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All Posts By Cristina Diaconu

Derbyshire’s Highest Awarded Restaurant Celebrates 30 Years

2019 marks the 30th year anniversary of the opening of Derbyshire’s treasured gastronomic magnet, Fischer’s at Baslow Hall, and with it, the restaurant is delighted to announce a trio of talented new additions to the team: Head Chef James Payne, Sous Chef Adam Thackeray, and Sommelier Matthew Davison. All three have trained in some of the world’s highest regarded restaurants across the UK, but are originally from the local area.

The beautiful, family-run Fischer’s at Baslow Hall was originally opened in 1989 by husband and wife, Max and Susan Fischer. 30 years on, both Susan and Max are still very much part of the day-to-day running of fine dining restaurant and hotel, along with their son Neil Fischer.

Max remains Executive Chef, overseeing the development of their award-winning seasonal tasting menus. Fischer’s received its first Michelin Star in its fifth year of business, and has retained the star ever since, garnering an impressive list of foodie accolades over the decades. Yet this iconic stalwart of the Derbyshire fine dining scene is very much moving forward with the times, constantly evolving, and injecting new life into the outstanding food and wine offering.

Talented and dedicated chef James Payne has been promoted from Sous-Chef, to Head Chef, taking over from Rupert Rowley. James joined Fischer’s in 2010 as a Chef de Partie, after gaining experience at Gordon Ramsay’s Claridge’s in London.  As Head Chef, James will lead the team forward with eight years of brilliant cooking at Fischer’s under his belt, and an in-depth understanding of local ingredients and suppliers.

Joining James to complete a young and dynamic chef team, is Sous Chef Adam Thackeray, who worked at Fischer’s for 3 years, before heading to Scotland to work at the late, much-celebrated chef Andrew Fairlie’s Michelin starred Gleneagles restaurant. Adam began his career studying Catering and Hospitality at Sheffield College, under the watchful guidance of mentor and award-winning chef Mick Burke, who originally introduced Adam to Fischer’s.

Fresh from Michelin Starred Nottingham restaurant Sat Bains, Fischer’s are delighted to welcome Sommelier Matthew Davison to the team. Returning to his native Derbyshire, Matthew brings his in-depth wine knowledge, and creative flair, to Fischer’s 2019 drinks programme. Working with local and global producers, Matthew will be sourcing the very best wines to pair with Fischer’s gastronomic tasting menus. Spring and summer 2019 at Fischer’s will see Matthew host an English sparkling wine event, and a series of global wine dinners are planned that will focus on regional wines from individual countries, including the best of new world wine.

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Abuelo Unveils New Dining Space

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Abuelo, London’s first Antipodean-meets-South American coffee house and kitchen, has unveiled its intimate social dining space for private hire perfect for gatherings.

Able to accommodate up to 20 seated, the space features a farmhouse table and a cosy sofa studded with verdant green cushions, tables and stools, making it perfect for intimate and friendly evenings.

Abuelo was founded by Lynette and Cloe de la Vega, a mother and daughter duo with Argentinian and Australian heritage. The pair and their team can work directly with diners to create bespoke menus to fulfil individual requests and needs.

Focusing on South American dishes with a contemporary Australian approach, Abuelo’s menu combines family recipes, handed down by Cloe de la Vega’s Abuelo (grandfather), with global ingredients and beautiful presentation, heavily influenced by Lynette’s background in architecture.

Abuelo (/aˈ- bwell – oh/) takes its name from the Spanish word for grandfather and family is at the heart of the venue’s ethos. All of Abuelo’s staff is trained in very specific techniques, and by using a state-of-the-art Slayer coffee machine and Abuelo’s own ‘custom’ technique of extraction time, temperature, pressure, grind and milk, the team are able to create a unique and delicious coffee every time, to add into the most flavoured Coffee Cocktails of Central London.

With a focus on ethical sourcing, Abuelo’s distinctive coffee uses three unique beans, which offer individual flavour profiles, including –

  • House Coffee: La Laguna Colombian – Single origin, 100% Arabica, Caramel, smooth flavour Speciality Coffee. Supports the growers of the CENCOIC co-operative, a collection of twelve families from the Cauca region
  • Pour Over: Café Femenino – Single origin, 100% Arabica, Rich, bright, black forest flavour Speciality Coffee. This coffee is grown and processed by a woman-only co-operative, which aims to increase social empowerment, not only of females working in the coffee industry, but in the entire area
  • Decaf: Swiss Water Cafetalera – Single origin, 100% Arabica, praline flavour Speciality Coffee. Instead of using chemicals to decaffeinate the coffee, Swiss water osmosis process is used to create caffeine free but still delicious coffee

Abuelo has been designed as a social place, and so the owners have made a conscious choice not to offer Wi-Fi, as they want to spark meaningful conversation, connection and laughter amongst guests. Too many London coffee houses have become ersatz offices, they provide a creative space to relax, catch up and share stories.

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Too Good To Go Raises a Further €6 Million

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Food waste app Too Good To Go announced that it has raised a further €6 million in funding to accelerate its mission to eliminate food waste globally, taking its total investment to €16 million. The new investment will fuel growth in four new countries this year, to reach a projected total of 100 million meals rescued by users by the end of 2020.

The free app connects customers to restaurants and stores that have unsold, surplus food. Since launching in Copenhagen in 2016, Too Good To Go has grown to 7.5 million users across nine countries in Europe, working with over 15,000 food retailers including Carrefour, Accor Hotels, YO! Sushi, Mandarin Oriental and Scandic.

This week, Too Good To Go reaches its 10 million meal milestone – the number of perfectly edible meals its users have rescued from being thrown away. This means the app has saved the equivalent of 10,000 tonnes of food or 20,000 of CO2 emissions from wasted food production – a leading cause of climate change.

With a third of all food produced currently being wasted, CEO Mette Lykke’s ambition is to create a global movement to tackle this issue. Before joining the food waste revolution, Mette co-founded Endomondo, a popular social fitness community with 35 million users which was sold to Under Armour for $85M in 2015.

The company, which has over 200 employees across Europe, is already bringing about change as part of its movement to end food waste. In France, Too Good To Go is petitioning to change date labelling from “Best before” to “Best before, not bad after” to reduce food waste at home. To date, 60,000 people have signed the petition with public support from supermarket chain, Carrefour.

“Too Good To Go has a unique opportunity to tackle a very serious environmental issue with a smart business model. Across the value chain and across borders, the issue of food waste is complex and hard to fix. By creating a new market for surplus food, we ensure more food gets eaten, making businesses and consumers winners in the process,” said Mette Lykke, CEO of Too Good To Go.

“The reality is that it’s standard practice for food businesses to throw away perfectly edible food. We give them the flexibility to offer up anything that’s still good to eat and sell it to consumers through the app at a discounted price. It’s a win for retailers, because they reduce waste, acquire customers and increase revenue, it’s a win for consumers who get great food for a reduced price, and it’s obviously a win for the environment which is our main motivation,” he added.

The latest round of funding has been led by existing investors and the board of directors including Preben Damgaard, co-founder of Navision (which was sold to Microsoft in 2002), Mike Lee, founder and former CEO of MyFitnessPal, and Jesper Lindhardt, former COO at Trustpilot.

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Seafish Launches New Seagan Campaign

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The UK’s leading authority on seafood, Seafish, has announced a new campaign which puts the spotlight on seaganism – a new diet combining fish with a plant-based diet. The campaign, Think Seagan, showcases why a seagan diet is a healthy lifestyle and dietary choice, providing enhanced nutritional value.

“The health benefits of eating sefood are well documented and coupled with the benefits of a plant-based diet, seagansim presents a sustainable, tasty and flexible diet for people of all ages and stages of life. Our Think Seagan campaign will inspire and educate those looking to make changes to their diet,” said Marcus Coleman, Chief Executive of Seafish.

Now available as part of the campaign for those looking to consider seaganism is a variety of materials suggesting new and innovative ways to consume and enjoy fish, including: a seagan ‘starter’ kit, 28-day seagan meal plan, seagan recipes including how-to videos, and a store cupboard guide to the vegan essentials. There is also a range of educational tools, such as seafood fact and myth sheets.

“Many of us are keen to follow a more plant-based or even a fully vegan diet but love the idea of still eating fish. The great news is combining the two incorporates key elements of current UK Government guidelines for a healthy diet,” said leading dietitian and nutrition consultant, Juliette Kellow.

“Government advice recommends that at least two thirds of what we eat should be based on plant foods. But Government also recommends that we consume two portions of fish each week, one of which should be an oily fish such as mackerel, sardines or herring. This is in part because they are full of essential omega-3 fatty acids, which help the heart to work normally and maintain normal blood pressure and blood triglyceride levels. One of the omega-3 fats found naturally in fish (DHA) is also important for maintaining normal brain function and vision. Enjoying a seagan diet that incorporates seafood at least twice a week, provides the missing link in purely plant-based diets to help ensure diets are nutritionally balanced as well as tasty,” Juliette added.

Unlike other strict diet publications and materials, Seafish’s Think Seagan is all about celebrating the fact that fish can be enjoyed as part of a plant-based diet as a protein alternative.

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What to Expect from Non-Alcoholic Category in 2019

With current research by YouGov revealing that almost a quarter of Brits have either already switched some of their drinking to low alcohol alternatives or would consider doing so in the next six months, 2019 is set to be another year of growth for the low/no category.

Driven by sober millennials and dry-athletes, consumers are turning away from traditional wines and spirits and instead focusing on crafted, healthier products. Simon Baldry, Director of Woodstar Beverages looks at what we can expect from low/no alcohol drinks in the year ahead and the trends driving the category changes.

Craft and authenticity

Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in where their products come from, and we expect this trend to soar during 2019. Millennials, in particular, are looking for brands with a story to connect with and ingredients that play a well-considered part in the final product. With consumer tastes ever evolving, wines and other drinks which have simply been de-alcoholised will no longer make the cut. Consumers are looking for new and exciting ingredients they haven’t seen before for depth of flavour. When it comes to low/no alcohol – the more authentic the better!

Delivering an experience

To continue to drive momentum in the category, operators need to deliver an experience that enables consumers to feel part of an occasion. Currently, traditional soft drinks do not deliver this and fail to excite consumers’ ever-adventurous appetite. According to our recent research, there are three qualities that consumers look for when avoiding alcohol – a drink that delivers big on taste, has the right look and feels the part, but they still want to feel they are having an alcohol moment. It is important that low/no alcohol alternatives allow the consumer to participate in the same experience, and with the same enjoyment, as those choosing to drink. Allowing consumers to participate fully was our prime objective in developing Woodstar.

Appealing to the health-conscious

With consumers increasingly conscious of what they are eating and drinking, the industry has seen a huge shift in buying behaviour. As the public actively turns towards healthier drinks, calorie counting and alcohol content are forefront of consumers’ minds. It’s because of this behaviour that the popularity of low/no alcohol has developed an ever-growing presence in the UK and we expect this to continue over the coming 12 months.

In order to satisfy consumer demand for low/no alcohol, it’s important that brands offer a drink that delivers great taste and experience, but also meets the needs of the health conscious.

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Celebrate Chinese New Year with Ping Pan-Asian

Ping Pan-Asian in Selfridges Foodhall is delighted to be celebrating their first Chinese New Year by giving customers the opportunity to take home Goldfish Dumplings to welcome the Year of the Pig in 2019. The delicatessen will honour the New Year tradition of eating food with symbolic significance by serving the traditional dish, said to bring good luck and great prosperity, to diners so they to partake in their very own Chinese New Year celebrations at home for a positive start to the year.

Hand-made Goldfish Dumplings filled with shrimp will be on offer at Ping Pan-Asian to symbolise wealth and fortune for the coming New Year. According to legend, the number of dumplings eaten at New Year represents the amount of money one will have in the coming year. The Goldfish shape of the dumplings corresponds to wealth as fish has a Chinese pronunciation of ‘Yu’, which means surplus and fortune and a popular Chinese New Year symbol is of a child holding a large Goldfish and a Lotus flower, signifying abundance of gold and harmony.

“I’m delighted to be celebrating Chinese New Year for the first time at Ping Pan-Asian and share one of my favourite childhood dishes with guests at Selfridges. Chinese New Year is such a special celebration for my family, and across Malaysia. I used to eat my weight in dumplings as child so that I would have enough pocket money to last the year! I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to give guests the chance to share the occasion with their own loved ones with our fantastic Goldfish Dumplings at Ping Pan-Asian to wish them good luck and prosperity to see in the New Year,” said Ping.

Goldfish Dumplings will be on the menu at Ping Pan-Asian during the Chinese New Year period for a limited time from January 31st until February 7th. Pre-packed Gold Fish Dumplings are available at the delicatessen in Selfridges Foodhall for takeaway and will also be available ready-to-eat at Ping Pan-Asian’s outlet in Selfridges Kitchen on the fourth floor. Goldfish Dumplings will be priced at £7.50 for three pieces in Selfridges Kitchen and £1.60 per piece at the delicatessen in Selfridges Foodhall.

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The Fresh Careers Fair 2019

A number of high-profile and longstanding companies from the produce, foodservice, retail and hospitality sectors from across the UK and the world have signed up to participate at next month’s The Fresh Careers Fair – the annual UK event that connects new talent with leading industry employers.

Organisations include: retailers such as Lidl; foodservice operators and contract caterers including BaxterStorey and Searcys; fruit and vegetable producers and exporters, including: AC Goatham, Berry Gardens, BerryWorld and Richard Hochfeld; hotel groups like Quinta do Lago; pub and restaurant chains including: Greene & King, Loch Fyne and Hakkasan; and recruitment agencies such as Angel, MorePeople and Henderson Brown.

Taking part as exhibitors, mentors and sponsors, these organisations are set to take full advantage of the event’s platform on March 13, 2019, to meet face-to-face with the best of the next generation of skilled jobseekers in order to showcase their life-long career opportunities.

“This is a fantastic line-up of support from companies who span the breadth of the fresh food and drink industry in the
UK and beyond. But opportunities still remain for any company large or small wishing to join these brands to get noticed and find new talent! You can still snap up one of the last exhibition and/or sponsorship packages that will enable you as employers to promote your brand, shout about the life-long careers you can offer, and raise awareness of the enviable benefits the fresh food and drink sector can provide,” explained Hannah Gorvin, Chief Marketing Officer for The Fresh Careers Fair.

Free to attend for high-calibre college students, university undergraduates, graduates, jobseekers and career changers of all disciplines, The Fresh Careers Fair is the exclusive recruitment fair for the fresh produce, retail, foodservice and hospitality sectors.

During the course of the day, these skilled newcomers interested in a fresh food and drink career have the chance to meet face-to-face with exhibiting top-brand employers looking to recruit new talent. Employers who take an exhibition stand will be able to promote their part-time, full-time, temporary and permanent positions in the food and drink sector, including national and international roles, as well as work experience and placements, plus graduate schemes, internships and apprenticeships.

Introductions to exhibiting companies will be provided to attendees by a group of food and drink industry experts, who have been hand-picked by the organisers. These mentors will also offer attendees free guidance and inspirational feedback on their career goals.

In addition, exhibiting employers can select from a range of bespoke sponsorship packages to further promote their brand to those interested in a career in the fresh food and drink industry, such as putting your name to the attendee bag, event directory, wi-fi, or photo booth. Other benefits include: a complimentary listing in The Fresh Careers Fair Event Directory with your company profile and contact details, your logo added to The Fresh Careers Fair website, plus your logo featured on show signage.

The fourth edition of The Fresh Careers Fair takes place on March 13, 2019, at London’s stylish Business Design Centre – a new location with a larger venue designed to accommodate the growing demand to attend and exhibit.

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Kitchen Cut Software Leads the Way to Success

The 5th International Young Chef Olympiad (YCO) 2019, organised by the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM), took place in India. Kitchen CUT Co-Founder and Michelin Starred chef, John Wood has returned as Chief Judge and this year, all competitors and mentors had the opportunity to use Kitchen CUT’s leading edge F&B Management software to help them on their quest for first place.

The world’s biggest culinary Olympiad was held from 28th January to 2nd February. The participating countries have been divided into five groups, each of whom took part in  three different rounds being held at Delhi, Pune, and Bangalore, culminating in a grand finale and closing ceremony in Kolkata on Saturday 2nd February.

This year, with allergen management and reporting nutritional information such vital considerations within the F&B industry, there were points awarded for allergen/nutritional/calorific data for each recipe. In a bid to make this more simple and accurate, all competitors and mentors involved with YCO 2019 were able to use the Kitchen CUT system for creating recipes, sub recipes and menus, tracking nutritional information and allergens as well as a whole host of other features.

Over 50 young chefs have competed from all over the world and so the event showcased the brightest and most promising talent from across the globe. Encouraging new talent is something that Kitchen CUT Co-Founder and Michelin Starred chef believes is fundamentally important and so the decision to become involved as a judge for the event was an easy one:

“I’ve always been passionate about giving back to the industry I have been a part of for over 35 years, particularly in supporting young chefs just starting out in hospitality. It’s an absolute honour to be here judging at the Young Chef’s Olympiad again. The danger of mismanagement of allergens has never more in the forefront of the industry’s awareness and I am dedicated to raising awareness and showing young chefs that the only way to avoid tragedy is to use a robust, automated system to track allergens. With Kitchen CUT, they can do this simply, efficiently and accurately,” he commented.

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New Rum Coming to Town

From the shores of the Caribbean and Central America, to the rugged coastline of Devon’s South Hams, Hattiers Rum: a new premium rum has launched, and it’s already accumulating gold and silver international awards. This sustainably crafted blend combines four oak-aged rums with pure Dartmoor water to produce an exceptional spirit that’s as enjoyable on the rocks as it is in your favourite rum cocktail.

Starting with a classic pot and column still premium base rum, distilled by acclaimed Foursquare in Barbados, Hattiers Premium Reserve is then blended with carefully selected rums from Dominican Republic, Panama and Guatemala. The mix is combined with the softest Dartmoor water to create a smooth, completely unadulterated rum.

Hattiers Rum has already won a collection of accolades, including critical acclaim from the international spirits trade; scooping the silver outstanding award at the International Wine & Spirits Competition 2018 and gold at Taste of the West. The rum has also been selected as the official spirits partner for Luscombe Drinks new mixer range for their hot ginger beer and lime crush.

Each glass has an exquisite taste profile of caramel, toffee and soft fruits. As the fruit flavours fade there is a pop of woody heat, a trademark of the ex-bourbon casks rums. A crescendo of pepper follows with aromatic oak notes that carry into Hattiers Rum long, elegant creamy finish.

This new Devon aged-rum promises to leave a thirst for more. Founder and master blender Philip Everett-Lyons says: ‘We developed the blend to be an accessible premium sipping rum with an elegant combination of soft fruits, caramel and heat that is warm and jovial, just like us. Every sip is a pure delight no matter how you’re shaking it up and drinking.”

Borne out of a passion of sailing and love of the ocean, Hattiers Rum is a family collaboration with master blender Philip Everett-Lyons at the helm. With a career in the creative world of the arts, television, film and theatre, Philip changed tack to pursue his dream of setting up a family business as a legacy for his children. Named after Philip and Corinna’s eldest daughter, Hattiers Rum was proudly crafted as a timeless flagship spirit that embodies the Everett-Lyons family values of trust, honour and integrity.

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Top Lakeland Chef Creates Nutritional Dishes for Cancer Sufferers

One of the Lake District’s most well-loved chefs has created a number of nutritional dishes aimed at those going through chemotherapy. Ian Dutton, owner of Dutton Cuisine’s Village Inn, Pig and Brown Sugar restaurants, whipped up a ‘quick n’ easy monkfish’ dish, whilst son, Harry, who is Head Chef at Brown Sugar, made a ‘raspberry and pistachio soufflé with raspberry and sorrel, egg white macaroon and raspberry and pistachio tweel’. The dishes, packed with calcium, protein, iron and fibre, alleged key nutrients in fighting the effects of chemotherapy drugs, are also suitable for diabetics.

Produced in support of Cumbrian-based initiative, ‘Chemo Cookery’, which raises awareness of proper nutritional meals on a budget for patients, their families and carers and offers unofficial advice on healthy living for cancer sufferers, Ian and Harry were only too happy to put their first-class skills to good use. The monkfish dish was in fact, a recipe originally crafted by the late John Tovey of Miller Howe Hotel fame, under whom Ian trained as a young chef.

“We are delighted to be able to demonstrate the benefits of good nutrition and a healthy diet to all, but especially so for those who are going through such gruelling treatment as chemotherapy,” said Ian. “All three of our venues offer extensive menus which include varied and healthy options for those who are vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free, and we will always create bespoke dishes for those with intolerances and dietary no-no’s. We are very happy to be able to offer these new dishes for those going through treatment and recovery.”

Ian’s latest bar and restaurant, Brown Sugar, which opened in September 2018 and is located in the heart of Windermere village, specialises in offering healthy smoothies and shakes, power bowls and salads.

“We’re definitely seeing a significant shift toward healthy living and do seem to be attracting a more health-focused audience. We will, of course, always cater to our customers’ requirements,” said Ian.

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