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All Posts By FEAST Editorial Team

Dracula Props & Costumes Go To Auction

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Hundreds of items from 2013’s gothic TV drama Dracula starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Alexander Grayson will go to auction today as the Prop Store offers an array of exciting authentic items from the hit show.

From Mina Murray’s (Jessica De Gouw) Royal Blue Ballroom Gown to Lady Jayne Wetherby’s (Victoria Smurfit) Vampire Hunting Costume, fans and collectors can bid with the knowledge there’s no reserve.

“We’’re delighted to offer this exclusive collection of props and costumes from Dracula,” said Stephen Lane, Prop Store CEO. “This is an exciting opportunity for fans to bid at no reserve on over 450 lots from the hit TV show.””

The auction begins at 5pm today with the final lots closing on October 30th. For more information check out

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Byron Provides more than 80,000 School Meals for Children in Poverty

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The launch on Tuesday of the new partnership between Byron and the charity One Feeds Two® saw Byron customers provide over 40,000 school meals for children living in some of the poorest parts of the world. Byron has announced that it will be matching customers’ contributions, taking the total number of school meals provided to over 80,000.

To kick off the new partnership, for one day only, customers could buy any of Byron’s proper hamburgers for just 25p – the cost of one school meal for a child in need – with takings from sales of all burgers sold going to One Feeds Two® in reflection of the charity’s innovative ‘buy one, give one’ model.

Customers keen to show their support for One Feeds Two waited patiently outside the group’s 55 restaurants throughout the day, eating their way through more than 40,000 burgers – a record for Byron.

On behalf of those customers who were not able to make it to a restaurant to take part, Byron will be making an additional donation, doubling customers’ contributions to give a total of more than 80,000 school meals.

The day’s activity was just the start of an ongoing partnership: from today, for every Special Hamburger sold, Byron will provide a school meal at the cost of 25p.

JP Campbell, co-founder of One Feeds Two, says: “We have been overwhelmed by the support the nation has given us through this partnership with Byron. The school meals provided will help so many of the world’s poorest children access education and give them an opportunity to better their lives.”

Tom Byng, Byron’s founder, says: “We have been blown away by the show of support from our customers for One Feeds Two, and I would like to thank them – and our brilliant restaurant teams who made it all possible – for all the good work they have done. One Feeds Two® carries out vital work every day: we are proud to help support them in our restaurants and look forward to helping more children as our partnership continues.”

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Ian Smith, Commercial Director of Matthew Clark, Appointed to the Board at Zenith Hygiene Group

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Ian Smith, Commercial Director of Matthew Clark, appointed to the Board at Zenith Hygiene Group.
Zenith Hygiene Group, the UK’s largest independent manufacturer of cleaning and hygiene products, today announces the appointment of Ian Smith to the Group’s Board as from 1 October 2015. Ian will be a Non-executive Director.
Having started with City Vintagers in 1978, Ian has built up an impressive 35 year career within the drinks industry. Ian is currently the Commercial Director of Matthew Clark, one of the largest drinks distributors in the UK with annual revenues of £900m. His vast experience makes him a committed and enthusiastic ambassador for both the drinks and the on-trade industries.
Commenting on the appointment, Ringo Francis, CEO, stated: “On behalf of the Board, I would like to welcome Ian to the Zenith Group Board. I am confident Ian will prove to be a valuable member of our Board.”
Ian Smith, added: “I am delighted to be joining Zenith Hygiene, at such an exciting time for the Company. I believe that Zenith has many opportunities for expansion, both in the UK and internationally, and I look forward to utilising my experience to assist the further develop the commercial capabilities of the Group.”

Founded in 1996, Zenith Hygiene Group is the UK’s largest independent manufacturer of cleaning and hygiene products. Zenith Hygiene has been a trusted supplier of quality products and excellent service at competitive prices to a wide range of customers and suppliers for nearly 20 years. Aiming to always work in partnership with their customers, Zenith Hygiene strives to provide solutions which will ensure clean and hygienic environments.

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London’s Hottest New Restaurant Opening: Bella Cosa

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Launching the, 8th of October 2015, the hottest new addition to London’s Italian restaurant scene, Bella Cosa, brings the soul-warming food of Italy to the South Quay of Canary Wharf. Perched on the Quayside, the glass-fronted restaurant boasts spectacular cityscape views of Canary Wharf from across the rippling water.
A versatile restaurant with a strong Italian character, Bella Cosa has one of the most exciting new talents in Italian cuisine at the kitchen’s helm. Executive Chef Kentaro Torii, renowned by critics in the US and Italy for his Japanese approach to Italian food, is serving his signature contemporary Italian dishes with Japanese flair and presentation for the first time in the UK. His culinary style combines generations of Italian traditions with modern techniques, as well as Japanese rigor and precision. Kentaro is working alongside a purely Italian kitchen brigade, serving dishes such as: Seasonal Risottos; Grilled Octopus, Smoked Potato Puree, Trapani Pesto, Olives, Celery Salad; 5 Cheese Ravioli, Saffron Sauce, Beetroot Puree, Suckling Pig Cheek, Autumn Truffle; and Black Cod in Prosciutto, Baby Cuttlefish in Black Ink, Polenta.
The restaurant specialises in dishes based on fresh seasonal produce of outstanding quality, with significant PDO (Protected Denomination of Origin) ingredients imported from Italy. The dishes, no matter how complex the preparation may be, are presented in a neat, unfussy, yet original and modern way. The overall aim is to surprise the customer with both simple beauty and the amazing taste of the dish.
On the ground floor, the seating is spread around a central bar and Chef’s Isle constructed of glass, marble and stainless steel, with ‘front row’ seats to watch skilled chefs at work preparing fish, seafood, antipasti, Italian Salumi meats and cheeses. An additional open-plan kitchen is visible towards the rear of the restaurant, complete with a stone oven producing gourmet pizzas.
The upper floor provides casual fine-dining from the à la carte menu. Stylish oxblood red chairs are gathered around white linen covered dining tables, and the contemporary theme is continued in the chic decor using luxurious materials such as marble flooring and statement coloured glass lights. To the far right of the room, an Artisan Beer Corner provides a warm convivial area for guests to enjoy a wide selection of Italian craft beers. Communal scrubbed wooden tables give a rustic and relaxed feel. An adjoining Wine Room displays the restaurant’s carefully selected wine collection (90% Italian of course!) for those who prefer the grape to the grain. This space is also perfect for private dining.
Designed by Italian interior designer Francesco Pizza, the chic interior is spread over two floors including a glass-fronted mezzanine area. On entering the restaurant, guests are greeted with a spectacular ‘living wall’ of lush green plants.
Bella Cosa is open Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, providing a versatile space for business lunches and dinners, aperitif gatherings, or dining with friends. The restaurant is located on the South Quay of Canary Wharf, a couple of minutes walk from South Quay DLR Station.

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Casual Dining Awards 2016

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Casual Dining, the award winning trade show for the pub and restaurant sector, has revealed its founding judges for the launch of the Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards 2016.

The award ceremony will take place on the evening of 24 February 2016 at The Grange St. Paul’s Hotel in London, following the first day of Casual Dining. Not only will they form an important highlight of next year’s event, but aim to become the leading celebration of the growing multi-billion casual dining sector.

The judging panel will include some of the sector’s best known business leaders, consultants, influencers and entrepreneurs, including Karen Forrester, CEO of TGI Friday’s UK, Kate Nicholls, chief executive of The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, and Anthony Pender, chairman of the British Institute of Innkeeping.

“Our own trade show and now our own awards, Casual Dining is the place to be,” says TGI Friday’s Karen Forrester, about the new awards.

Fellow judge, and industry legend, Ian Neill agrees: “The new Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards are an outstanding opportunity to highlight achievement in the casual dining space.”

“It’s important that we recognise and praise people and companies that have contributed to the growth of casual dining and that’s why I am fully behind this initiative,” says Peter Backman, managing director of foodservice insights firm Horizons.

“The Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub awards is something I’m fully behind and I look forward to celebrating the most innovative and successful operators in the casual dining sector,” adds Paul Charity, managing director of Propel.

Following an advisory lunch last month, the stellar list of judges announced today includes (in alphabetical order):

• Peter Backman – Managing Director, Horizons
• Keith Bird, Commercial Director, Gourmet Burger Kitchen
• Chris Brazier – Group Event Director, Casual Dining
• Paul Charity – Managing Director, Propel
• Karen Forrester – CEO, TGI Friday’s UK
• Peter Martin – Vice Chairman, CGA Peach
• Mark McCulloch – Founder & CEO, WE ARE Spectacular
• Ian Neill – Industry Legend (Las Iguanas, Wagamama, Jamie’s Italian)
• Kate Nicholls – Chief Executive, The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR)
• Anthony Pender – Chairman, British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) and Co-founder, Yummy Pubs
• Alex Reilley – Executive Vice Chairman, Loungers
• Lorraine Wood – Director, Arena

Recognising the importance of great design as an integral part of the brand and dining experience, the already highly-successful Casual Dining Design Awards, which previously took place during the show, will now be incorporated into the new Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards.

The Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards will include the following categories:

• Champion Of The Year
• New Casual Dining Concept Of The Year
• The Social Responsibility Award
• Casual Dining Turnaround Of The Year
• Casual Dining Marketing Campaign
• Employer Of The Year
• Best Designed Independent Casual Dining Restaurant
• Best Designed Multiple Casual Dining Restaurant
• Best Designed Casual Dining Pub or Bar
• Independent Casual Dining Restaurant Of The Year
• Independent Casual Dining Pub Of The Year
• Multiple Casual Dining Pub Brand Of The Year
• Multiple Casual Dining Restaurant Of The Year

“It really is fantastic to see the way that the sector is responding to the launch of the Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards, which we hope will become the Oscars of the casual dining world,” comments Chris Brazier, group event director of Casual Dining.

“With its own award-winning trade show, it’s only right the places where most people in the UK eat and drink out on the most regular basis is celebrated and awarded for their successes,” he says.

The Casual Dining Champion 2016 will be interviewed exclusively on day two of the Casual Dining trade show on 25 February 2016.

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National Chocolate Week, from 12 to 18 October

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As National Chocolate Week, from 12 to 18 October, draws closer, Galia Orme, founder of CHOC Chick, has been speaking about the health benefits of ethically sourced raw chocolate.

Galia, who through CHOC Chick develops raw chocolate making kits and ingredients, said: “In 2008, I discovered you can make delicious chocolates at home that are almost 100 per cent cacao and free from dairy, processed sugars, gluten and, soya additives – and guilt.

“Raw chocolate made from minimally processed or raw cacao powder and raw cacao butter is the simplest way to enjoy chocolate.

“And it’s good for us.

“Natural cocoa is full of antioxidant flavanols, magnesium, vitamins B, C and E and essential heart healthy fat. It doesn’t take long to feel the benefits. Shortly after eating raw chocolate, my energy went up, my sugar intake went down and my chocolate cravings went away completely.

“Today, consumers demand natural and ethically sourced products. That’s why, through CHOC Chick, I buy cacao that is good for the environment – and ensure the people who grow it genuinely benefit from trading with me.

“In the jungles of Ecuador, I’ve seen organic and biodynamic farming methods where multiple crops are grown together. I’ve met cooperatives of families who have farmed cacao for generations, working ethically together to produce some of the best cacao in the world alongside crops like bananas, oranges and coffee. Their methods are natural and sustainable. Their produce is abundant and beautiful.”

The UK’s biggest festival of all things chocolately, National Chocolate Week celebrates one of the country’s favourite confectionaries with a series of events throughout the seven days.

To mark the occasion, CHOC Chick has produced a raw chocolate brownie with creamy dairy-free frosting recipe. The recipe creates a desert full of flavour, yet free from gluten, processed sugar and additives.

Speaking about the recipe, Galia said: “The raw chocolate brownie with creamy dairy-free frosting recipe is the treat that keeps on giving. It makes around 10-12 brownies which can be stored in the fridge for around three to four days or in the freezer for up to 10 days.”

Raw chocolate brownie with dairy-free frosting

• 240g walnuts or mixed nuts (eg 2 packets, 120g each, of mixed nuts including almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts with walnuts)
• Pinch of salt
• 12 pitted medjool dates, un-soaked
• 6 tbsp CHOC Chick raw cacao powder
• 3 tbsp Sweet Freedom or agave syrup
• 1 tsp vanilla bean extract
• 3 tsp water

1. Blend nuts and salt in a food processor until finely ground.
2. Add dates, raw cacao powder, agave/Sweet Freedom and vanilla, process until mixture begins to stick together.
3. Add the water and process briefly.
4. Line a tray with greaseproof paper and leave extra paper on the sides to cover the mix. Add the mix and even out till about 1 – 1½ half inches thick. Tip: cover the mix with the extra greaseproof paper and use to smooth the mix out.
5. Place in the freezer for around 20 minutes to set while you prepare the delicious CHOCfrosting.

Creamy CHOCfrosting
• 25g CHOC Chick raw cacao butter
• 2 tbsp CHOC Chick raw cacao powder
• 1-2 tbsp Sweet Freedom or agave syrup – to taste
• ½ teaspoon vanilla bean extract
• ¼ cup coconut cream

1. Melt the raw cacao butter in a bowl over a pan of boiling water.
2. Once melted, turn the heat off and add the cacao powder, agave syrup and vanilla and mix well.
3. Once blended add the cream and mix again. The consistency will become thicker as the cream is added. Leave for a few moments to thicken.
4. Spread evenly over the brownie mix.
5. Place in the fridge to set for about 30 minutes.

Alternatively, simply add cream to our Simple Raw CHOC Recipe to make a creamy chocolatey frosting that children and people who prefer a slightly more milk chocolate taste will absolutely love.
CHOC Chick products are available in 400 stores across the UK and Europe. These include Whole Foods Market UK, Harvey Nichols, Infinity Foods and Magasin Du Nord in Copenhagen. In 2015, CHOC Chock products were listed by Holland & Barrett and are now available in 200 stores. They’ve been Holland & Barrett’s online and category bestseller since March 2015.

Also introduced to the east coast of the US following a recommendation to Whole Foods Market North Atlantic, CHOC Chick products can be found in 30 stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine.

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Lancaster London appoints Adam Woolven as Head Chef of Island Grill

As part of its continued commitment to excellence and its strategy for developing its own talent, Lancaster London hotel on Hyde Park has appointed Adam Woolven as Head Chef of the award-winning restaurant Island Grill.

Adam began his career in Lancaster London’s prestigious apprentice scheme, where he worked throughout all areas of the kitchens whilst studying for his professional chef’s scholarship at Westminster Kingsway College.

After graduating, he was promoted to Commis Chef, before moving on to Island Grill restaurant where he quickly gained two more promotions.

Adam then joined the Caledonian Club kitchen brigade in Belgravia Square, where he worked for ten months honing his skills, before returning to Island Grill in the more senior position of Chef de Partie.

Since returning to Island Grill, Adam’s career has gone from strength to strength in the past four years. Winning awards such as Role Model of the Year (2012), he was promoted to Sous Chef in 2013, before recently being given the role of Head Chef.

Adam’s new role includes writing new à la carte and set menus, rotas, costings, organising the day to day running of the kitchen and maintaining the restaurant’s 2 AA rosettes, 3 star SRA rating and impressive position on Trip Advisor where Island Grill currently sits at 105.

A mere ten paces from Lancaster Gate Underground station, Lancaster London offers a wide range of dining options. Island Grill’s modern European menu changes with each season as part of its dedication to sustainability, and Nipa Thai showcases some of the best Thai food found in London.

Lancaster London is also a champion for the humble honey bee, and was the first hotel in London to cultivate beehives on its roof in 2009. Lancaster London also organises and hosts the annual “London Honey Show” in October to provide education on urban beekeeping.

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Dirty Bones opens in Kingly Court, 28th September

The team behind American comfort food restaurant, Dirty Bones, are excited to announce that its second site in Soho will be open from Monday 28th September. The original restaurant, which opened in Kensington in 2014, will see its sister site take a space on the top floor of Kingly Court’s vibrant courtyard.
Dirty Bones Carnaby, seating 65, will serve a menu of American comfort food classics with a twist such as: The Mac Daddy Burger (6oz house burger topped with pulled beef short rib, mac ‘n’ cheese, Dirty Bones barbecue sauce and Dirty Bones pickles); BBQ Fried Chicken (free range crispy fried chicken thighs and drumsticks in Dirty Bones bourbon and marshmallow barbecue sauce); and the Dirty Dog (Dirty Bones barbecue pulled pork, crispy bacon, jalapeno cheese sauce, crispy shallots).
Diners will also be able to enjoy a new weekend brunch menu with indulgent dishes such as: the Benedict Burger (6oz house burger, topped with poached egg and black treacle bacon, smothered in Dirty Bones hollandaise sauce); Steak & Eggs (30 day age flat iron steak, chargrilled and served with two free range fried eggs and Dirty Bones smoked ketchup); and Short rib & cheese toastie (triple stack toastie of beef rib, charred gherkin, English mustard, taleggio and cheddar on sourdough). These decadent dishes will run alongside a bottomless £15 Prosecco offering.
From the 5th October, all guests will be invited to take part in a game of Dirty Bonopoly, a playful take on the classic board game, which will give diners the chance to win special prizes. Each table will be offered one roll of the dice, and will be rewarded with offers for both the Carnaby and Kensington restaurants such as 50% off the bill or a round of drinks on the house. However, if diners land on the ‘go to jail’ square, they risk a devilish forfeit. The game will be available to play at both Carnaby and Kensington.
The restaurant will feature a lively bar area, serving playful cocktails such as: the Dirty Mary (Finlandia vodka, tomato, orange, lemon and pickle juice, fresh mint, chilli sauce and a sour cream Pringle rim); and Mutt’s Nuts (Woodford Reserve, cinnamon and vanilla infused maple syrup, Angostura bitters, lemon and apple juices). The restaurant will also serve a great selection of craft beer. The restaurant will also offer its renowned Dirty Hour, serving two for one cocktails from 3-7pm every weekday.
As in Kensington, the Dirty Bones interior will be retro in style, with a pinball machine welcome desk plus other quirky surprises. The Dirty Bones playlist will encompass classic hip hop and old skool gems.

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Two Thirds Of Consumers Judge A Restaurant On The Quality Of Its Coffee

New research has revealed that two thirds of consumers judge the quality of a restaurant, pub or hotel based on the quality of its coffee.

The survey of over 1,000 consumers by UCC Coffee UK & Ireland[1], the total coffee solution provider, also found that 77% of diners say a good coffee makes the difference between a mediocre and an exceptional dining experience. And, with less than 50% expecting to get a great cup of coffee when they eat out, there’s a significant opportunity for operators to put quality coffee on the menu.

Phil Smith, head of category and insight, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, comments: “With coffee on the high street going from strength to strength, it’s time for eating out operators to take their coffee seriously. Our research shows that consumers are demanding quality whenever they are eating out and this could be the difference between a satisfactory experience and surpassing expectations.

“Consumers are looking for specific attributes when choosing whether to purchase a coffee with a meal. Quality is the most important factor, but this is closely followed by consistency and choice. Operators need to get the basics right and deliver a coffee experience that consumers will remember and can rely on every time they visit.”

Other results revealed:

• Three quarters of consumers prefer high street to restaurant coffee
• 48% of people choose to drink coffee with lunch, compared with 40% with dinner
• The five most important factors when choosing a coffee are taste, strength, freshness, brewing method and the roast
• Eight out of 10 consumers have chosen a coffee over a dessert when eating out…with 5% always choosing coffee
• Coffee quality is deemed highest at fine dining restaurants, followed closely by independent restaurants, then branded restaurants and hotels with pubs deemed the lowest quality by consumers

The research of 1,112 UK consumers was conducted by Allegra Insight in August 2015 on behalf of UCC Coffee UK & Ireland.

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland offers a range of branded and own-label coffee and equipment for at home, retail and foodservice. The Total Coffee Solution provider is exhibiting at Lunch! and brewing premium coffee in The Restaurant Show’s VIP Lounge from 5-7 October.

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Kent Crisps Export Business is Booming

AMC Foods, the producers of Kent Crisps are delighted that their crisps are now being exported to the Far East.
After a company buyout last year by AMC Foods, Kent Crisps were rebranded and a new logo designed with each flavour depicting a stunning image of British landscape. They now have 5 languages on the back of the packets and have increased their shelf life (to more than the majority of their competitors) to appeal to the export market.
Laura Audsley, Commercial Director for AMC Foods says “There are a wealth of opportunities for export and we have a strong brand that can be carried into the international market. Our attendance at the Travel Show in Dubai earlier in the year created fantastic exposure for Kent Crisps to a worldwide audience. This has resulted in a lucrative contract to export our crisps to the Far East. Consequently our full range of crisps are now available in 30 Carrefours as well as other high end supermarkets in Taiwan.”

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