the room via apps, and virtual concierge to allow guests to make requests quickly without needing to leave the room.
Other trends involve pop-up hotels, especially those associated with festivals or other events. This trend is complemented by glamping, described as a hybrid of camping and hotel-stays. For the catering industry, this is a major opportunity, especially for mobile caterers in the locality.
Finally, the centrepiece of the 2018 Independent Hotel Show was the Hotel Bedroom of the Future immersive installation. Luxury bedroom specialists Two’s Company built this “inspired by the results of several intense research sessions with industry experts”.
Innovation has always been the catchword for this Show. Exhibitors, seminars, live demos and new features all showcase the latest in the food industry. Billed as the number one event for business growth and expansion in the food profession, the Show was well attended by a range of food and drink entrepreneurs striving for success.
The Show ranges from the food demo arena to the franchise area, where there were businesses opportunities for sale aplenty. From sustainability through to plant-based sustenance to plastic straws, it seemed there was no subject matter left unturned.
The Delivery Zone focused on the increasing demand for delivery with more restaurants providing this option to their customers. The zone highlighted the many suppliers of the transport to get food to the customer. It also included new packaging methods to keep the food safe along the way.
The Show had discussions touching on a variety of contemporary issues. Many of these featured advances in technology as a baseline. For instance, the discussion on how to leave better feedback at a restaurant brought up digital comment boxes, such as Blurtbox. This is an intuitive app that allows guests to log in and leave private, anonymous feedback. The restaurant can then respond to these in real time. The app is centred upon the massive impact of smartphone usage, which is perfect for the modern consumer.
One of the most interesting and modern issues featured street food. A street food trader was frustrated with the outdated process of finding a pitch so he founded StreetDots. This has resulted in a network of premium trading pitches or ‘dots’ to be booked via an app. The technology gives traders the freedom to trade with no long-term commitment.
Another seminar covered the way technology helps retain staff and customers, as what happens at the table is key to their satisfaction. Customers want their order to be taken quickly and accurately. Staff want to be equipped with technology that works quickly and efficiently making their jobs easier. The forum suggested many ways to improve the service, for example by centralising customer information, analytics and marketing database in one system. Or investing in intuitive touchscreen interfaces, making them easier for staff to use and which are less likely to cause problems for customers.
Technology and innovation were at the forefront of the Food Entrepreneur Show 2018, with ideas and advice on how to ensure that the catering industry is up to date with new ideas and techniques to keep up with modern demands from discerning customers.
A recent report from Pulse reveals that events have now become a rich tool for marketing organisations.
Experience-driven marketing is the way forward apparently, with people preferring a sense of “camaraderie and shared culture. Why eat luxury cheese at home when you could tap into a community of cheese lovers at a festival or pop-up marketplace?”
80% of millennials reported that they would prefer to make sacrifices of material or luxury goods to participate in experience-driven exercises. This is very welcome news in particular for the festival industry.
The report continues to say that more creative events in increasingly creative spaces have become the norm in 2018. Passive marketing techniques which were previously employed are now being replaced with “more personable, and intimate event spaces… as brands look to engage each individual customer.”
More than 7,000 major outdoor events are held each year. Outdoor events cover all activities from major festivals, agricultural shows, sporting and charity events through to small village and craft events.
Following the Olympics in 2012, the UK has established itself as a world leader in outdoor events. Now many UK companies export their events industry expertise. The sector has witnessed huge growth; between 2005 and 2009 there was an average annual increase of more than 1.64M adults attending outdoor events in the UK.
Festival Food Trends
One trend that has expanded over the years and has now become a sophisticated part of festivals is catering. Once upon a time, when festivals started, visitors were lucky to find anything more than a greasy burger or a curled up sandwich. Those days, however, are long gone. Today the culinary credentials of a festival have become increasingly important, and this is an accelerating trend.
Chief Executive of the Association of Independent Festivals, Paul Reed says that spending on food and drink at independent festivals was 36% higher in 2017 than in 2008. “Customer expectations have shifted considerably and, in some cases, food and beverage options can be as important as the music and arts programming itself,” he comments.
In March 2018, CGA Strategy, a consumer research group, published a report on festival-goers’ attitudes towards food and drink based on 5,000 interviewees.
The research revealed that the range of food and drink was an important factor when choosing which festivals to attend. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents (61%) cited “a diverse selection of food and drink stalls” as a significant factor when choosing a festival.
On average, a music festival ticket cost £150. This is a significant amount and attendees expect a more luxurious experience. In addition, and more importantly, they also bring the cash to pay for it. Thus festival organisers are placing more emphasis upon the catering, from gourmet burgers to fresh, healthy smoothies, sushi and vegan options.
For the catering fraternity in the events industry, the options are endless and accelerating to provide a variety of food for every palate.
It’s time to start trading Panini stickers! After the excitement of the FA Cup, the Champions League Final and the domestic playoffs, we can now sit back and look forward to the next great sporting event, the FIFA Russia World Cup.
There is a feeling that this year, the anticipation is somewhat muted. Perhaps it’s too soon after the Euros when the England team was humiliated by a bunch of Scandinavian part timers with their chilling Viking thunder clap. Whatever the reason, the Russia World Cup starts next week and the strains of Three Lions will surely be heard in pubs and homes around the country.
Harry Kane leads the team as captain, a position which has been bestowed on many but successfully fulfilled by few. And here’s a couple of pub quiz facts for you: the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ teams provide 17 of the 23 players chosen by Southgate and Manchester United holds the record as the only club represented in every England football tournament squad since 1950.
Teams that should have but didn’t qualify include Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Scotland, Turkey, United States and Wales.
Group Stages of Russia World Cup 2018
For those who want to organise their events and viewing in advance, here is the schedule.
- Thursday June 14 Russia v Saudi Arabia (A) Moscow (Luzhniki) 4pm
- Friday June 15 Egypt v Uruguay (A) Ekaterinburg 1pm; Morocco v Iran (B) St Petersburg 4pm; Portugal v Spain (B) Sochi 7pm
- Saturday June 16 France v Australia (C) Kazan 11am; Argentina v Iceland (D) Moscow (Spartak) 2pm; Peru v Denmark (C) Saransk 5pm; Croatia v Nigeria (D) Kaliningrad 8pm
- Sunday June 17 Costa Rica v Serbia (E) Samara 1pm; Germany v Mexico (F) Moscow (Luzhniki) 4pm; Brazil v Switzerland (E) Rostov-on-Don 7pm
- Monday June 18 Sweden v South Korea (F) Nizhny Novgorod 1pm; Belgium v Panama (G) Sochi 4pm; Tunisia v England (G) Volgograd 7pm
- Tuesday June 19 Poland v Senegal (H) Moscow (Spartak) 1pm; Colombia v Japan (H) Saransk 4pm; Russia v Egypt (A) St Petersburg 7pm
- Wednesday June 20 Portugal v Morocco (B) Moscow (Luzhniki) 1pm; Uruguay v Saudi Arabia (A) Rostov-on-Don 4pm; Iran v Spain (B) Kazan 7pm
- Thursday June 21 France v Peru (C) Ekaterinburg 1pm; Denmark v Australia (C) Samara 4pm; Argentina v Croatia (D) Nizhny Novgorod 7pm
- Friday June 22 Brazil v Costa Rica (E) St Petersburg 1pm; Nigeria v Iceland (D) Volgograd 4pm; Serbia v Switzerland (E) Kaliningrad 7pm
- Saturday June 23 Belgium v Tunisia (G) Moscow (Spartak) 1pm; Germany v Sweden (F) Sochi 4pm; South Korea v Mexico (F) Rostov-on-Don 7pm
- Sunday June 24 England v Panama (G) Nizhny Novgorod 1pm; Japan v Senegal (H) Ekaterinburg 4pm; Poland v Colombia (H) Kazan 7pm
- Monday June 25 Uruguay v Russia (A) Samara 3pm; Saudi Arabia v Egypt (A) Volgograd 3pm; Spain v Morocco (B) Kaliningrad 7pm; Iran v Portugal (B) Saransk 7pm
- Tuesday June 26 Denmark v France (C) Moscow (Luzhniki) 3pm; Australia v Peru (C) Sochi 3pm; Nigeria v Argentina (D) St Petersburg 7pm; Iceland v Croatia (D) Rostov-on-Don 7pm
- Wednesday June 27 South Korea v Germany (F) Kazan 3pm; Mexico v Sweden (F) Ekaterinburg 3pm; Serbia v Brazil (E) Moscow (Spartak) 7pm; Switzerland v Costa Rica (E) Nizhny Novgorod 7pm
- Thursday June 28 Japan v Poland (H) Volgograd 3pm; Senegal v Colombia (H) Samara 3pm; England v Belgium (G) Kaliningrad 7pm; Panama v Tunisia (G) Saransk 7pm
Knock Out Rounds
LAST 16 (3pm and 7pm)
Saturday June 30: Sunday July 1: Monday July 2: Tuesday July 3
QUARTER-FINALS (3pm and 7pm)
Friday July 6: Saturday July 7
Tuesday July 10: Wednesday July 11
THIRD-PLACE PLAY-OFF (3pm)
Saturday July 14
Sunday July 15
All that remains is to wish the England team the best of luck and please, no penalty shootouts. And for all of those in the catering businesses organising Russia World Cup related events good luck.
That’s right you go to the biggest event in the country, where both types of catering businesses delivered royally.
MD Helen Hagger, as usual, was well prepared with a plan leaving nothing to chance. She travelled to a hotel in Slough West on Friday night with Allison, her friend of 35 years.
The alarm was set for 4.20 a.m in good time for the booked taxi to arrive at 5 am. Then a half hour trip to a misty Windsor; already rich with a promise of a beautiful day for the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Celebrities Around the World
She was in good time to set up the front row directly behind Sky News and opposite ITV News. Perfectly placed for Allison’s and Helen’s image to be beamed around the world for the almost 2B viewers, among the enthusiastic crowd shots and scene-setting.
It was certainly a great place for celebrity spotting.
Not forgetting Rational’s own Chef and Bert, who being prepared, Helen had brought along for the great day.
Crowd Control for Event Success
The crowds began to build once the first trains started to arrive in Windsor around 6 a.m. The atmosphere was amazing and the weather was glorious. And there to protect all were the police using the latest crowd science training developed to respond to various terrorist threats by the College of Policing.
Thames Valley Police were supported by 100’s of police officers drafted in from various police forces. Being there for six hours, Helen had many officers stand in front of her. All were brilliant, happy to chat to the crowd and delighted to be working at such a prestigious event.
The final officer during the actual procession was Slough Police’s Commander. She had just volunteered to man the procession route as a regular police officer and was not in charge on the day.
Sadly all the officers were ordered to face the crowds to ensure there were no incidents. So they were unable to see any of the Royal Wedding procession. Rather like those many catering businesses across the country who are fundamental to the success of an event, but are too busy working to fully enjoy it.
Hotelympia 2018 took place at ExCeL London last week (5-8 March). The Show has the accolade of being one of the oldest; being at the forefront of the industry for over 83 years. This year, Hotelympia brought together four new shows. This created an umbrella platform for all those involved in the pub, hotel, restaurant, casual dining and contract caterers.
The four shows are:
- Interiors and Tableware Show,
- Hospitality Tech Show,
- Foodservice Show and
- The Professional Kitchen Show,
The Professional Kitchen
This Show displayed the very latest catering equipment, with key senior buyers viewing the goods on offer, from kitchen designers to operations managers, executive chefs to managing directors and distributors. The equipment ranged from appliances for large mass catering kitchens to the newer trend of micro size kitchens.
On the Rational stand, Rational‘s expert chefs prepared different meal occasions with the SelfCookingCenter and VarioCookingCenter, offering samples and live cooking demonstrations. The company also showcased its specialist accessories including the Multibaker, the grill and pizza tray and the cross and stripe grill grate.
Foodservice and Hospitality Tech
The Foodservice Show was extremely well attended. Visitors were presented with hard-to-find speciality ingredients and craft drinks as well as leading food brands and franchises. In fact, the Foodservice Show had more food and drink exhibiting companies than any other UK hospitality event.
The Hospitality Tech Show revealed how technology is revolutionising the hospitality sector. It showcased solutions and latest innovations to improve all aspects of the industry from back-room operations to enhancing the customer experience.
The Interiors and Tableware Show
Interiors and Tableware catered for every front-of-house need for a wide range of establishments from restaurant groups, bars, cafes and spas to holiday parks, schools and offices with the latest designs and products.
Another popular section was the Salon Culinaire which offered four days of sculpting and cooking. Categories here included wedding cake design, sugarcraft showpiece, sculpted novelty cake and best decorated Easter Egg! There was also a category for best sugarcraft on a hat which attracted some amazing entries and lots of attention.
Along with a host of headline speakers holding seminars on a variety of relevant subjects, Hotelympia 2018 also hosted The World Food Innovation Awards. These are designed to celebrate excellence and innovation across every category of the global food industry. As the longest and most established awards scheme in the industry, these awards were gratefully received by the eventual winners.
Finally, the Women in Hospitality day was a huge hit. This celebrated the successes and the challenges and opportunities facing women in the hospitality industry. As well as discussions on the contribution made by female hospitality entrepreneurs it also introduced some potential future stars.
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.
World War I claimed the lives of over 41 million people across the globe. This makes it one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. At least 2 million died from diseases and 6 million went missing, presumed dead. One third of all casualties resulted from the 1918 flu pandemic. In military terms, more than 8.7 million men served in the British Army at some time during the four year conflict.
Throughout the years, Remembrance Day has been marked with events from services to exhibitions to concerts and this year is no different. However, many events are now giving the public the opportunity to view them for longer than the traditional Remembrance timescale.
Arts Remembrance Events
On 1 July 2016, over 1400 voluntary participants in WWI uniform appeared unexpectedly in locations across the UK. This was a reminder of the 19,240 men killed exactly one hundred years previously on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Having travelled across Wales, the exhibition will be based at the Theatre Royal Plymouth from 6 to 25 November 2017 and then Aberystwyth Arts Centre from 20 January to 14 April 2018.
In Bristol at the Hippodrome Theatre, the touring show War Horse will be running from 18 October to 11 November 2017. Michael Morpurgo’s tale of bravery, loyalty, and the extraordinary bond between a young recruit and his horse is set in the First World War.
Actors work with life-sized puppets by the internationally renowned Handspring Puppet Company. The author discovered that over a million horses died in the war just on the British side with most of the surviving animals sold off after the war was over to French butchers. This became the inspiration for his book and subsequent play.
In Bovington, Dorset, the Tank Museum is hosting the official remembrance service on behalf of the Bovington Garrison on 12 November 2017. This is attended by serving soldiers, veterans and their families as well as being open to visitors. A wreath laying ceremony will take place at the Royal Armoured Corps Memorial, outside the Museum. There may be a shortage of space but the Tank Museum itself is home to many historic vehicles from the WWI era and is worth a visit. New this year is the Tiger Tank Collection, where in a world first, the Tank Museum has brought every member of the Tiger Tank family together in one display.
On 7 November 2017, the Senedd in Cardiff is hosting a talk from Professor Alan Llwyd for the fourth annual First World War commemorative lecture. Alan Llwyd’s lecture will commemorate the life and work of Hedd Wyn, a centenary on from his death. Poet Hedd Wyn was tragically killed during WWI at the Battle of Passchendaele. He posthumously won the Chair at the Birkenhead National Eisteddfod in 1917.
On Remembrance Sunday, churches and communities throughout the UK will be honouring the fallen and injured of all wars and conflicts. Thus continuing a celebration of the lives of those who fought in the First World War; a tradition that has lasted a century.