Tag Archives: Catering business

17 
Jul

UK Tourism on the Move

UK Tourism

According to statistics from the ONS, visitor numbers to the UK are slightly down year on year by about 2%; with 2.9 million overseas visits in March 2019.

However, 2018 was a record-breaking year in terms of tourists so the figures are not in any way alarming.

Between January and March 2019, there were 7.8 million inbound visits to the UK. This is just 1% below the inbound visits in the same period in 2018. Overall, overseas visitors to the UK spent £22.7 B in the twelve months to March 2019. This is down a more worrying 8% compared to the previous twelve-month period.

Cricket Fever

In June and July, tourism gave a huge boost to the economy with the hosting of the Cricket World Cup. Hampshire County Cricket Club hosted five matches in the long-awaited tournament. This brought a total of £18.3 million to Southampton alone. While Birmingham is predicted to generate a staggering £32.1 million from the tournament.

Many of the fans have travelled from Pakistan and India to watch the cricket. The recent India versus Pakistan match witnessing a staggering 750,000 applications for the 26,000-seat stadium. The importance of sporting global events in terms of boosting the economy cannot be underestimated.

Government Boost

At the end of June, the government announced a deal to prepare Britain for an extra 9 million visitors per year. This is heralded as a major boost for the pub and hospitality sectors in particular. A Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board will be created to promote and market hospitality jobs as viable career options. A three-year industry led skills and recruitment campaign will also be funded.

In addition, local tourism zones will be created alongside a new business events strategy and more investment in infrastructure. The deal will also support the creation of 10,000 new apprenticeships for anyone building a career in tourism or hospitality.

Hospitality sector trade body UK Hospitality hailed it as a landmark moment as chief executive, Kate Nicholls explains. “This sector deal marks a tremendous moment for all of us in the hospitality, tourism and leisure industries. The move will be absolutely critical in changing the perception of the sector within Government and the wider public opinion, and acknowledges hospitality is key to the country’s economic growth.”

The Rise of Chinese Visitors

Finally, China’s rising wealth has resulted in a huge growth of tourism abroad, making Chinese people the world’s most abundant tourists. A new travel trends study by TripAdvisor reveals that travellers from China have shown one of the biggest increases in views of UK destinations, with an increase of 133% in Chinese travellers.

Overall, these results are great news for the UK hospitality industry – we’re seeing real growth in interest from many countries and resoundingly good reviews from travellers,” said Fabrizio Orlando, industry relations manager, TripAdvisor.

Readmore..

Published Date: 17th July 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
Tags: , , , ,


 

18 
Jun

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019

Women's World Cup logo 2019

The Women’s World Cup is underway which gives us something to watch while the UK slowly drowns in the worst June weather in decades. The host country, France, is home over the next few weeks to 24 teams from six confederations with 17 matches scheduled to be played.

2019 is the eighth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, with France winning the right to host the event for the first time. Matches are being played in nine cities across France.

The United States enters the competition as defending champions and firm favourites. Scotland, Chile, Jamaica and South Africa are making their Women’s World Cup debuts. Other teams include France, United States, Germany, England, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Japan, Sweden, Brazil, Spain, Norway, South Korea, China PR, Italy, New Zealand, Argentina, Nigeria and Cameroon.

If you were wondering, the emblem mimics the shape of the World Cup trophy football surrounded by eight decorative shards of light. This symbolises the eighth edition of the Women’s World Cup. Ettie is the mascot. According to FIFA she is “a young chicken with a passion for life and football…the daughter of Footix, the official mascot of the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France.” How charming to see such a family-oriented tournament.

Catch up

So what are the talking points of the Women’s World Cup so far? A 13-goal fiasco from the United States team have sent fans into a frenzy. The Americans celebrated every goal with expected exuberance, adding on a fair few minutes to the end of the game. With this historic win over Thailand, the USA squad has taken the record for the biggest winning margin in a World Cup. That was previously held by Germany, who beat Argentina 11-0 in 2007.

Although as we go to press the World Cup virgins (Chile, Jamaica, Scotland and South Africa) have racked up nil points so far. But they are all performing well and are proving the theme of the World Cup slogan – Dare to Shine. And the attendance has been excellent throughout all of the venues, with the Netherlands fans seemingly the most avid. Their orange dominates the colour scene in the host French cities. Over 30,000 Netherlands fans packed PSV’s stadium against Australia.

Players to watch out for include Nikita Parris from England. Head coach, Phil Neville, claims that she could develop into one of the world’s best players. Parris scored the opening goal of England’s Women’s World Cup campaign in their 2-1 win over Scotland on Sunday. She was the Women’s Super League’s all-time top scorer last season with Manchester City before moving to European champions Lyon.

The competition concludes on 9 July 2019 where the winners will take the biggest prize in women’s football. And with the viewing figures for the Women’s World Cup, eight times that of men’s cricket, there must be an opportunity for catering businesses.

Readmore..

Published Date: 18th June 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Events, News
Tags: , ,


 

11 
Jun

Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) Food Producers

BANES region food producers

Healthy and sustainable food procurement is increasingly important and in the BANES region, they are taking it very seriously.

In 2017, the West of England Food Procurement Group was set up by four West of England local authorities including BANES. This has the aim of providing leadership on healthy and sustainable food procurement, catering and public health. The group works together to exchange information, share best practice and identify initiatives and actions; to support healthy and sustainable food procurement across the West of England.

And there are plenty of producers in BANES from which to choose in every food category. If you are looking for vegetables, try Plowright Organics. Mr Plowright started growing organic vegetables in 2000. He now runs a very successful veg box scheme as well as supplying wholesale markets.

At the end of last year, the company added an even more attractive item to its menu to offset the leeks, potatoes, carrots, onions etc. This is a fully compostable (plastic free) bag which is used to pack leafy produce. The bags are made using GMO-free starch from thistles, and will break down fully.

Family Affairs

If you really can’t live without quinoa, then the Bath Farm Girls can help you out. A family affair, the company provides the local community as well as the British Quinoa Company. The farm also produces wheat, barley and linseed grapes. It also runs a Countryside Stewardship scheme developing wildlife habitat areas and pollen and nectar mixes across the farm.

Oils and mayonnaise are the specialities of Bath Harvest Oils, pressed and bottled with love in Somerset. The company produces numerous flavoured oils such as lemon and basil as well as the trademark rapeseed oil, which contains vitamin E and Omega 3. This is produced by cold pressing small batches of seed grown on the Wilmington Farm. The family has been farming for four generations and can boast that Bath Harvest Rapeseed Oil is a fully traceable ‘field to fork’ artisan product.

Grown Green is a double award-winning sustainable market garden, based at Hartley Farm in Winsley. Founded in 2010, vegetables, herbs, salads and flowers are grown following organic standards year-round in polytunnels, herb beds and fields.

BANES Cheese and Meat

Do you need cheese? Then try Homewood Cheeses based in Ubley in the beautiful Chew Valley. The company makes its own cheeses by hand with ewes milk from two Somerset flocks. Choose from Fresh Ewes Cheese (curd), Halloumi, Ricotta, Pickled Ewes Cheese (feta-style) and a family of washed curd cheeses including Old Demdike. Homewood can be found every Saturday at the Bath Farmers Market and on the first Sunday of the month at the Frome Independent.

Finally, Larkhall Butchers is a multi-award winning shop situated in the heart of Larkhall, on the outskirts of Bath. A well-stocked traditional butcher’s counter supplements a selection of cooked and cured meats, as well as fresh fish and other accompaniments. The butcher’s is famous for its own sausages made freshly on site, using pea flour as a substitute for rusks for a range of delicious 100% gluten free sausages.

And these are just a few of the local food producers that AC Services Southern found in the BANES region.

Readmore..

Published Date: 11th June 2019
Category: Blog, Local food, News
Tags: , ,


 

04 
Jun

June’s Regional News Round-up

South West and Wales Food News

Every couple of months AC Services takes a look at what’s been making the regional news in the area it serves in the food and drink industry. This time Welsh news is uppermost.

It seems that Wales is thinking ahead and planning for any contingency caused to the industry by Brexit. The Welsh government has pledged to pump £22 million into the food and drink industry. It cites its support for agri-food as a “strategic priority”. In 2018 the Welsh food and farming sector was worth £6.8 billion employing 217,000 people. The cash will support innovation and help navigate the post-Brexit landscape.

It has a particular emphasis on strengthening European partnerships. This is an attempt to minimise the chaos surrounding Brexit which threatens to damage trading relationships. Food Innovation Wales has become a network partner of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology’s Food KIK. With the funding from Wales, a dedicated EIT presence will be established in Wales. This links the Welsh industry to a wider consortium of industry players across Europe.

Plum Choice

Denbigh fruit from the Vale of Clwyd has been given protected food name status by the European Commission. It now stands proudly up with the likes of Welsh lamb and Caerphilly cheese. Denbigh boasts the only native variety of plum in Wales. Over the past ten years, it has witnessed a resurgence of plums being grown in the area.

It is only the 16th Welsh product, and Wales’ first fruit, to gain the EU’s prestigious protected food name status. It will now receive Europe-wide protection against imitation, misuse and fraud.

Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs said: “I’m delighted The Vale of Clwyd Denbigh Plum has been honoured with protected food name status. I hope it will prove a welcome boost for businesses in the area. With Brexit fast approaching, we are determined to support Welsh food and drink businesses and ensure they are given all necessary help in a challenging marketplace.”

South West English News

The opening of a new vegan street food café serving vegan pizzas, wraps, smoothies and homemade pancakes and crumpets to the residents of Teignmouth has taken place. Nourish Plant Based Cafe has a tantalising menu on offer. This includes garlic mushrooms, rocket, sundried tomatoes, soft cheese, refried beans, roasted veg, spinach, creme fraiche, guacamole, bean salad, tomato salsa and house aioli.

In nearby Seaton, a café serving all-local ingredients has been opened to support West Country food producers. All the food and drink at Taste of the West @ Seaton Jurassic is guaranteed to be produced locally in the South West. Devon Wildlife Trust is providing the venue.

“This is the perfect partnership for us,” says Richard Drysdale, Head of Visitor Centres for Devon Wildlife Trust. “We are committed to supporting local businesses and offering the very best food and drink to our visitors.” Taste of the West plans to roll out the café franchise throughout the South West.

Making Waves

And finally, there’s good news for the seafood industry. According to the most recent HMRC statistics (March 2019), the South West now exports more seafood than any other region in England. Overseas sales now total more than £155.7m in 2018.

Sales to China jumped by 25.9% in 2018, compared to the previous year. This is driven by increasing disposable income within China’s rapidly expanding middle class and the UK’s strong reputation for the quality of its catch.

Readmore..

Published Date: 4th June 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Local food, News
Tags: , ,


 

14 
May

Are We Killing Biodiversity

Biodiversity is under threat

As a company focused on servicing and maintaining Rational ovens for all sorts of catering businesses; it’s not surprising we’re also interested in food sourcing and safeguarding the future. For many of our clients the choice of ingredients and being different is important. This is why the first UN study of biodiversity set our alarm bells ringing.

This warns of “humanity’s failure to protect biodiversity”. The Food and Agriculture Organisation issued the report and the findings are pretty stark. Over the past 20 years, around 20% of the vegetated surface of the earth has become less productive. In other words, our global capacity to produce food is weakening.

What do we mean by biodiversity ? According to definition it is the “variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part…diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems.” On the David Attenborough scale of climate-changing significance, it is way up there.

The Decline of Natural Assets

Scientists involved in the report found evidence the natural support systems underpinning the human diet are deteriorating around the world. Factories, farms and urban infrastructure in particular, are capturing land and pumping out chemicals. This is leading to a debilitating loss in natural assets. These include forests, coral reefs, soil biodiversity, grasslands, and genetic diversity in crop and livestock species.

There is a reduction in the amount of species indirectly involved in food production. Examples of these are crop-pest eating birds and water-purifying mangrove trees. Pollinators are at risk, and they provide essential services to three-quarters of the world’s crops.

But if we are producing more food than ever before, as we are, how is this possible? The sobering reality is that we are relying on ever-expanding monocultures. Incredibly, two-thirds of crop production comes from just nine species. These are maize, sugar cane, wheat, potatoes, rice, soybeans, oil-palm fruit, cassava and sugar beet.

There are at least 6,000 cultivated plant species categorised as being in decline. At the same time wild food sources are becoming harder to find. Agriculture and urbanisation are taking much of the blame with habitat loss, pesticides, pollution, invasive species, pathogens and climate change.

Are We In Danger?

Is this overdependence on a handful of products a problem? Seemingly so, as the report cited the potato famine in Ireland in the 1840s; the 20th century cereal crop failures in the US; and more recently the losses of taro production in Samoa in the 1990s as examples of when overdependence can have a brutal impact on humans.

Even the Lancett has joined the crusade, stating that “our diets are the largest cause of climate change and biodiversity loss is now overwhelming”. The global food system is responsible for around 30% of total greenhouse gas emissions, with the livestock sector on its own accounting for about 14.5% of that figure. Its solution? Halve global meat consumption, and more than double the volume of whole grains, pulses, nuts, fruit and vegetables.

If that’s too radical, in 2016, another report suggested an alternative solution. “Possible policy options include better protection of natural environments and ecosystems, limiting the scope of intensive agriculture, and finding alternatives to pesticides.”

Last word goes to Michael Higgins, Ireland’s president. “Around the world, the library of life that has evolved over billions of years – our biodiversity – is being destroyed, poisoned, polluted, invaded, fragmented, plundered, drained and burned at a rate not seen in human history. If we were coal miners we’d be up to our waists in dead canaries.”

Readmore..

Published Date: 14th May 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Local food, News
Tags: , ,


 

23 
Apr

Healthier School Catering

Healthier School Catering

How do we ensure healthier school catering? The staple menu of choice of pizza and chips or other fast food items is one that constantly worries nutritionists; but a landmark pilot scheme by Chartwells has revealed an interesting trend.

Chartwells specialises in providing catering services to the education sector, and recently carried out research, the Nudge Nudge initiative. This discovered if there were methods linked to menu presentation and guidance that could be used to drive healthier eating in secondary schools.

The pilot scheme saw an average increase of 8% in healthier choice take-up. This has led to a new customised menu to be introduced nationwide after Easter to Chartwells’ portfolio of 450 secondary schools.

Nudge Nudge

The scheme involved school menus being tailored to include a number of ‘nudging’ techniques such as:

  • red heart stickers next to the more nutritious menu options;
  • descriptive adjectives relating to texture, taste or smell;
  • as well as information given out in assemblies, workshops and health stalls.

The most successful nudge, achieved through using red heart stickers on grab-and-go items such as selected sandwiches, fruit pots and water, increased sales by 8%.

In addition, students at the three schools targeted enjoyed a huge uplift in their knowledge. They scored 85% post-trial when asked 10 questions on nutrition and healthy eating compared to 36% before.

Richard Taylor, Managing Director of Chartwells, commented: “The results of the trial have provided us with so much insight into what more we can do to encourage healthy eating. Findings from this compelling pilot have been used to create new menus across our secondary schools. We believe that by working together and continuing to educate students about choosing more nutritious meals, schools as well as their pupils, will reap the benefits.”

Better Menus

In 2005, Jamie Oliver won the war over Turkey Twizzlers. This was followed by a ban on crisps and a restriction on deep-fat fried food in schools. In 2014, the Universal Infant Free School Meals policy was introduced in primary schools. The Department of Education issued revised standards the following year dictating that meals should include at least one portion of vegetables or a salad.

However, there are now fears that cost may send this progression leaping backwards due to Brexit uncertainty. According to the Food for Life’s State of the Nation report, the cost of school-food staples such as pasta, cheese and yoghurt rose significantly in 2018. Caterers said the cost of some fruit and vegetables had increased by 20 per cent. This they attribute to Brexit uncertainty, specifically confusion over trading arrangements.

That being said, it may be worth taking a leaf out of Ashley Painter’s book. As a kitchen manager, he helps prepare over 1,200 healthy schools a day. He is a finalist for the BBC Cook of the Year in this year’s Food and Farming Awards. This recognises that “a good canteen kitchen serving nutritious, cleverly-budgeted food transforms lives and it celebrates the people who are creating change through food.”

He works for Local Food Links in Bridport, Dorset. This is a non-profit organisation which has been providing healthy dinners to school children for more than a decade, winning numerous awards. It was recently named as one of the best businesses in the South West. With a limited budget but a lot of imagination and frugality; he manages to provide healthy, inexpensive, nutritious food to thousands of hungry children.

So the answer is we can provide healthier school catering through focused initiatives.

Readmore..

Published Date: 23rd April 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
Tags: , , ,


 

02 
Apr

International Food and Drink Event Report

International Food and Drink Event logo 2019

17-20 March saw more than 27,000 visitors travelling to ExCeL London for The International Food & Drink Event (IFE) 2019. Over 1,350 drink and food brands were exhibited. Many new products showcased including healthy ketchup, meat-free burgers and charcoal infused beverages. Talking Trends and Tasting Trends were self explanatory sections of the show. The Hub provided a networking space for visitors and exhibitors and played host to the Festival of Food and Drink.

Brexit negotiations were on most people’s minds. There were plenty of discussions on the implications of Brexit; in particular, the import and export of food and drink produce. Key seminars from The Food and Drink Exporters Association and The Food and Drink Federation debated the core issues. Their key message to the sector is to focus on the need to protect the quality, diversity and range of food and beverages produced in the UK.

Improving Sustainability in Food and Drink

Sustainability was a theme high on the agenda. More than 50% of food and drink companies revealed that their biggest challenge regarding sustainability was the task of reducing their dependency on single-use plastic. The Campden BRI Conference focused on this theme with a debate on Sustainable Packaging: smart choices and shelf-life testing.

The environmental impact of the use of single use plastics in food and drink is a huge issue. Retailers and food manufacturers are committing to make the move to sustainable packaging wherever possible. But this needs to be done without compromising the safety and quality of food.

Speakers from many industries including academia and industry schemes talked on many topics. These included sustainable packaging options to maintain shelf life of foods; reframing the plastics debate: a use phase approach; the effect of shelf life extension on household waste; the case of packaged fresh foods; and the idea of packaging design for end of life.

One of the seminars explained how to make informed choices on plastics and waste. It increased understanding of waste management infrastructure and how the packaging supply chain can work together to increase packaging reuse or recycling. Experts from organisations such as Defra, WRAP, the Packaging Collective and the Soil Association, took part.

Dead Giveaway

As part of the sustainable theme, IFE partnered with City Harvest to redistribute food surplus from exhibitors at the end of the day. This resulted in the equivalent of five million meals delivered to 66 projects within London.

Soraya Gadelrab, Event Director, said: “As one of the biggest international food and drink events, IFE has to live up to high expectations and this year certainly delivered. The 2019 event was truly the best yet with boundary-pushing products being introduced to the market from a wide-range of innovative exhibitors; thought-provoking and insight-driven debates and presentations.”

IFE certainly gave us food for thought at AC Services.

Readmore..

Published Date: 2nd April 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Events, News
Tags: ,


 

19 
Mar

Brexit for Catering Latest

Brexit for catering news update

When we set our six month’s blog rolling schedule, we hoped to be in final preparations for March 29th. This week’s blog would be final guidance on what to expect. Instead we are none the wiser on Brexit. Or on government advice on Brexit for catering businesses in the event of a no-deal exit.

I doubt that anyone in the country was expecting a miracle or even a viable resolution to the Brexit issues following the Government’s many recent debates. British MPs have opted for a three-month delay in the process. Unfortunately, it’s not up to the British Government to dictate a delay. The 27 other EU countries need to be convinced that there is a good reason why the deadline should be extended and then need to agree that this is the right approach.

Division

Parliament is divided, as are the main political parties internally. The main concerns about a no-deal Brexit is damage to the economy and shortages or price increases in food and medicine, with other consequences thrown into the mix.

The Government was given until this week to agree a deal that will enable a breathing space until 30 June. But effectively, the only deal proposed is the same one that MPs rejected last week. The EU is getting frustrated. But Donald Tusk, the European Council president says he would urge the EU member countries “to be open to a long extension if the UK finds it necessary to rethink its Brexit strategy and build consensus around it”.

No Deal, No Kidding & No Government Advice

In late 2018, the Government published 106 technical notices to ensure that citizens and businesses are furnished with the information to prepare for Brexit. There are over 100 pages of guidance for businesses in general. The Government claims to have contacted more than 145,000 businesses currently trading with the EU, advising them to start getting ready for no-deal customs procedures. However, the bottom line is summed up by this statement: “we recommend businesses now also ensure they are prepared and enact their own no-deal plans.”

We have looked across the guidance published by the Departments of Business, Energy and Industrial Policy (BEIS), Digital Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) and Defra. The bad news is we can’t find anything that is prepared directly on Brexit for catering businesses. Food manufacturers or marketing standards for fresh fruit and veg are in Defra but not catering. Nor anything in DCMS which usually covers tourism. Or you might want to use the BEIS tool to select the papers it thinks are relevant to your business. Your answers might turn up something as the good news is that advice is being added.

Our Advice

So what does this mean for the catering industry? A main worry is of course, the trading logistics. This includes the cost of importing as well as the sourcing of ingredients from overseas. Will trade be affected? Will we be able to get the produce that we need at the price we want? Let’s face it, we have had two years to source alternatives in the event of a worst-case scenario and ingenuity may be the key. The food industry is constantly evolving with new variations and combinations of food emerging all the time.

If you are in the catering industry, check out locally grown and sourced ingredients. Contact bigger food manufacturers who have been quietly stockpiling key ingredients for the last few months. Experiment with different combinations.

And as for kitchen equipment, get everything checked over. AC Services are increasing their stock levels. But some spare parts will have to be ordered from abroad and they may take longer to arrive. They may not but are you willing to take the chance?

In the meantime, the headache they call Brexit rumbles on. When and if a deal is concluded satisfactory to all parties, we will keep you updated on the potential impacts of Brexit for catering businesses.

Readmore..

Published Date: 19th March 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
Tags: ,


 

12 
Mar

Oxfordshire Food Service Suppliers

Oxfordshire food sources show that the university is not the only thing in the county

Oxfordshire is seen as a county of spires and students. But behind the iconic university are many excellent Oxfordshire food service companies supplying clients far and wide.

Philip Dennis, is a family-owned regional wholesaler, with clients from the Midlands to the South West. Fresh meat and fish are readily available. The company is proud to support caterers and business owners of all types and sizes to achieve their highest ambitions.

The business has been active for over a century, supplying thousands of pubs, schools, restaurants and hotels. It has gained a reputation for quality and excellence, boasting state-of-the-art facilities. The company is well-known as dedicated fish and butchery specialists.

Sweet Trends

Philip Dennis also advises on new trends, such as the current interest in cakes and biscuits. “We’re going to continue to see a rise in complex or eye-catching cake designs as consumers want cakes that look as good as they taste. This feeds into the need for ‘Instagram worthy’ desserts that will help cafes, coffee shops and restaurants to entice people in,” reads the company blog.

Bidfood is another food service company dedicated to the customers’ requirements with an Oxfordshire base. Its business philosophy is summed up by “the food and drinks trends of 2019 represent not just how and what consumers are wanting to eat and drink, but the context in which they consider the production, purchase and consumption of food and drink products.” So they supply the customer with the right ingredients so that caterers can create the ideal menu.

Bidfood provides a range of vegan food such as Kara’s vegan brioche style bun that does not contain dairy. This complements the Heck vegan burgers which are plant based and free from soya, wheat and gluten.

Local Oxfordshire Food Sources

Witney’s Evenlode Foods Limited was founded in 2005 as a specialist food ingredients supplier. It particularly emphasises powder forms of vegetable oils and fats, emulsifiers, dairy ingredients and cocoa products. The company also makes bespoke blends and finished products based on those ingredientswe sell. According to a spokesperson, “our vegetable fat powders, non dairy creamers, toppings, foamers and nutritional oils are used in bakery, soups, sports nutrition, beverages and savoury mixes.”

Finally, there is Carterton’s Jolly Foods, delivering high quality foods to Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds. Locally-sourced meats, cheeses, fresh fish and deli items are all on offer from this “bespoke and friendly Oxfordshire company.”

Poultry, game, lamb, beef and pork are all locally farmed and complement the range of finest fish and frozen products. Jolly offers the finest branded beef as Windrush Meade. The free-range poultry offering is sourced from the Creedy Carver farm in Crediton, Devon. Jolly Foods also offer seasonal game. So from September grouse, partridge, venison, dice game meat and pigeons are available as well as snipe, mallard and woodcock.

From food service companies with depots to small local suppliers, Oxfordshire food has much to offer AC Services’ catering clients.

Readmore..

Published Date: 12th March 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Local food, News
Tags: ,


 

05 
Mar

To the Manor Born

Manor by the Lake Cheltenham

If you venture deep into the heart of Cheltenham, you will find a hidden gem in the form of the Manor By The Lake. This exquisite Victorian mansion is located within seven acres of award-winning gardens and is a visual delight.

Picture perfect for any kind of celebration from corporate away-days to lavish weddings, the Manor By The Lake has a few tricks up its sleeve. Behind the intricately carved oak panels, ornately painted ceilings and marble fireplaces lies a pulsating and busy kitchen.

Oven Ready

The kitchen is not only used constantly for the guests but also serves as a Cook Live demonstration venue for Rational as head chef Norbert Schon explains.

We installed Rational ovens when the venue was converted five years ago as we had limited space. The building is also Grade II listed which brought with it restrictions on equipment usage. The ovens suited us perfectly in terms of providing an arena to produce our dishes. But once a month, Rational uses our venue as a Cook Live demo site.”

“80% of our core business is weddings, so on the days without events, we are able to accommodate the training staff and also learn more about the capabilities of the ovens ourselves,” he comments.

Because of the versatility of the Rational ovens, Norbert and his staff are able to offer total precision to guests. “Consistency is key,” continues Norbert. With upwards of 200 guests at a wedding, it is vital that all of the food choices arrive at the same time and at the correct temperature. The pre-programming function of the Rational ovens makes this possible every time.

Maintaining the Quality

The Manor retains AC Services (Southern) to monitor and maintain the equipment on a yearly contract. Sometimes, things go wrong such as a recent problem with a door. But as Norbert explains, AC Services solved the problem and a new part was ordered and delivered overnight. “Obviously things can go wrong in a busy kitchen but any problems are quickly and efficiently sorted.

In the first year of opening, the Manor By The Lake covered 60 weddings ; last year for all events the total produced by the Rational ovens was 24,000 covers.

Norbert puts this down to the venue’s attraction as well as the ability of the kitchen to produce what the client wants. “We pride ourselves on delivering the client’s culinary requirements,” he continues. “The versatility of the Rational ovens allows us to cater for the current trends in diversity when it comes to food.”

Manor History Provides Venue

The Manor By The Lake began life as Arle Court, built between 1854-1858. In 1904 Arle Court and its contents went under the hammer in a two-day sale and was bought by a Herbert Unwin, a Yorkshire businessman. During the 1950s, Arle Court stood empty until it was purchased by Ealing Studios as headquarters and film location set.

In 2010, the Manor was put up for sale again and was purchased in 2013 by Tammy Madge and Michael Chittenden. They restored the Manor back to its former 1858 glory with enhanced facilities to create an exclusive use venue for weddings, special occasions and business functions. All of which makes it a truly picture perfect venue in which to serve high quality catering consistently.

Readmore..

Published Date: 5th March 2019
Category: Blog, Case Study, News, Rational
Tags: , , , ,