PizzaExpress Wins Consumer Superbrands Status

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PizzaExpress has just been awarded Consumer Superbrands status for the very first time. The brand was voted by 2,500 members of the British public and ratified by a voluntary council of senior independent industry experts. Winning this accolade demonstrates PizzaExpress’ efforts to remain distinctive, relevant, and attractive.

“We are so proud to be awarded Superbrands status. PizzaExpress has been a firm favourite of the nation since 1965 and is synonymous with good pizza and good times for generations of families. It’s important to us that we continue to listen to our customers and understand the needs and wants of future generations to ensure we remain a much-loved brand,” commented on the achievement Zoe Bowley, Managing Director at Pizza Express.

PizzaExpress managed to climb an impressive 176 places in the Superbrands ranking, with supermarket sales totalling £114 million in 2017 through their ranges that included chilled pizza, bread and salad dressings.

Over 1,500 brands across 78 categories were judged against the three core criteria of a Superbrand: quality, reliability, and distinction, in a process managed by The Centre for Brand Analysis (TCBA) in partnership with Research Now SSI.

“Being highly thought of is important for brands in any market, but in highly competitive markets it is essential. Achieving Superbrands status is recognition that PizzaExpress remains a leading brand in the UK. It confirms that PizzaExpress is respected and well-regarded by the British public, who vote to decide which brands attain the Superbrand accolade – representing in their eyes the three core factors inherent in a Superbrand, namely quality, reliability and distinction,” said Stephen Cheliotis, CEO of The Centre for Brand Analysis (TCBA) and Chairman of Superbrands.

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BaxterStorey Baristas Win in the Belgium Barista Championship

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Remy Poirot and Erica Lamenter, two baristas from BaxterStorey’s AXA headquarters contract in Brussels have won the first and second place in the Belgium Barista Championship 2018, organised by the Speciality Coffee Association at the Viva Sara Kaffée Kortrijk coffeehouse in Belgium last week.

“I am thrilled to have won – it was an adrenaline-fuelled day and very exciting. I developed a simple but effective signature drink, adding unrefined coconut sugar to complement the tropical flavours of the espresso and tangerine juice to bring creaminess to the drink. I’m really proud to be able to represent Belgium in the World Barista Championship, and can’t wait to compete in Amsterdam in June,” commented Remy.

The three finalists were invited to showcase their creative flair and coffee knowledge in front of a specialist judging panel, serving four espressos, four milk beverages, and four signature drinks within 15 minutes. Each barista had to explain their choice of coffee and demonstrate their understanding of the espresso machine. Both Remy and Erica used coffee beans roasted by local Belgium supplier Cuperus.

“Both Remy and Erica are first-time competitors in the national championships, and we are so proud of their incredible achievements in this final. They worked very hard to prepare for the event and their performance has highlighted the extremely talented professionals they are,” said Jana Slamova, national barista trainer at BaxterStorey.

Remy and Erica also secured second and third place earlier this year in the BaxterStorey Barista Championship 2017, which saw six baristas from across the business compete in a closely fought final at the Salvation Army International Headquarters in London.

Remy Poirot, the winner of the Belgium Barista Championship will now represent Belgium at the prestigious World Barista Championship 2018, which will take place in Amsterdam from the 21st until the 24th of June.

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The City Kitchen Is Funding a ‘Vlogger Bursary’

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The City Kitchen is offering a huge opportunity for those wishing to make a career on YouTube, giving away an £8,000 travel fund, a vlogging kit and mentorship from one of YouTube’s rising stars, Jason Billam. This ‘vlogger bursary’ will equip one winner with everything they need to kick start a career as a professional travel vlogger.

“We want to give one person the opportunity to enjoy the flavours of the world, record their adventures and use this incredible opportunity to kick start a career on YouTube. As part of their travels, the winner will be able to experience first- hand the unique and authentic cuisines that inspire our dishes,” said a spokesperson for The City Kitchen.

The brand offers a range of chilled ready meals exclusively for Tesco, inspired by cuisines from around the world including Japan, Spain, China, Thailand, Malaysia, and India.
The winner will not only benefit from funding, but also from mentoring from Jason Billam, one of YouTube’s top UK travel vloggers, who has now visited 27 countries and is making a full-time career out of travel vlogging.

“This is a unique opportunity to ignite your career as the next travel vlogger. The gear list and prize money is a massive head start in what is now a highly competitive industry. I can’t wait to work with the winner and offer all the advice I have, from travelling solo in some of the world’s least visited countries, to editing your shots with a cinematic edge,” said Jason.

In addition, the winner’s package also includes a DSLR camera and a laptop with video editing software to make sure the next vlogger will be able to create their own stunning travel content.

To enter, aspiring vloggers are asked to produce a short vlog with a food and travel theme, which will be judged by a panel that includes Jason Billam. The competition runs from the 13th of March until the 1st of May 2018.

Visit www.ilovecitykitchen.co.uk to find out more information, including all competition terms and conditions.

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Lucky Voice Announces Sales Growth

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Lucky Voice, a private karaoke company, has announced a 20% YOY increase in bar sales, following a steady growth since the business’s launch. The company has three owner-operated venues in the UK, including Soho, Islington, and Brighton.

In December 2017, Lucky Voice saw a 17% increase in Christmas bar sales and an overall 8% increase in bar sales in the same year. Despite the fact that ‘Dry January’ is usually the quietest month in the calendar, the growth has shown no signs of slowing down in the new year and the bars reported a 20% increase in January, as well as February, compared to 2017.

Lucky Voice has been going through a time of development with the refurbishment of its Islington venue and the launch of a Dubai franchise, both taking place over the last few months. The Dubai venue was the fifth franchise for the business, joining the Novus Leisure partnership in the UK, which offers replicas of the Lucky Voice venues within their Tiger Tiger branded bars across the UK.

“We are catering for the growing number of people seeking more than just drinks from their night out, making the karaoke element of our bars all the more compelling. The success of our refurbished Islington venue is a good case in point, with extras such as fancy dress and games, as well as karaoke. Aside from this, we’re proud to say we’re catering for the growing multicultural population. Lucky Voice offers the most extensive multi-language playlist in the UK, with over 9,000 songs in eight languages, including Chinese, Russian and Arabic,” commented Charlie Elek, managing director at Lucky Voice.

Lucky Voice opened its first karaoke venue in Soho, London, in 2005, and since then, private karaoke was brought back into the mainstream. Its venues across the country allow groups of between four and 15 people to sing their hearts out in private, benefiting from a huge up to date song list and intuitive touch screen technology.

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Corinthia Palace Hotel Secures 13 Medals at Hotelympia

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Corinthia Palace Hotel, Malta, managed to clatch 13 medals at the UK’s most prestigious hospitality and foodservice event, Hotelympia. The four-day event includes a competition to award top culinary skills and Corinthia Palace Hotel walked away with two gold, three silver, and eight bronze medals.

The winners are featured in a range of categories and include: Mark McBride, who won gold for the Table Centre Piece, Jonathan Zammi, who won gold in Amuse Bouche and bronze in Open Lamb, Mark Tabone, who won silver in Butcher a Whole Chicken for Saute, bronze in Prepare a Best End of Lamb and bronze in Master Chef of Great Britain Challenge, Johan Saliba, who won silver in Avocado Starter and bronze in Butcher a Whole Chicken for Saute, Ryan Pisani, who won bronze in Shrimp Starter, and Manuel Schembri, who won silver in Amuse Bouche and bronze in Open Lamb. Jonathan Zammit and Mark Tabone won together bronze in Tilda Chef Team of the Year, while Ryan Pisani and Johan Saliba won bronze in Churchill & Potter Grand Prix.

“I am delighted for my team,” said Executive Chef Stefan Hogan. “They are amazing results.” The tally of 13 medals at this year’s Hotelympia improves on the eight medals the hotel secured at the last Hotelympia, in 2016.”

The fantastic Hotelympia results this year follow hot on the heels of success on their home turf, where the kitchen brigade secured eight awards at the Malta Kulinarja Cooking and Arts Championships held last month. The chefs competed across a vast range of categories and scored four silver medals and four bronze medals.

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