Tube strikes notwithstanding, Hotelympia 2014, which took place at Excel London UK, 28 April – 1 May was as expected, a roaring success. Product innovations, award-winning display, demonstrations and Sir Terence Conran were among the highlights enjoyed by the hoards of visitors who flocked through the doors. By the way, the latter received a lifetime achievement award, in recognition of his contribution to the food industry.
Commonly heralded as THE industry show to attend, over 300 food and drink suppliers alone exhibited. There was an amazing amount of new technology, new products and new temptations on show and it was one of the best attended on record, reflecting the continuing interest within the industry for continuous improvement. For instance, the Grab and Go section was overwhelmed with visitors, and has now become a well-accepted contemporary trend.
Seminars at the Stage area were also extremely popular, with topics ranging from molecular waste disposal (billed as a “must-attend plenary session”) to the role of the chef (should they spend more time ‘at the pass’ or should they wear more than one hat?) to the intriguingly-named discussion, Green Shoots or Rotting Oaks? (shoots as in growth, oaks as in budgets).
There was also a seminar on the delivery of universal free school meals for infants in England and Scotland, with a fascinating look not only into the health and educational benefits of providing good food and food education, but also highlighting the range of career opportunities in hospitality and foodservice.
This led nicely to Hot Talent, Hotelympia’s awards to celebrate, nurture and reward the best young talent on offer in the industry has to offer. Designed to showcase those under 30 who have gone above and beyond the expectations of their job title, the winners got some very impressive prizes: including a one week work placement at a top-end restaurant or hotel and a two day study tour of Villeroy & Boch’s home in Luxembourg.
All of these events were combined with the main attraction of the show, at least to the visitors, the free food. As one visitor put it succinctly, “you don’t have breakfast or lunch before coming to Hotelympia and you won’t want dinner.” There were cooking demonstrations galore, pastry tasting on every corner and grab and go samples were grabbed and went.
As always, the Rational chefs were busy on their stand, cooking food to match the time of day. Long term exhibitors at the show, Rational’s SelfCookingCenter® whitefficiency® combi steamer was put through its paces and delivered food consistently throughout the four day event. Representatives from The ‘Rational Service Partner’ network who are leading supporters of the Rational brand, were on hand to witness the work done by the chefs on the appliance which can replace up to 50% of all conventional cooking appliances in a typical kitchen.