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All Posts By Cristina Diaconu

BaxterStorey Baristas Win in the Belgium Barista Championship

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 2 m read

Remy Poirot and Erica Lamenter, two baristas from BaxterStorey’s AXA headquarters contract in Brussels have won the first and second place in the Belgium Barista Championship 2018, organised by the Speciality Coffee Association at the Viva Sara Kaffée Kortrijk coffeehouse in Belgium last week.

“I am thrilled to have won – it was an adrenaline-fuelled day and very exciting. I developed a simple but effective signature drink, adding unrefined coconut sugar to complement the tropical flavours of the espresso and tangerine juice to bring creaminess to the drink. I’m really proud to be able to represent Belgium in the World Barista Championship, and can’t wait to compete in Amsterdam in June,” commented Remy.

The three finalists were invited to showcase their creative flair and coffee knowledge in front of a specialist judging panel, serving four espressos, four milk beverages, and four signature drinks within 15 minutes. Each barista had to explain their choice of coffee and demonstrate their understanding of the espresso machine. Both Remy and Erica used coffee beans roasted by local Belgium supplier Cuperus.

“Both Remy and Erica are first-time competitors in the national championships, and we are so proud of their incredible achievements in this final. They worked very hard to prepare for the event and their performance has highlighted the extremely talented professionals they are,” said Jana Slamova, national barista trainer at BaxterStorey.

Remy and Erica also secured second and third place earlier this year in the BaxterStorey Barista Championship 2017, which saw six baristas from across the business compete in a closely fought final at the Salvation Army International Headquarters in London.

Remy Poirot, the winner of the Belgium Barista Championship will now represent Belgium at the prestigious World Barista Championship 2018, which will take place in Amsterdam from the 21st until the 24th of June.

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The City Kitchen Is Funding a ‘Vlogger Bursary’

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 2 m read

The City Kitchen is offering a huge opportunity for those wishing to make a career on YouTube, giving away an £8,000 travel fund, a vlogging kit and mentorship from one of YouTube’s rising stars, Jason Billam. This ‘vlogger bursary’ will equip one winner with everything they need to kick start a career as a professional travel vlogger.

“We want to give one person the opportunity to enjoy the flavours of the world, record their adventures and use this incredible opportunity to kick start a career on YouTube. As part of their travels, the winner will be able to experience first- hand the unique and authentic cuisines that inspire our dishes,” said a spokesperson for The City Kitchen.

The brand offers a range of chilled ready meals exclusively for Tesco, inspired by cuisines from around the world including Japan, Spain, China, Thailand, Malaysia, and India.
The winner will not only benefit from funding, but also from mentoring from Jason Billam, one of YouTube’s top UK travel vloggers, who has now visited 27 countries and is making a full-time career out of travel vlogging.

“This is a unique opportunity to ignite your career as the next travel vlogger. The gear list and prize money is a massive head start in what is now a highly competitive industry. I can’t wait to work with the winner and offer all the advice I have, from travelling solo in some of the world’s least visited countries, to editing your shots with a cinematic edge,” said Jason.

In addition, the winner’s package also includes a DSLR camera and a laptop with video editing software to make sure the next vlogger will be able to create their own stunning travel content.

To enter, aspiring vloggers are asked to produce a short vlog with a food and travel theme, which will be judged by a panel that includes Jason Billam. The competition runs from the 13th of March until the 1st of May 2018.

Visit to find out more information, including all competition terms and conditions.

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Lucky Voice Announces Sales Growth

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 2 m read

Lucky Voice, a private karaoke company, has announced a 20% YOY increase in bar sales, following a steady growth since the business’s launch. The company has three owner-operated venues in the UK, including Soho, Islington, and Brighton.

In December 2017, Lucky Voice saw a 17% increase in Christmas bar sales and an overall 8% increase in bar sales in the same year. Despite the fact that ‘Dry January’ is usually the quietest month in the calendar, the growth has shown no signs of slowing down in the new year and the bars reported a 20% increase in January, as well as February, compared to 2017.

Lucky Voice has been going through a time of development with the refurbishment of its Islington venue and the launch of a Dubai franchise, both taking place over the last few months. The Dubai venue was the fifth franchise for the business, joining the Novus Leisure partnership in the UK, which offers replicas of the Lucky Voice venues within their Tiger Tiger branded bars across the UK.

“We are catering for the growing number of people seeking more than just drinks from their night out, making the karaoke element of our bars all the more compelling. The success of our refurbished Islington venue is a good case in point, with extras such as fancy dress and games, as well as karaoke. Aside from this, we’re proud to say we’re catering for the growing multicultural population. Lucky Voice offers the most extensive multi-language playlist in the UK, with over 9,000 songs in eight languages, including Chinese, Russian and Arabic,” commented Charlie Elek, managing director at Lucky Voice.

Lucky Voice opened its first karaoke venue in Soho, London, in 2005, and since then, private karaoke was brought back into the mainstream. Its venues across the country allow groups of between four and 15 people to sing their hearts out in private, benefiting from a huge up to date song list and intuitive touch screen technology.

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Corinthia Palace Hotel Secures 13 Medals at Hotelympia

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 2 m read

Corinthia Palace Hotel, Malta, managed to clatch 13 medals at the UK’s most prestigious hospitality and foodservice event, Hotelympia. The four-day event includes a competition to award top culinary skills and Corinthia Palace Hotel walked away with two gold, three silver, and eight bronze medals.

The winners are featured in a range of categories and include: Mark McBride, who won gold for the Table Centre Piece, Jonathan Zammi, who won gold in Amuse Bouche and bronze in Open Lamb, Mark Tabone, who won silver in Butcher a Whole Chicken for Saute, bronze in Prepare a Best End of Lamb and bronze in Master Chef of Great Britain Challenge, Johan Saliba, who won silver in Avocado Starter and bronze in Butcher a Whole Chicken for Saute, Ryan Pisani, who won bronze in Shrimp Starter, and Manuel Schembri, who won silver in Amuse Bouche and bronze in Open Lamb. Jonathan Zammit and Mark Tabone won together bronze in Tilda Chef Team of the Year, while Ryan Pisani and Johan Saliba won bronze in Churchill & Potter Grand Prix.

“I am delighted for my team,” said Executive Chef Stefan Hogan. “They are amazing results.” The tally of 13 medals at this year’s Hotelympia improves on the eight medals the hotel secured at the last Hotelympia, in 2016.”

The fantastic Hotelympia results this year follow hot on the heels of success on their home turf, where the kitchen brigade secured eight awards at the Malta Kulinarja Cooking and Arts Championships held last month. The chefs competed across a vast range of categories and scored four silver medals and four bronze medals.

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Two New Tasting Menus at House of Feasts

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 2 m read

Award-winning chef and Polish Food Ambassador Chef Damian Wawrzyniak has launched two new tasting menus at Peterborough restaurant House of Feasts. The two menus, Feast 5 Menu and Feast 7 Menu, are a showcase of contemporary dishes, with traditional Polish fare meeting local English produce, sourced from the local Cambridgeshire countryside.

The menu features amuse bouche as an appetizer and starters such as the traditional Polish Smalec served with sourdough bread and pickles, aged rib of beef tartare with cured egg yolk, preserved cucumber and smoked cheese, and potato cake served with cottage cheese, ash and chive. The main courses include salt and sugar-cured salmon served with pickled beetroot and cured seaweed, pork knuckle (a very popular dish on Polish plates) served with pear cured in saffron and honey, and hunter stew and preserved meat and Halibut wrapped in desire, with melon and cucumber.

Some of the desserts available include king cheese with raspberry leather, rose petals and beetroot with dark chocolate and matcha.

“I’m really excited about my two new tasting menus. My food philosophy has always been that eating should be founded on a love of the ingredients, paired with great drinks and even better company. I wanted to bring all of these elements together in a new, innovative way. This was the foundation for the new tasting menus, which are delicious, fresh and flavourful showcases of local produce and Polish traditions. The tasting menus are a fantastic way to try a selection of dishes in one go and I hope that diners are as excited about the various dishes as we are,” said Chef Damian Wawrzyniak.

Feast 5 Menu is priced at £45, while Feast 7 Menu is priced at £65, both being available at the House of Feasts starting with March 2018.

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Green’s Chocolate Egg Cake Kit

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 2 m read

One of Britain’s favourite cake mix brands, Green’s, has launched this month its new Chocolate Egg Cake Kit, priced at £1.95. This perfect Easter cake will be supported by an integrated PR and social media campaign designed to encourage consumers to purchase these easy to make mixes. In addition, Green’s will also be running a social media competition.

Bakers will have to submit their best Easter cake on Green’s Facebook page or on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #GreensEasterBakes. Three entrants will then be chosen to receive a basket of Green’s goodies, including the new Easter mix. The competition will run from 10am 19th of March until midnight on 1st of April 2018.

The Chocolate Egg Cake Kit is fun and easy to bake and it saves customers from the mess created when baking. All they have to do is add two medium size eggs to create the cake and 125g of butter and water for the frosting mix. To decorate the cake, bakers can use chocolate eggs or create their own personalised design.

“We are delighted to be launching our new Chocolate Egg Cake Kit. We have tested and tasted a variety of ingredients and believe that our customers will be able to bake the most sumptuous Easter treats in their own home with our new kit. Our versatile mixes provide the tools to bake something truly magnificent and we have created a strong marketing package to support our Easter launch and encourage consumer purchase,” said Green’s spokesperson, Rob Allardyce.

Green’s inspires bakers of all ages from all over the world to bake delicious desserts using its mixes made with natural ingredients and no artificial colouring’s. Made with care at its facility in Yorkshire, Green’s easy- to-use mixes guarantee baking perfection every time, and ensure fun for friends and family.

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Loch Fyne Oysters Celebrates Its 40th Birthday

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 2 m read

Loch Fyne Oysters will be celebrating its 40th birthday with a special ‘Fyne at Forty’ weekend festival on the 11th, 12th and 13th of May. Scottish band Hue and Cry will headline an exciting line-up at the event, where they will perform an acoustic set with just piano and vocals in the Loch Fyne Oysters restaurant on the 12th of May to an audience of 140 people.

During the festival weekend, visitors will be able to access areas that are normally closed to the public, such as the oyster sheds where each oyster is graded, purified and hand-checked for freshness before being despatched to one of many customers around the world. In addition, there will be a champagne tour of the historic Ardkinglas House, an oyster shucking competition and a treasure hunt amidst the fantastic Loch Fyne scenery.

Children can get their face painted before being entertained with musical activities, while adults can watch demonstrations from top chefs and enjoy wine and whisky tasting. Great food will also be available, together with great music in the entertainment beer marquee.

“We are planning a showstopper of a weekend,” said managing director Cameron Brown. “Loch Fyne is a global success story and we want the public to come and help us celebrate forty fantastic years. We are excited about giving visitors a sneak peek at what goes on behind the scenes of our oyster farm, and I’m looking forward to having a bop at the ceilidh, and hearing Hue and Cry’s iconic Scottish Hits. History lovers will have a chance to look around Ardkinglas House on our founder’s estate whilst enjoying champagne and seafood, and nature lovers will be given special insight into the natural environment and abundant wildlife around our location on the shores of Loch Fyne. There is truly something for everyone at our ‘Fyne at Forty’ weekend.”

Loch Fyne sells 2.5 million oysters a year, as well as 400 tonnes of mussels and nearly 1,000 tonnes of smoked salmon. Its seafood is exported all over the world and is on the menus of first class airline cabins, luxury hotels and Formula One racing events.

Tickets are available for purchase via the Eventbrite website.

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The Castle Inn in Dorset to Reopen this Month

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 2 m read

Butcombe Brewery has announced the re-opening of The Castle Inn in Dorset, following its extensive 3-month refurbishment that turned the traditional thatched pub into a stylish destination inn. The popular 16th century pub and hotel will be ready to welcome its first guests on the 28th of March, just in time for Easter.

The Castle Inn is just a few minutes away from the stunning Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site and is surrounded by the Isle of Purbeck countryside. The culture and vibrant history of this place has been retained wherever possible in the building’s traditional architecture and original design elements, while also reflecting Butcombe Brewery’s laid-back luxury.

The hotel contains 12 bedrooms and each one of them was designed in an individual way, with quirky, unique furnishings that hark to the hotel’s beautiful coastal location, tied expertly together with plush bedding and sleek en-suite bathrooms to give each a distinctly boutique feel.

Head Chef Ashley Walcott will bring his experience, which includes working at the celebrated Fat Duck in Bray under Heston Blumenthal, into the kitchen. The restaurant will boast a daily-changing market menu with grill and seafood at its centre, as well as showcasing delicious Dorset produce sourced from within 30 miles from the restaurant.

“The Castle Inn is an incredibly special property close to the hearts of locals and the frequent visitors to this beautiful corner of Dorset’s coastline, so we knew that the renovation had to preserve the distinct character of the property and do its heritage justice. We can’t wait to open its doors and show everyone exactly what we’ve been working so hard to create,” said Jayson Perfect, Managing Director at Butcombe Pubs and Inns.

The price for a room per night with breakfast included starts from £89.

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‘aSPiRING Chefs’ at Blue Boar Restaurant

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 2 m read

Blue Boar Restaurant at Conrad London St James has announced the launch of ‘aSPiRING Chefs’ on the 12th of March 2018, a fresh initiative that involved the junior chefs in the kitchen designing the dishes for the new seasonal menu, under the nurturing wing of Executive Chef Michael Riordan.

This innovative approach will allow the young chefs to develop and grow, while also supporting Hospitality Action with a £1 donation from every booking. Michael Riordan is passionate about mentoring the professional development of the junior chefs in his team, wanting to give back to his college at Westminster Kingsway by recruiting young staff from the school’s graduates.

The new seasonal menu will include starters such as Cromer crab cannelloni with squid ink crisp, mango, avocado, radish and ras el hanout created by Justine aged 22, and Hampshire watercress and baby gem veloute with wild garlic toasts and chicken oyster by 20-year-old Reille-Samuel. For the main dishes, Emmanuel has created Cornish plaice with confit chicken wing, fermented kohlrabi, pickled radish, and watercress purée, while 24-year-old Luca has designed a dish of Cod, garden peas, crab and squid ink tortellini, with lemon and dill butter. The desserts include Annabelle’s Rhubarb pistachio tart with strawberry leather and yogurt sorbet, and Onna’s Gin and tonic granita with elderflower jelly, grapefruit compote and yoghurt sponge, both aged 21.

The restaurant will also hold a contest among its young chefs and the one that sells the most of their dish throughout the duration of the spring menu will be rewarded with a Michelin star meal for two in a restaurant of their choosing.

The spring menu will be available for lunch and dinner in the Blue Boar Restaurant at Conrad London St James from the 12th of March until the 4th of June, with £1 from every booking during this time being donated to Hospitality Action.

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Mother’s Day Blueberry Loaf by Clarence Court

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 2 m read

If you want to surprise your mum this Mother’s Day, then you should definitely try the new blueberry loaf recipe created by Clarence Court ambassador Alpha Foodie. A delight of blueberries, lemon zest, cardamom, and Clarence Court’s golden egg yolks will turn your mother’s afternoon into a sweet treat.

Fill your home with the gorgeous smell of this blueberry loaf and let’s get baking. To start with, you will need: ½ a cup of softened butter, 1 cup of sugar, 2 cups of white flour, 2 Clarence Court Burford Brown eggs, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, ½ a teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of cardamom (optional), 1 cup of Greek style plain yogurt, 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 lemon (zest and juice), and 1 ½ cups of blueberries.

The first step towards your Mother’s Day blueberry loaf is whisking the butter and sugar in a bowl, followed by the eggs, yogurt, vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix them well and then add flour, bicarbonate of soda, and baking powder. Keep mixing until you reach the right consistency and then add the blueberries. Pour the mixture into a non-stick loaf tin, set the oven to 170oC and bake for approximately 50-60 minutes. Take it out of the oven, check the loaf with a toothpick and if it comes clean, then it is ready to be served.

Clarence Court’s eggs are special because they come from the jungle fowl birds that were brought to Stow-on-The-Wold, Gloucestershire, from Patagonia by botanist and explorer Clarence Elliot back in 1928. These rare birds were crossbred to create generations of pedigree hens that to this day lay beautiful, colourful, hard-shelled eggs with deep yellow yolks and a superior flavour.

Clarence Court birds lead a natural and happy life because the team has taken time to ensure the health and welfare of its hens are of the highest standard. They lay at their own slow, natural speed resulting in distinctively richer eggs. Clarence Court offers the widest range of eggs sold in Britain, including Burford Brown, Old Cotswold Legbar, Ostrich, Duck, Guinea Fowl, Goose, Pheasant, Rhea, Turkey, Emu and Quail.

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