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All Posts By Shawni Dunne

Renowned Nigel Passes the Cheese Iron to Diane Cox

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The UK’s largest independent cheese producers and producers of renewable energy, Wyke Farms, have announced the appointment of Diane Cox as official ‘Technical Director’ in charge of Cheese and Butter Grading.

Renowned former Technical Director Nigel “the Nose” Pooley has graded approximately 520 million packs of cheese and butter in his lifetime. Nigel has announced his retirement and is handing over the cheese iron to Cox. Nigel has been training Diane for more than 10 years in order for her to replace him and his famous £5m nose. In 2009, his nose was estimated to be worth the impressive amount to the company, by way of insurance.

Having worked her way up from Site Technical Manager to Group Technical Manager, Cox will step into the role as an official Wyke Farms cheese grader immediately. Her responsibilities will include selecting the Wyke Farms cheese and butter only when it has matured to perfection, making sure the flavour is consistent throughout the 15,000 tonnes produced every year. Diane will report to Rich Clothier, third generation family member and Wyke Farms Managing Director.

Rich Clothier said: “This is a big transition for Wyke Farms. Replacing Nigel is no easy task. Diane’s background is a great fit for this role and I have no doubt she will continue to make sure our cheese and butters are of the consistent high quality our consumers demand.  She has been part of the family for some time now, we are delighted with her promotion.

The company is in talks with insurance companies to protect Diane’s nose/sense of smell and plan to secure a policy covering her assets for up to £5 million pounds.

Wyke Farms has grown to become one of the largest family-owned cheese makers in Britain selling over 15,000 tonnes annually. The company has been producing its award-winning cheddar for over a century.

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New Dim Sun Dishes Launch at Royal China Fulham

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While London offers a range of varied and wonderful cuisines for the foodie to sample, it can sometimes be difficult to find unusual and unique dishes to try. Royal China Fulham will be serving up an exciting new authentic Chef’s Special Dim Sum menu featuring a range of Chinese delicacies that are often hard to find in the capital.

The prestigious Royal China Group is renowned for its authentic Dim Sum and the unique new menu is now available, having launched on 1st October. The menu will run until after Chinese New year 2017, from Noon until 4pm.

The menu features rare and exciting dishes including Steamed Chilli Pork with Chive Dumplings and Fish and Pork Siu Mai Dumplings. There is also a selection of fried Dim Sum including Deep-Fried Prawn Balls with Chef’s special Soup Stock, and Crispy Turnip Cake.

Diners can also enjoy exotic desserts such as Pandan & Coconut Layer Cake. Pandan is a tropical plant found in South East Asia which is often used in savoury and sweet Asian dishes due to its sweet aroma.

The intimate restaurant can be found on Fulham Road and is the smallest restaurant in the Royal China group. The family friendly restaurant offers an al fresco dining experience on a charming outdoor patio. The signature Chinese mural covers one wall of the restaurant, while textured gold walls run along the other.

The Fulham Royal China is the only restaurant in the group to offer a home delivery service and serve authentic evening Dim Sum platters.

The Royal China Group hosts six of London’s most authentic and prestigious Chinese restaurants, including the luxurious and critically-acclaimed Royal China Club. Based in prime areas of London, the restaurants are centrally located on Baker Street, as well as in Bayswater, Fulham, Harrow-on-the-Hill and Canary Wharf.

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Clink Events Awarded Three-Star Food Made Good Rating from SRA

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The external catering service run by innovative prisoner training scheme The Clink Charity, Clink Events, has been awarded a three-star ‘Food Made Good’ rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) after achieving an ‘exceptional’ score of 78%, putting them in the top 20% of SRA members.

The prestigious award recognises restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars, contract caterers, universities and hotels whose extraordinary accomplishments in the last year have driven advancement in the industry and demonstrated that all food can be made delicious, ethical and sustainable.

Commenting on the achievement, Clink Events director and founder of the original Clink Restaurant, Alberto Crisci MBE said: “I’m really pleased that our commitment to environmental practices and sustainability has been recognised further. All four Clink Restaurants hold the SRA’s seal of approval at the highest level and to be able to add Clink Events to that achievement is testament to the hard work that goes in. The three-star award really demonstrates the exceptional standard of sustainability that can be seen right across the board and once again provides evidence of The Clink going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure industry best practice is in place within our organisation and far beyond.

“We’re far more than just another corporate caterer and sustainable practices don’t simply reach to sourcing, recycling and the environment but we incorporate sustainability into the people within. We don’t just offer high quality catering but we give people who deserve a second chance in life the opportunity to change for the better and encourage our trainees to pursue a career in hospitality – an industry facing a severe skills shortage.”

Chief executive of the SRA, Andrew Stephen, expressed his congratulations: “Event organisers looking for a caterer that really cares about what goes on a cocktail stick and where it comes from, goes all out to ensure the bare minimum ends up in the bin and truly invests in its staff, can rest assured they will get all this and more from Clink Events. It’s magnificent to see the levels of sustainability practised at all of the Clink prison restaurants being matched in the events business.”

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Lancaster London’s Sleep Out Success for West London Day Centre

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Charitable staff from the Lancaster London Hotel have raised £6.5k for local homeless charity, West London Day Centre. On Friday 23rd September 2016, the Lancaster London team left behind the luxury of the hotel, gathered their sleeping bags and headed to Paddington to sleep out through the night.

During the Sleep Out, Community Ambassador Margaret Pollock and two representatives from the charity were joined by a host of Lancaster London staff and the hotel’s General Manager Sally Beck to spend the night outside St James Church in a move to raise money to support the charity’s good work in the community. With such dedicated and determined leaders, it is little wonder that the hotel has established itself as a key CSR player in the UK’s hospitality industry.

The following morning, the Lancaster London team were joined by a homeless man called Damian, who is currently being supported by the West London Day Centre’s Senior Project Workers. Damian showed his appreciation for the event by offering the participants orange juice.

All the money raised from the annual Sleep Out will go directly towards the charity’s Advice Service, which helps people to move off the streets and back into accommodation. Every day up to 100 homeless people visit the day centre to be provided with day to day support and meals, as well as access to a range of specialist services and an on-site Homeless Health Team.

The centre also runs longer-term development groups including employment support, as well as arts and music groups to build confidence, assist with social integration and support people in moving away from a street-based lifestyle.

The charity relies on vital support from fundraisers to continue to help between 20 to 30 homeless people off the streets and back into accommodation every month.

Lancaster London’s conscientious staff members have embarked on several projects over the last couple of years including undertaking regular visits to schools to talk about the different roles of the hotel’s honey bees, stuffing envelopes for COSMIC’s quarterly newsletters, painting houses for EAVES victims and holding numerous fundraising events.

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Too Much at Steak: 65% of Brits Would Rather Give up Love than Eating Meat

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With World Vegetarian Day (1st October) having just passed, statistics have been released by dating site EliteSingles that suggest Brits would give up love rather than giving up eating meat. Looking at dating trends and the British diet, the survey revealed that 65% of Brits would be willing to dump a partner who tried to make them go vegetarian.

A study of 750 UK singles revealed that a number of meat eaters who fall for vegetarians worry that burgers and hot dogs will have had their chips.

While 20% of meat eater worry that dating a vegetarian would mean giving up meat for good, only 3% on vegetarians would insist on ‘converting’ a partner.

However, if asked nicely by a vegetarian partner, nearly half of Brits (48%) would be prepared to try going at least ‘semi-vegetarian’. This includes 32% who would try to avoid eating meat in front of their partner and 16% who would be prepared to give it up entirely.

31% of the vegetarians surveyed admitted they would like a partner to at least consider eating less meat, while the vast majority, 66%, don’t think it’s their place to make demands on a partner’s diet.

Compared to other counties, it would seem that Brits are relatively open-minded about vegetarian dating.

The study found that 71% of UK singles would most like to date a meat eater and just over a quarter, 29%, would most like to date a vegetarian.

EliteSingles conducted the same survey across European countries, and the results suggested that British Vegetarians have it relatively easy. In Hungary and France, only 15% of people would rather date a vegetarian than a meat eater.

Interestingly, Spain topped the list for vegetarians looking for love, with 37% of singles saying they would prefer to date a non-meat eater.

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Healthy Food Brands Looks to Future with New NPD Appointment

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Healthy Food Brands has affirmed its commitment to innovation within the industry with the recruitment of Product Development Manager, Lizzy Cox. Lizzy will oversee the development of the company’s major brands including Free & Easy, PLj, The Really Interesting Food Company, Rayner’s and Honegar.

“Food has always been my passion. My fondest childhood memories involve food preparation with my mum – albeit often something wildly unhealthy but utterly delicious such as a batch of peppermint creams dyed purple with food colouring!

“Today, as back then, food is an integral element of family life, and we have the opportunity to bring products to the UK market which are wholesome and nourishing, and tick the ‘family friendly’ box too.  I am hugely excited about the role that I will play in bringing fresh and nutritious new products to the UK market on behalf of Healthy Food Brands.”

Lizzy’s experience includes high profile FMCG businesses such as Kate’s Cakes and LSG Sky Chefs. Lizzy will focus on expanding the consumer offering within key product ranges, which enhancing recipes for existing products within others.

Healthy Food Brands’ Managing Director Cliff Moss said: “Our awareness, both as consumers and manufacturers, around the value of nutrition has changed the face of the UK’s health food industry, presenting us with the chance to create something truly outstanding for our customers.

“Lizzy brings invaluable know-how to Healthy Food Brands, and will be an asset as we look to future expansion.  We are delighted to welcome her to the team.”

Healthy Food Brands is a leading British manufacturer of quality health foods, drinks and cooking ingredients for the home and export markets. Healthy Food Brands manufactures prepared soups, sauces, ready meals, drinks, essences and cupboard essentials under a variety of brands. The company has its worldwide headquarters on Daux Road in Billingshurst.

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UK Retailers Boosted by Emerging Market Demand for Tech Innovation

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British retailers are attracting international interest for their innovative technology approach, according to recent surveys. It is predicted that mobile commerce will surge to almost USD 640 billion in value by 2018.

Technology success stories emerging from the UK have gained global attention, particularly those combining brick-and-mortar stores with online and mobile shopping to reach millions of new customers.

An example is the growing success of Ocado. The UK-based online e-commerce and fulfilment platform is the world’s largest online-only grocery store. The platform can provide a shortcut for large grocery retailers to move online.

“Ocado is a tech company, a retail company, and now also a platform company too. Technology, retail, and services are all things the UK economy does well, and when you can combine that experience and reputation, there is enormous value in the global marketplace,” said Paul Clarke, Chief Technology Officer, Ocado, who will be among global keynote speakers at Dubai’s GITEX Technology Week, one of the world’s most influential technology events.

At the retail conference, attendees will be able to network and learn insights and real-world advice to help them succeed in the rapidly-digitising retail sector.

A recent report by VISA has suggested that mobile commerce is set to reach USD 638 billion by 2019 with the UK being an early adopter of retail technology. Digital technologies bridge the gap between online and offline shopping, with online playing a role in 28% of in-store UK purchases, and GBP 170 billion in UK sales per year, according to a recent report by consultancy firm Deloitte.

“The UK is rapidly becoming a global centre for the sharing economy, with public-private partnerships developing worker and safety standards. By weaving in the sharing economy throughout cities, we can transform how the world lives and works,” said Debbie Wosskow, who will share her insights to hundreds of global startups at the GITEX Startup Movement.

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Geoffrey Rush is Latest Celebrity to Join Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s Campaign

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Award-winning Australian actor Geoffrey Rush has been welcomed as the newest celebrity fan to join Mandarin Oriental’s USD multi-million global advertising campaign ‘He’s a Fan/She’s a Fan’.  The campaign highlights celebrities who regularly stay at the Group’s hotels, elegantly incorporating the company’s well-recognised symbol, the fan into personalised photoshoots.

As an appreciation of the celebrities’ support, the Group makes a donation to each celebrity’s individual choice of charity. Geoffrey Rush is the Group’s thirtieth fan to join the campaign and has chosen UNICEF to benefit. Rush chose to be photographed at the Victorian and Albert Museum in London as his destination of choice. Rush was photographed by renowned photographer Mary McCartney.

In an interview, Rush described watching the Horse Guards Parade from a guestroom balcony of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, with his young children 20 years ago. Rush references this moment, among many, as being one of the reasons he is so fond of staying in Mandarin Oriental hotels.

As one of only a handful of actors to have won the ‘Triple Crown’ – namely an Oscar, a Tony and an Emmy, Rush has suggested that there is “no guidebook for winning an Oscar”. Rush has starred in 63 diverse feature films and is most well-known for his roles in Shine, The King’s Speech and Pirates of the Caribbean. As well as being a talented actor, he is also an accomplished pianist.

Mandarin Oriental’s other celebrity fans include Chen Kun, Isabelle Huppert, Lucy Liu, Morgan Freeman, Cecilia Bartoli, Caterina Murino, Sir Peter Blake, Lin Chiling, Karen Mok, Kevin Spacey, Christian Louboutin, Sophie Marceau, IM Pei, Michelle Yeoh, Jane Seymour, Kenzo Takada, Jerry Hall, Vanessa Mae, Vivienne Tam, Barry Humphries, Frederick Forsyth, Darcey Bussell, Bryan Ferry, Dame Helen Mirren, Maggie Cheung, Sigourney Weaver, Sir David Tang, Hélène Grimaud and Sa Ding Ding.

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AA Announces the Winners of the AA Hospitality Awards 2016

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Key figures from the hospitality industry came together last week to celebrate the outstanding winners of the AA Hospitality Awards 2016. The ceremony was held at the prestigious Grosvenor House Hotel in London and the 23 award winners were recognised for their hard work and expertise in the fields. Guests at the ceremony, hosted by Hugh Dennis, were treated to a gastronomic menu created by the 2015 AA Chefs’ Chef, Daniel Clifford.

Winners were selected in recognition of excellence and success within their chosen category and were deemed to have shown a significant improvement in the preceding 12-18 months and have proven their dedication to raising industry standard and enhancing both guest and diner experience. The judging panel consisted of experts from the AA inspectorate and other industry professionals chosen for their unrivalled knowledge and expertise.

The AA Hospitality awards aim to celebrate everything that is great in British hospitality, from top hotels and restaurants to the best of British pubs and college restaurants. All winners will appear in the latest edition of the 2017 AA Hotel, Restaurant and Pub Guides which were launched at the event.

This year’s winner of AA Chef of the Year is Simon Rogan. Simon is one of the most creative and dynamic chefs working in the UK today and his food has made an indelible impression on the country’s food scene. Simon’s influence is far reaching and has proven inspirational to numerous other people in the culinary industry.

Renowned chef Pierre Koffmann received the AA Lifetime Achievement Award. Koffmann has been working in the British restaurant scene since he arrived in England in the early 1970s. During his career he has trained a number of chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White, Marcus Wareing and Jason Atherton.

A full list of the winners can be found on the AA Hospitality Awards website.

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Emilia’s Crafted Pasta Comes to St Katharine Docks

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A new specialist pasta restaurant will open at St Katherine Docks in London at the end of October. Inspired by founder Andrew Macleod’s lifelong dream to open the best pasta restaurant outside of Italy, the restaurant will offer handmade, fresh, unique pasta dishes.

The pasta will be made on site every day, crafted on the marble counter tops in full view of passers-by every morning. Head chef Simone Stagnitto, who hails from Genoa, has taken inspiration from pasta recipes passed down the generations by his grandmother, to bring the food to life in the heart of London.

Simone and Andrew will be bring a range of new and unique dishes to London, and have spent the last 18 months studying the science and geometry of pasta as well as speaking to experts in Italy to ensure their pasta is the best possible quality.

Dishes will include Parmesan Balls – delicious, melt-in-the-mouth fried Parmesan, shaped into small balls, as well as twists on classic Italian dishes such as Bolognese made with homemade béchamel. House-made pesto is made in true Genovese style and is bursting with Parmesan, making it wonderfully tasty and creamy.

The rustic character of the restaurant is created through the use of reclaimed cargo timber cupboards and terracotta shaded floor tiles.

Despite growing up in the less privileged areas of West London, Andrew went on to set up his first successful business while at college aged just 17. Andrew’s first restaurant, Emilia’s, was inspired by his memories of travelling around Italy as a young adult and eating authentic pasta.

Andrew says: “Emilia’s will offer the tastiest Italian pasta in London served in a theatrical environment – a memorable experience at a very affordable price point – you’re not going to want to eat pasta anywhere else! I can’t wait for Londoners to try Simone’s incredible dishes, which burst with flavour and sunshine.”

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