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Mr Foggs’ Marks Its Fifth Anniversary

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Mr Fogg’s Residence will celebrate its Fifth Anniversary this spring. Its doors will be open to all guests that want to join in and admire its Victorian style. Its anniversary will be market by the unveiling of the newly renovated residence and revitalised collection of libations. The makeover will showcase the updated interior of the bar, the additional antiques and trinkets on the walls and shelves, the extra drawing room arm chairs and seating, and the innovative sound system that will optimise the acoustics.

Based in Mayfair, Mr Fogg’s bar was modelled on the actual home of Jules Verne’s most famous adventurer – Phileas Fogg. During the past five years, the bar has created groundbreaking cocktail menus and it has welcomed many renowned explorers into its humble abode, which abounds with trinkets and artefacts.

The venue is inviting all guests to be part of Phileas’ adventures through the launch of Mr Fogg’s new list of libations in his memoirs – Volume 1: From London to Singapore. The interactive menu will feature The £20,000 Wager, turning Mr Fogg’s first steps at The Reform Club into a Hibiscus-infused VII Hills gin, Sipsmith Sloe gin, homemade raspberry leaves syrup, lemon juice, egg white, and rhubarb bitter, a First Class Hennessy Hurrah which is an aromatic and dry concoction of Hennessy XO cognac, Byrrh Grand Quinquina aperitif, Martini Riserva Speciale Bitter and Dubonnet aperitif topped up with Fentimans Soda Water.

The cocktail menu will capture Phileas’ entire journey and all of its destinations, including Nocciole Night Train – a hazelnut and cocoa spread washed Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack Tennessee whiskey, with Calem dry white port, Amaro Lucano bitters, and maple syrup. The Isthmus of Suez is reflected into a Southerly African Scent, made with Bacardi Oro rum, Alipus San Juan mescal, homemade African spice falernum, Pimento bitters, sugar syrup, and fresh lime juice. Singapore is the halfway point of the journey and guests can have a taste of it in the Rich concoction of Jungle Flora, served with Chamomile-infused Russian Standard vodka, ginger liqueur, Green Chartreuse liqueur, lime juice, egg white, homemade sugar syrup and citrus foam.

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PETA and Fish and Chip Awards

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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has proposed a new category for the 30th anniversary of The National Fish & Chip Awards entitled ‘Best Vegan Fish and Chips’ through a letter to the CEO of Seafish who administers the awards.

Vegan fish is generally made from tofu wrapped in nori, battered, and fried, and it was featured on the menus of previous National Fish & Chip Awards winners, such as Scotland’s Land & Sea and Simpsons Fish & Chips. A growing number of traditional chippies and restaurants have also started to promote the vegan fish and chips, including The Veggie Chippy in Birmingham, Matter Fastfoods in Bristol, Holy Cow in Edinburgh, Make No Bones in Sheffield, The Railway Hotel in Southend-on-Sea, and The Dove and The Dovetail, Veg Bar, and Norman’s Coach and Horses in London.

“We all know that our oceans and the animals who live there are under threat,” writes PETA Director of Vegan Corporate Projects Dawn Carr. “Adding a ‘Best Vegan Fish and Chips’ category to your awards would be a great way to showcase some of the progressive businesses offering an alternative to fish flesh and provide Seafish with the opportunity to highlight an option that takes some of the pressure off our troubled seas.”

PETA’s motto says that ‘animals are not ours to eat’ and the organisation claims that apart from sparing fish immense pain and distress, vegans are also less prone to suffering from cancer, obesity, and diabetes.

The finalists for the National Fish & Chip Awards have been announced today in all of its categories: ‘Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award’, ‘Best Newcomer Award’, ‘Good Catch – The Sustainable Seafood Award’, ‘Healthy Eating Fish and Chips Award’ and many others that can be accessed on its official website. The official National Fish and Chip Day 2018 has also been announced to be held on Friday 1st of June.

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Picture and Social Wine & Tapas Will Host a Collaborative Dinner

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Jason Atherton and Marcus Rohlen, the Executive Head Chef of Social Wine & Tapas, will be hosting a collaborative dinner with Picture Marylebone on Monday the 19th of February. The five-course menu will be available for one night only and will offer those wishing to attend it a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience a selection of dishes created by three of the most innovative chefs in London.

The dishes will showcase the essence of each restaurant’s style of cooking, while delivering a harmonious dining experience. Guests will be greeted at arrival by Jason, who, together with Marcus, will introduce the dishes created by Social Wine & Tapas. Co-founders of Picture, Colin Kelly, Tom Slegg, and Alan Christie will then introduce their own dishes.

Guests can start their night with a few snacks, such as ‘Sardine on toast with tomatillo vinaigrette’ and ‘Game bites with ‘Nduja emulsion’ and continue with the sampling dishes ‘Lake District venison, artichoke, apple balsamic beurre noisette’ and ‘Pressed pork cheek with lightly smoked ham hock, rhubarb, endive marmalade, and pickled beetroot’. For dessert, guests will enjoy a ‘Persimmon, cava sabayon and a lime fromage frais sorbet’. Additionally, Laure Patry, Executive Sommelier at Social Wine & Tapas, has created a list of wines that will enhance the flavour profile of each dish.

The dinner is priced at £100 per person and is available to book between 5:30 pm and 10:30 pm. Booking can be made by emailing or calling 020-7993-3257.

Social Wine & Tapas is Jason Atherton’s exclusive wine shop and tapas bar on James Street in Marylebone. It offers a dynamic wine list with quality, rare, and fine wines sourced from around the world, created by Executive Sommelier, Laura Patry, alongside modern tapas and snacks from Head Chef Marcus Rohlen.

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Crêpeaffaire Receives BGF Funding

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Crêpeaffaire, the UK’s leading multi-site crêperie brand, has received a £2 million funding from BGF, its newest long-term and minor investor, which will help the business in its expansion plans. With ten company owned sites and a growing franchise in the Middle East, Crêpeaffaire will use the invested money to grow even bigger across the UK and internationally.

Chief Executive Daniel Spinath established it in 2008 and it currently has an all-day offering that includes sweet and savoury crêpes, waffles, coffees, and smoothies with the option to sit in or take it away. It started in London with a single site then it quickly expanded with more sites across London and other cities in the UK, such as Birmingham, Leeds, New Castle, and most recently Chester.

“This is a really exciting time for Crêpeaffaire. We’ve grown steadily during the past 10 years and are now ready to accelerate our expansion and drive brand awareness, both in the UK and internationally. BGF is providing an initial investment but more importantly has come on board as a long-term, non-controlling partnership. We are pleased to be working with them in the next stage of our growth plan,” said Daniel.

Last year the business generated more than £5 million in revenue, with the system sales approaching the £10 million mark. To further its success this year, it appointed a new non-executive Chairman, Andrew Guy, who will help with the expansion plans. He comes with an experience of more than 30 years in operating food, restaurant, and pub companies all over the world, including HMSHost and Frankie & Benny’s.

Crêpeaffaire is not the only food and beverage brand that received support from BGF. Other names include Giggling Squid, Wear Inns, and Filmore & Union. BGF is the most active and influential investor in small and mid-size businesses in the UK and Ireland, with an income of £2.5 billion aimed to support various growing companies across every region and sector of the economy.

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The Craft Guild of Chefs Opened Its Entries for the Graduate Awards

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The Craft Guild of Chefs has opened its entries for the Graduate Awards and with it, the hunt for the most talented young chefs has begun. These culinary awards started in 2002 founded by the Executive Chef at The Royal Garden Hotel, Steve Munkley, and since then 63 chefs have joined the Graduate Awards Hall of Fame.

Those that want to take part in the competition need to make sure they have completed their basic chef qualifications and are aged 23 and under. There is a choice of two examinations, a Kitchen and a Pastry Award, and the successful chefs will undertake a series of practical culinary challenges, as well as completing a formal paper examination. The pass mark is 85% and in order to get it, the chefs need to impress Chair of Examiners, Russell Bateman, and the new Pastry Chief Examiner, Will Torrent.

Steve Munkley, Vice President of the Craft Guild of Chefs, mentioned that many of those that had been part of the Awards saw success after: “I am a strong believer that the Graduate Awards provide the perfect foundation for ambitious chefs who want to develop their skills for their day jobs, future careers and competitions.”

The new Chair of Pastry Examiners, Will Torrent, has expressed his contentment to be part of the Graduate Awards and encourages all young and dedicated pastry chef to enter because they will learn new skills and develop their confidence, no matter the level they are at.
The finalists of this year will be invited to a mentoring experience in Somerset, where they will have the opportunity to develop their skills in preparation for the final exam. The deadline for the entries is Sunday, the 1st of April, and those wishing to sign up need to complete a short online form and provide reference details for their current employer. There will also be an award for one mentor that has made a real impact on his/her apprentices’ career.

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The Stafford London Appoints a Culinary Director

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The five star historic hotel The Stafford London has announced Ben Tish as the new Culinary Director. He will be overseeing the entire food offering, including The Game Bird restaurant, the Wine Cellars, the celebrated American Bar, private dining, in-room dining, and suites.

Ben had previously held the role of Chef Director at Salt Yard Group, where he launched the renowned Soho sites of Dehesa, Ember Yard, and Opera Tavern. For the new role at The Stafford London, Ben will make sure the menus throughout the hotels keep developing, while being in the standards of the modern British comfort cooking that made The Game Bird so popular. Together with the hotel, Ben will also start working on new restaurant projects that will reflect his love for the European cuisine and will focus on his signature style.

“I am delighted to be joining the team at The Stafford. They have had such a great year in 2017 with the launch of The Game Bird, and I am excited to oversee the food offering in the restaurant and throughout the hotel moving forwards, as well as working with the team on new restaurant projects in the future,” commented Ben about his new position.

The General Manager of The Stafford, Stuart Procter also expressed his contentment to have Ben joining the team: “He is an incredible chef, and together we look forward to evolving the offering at The Game Bird and across the hotel, along with launching exciting projects in line with Ben’s fantastic food philosophy.”

Prior to this appointment, James Durrant stepped down from his position as Executive Chef and Head Chef Jozef Rogulski got promoted as his replacement. Before becoming the Head Chef of The Game Bird restaurant, Jozef had various roles at Cliveden Country House Hotel, The Hand and Flowers, and The Waterside Inn.

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The Sun Inn Dedham Has Reopened

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After nearly a month of refurbishment work, The Sun Inn, Dedham, has reopened just in time for its 15th celebration of independent ownership. The traditional 15th century coaching inn went through a £150,000 refurbishment programme that targeted the public areas and the instalment of a brand new kitchen.

Located on the Essex Suffolk border, it is owned and operated by Piers Baker and is known for its Italian-inspired food, craft beers, and award-winning wine list. The investment aimed to make the inn an even friendlier place for its locals and visitors. The kitchen has been equipped with a Rational oven, a larger walk-in cold room, new floors, walls and ceilings, while in the bar and dining room the floors have been sanded and polished. New banquettes, chairs, sofas, and tables, produced by Danbury Upholstery and Bampton Design, were also placed in the room.

“When we arrived at The Sun in 2003 with a shoestring budget, it was unbelievably grotty and we have carefully transformed the pub and bedrooms with a programme of ongoing improvements over the years, including a new terrace, garden bar and improving the rooms. But after 15 years’ footfall in the bar and dining room, we have taken the opportunity to fully refresh the pub and give our excellent kitchen team the facilities they deserve,” said Piers Baker.

On the 25th of January a new, more casual bar menu will be launched together with the reopening of the kitchen. The menu will include dishes such as steamed mussels with Aspall cider, bacon and celery, a charcuterie platter to share with friends, or Jack’s daily snack based on his midnight fridge buffet. Three cuts of rare-breed steaks – skirt, sirloin, and prime bone-in-rib – will also be permanently available.

The Sun Inn employs a team of 25 people and the kitchen team of eight is led by Head Chef Jack Levine, who has been at the restaurant for nearly seven years.

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Robinson’s New TV Campaign Targets Adults

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The new TV campaign for Robinsons is bringing tasty refreshments designed especially for grown-ups. The multi-million-pound campaign ‘Listen Up’ organised by Britvic launched ‘Fruit Creations’ and went live on screens on Friday, the 19th of January.

It features a young girl who introduces to adults the benefits of the new range in a series of grown-up situations. Its aim is to drive awareness of the new refreshments and encourage more adults to consume Robinsons and introduce it to their daily drinking habits.

The campaign will run throughout the year on TV and VOD in the UK and Ireland. It is also backed up by Facebook and social activations with additional PR and experiential support. The next step is the launch of Robinsons Fruit Cordial in March.

Matt Barwell, Chief Marketing Officer at Britvic said that Robinsons is a favourite among families and four in 10 households buy it. However, children are usually seen as the main consumers of squash, so the campaign wants to promote it in a funny and entertaining way for adults as well. “With a staggering three million glasses of Robinsons squash being drunk every day in Britain, who better than our child squash experts to educate adults about the great taste of new Robinsons Fruit Creations?”

‘Fruit Creations’ is a new sub-brand of Robinsons that contains twice the fruit of its main squash range. They are perfect for pairing with food, it has no added sugar, it falls under the sugar levy threshold, and it appeals to those looking for more interesting flavours.

They will be available in 1L bottles and will cost £1.99. The nine flavours available are Zesty Orange & Mango, Rich Pear, Blackcurrant & Cherry with Barley, Delicious Peach & Raspberry, Crisp Apple & Elderflower with Barley, Luscious Strawberry & Kiwi with Barley, Exotic Pineapple Mango & Passionfruit, Juicy Raspberry & Cranberry with Barley, Juicy Orange, Mandarin & Lime, and Fresh Pear & Blueberry.

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Pizza and Pissa Celebration at Harrods

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The Italian restaurant Macellaio RC and Harrods’ Pizzeria & Canti Prosecco Bar will join forces and celebrate the most loved Italian dish – pizza. The celebration will see the battle between the Neapolitan ‘pizza’ and the Ligurian ‘pissa’.

The Neapolitan one is the more familiar pizza with the supple stretchy base, topped with buffalo mozzarella, which dominates the Italian menus worldwide. The Ligurian ‘pissa’ is made from a strong wheat flour and sourdough yeast culture, left to rise slowly at a cold temperature for up to 90 hours before being topped with anchovies, onions, and olives.

The Pizzeria in Harrods created a special menu that will offer classic pizzas made by Harrods’ senior head chef Giuseppe Silvestri and a less known ‘pissa’ from Matteo Riganelli, chef at the Macellaio RC. The Naples pizzas will be ‘Vera Nepolitana’ with tomato and buffalo mozzarella, ‘Pizza ‘Nduja’ with ‘Nduja, red onions, and provolone cheese, and ‘Pizza Tricolore’, a white pizza topped with parma ham, rocket, and parmesan. The pissa versions include ‘Pissa all’Andrea’ with toppings such as tomato, anchovies, onions, and olives, ‘Pissa Marinara’ with tomato and garlic, and ‘Focaccia al Formaggio’, which is a crispy focaccia with Stracchino cheese.

Additionally for Valentine’s Day, they will have a ‘sharing pizza’ on offer for couples who want to enjoy the same pizza but with different toppings on each side.

Both menus will be launched on National Pizza Day on the 9th of February and will last for 10 days. They will be available at the Pizzeria & Canti Prosecco Bar located on the second floor of the department store. The programme is Monday until Friday from 12 noon until 9pm, Saturday from 11am until 9pm, and Sunday from 11:30am until 6pm.

Macellaio RC was founded by Pizza and Pissa Celebration at Harrods and it showcases the best produce from Italy with an emphasis on grass-fed Fassona beef. It first opened in 2012 with a restaurant in South Kensington, followed by a launch in Exmouth Market in 2015, Union Street in 2016, and Northcote Road in 2017.

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McCain Tells Us ‘What’s Hot’ in 2018

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McCain Foodservice released a report that looks into the trends of food service for 2018 that every business should keep in mind if they want to stay ahead of competition and Brexit’s uncertainty.

“As new trends come and go, changes to what consumers eat, where they eat, and how they eat take place. Operators take influence from fresh new cuisines, bold new flavours make it on to menus, and new dining options emerge. Technology also has a big influence,” explains Jo Simmons, McCain Foods Senior Brand Manager.

Every business runs differently and each one has its own values, therefore the report looked into a few key aspects that every business can relate to and apply them to be ahead of the competition.

The first one of the list is ‘Value Scrutiny’. Consumers always analyse their spending decisions, so value for money is very important. What they look for is hearty portions, great value food, and excellent standards of service. ’Convenience’ is central to everyone’s busy lives and 2017 saw a 6% rise in quick-service lunch visits. Making sure diners can get a great meal quickly and easily will be a key growth area across the industry in 2018.

Another important aspect is making sure your business is up to date with the technology. Results show that 40% of 25-37 year olds prefer ordering food on their phones, while 67% of them actually spend more when ordering on the phone than in person. For those willing to take a change, integrating the latest technology can make their business sink or swim.

Consumers see eating as an opportunity to socialise, catch up, and take a break from their busy lives. Many venues have started seeing success by creating a casual dining environment, where people can share their food, enjoy communal seating, and are approached with a ‘pay first, leave whenever’ attitude.

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