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All Posts By Sean Marsh

Madness Present Music Heritage Award

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The unique and iconic sound of Madness made them one of the most successful British bands of all time, with a career that has spanned across five decades and is still ongoing, and now the boys have returned to their roots by presenting the Music Heritage Award to The Dublin Castle in London, a venue they played as a newly formed band in 1979!

The Music Heritage Award provides recognition to music venues that have helped in kick starting successful careers for both bands and solo artists here in the UK, and the award has been handed out in the past to venues that have paved the way for the likes of Sir Elton John, Queen, Pulp and Spandau Ballet in the industry.

Madness’s performance at the Dublin Castle in 1979 proved to be a significant turning point in the band’s career, and it was followed by the release of their debut album ‘One Step Beyond’, which resulted in the band acquiring a loyal and large scale following around the world.

“When we started out there were tons of pubs, clubs and flower shops for bands to start out in, like how we did it,” the band has commented. “When you hear about all the venues we’ve lost in London over the last few years it makes us sad and worried about how new bands will ever get the opportunity to break through from the live scene, god bless The Dublin Castle and all the independent venues fighting the good fight.”

Madness are still going strong to this day and have been releasing new material on a consistent basis over the years, becoming festival favourites in the process, most recently with the band’s 2016 headline slot at Ynot Festival and Kendal Calling alongside Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. We can only hope that their career continues for years to come, as well as the role of independent music venues here in the UK.

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Ynyshir Appoints Chef Patron

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Gareth Ward has been appointed as Chef Patron at the highly rated Ynyshir Restaurant and Rooms, meaning he will now become part owner of the property alongside fellow shareholder and partner Amelia Eiriksson, who is also the General Manager of the restaurant. The pair are now looking at developing a refurbishment programme, with the first proposal focused around a brand new dining area at the facility.

The property, which is also owned by John and Jenny Talbot, was relaunched in 2016 as a restaurant and rooms, therefore these further developments signals the ambitious nature of the owners and shows signs of a positive future for Ynyshir. Gareth Ward arrived at the company four years ago, and since then he has been awarded the Good Food Guide’s ‘Chef to Watch’ editor’s award, as well as acquiring a Michelin star in his first year of working there.

“By entering into this partnership with John and Jenny I hope to show that Ynyshir isn’t just a job, it’s a way of life for me and Amelia,” commented the new Chef Patron, Gareth Ward, following the confirmation of the appointment. “We want to take this restaurant to the next level, and I’m confident that with John’s backing, our investment, and the refurbishment plans, we will make 2017 Ynyshir’s most successful year yet.”

Ynyshir Restaurant and Rooms has managed to pick up a five-star rating from the AA Guide since rebranding itself as a restaurant and rooms last year, and the noticeable improvements since the arrival of Gareth ward in 2013 are clear for all to see. John and Jenny Talbot have expressed their delight at the fact that Gareth has now been appointed as Chef Patron and part owner, and the pair are looking forward to enjoying a successful future alongside Ward at Ynyshir.


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Welsh Food and Drink Event to Go Global

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The first food and drink event in Wales to be aimed at both the UK and the global market is set to take place in March, as over 100 Welsh producers are going to be joined by both national and international buyers, journalists, dignitaries and industry leaders at Celtic Manor for the two-day event. Wales will have the opportunity to showcase what the country has to offer in terms of its food and drink industry to the rest of the world when BlasCymru arrives, with special guests such as BBC News presenter Sara Edwards, and the most recent winner of BBC’s The Apprentice in Alana Spencer.

“BlasCymru/TasteWales is a ground breaking event for Wales and will further strengthen our food and drink industry on the global stage,” commented Lesley Griffiths AM, the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs. “Bringing individuals and organisations from across the industry together, it will provide the platform for us to display the strength, success and pride we have in Welsh food and drink and help us continue with the positive trajectory we are currently on as we strive to reach our 30% growth target by 2020.”

There will be plenty of products on show over the course of the two days, including a number of exclusive food and drink product launches from different companies, so there will be plenty there to impress the global audience at Celtic Manor. These launches come from both well-established and smaller niche brands, including Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company and Cwm Farm Charcuterie, as well as Penderyn Whisky and Snowdonia Cheese.

The event will take place on the 23rd and 24th March, and you can be sure that the representatives of the Welsh food and drink industry will be putting on a display that makes the country proud!

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GameCo Inc. Joins ESIC

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The creator of the world’s first video game gambling machines (VGM) has joined the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC), after it was confirmed that GameCo Inc. has been added to the ESIC membership, in what is great news for both parties.

Bringing video games to casinos is something that GameCo has been successfully working at for some time now, and the company is very supportive of the work ESIC does in regards to fighting for integrity and against betting fraud in esports, which is highlighted in the online player education initiative.

“We are delighted that GameCo has decided to join ESIC,” commented Ian Smith, the Integrity Commissioner at ESIC. “GameCo operates at the juncture between esports & betting and embracing integrity efforts in this early stage of its operations speaks to the company’s impeccable ethos, values and its determination to get things right from day one, not just for itself, but for the wider community in which it operates.”

GameCo will be providing its full support for the ESIC anti-corruption education programme, which includes live interactive sessions with professional esports players, management and officials at major global LAN events, as well as face to face educational presentations.

ESIC are working towards providing tutorials online which will help to give people at least a foundation level of knowledge on threats to the integrity of esports, such as match fixing and betting fraud, and this is set to become available at some point this year thanks to the input of GameCo and ESIC’s betting partners.

According to GameCo’s co-founder and CEO, Blaine Graboyes, the concept for video game gambling was developed from their own personal experiences in producing esports events for major publishers. The opportunity to evolve casinos into VIP destinations for gamers is huge, and with both companies sharing the same goals they can work together to achieve this.


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London Welcomes FitCon

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Leading fitness expo FitCon is coming to the capital this year with a three-day special event in April that will include the staging of the UKBFF & IFBB qualification competitions, in what promises to be an unmissable weekend for any fitness enthusiasts here in the UK.

The FitCon expo at London’s Olympia Hall is set to bring together some of the leading brands and greatest athletes around today, and it will run from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd April when around 75,000 visitors are expected to show up across the course of the three days.

FitCon is aiming to offer a one-stop-shop for all fitness enthusiasts in the UK over 15,000 square meters of the best in fitness and sports nutrition, and big names such as NOVO Nutrition, MusclePharm, MuscleTech and BSN will all be there, along with MuscleMeds, MHP and Ronnie Coleman Signature Series who have also signed up to the showcase event.

On top of all of the exhibitors that will be at the event, there will also be some of the biggest, best and most popular professionals in the industry today, including names such as 8-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman, Simeon Panda, Sergio Constance, Lazar Angelov and the infamous Harrison Twins.

Owen Harrison will be attending the event along with his brother, and he has commented, “Our 2017 schedule is already jam packed with exciting events and FitCon is definitely one of those that we are really looking forward to,” with brother Lewis adding, “The exhibitors and athletes already signed up to attend are some of the biggest names in the industry, so it should be a great few days at London’s Olympia.”

There are a number of limited spots available for exhibitors to secure their spot at the conference, and visitors can purchase tickets at £27.50, so to avoid disappointment book now!

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Matthew Algie Set for CATEX Return

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Matthew Algie is one of the leading specialist coffee roasters in Ireland that supplies coffee, machines, training and industry insight to thousands of operators in the UK and Ireland, therefore it is only fitting that the company is making a return to Ireland’s biggest annual food service exhibition, CATEX, in Dublin from 21st to 23rd February.

The company will be unveiling a brand new suite with the aim of driving footfall for customers, and there will also be various different coffees being served three ways at the main bar for guests to enjoy, including Espresso drinks made from the brand new Synesso machine, standard filter coffees and cold brews fresh from Matthew Algie’s ‘Toddy’ range.

“We understand how important great coffee and seasonal offerings are in helping operators to drive footfall, win loyalty, generate impulse sales and increase trip spend,” commented Andrew Jack, the Head of Marketing at Matthew Algie. “Our experts will be on hand to help and inspire you to create a seasonal menu that is just right for the business.”

Matthew Algie’s Espresso Warehouse spring range will also be unveiled at CATEX, which includes the refreshingly zesty Matcha & Lime Crush and the tasty Salted Caramel Fudge Frappe, along with two more new products for people to try out on the day.

There will also be new additions to the impulse snack range, such as two new varieties of Lumberjack Flapjacks in the shape of Ginger, Orange & Dark Chocolate and Yoghurt & Mixed Berry. As well as this, there are three classic flavours of Brown Bag Crisps, with the full range of snacks and treats available for sampling at the event.

So if you are going to the CATEX event then make sure you pay Matthew Algie a visit, with the staff on hand to talk all things coffee!

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New Products for Caterers Choice at IFE

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Caterers Choice is a company that specialises in food sourcing and importing here in the UK, and with the International Food & Drink Event 2017 at ExCeL in London taking place on the 19th to 22nd March rapidly approaching, it appears that the business has a few new surprises in store for everybody!

Preparation for the event is well underway as far as Caterers Choice is concerned, and the family-run, West Yorkshire company is trying its best to follow on from the success it has had at various festivals and key trade shows recently, including the IFE itself in 2015.

The business is seeking out new opportunities as well as maintaining relationships with its existing customer base, and IFE 2017 provides the perfect opportunity to show case the company’s latest award-winning product ranges.

“The design of our stand is arranged to showcase both our Caterers Choice product range, but also our brands including Fairer Fish, Fruitypot and JellySqueeze,” commented Sarah Booth, the Commercial Director at Caterers Choice. “The size and flow of the stand encourages browsing and we hope customers will take the time to look at any of the products which may be relevant to them.”

The new flavour of the JellySqueeze product is the popular Apple and Blackcurrant, and this is the third product that has come out of the innovative JellySqueeze range. These are now available in most key leisure brand and retail outlets around the UK, and people will have the chance to give them a try at Stand S3714 at IFE 2017.

The Fruitypot range has also been rebranded to appeal more to the customer base, and an online shop is set to be launched in March which will allow people to purchase the JellySqueeze and Fruitypot products from all over the world, so 2017 is proving to be an exciting year for Caterers Choice!


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Big Hospitality Conversation at Anfield

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The British Hospitality Association has organised the first Big Hospitality Conversation of the year at the home of Liverpool FC, Anfield, in conjunction with Springboard and the Department for Work and Pensions. The event will be held on 14th February, and will take place in LFC’s recently expanded main stand, with plenty of activities available throughout the day.

The Minister for Employment will be attending the event alongside key businesses and industry leaders, with jobseekers between the ages of 18 and 24 able to see what is on offer. The activities are set include things such as careers speed dating, talks from leaders in hospitality, a hospitality careers exhibition and apprentice’s experiences as well as many more talks.

“We are delighted to bring the Big Hospitality Conversation to Liverpool on February 14 at Liverpool Football Club, following the expansion of Anfield Stadium,” commented Ufi Ibrahim, the Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association. “Liverpool Football Club has already generated a number of match day opportunities for young people in the nearby area. It will be fantastic to showcase the success of these events which take place around the UK, to highlight the huge impact they have on young people’s lives.”

The directors at LFC are extremely delighted to be hosting this important event, and they are hoping that the location of the main stand will help to inspire young people and provide a memorable setting. The club has made an outstanding contribution towards providing young people with job opportunities in recent years, with over 1,000 match day jobs being generated from a recent recruitment drive, so this is furthering the good work.

It promises to be an event you won’t want to miss out on if you are interested in working in hospitality and are living nearby, so get yourself down there and check out what is on offer!

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Easy Access to French Gastronomy Following Gourming Launch

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Access to top quality French food and drink products has now been made easier than ever, following the launch of new online gourmet marketplace ‘Gourming’, with 5,000 items already listed on the site that was launched in Paris on 18th January.

Gourming is aimed at the restaurant, hospitality, catering and food distribution industries and is a trade-only web portal, with around 250 French producers on board already. It has been created and developed by Le Duff Group, which is a leading business in the Café Bakery sector with a presence in 90 countries across five different continents.

“Gourming provides a simple way to connect French producers with chefs, restauranteurs and other members of the food and catering industry around the globe,” commented Louis le Duff, the Founder and President of the Le Duff Group. “Over three quarters of France’s small and medium sized food businesses barely export at present, if at all, so Gourming provides a way of unlocking their potential in order to provide exceptional produce for catering and food industry professionals worldwide. As such, we see Gourming as the community of good food and French gastronomic culture.”

Each of the producers that are currently listed with Gourming have completed a rigorous selection process which ensured that the services and products that were being offered were of the highest quality, and the aim is to double the figure of producers that are on board with Gourming by the end of the year.

Gourming is now live and is available in 26 different countries including here in the UK, and there even plans to extend its reach to North America and Asia in the near future. This one stop solution really does meet trade customer’s needs all over the world, and it is likely to go on to bigger and better things.

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New Acquisitions at M&L Hospitality

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Singapore-based real estate investment group M&L Hospitality has made two new acquisitions in Europe, with the two new additions situated in Prague and Amsterdam and therefore further expanding the company’s European portfolio and increasing M&L’s full portfolio to 18 properties around the world.

The new Prague and Amsterdam additions take the European property portfolio total up to 9, and boosts the overall portfolio value up to a staggering $2.5 billion, so to say that M&L is making big steps forward in the industry would be an understatement.

“These new acquisitions in Europe are a testament to our confidence in the region and we look forward to expanding our European portfolio further,” commented Neil Maxwell, the Chief Executive Officer of M&L Hospitality. “The properties are located in key cities with solid economic fundamentals, providing our stakeholders with access to quality real estate assets.”

The Hilton Prague Old Town was acquired by M&L Hospitality in December, and this is a well-established five-star, 303-bedroom freehold property in the heart of the city centre, which is a prime location for the Old Town. The property contains 14 meeting and function rooms which have the capacity to accommodate 340 guests, and it is walking distance from some of Prague’s top tourist attractions.

The Park Inn by Radisson Amsterdam Airport was acquired by M&L towards the back end of 2016, and this is close to Schiphol Amsterdam Airport which is Europe’s fourth largest and fastest growing international airport. Once again, this property is ideally located for the city centre, and therefore some of the Netherlands’ top sights and attractions are easily accessible.

These two acquisitions are clearly great purchases and demonstrate the company’s ambitions to continue its impressive growth in the industry, so I’m sure the next acquisition will be just around the corner as M&L continues to progress.

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