ExCeL London played host last week to HRC, the industry event formerly known as Hotelympia. Billed as the UK’s most prestigious and largest event for the foodservice and hospitality industry, HRC was split into four exhibitions: The Professional Kitchen Show; The Foodservice Show; Interiors and Tabletop Show and Hospitality Tech Show.
All four offer industry professionals the opportunity to meet with a wide range of leading suppliers. This gives the chance to test, taste and source new products and business services to drive their business forward.
There was plenty going on over the three days: the UK Coffee in Good Spirits Championship (UKCiGS) and UK Brewers Cup Championship (UKBrCC), the World Food Innovation Awards (a celebration of innovation and excellence across every category of the global food industry), and the Hospitality Jobs UK Conference.
Unique to the show is The HRC Buyers Club, the UK’s only dedicated hosted buyer scheme for the foodservice and hospitality industry. The Club is only accessible to specifiers and procurement professionals from leading restaurants, hotels and catering businesses. They were able to test, taste and trial the latest product innovations. Exclusive networking and educational opportunities were also available.
The International Salon Culinaire is the UK’s largest and most prestigious chef competition programme with four competition categories: Live Theatre, Salon Display, Skills Theatre and Sugarcraft. There were more than 100 different competitions taking place. The Salon Live Theatre was a great attraction. This year it was dragged into the 21st century with every station having state-of-the-art equipment including a combination oven and induction pads for the benefit of the talented chefs. The competition programme incorporated a huge variety of classes for chefs of all levels (apprentices, students and those new to competitions). The sugar-craft section hosted a range of different competitions attracting entries in a wide variety of styles and themes.
The Vision Stage offered talks, discussions and interviews from influencers and industry-leading speakers on everything concerning the food, drink and hospitality industries.
Topics ranged from employing a homeless person or ex-offender and the role of culture as a game changer when recruiting. There were also informative talks on the Brexit effect, looking at the impact Brexit is set to have on employment and immigration law.
The Covered Market
The Covered Market is aimed at chefs, F&B purchasers and restaurateurs. It enabled visitors to meet local, independent raw ingredient suppliers to gain an understanding into how their produce can help transform menus.
It covered artisanal producers across six specialist categories: fresh fish, dairy, fresh produce, bakery, butchery and herbs, spices and pulses.
Finally, TechX at HRC gave a fascinating insight into technology’s role in sustainability for the foodservice industry, how tech reduces wastage and delivers transparency.
Information included using AI and big data to improve the customer journey and the benefit of harnessing social media as well as exploring the tech available to source new staff and fill gaps at short notice.