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Teacher Helping Students Training To Work In Catering

Hospitality Apprenticeship Week

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Training is at the heart of everything Atalian Servest do, we pride ourselves on our commitment to providing training opportunities across the whole business.

To Celebrate Hospitality Apprenticeship Week, we are excited to put the spotlight on some of our colleagues working within our catering brands, Angel Hill and Academy. There are currently an impressive 46 individuals in our catering division alone who are studying for their apprenticeships, which range from Commis Chef Level 2, to Chartered Manager Degree Level 6.

Louise Goodall, company nutritionist, is currently studying for her Chartered Manager Degree Level 6 apprenticeship through Staffordshire University. After five years with Atalian Servest, Louise was keen to gain a more in-depth understanding of professional management to support with her personal development. She was keen to find a course that was manageable while working full time, so when she found out that Atalian Servest offers degree-level apprenticeships it was an easy decision. The course is structured around a mixture of both online webinars and face to face learning, so the flexibility was perfect for Louise.

Louise commented: “In my six months on the course I’ve learnt so much! I already feel like it has had a positive impact on day to day role. It’s completely flexible and works around me so I never feel overwhelmed and it is very manageable. I feel fortunate to be part of a company that allows me to continue developing my skills and gain new ones. A degree apprenticeship is a fantastic opportunity and I’m delighted I took the challenge on!”

Jordan Winterbottom, former apprentice catering assistant, recently completed his Hospitality Team Member Level 2 Standard. By breaking up the course into different specialist areas, it meant that studying never became boring and the different assessment types meant Jordan was continually pushed to produce the highest level of work.

Many of the areas of study were focused around practical skills, which contain valuable transferable skills such as recognising customer needs with a focus on concierge, reception and general guest services. Other areas of study were more specialised, such as serving alcoholic beverages, barista skills and food preparation.

Throughout his apprenticeship Jordan developed fantastic hospitality skills and knowledge and has gone from strength to strength, continually progressing in his role.

Jordan said: “I would recommend doing an apprenticeship through Atalian Servest, their passion and commitment in pushing people to achieve their best is what initially attracted me to the company. The apprenticeship has allowed me to gain job experience, knowledge and expertise, all while working alongside exceptional people”

Building upon the comments from both Louise and Jordan, Dawn Whitworth, People Development Manager said: “Apprenticeships are such an excellent opportunity, Louise and Jordan are both excellent cases of how successful our apprenticeship programmes are and we are excited to see how they develop further in the future”.

Be the first to find out about all our career opportunities here.

If you are you already an Atalian Servest employee, find out more information here and talk to your manager about all the apprenticeships programmes we offer

National Marine Week Turtle

National Marine Week

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“Human beings are sea creatures, dependent on the oceans just as much as whales, herring or coral reefs” (Sylvia Earle)

This week Angel Hill Food is celebrating National Marine Week, an initiative run by The Wildlife Trusts from the 27th July to the 11th August. Although the initiative is for 2 weeks a year, Angel Hill’s commitment to sourcing sustainable fish is a lifetime promise. This commitment starts by only serving fish from the ‘Fish to Eat’ list from Marine Conservation Society.

The MSC Fish to Eat List

Angel Hill is proud to feature on MSC’s wall of fame, certifying that they use their seafood ratings to make sustainable and thoughtful buying decisions. MSC has also compiled a ‘Fish to Eat’ list, which is comprised of fish from well-managed, sustainable stocks or farms. Similarly, they created a ‘Fish to Avoid’ list, which is made up of fish that are often overfished, vulnerable or from badly managed fisheries.

Choosing fish which feature on the ‘Fish to Eat’ list is a great start but in general, we are too reliant on the ‘Big 5’ (Cod, Haddock, Tuna, Salmon and Prawns). Great examples of alternatives include Coley instead or Cod/Haddock and Rainbow Trout instead of Salmon.

Although intentions may be good, it is often a confusing battle to ensure we purchase sustainable fish, but if you are ever in doubt look for the MSC logo. Any fish with the logo has been certified to the MSC fisheries standard, a science-based set of requirements to ensure sustainability.

Have you thought of going plant-based?

Are you prepared to go one step further from choosing sustainable fish and meat options by implementing a plant-based diet? According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), livestock is one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems. So even if it’s just adopting a plant-based diet for one day a week, it can make a big difference to the planet we all must live on.

There is even a not-for-profit campaign named ‘Meat Free Monday’ (MFM), which aims to raise awareness of the detrimental environmental impact of animal agriculture and industrial fishing. Their website, which you can find here is full of wonderful plant-based recipes to inspire you. A host of A-list celebrities have already endorsed MFM, including Ringo Starr, Tom Hanks, David Walliams and Joanna Lumley. So, what’s stopping you?

What steps are you going to take to make more sustainable choices? Find us on Twitter to let us know.

Three great recipes for National Vegetarian Week

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This week is National Vegetarian Week, running from the 13th to the 19th May. It celebrates the pleasures of a meat-free diet and raises awareness for vegetarianism.

Here are some of our favourite vegetarian dishes, we hope you love them too.

Creole Black Bean Burger Angel Hill Food

Creole Black Bean Burger

Recipe (serves 4)

Black beans are filling, healthy and packed with proteins and vitamins. We’ve put together the perfect recipe to make an easy and delicious burger. Its quick to make for ideal for a healthy meal any day of the week.

Ingredients

100g chopped mushrooms
1 chopped small onion
400g tinned black beans, drained
1 chopped red pepper
3 finely sliced spring onions
75g sweetcorn
4 brioche buns
2 eggs
120ml mayonnaise
15g fresh chopped garlic
30g fresh chopped coriander
30g fresh chopped parsley
10g smoked paprika
5g dried thyme

Method

  • Put the mushrooms, onion, garlic, black beans, pepper, spring onion, sweetcorn, coriander, parsley, paprika and thyme into a blender. Pulse until the ingredients are mixed but still have texture, do not blend into a puree. Season to your taste with salt and pepper.
  • Put the mixture into a bowl and add 50g of the plain flour. Take the mixture in your hand and form into four patties.
  • Take the rest of the flour, beaten egg and polenta and put them into three separate bowls. Dip each of the patties into the flour, then into the egg then into the polenta to coat.
  • Shallow fry the patties until golden brown on both sides, then put in a hot oven to heat through. Spread mayonnaise on the bun and serve how you like, we suggest with cheese, salad, tomatoes, pickles and relish.

 

Baked Spiced Cauliflower with a Rich Tomato Sauce

Baked Spiced Cauliflower with a Rich Tomato Sauce

Recipe (serves 6)

Often underrated, our chefs have taken cauliflower and transformed it into a delicious dish full of flavour. Combining spices from across the globe and baked to perfection, you won’t be disappointed.

Ingredients

1kg cauliflower florets
500g fresh tomatoes
150g red onion, diced
1 green chilli, chopped
30g tomato puree
200g spinach
100g cherry tomatoes, halved
5g turmeric
8g ground cumin
10g cardamom pods
20g ginger, chopped
20g garlic, chopped
30g coriander leaves, chopped
5g mustard Seeds
100ml vegetable oil

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C
  • Combine the turmeric, cumin and cardamom into a bowl to create the spice mix.

Cauliflower

  • Break your cauliflower down to florets and place in a bowl adding half the spice mix, a splash of oil and some salt, toss until well coated.
  • Put the spiced cauliflower and cherry tomatoes on a baking tray, add a splash of water and cover with foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes at 200°C.

Sauce

  • While your cauliflower is baking, grate the fresh tomatoes into a bowl.
  • Add the garlic and ginger into a blender and blend into a smooth paste. In a pan, fry the red onion over a medium-high heat until soft. Add the garlic and ginger paste, green chilli and mustard seeds to the pan.
  • Cook for one minute then stir in the tomato puree and the remaining half of the spice mix. After 30 seconds add the grated tomatoes and a pinch of salt, reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes. Add the spinach and coriander then cook for a further 3 minutes.
  • After your cauliflower has baked for 40 minutes remove from the oven and uncover, drizzle with some vegetable oil and cook in the oven for a further ten minutes, or until the cauliflower is golden brown. We suggest serving the cauliflower on a bed of white rice with the rich tomato sauce poured over the top.

 

Apple and Marzipan Cake

Apple and Marzipan Cake

Recipe (serves 8)

A twist on a delectable German classic. Our chefs have worked hard to perfect this recipe and are delighted to share it with you. Surrounding chunks of sweet apple with marzipan and encased in a beautiful sponge. When baked the flavours infuse themselves into this classic cake giving you a taste sensation.

Ingredients

2 Granny Smith apples
125g marzipan
30g caster sugar
30g brown sugar
45g plain flour
60g ground almonds
1.5 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
150g unsalted Butter
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Grease a medium-sized tin and line with greaseproof paper.
  • Peel and core the apples, slice one apple into approx. 20 slices and chop the second apple and the marzipan into chunks.
  • In a bowl, Cream the butter and sugar and mix in the flour, eggs, almonds, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves. Mix well.
  • Spoon some of the mixture into the base of the lined cake tin. Scatter the marzipan and apple chunks on top followed by another layer of the cake mixture. Repeat until you have no more ingredients to add, ending with cake mixture on top.
  • Toss the sliced apple with 2 tbsp of butter until they are coated. Arrange the apple on top of the cake and then sprinkle with brown sugar.
  • Place in the oven for 25 minutes and remove once the top is golden brown.

 

“At Angel Hill, we recognise the health benefits and positive environmental impact of a plant-based diet. We are delighted to support national vegetarian week throughout our business. Our teams nationwide will be offering their customers a variety of delicious nutrient rich dishes, using some of the best of British produce.” – Chris Ince, Chef Director.

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September Opening Offers

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We’re delighted to be opening up our new Angel Hill restaurants across the country in September.

If you’re one of the lucky ones enjoying the new food and are searching for our 10% discount, then search no more!

Mention the code “Welcome10” to our team at the till and you’ll receive 10% off

(when spending over £4.00 in the restaurant, between 3rd-7th September, in our newly launched locations)

While you’re here, don’t forget to check us out on Twitter and we hope to see you in our restaurants soon!

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Angel Hill at the ACE Charity Dinner

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Once again, we were delighted to support this year’s ACE Charity Dinner at the Langham Hotel in London. The dinner managed to raise nearly £10,000 in support of some really good causes. The Angel Hill team helped kick things off in style with a fantastic array of canapés.

For this post, we decided to let the photos do the talking – so have a click through the images of the evening (just don’t do it on an empty stomach!)

The fantastic team behind the event were drawn from our Culinary Classroom sessions and the chefs had a great surprise while leaving when Michel Roux Jr. complemented them on all their efforts – great work guys!

 

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Culinary Classroom: Scottish Game

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The Culinary Classroom guys are a fearless bunch, and they needed to be in January when they had to brave a very chilly Scotland in search of some of the best game Britain has to offer.

This session was the organised and arranged by John Fleming, Development Chef for Scotland, as he wanted to share his knowledge and enthusiasm for game with everyone. John grew up in Scotland on the game estates, he often helped raise the birds and so was involved in the whole cycle. It was exactly this experience that helps drive his respect for the ingredients we cook with – and something he wanted the Culinary Classroom chefs to experience first hand.

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As always, it was a bright and early (dark and cold!) start to the day in Scotland, with the group arriving early in the morning. Luckily, as always, John was well prepared with a much needed supply of piping hot Groundhouse coffee. The group was split up into two for the first drive, one off with the beaters and the other with the guns. So it was time to scramble into the back of a trailer or to put those boots to good use (and find out how warm they really are..).

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What followed was a crash course in Scottish game; from the way the birds are reared, to the training of the dogs, the history of the estate and through to traditional cooking methods and modern attitudes towards it. One of the reasons we set up the Culinary Classroom is to bring craft skill back to the forefront of cooking – something that was on the wane. Sadly, the same is true of game and the skills needed are slowly being lost.

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It was great to get the chefs out into this environment, as there was a real mix of experience within the group. We believe it’s vitally important for our chefs to understand where their ingredients have come from, and the love and dedication that’s gone into producing them, way before they make their way into our restaurants and on to our plates. It was a real eye-opener for some, while others had grown up on similar estates and were keen to share their knowledge.

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It was time to say goodbye to the staggeringly beautiful Scottish countryside and get the team back into their natural habitat of the kitchen. So we bid our farewells and went back to one of our nearby units to do what we do best.

It really was a fascinating day, and something that is very much removed from our day-to-day roles. It’s so important for our teams to be able to step outside of their comfort zone (literally!) and to seek inspiration and knowledge from less well trodden paths. We can’t wait to see what they come up with next..

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Catering Academy: Bringing History to Life

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The 14th of November is an especially poignant date for the city of Coventry – it was on this night in 1940 that a massive Nazi bombing raid begun, causing huge devastation to the city and its residents.

This date is especially important for the history curriculum of schools in the area, with many of them putting on special lessons, theme days and projects so that the pupils can understand the importance of the date and to learn the cultural significance of it.

IMG_0895The war years were a time of great hardship, not only for the obvious reasons, but also in terms of diet and availability of food – with Britain under a constant naval blockade, the ability to import food was severely restricted. The Catering Academy team in the Midlands realised the role that food could play in bringing these events to life, and so put on a special day to help support the history lesson plans at a Coventry Primary School.

The display included foods that would’ve been available during the war, wartime posters encouraging people to produce their own food and also period uniforms – to turn the dining hall into a live display from the 1940s.

IMG_0874Another aspect of the display was a typical ration pack from the era. It’s easy for us to read about rations, but to see the small amount of food that people lived on really drives home the impact that the food restrictions must’ve had on day-to-day life.

Throughout the day, the pupils of the school came to the display with their teachers – bringing the food out from the textbook and into real life.

IMG_0899That day, the team also put on a themed lunch and dressed in period clothing. It was a hugely successful day, with the Head commending them on their efforts and the impact it had on the children.

We were delighted to be able to support the school’s curriculum in this way and will continue to work in partnership with our contracts up and down the country.

 

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Video Recipe: Homemade Scotch Eggs

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Ingredients (per Scotch Egg):
1 sausage
1 soft boiled egg
4 eggs, beaten
Flour
Breadcrumbs

Method:
Skin the sausage
Soft boil the egg, and peel
Wrap the egg in the sausage meat
Coat in flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. Repeat.
Deep fry for 8-10mins, until golden brown.
Eat!

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Olio – love food, hate waste

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We’re delighted to be able to say that we’re the first food service business to partner with the exciting food waste app, Olio. After successfully completing a trial at one of our busy sites in Cambridge, we’re really looking forward to working closer with them and helping tackle the growing food waste issue.

Together we managed to save 1,525 items of food going to waste, which equates to 678 meals. We’re absolutely delighted that by partnering with Olio and working closely with our client, we were able to make such a positive impact on the local community. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

What is Olio?

Olio is a free app that connects neighbours with each other and with local shops and cafes so that surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. Users of the app simply snap a picture of their items and add them to OLIO.

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Why?

The social, economic and environmental case for action against food waste is compelling. Levels of food and drink waste by commercial and industrial businesses in the food sector amount to around 2.8 million tonnes, with a value of over £4.3 billion (source: WRAP). Food waste is also costly for local stores and governments, and ranks as one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases. OLIO seeks to address these problems by combining mobile technology with the power of the sharing economy and an engaged local community.

How?

With the help of our on-site team, and Olio’s network of Food Waste Hero volunteers, we are able to donate unsold food to the local community. This ensures that the food we produce goes to feed people, rather than be fed to animals or sent to land fill. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, helping the local community and simply being the right thing to do.

Learn more about Olio here, by downloading the app on your mobile or tablet device or by checking out their Twitter page @Olio_ex

 

 

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Culinary Classroom: At Fresh Direct

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The latest Culinary Classroom session was kindly hosted by our fresh produce supplier, Fresh Direct, at their wonderful facility in Bicester. The chefs travelled from far and wide and were treated to a fantastic day hosted by Head of Food Development, Duncan Parsonage, and Senior National Account Manager, Gemma Mortimer.IMG_5344To kick things off, Gemma gave the chefs an overview of Fresh Direct, their sourcing model and crop reports. This was then followed up by an interesting talk on the science of quality control, where they found out all about brix tests (a scientific method to determine how sweet produce is) and the processes behind their QC.

The chefs were then split into two groups; one going on a tour of the facility and the other having a session with Duncan. The facility was very impressive, with a clear emphasis on quality produce. Duncan’s session revolved around lesser-known and high quality produce; with an emphasis on how the products could be used within our business. IMG_5480At this point, it was time for some lunch, with a delicious rustic meal of pasta, slaw and home-baked bread.

After lunch, Duncan expanded on his previous session by sharing some dishes and tips on how they could be implemented alongside our current offer. The crumbed exotic mushrooms went down a storm, as did a delicious risotto and a North African-style hummus.IMG_5477With the chefs suitably informed and inspired, it was on to the afternoon practical session and a bit of competition (not that chefs are a competitive bunch..). Two teams were formed, given a range of produce and asked to create a vegetarian dish. It was a race against the clock, as they had only 20 minutes to prepare, cook and clean down. The judging team of Chris, Rhys, Matt and Duncan then had the tricky task of deciding on the winning dish.IMG_5577The first team served up with a cauliflower and parmesan fritter served on a carpaccio of courgette and beetroot, with the second cooking up Mediterranean cauliflower, asparagus and parmesan crisp. The judging team agreed that the fritter was the winning dish, but both teams were commended on the presentation and execution of their dishes.IMG_5582All that was left was to say goodbye and hop on the train, plane or in the car for the journey home. It really was an excellent day, full of inspiration and its always great for the chefs to get together from all corners of the country and talk shop. We can’t wait for the next session!

 

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Angel Hill at the StrEAT Food Awards

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We were delighted to find out that Piotr Krolikowski, one of our talented head chefs, was selected to compete in the finals of the 2017 B&I StrEAT Food Awards.

16 finalists went through to the live cook-off on Tuesday 28th March 2017 at the Islington Metal Works, London, and were required to cook technical and signature dishes in four heats. The technical dish was to include chicken from Love Joes, sauces and marinade from Major, and packaging from Planglow. After some deliberation, Piotr chose to make a Moroccan spiced chicken dish with cous-cous and aubergine.

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For the signature dish, the chefs were given free rein so we entered in our Vietnamese-style stuffed squid with a green papaya salad and sticky rice. You can find the recipe here, trust us – it’s fantastic.

Each of the dishes were reviewed by the judging panel, consisting of key industry figures and representatives from the sponsors. The judges were looking for taste, texture, appearance and creativity. Piotr had just 40 minutes to prepare and present both of his dishes, so all eyes were on the clock.

Piotr was chosen to cook in the second heat and despite some pre-match nerves, he was calmness personified once the action got underway. Both dishes were cooked beautifully and he finished with time to spare (a whole minute of it!).

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We were really proud of how well Piotr represented Angel Hill Food Co. and the dedication to his craft that he brings to his team on a daily basis. It was his first time cooking in a competition but he immediately looked at home – taking to it like a squid to water.

After Piotr had finished cooking, we had to wait until the evening to find out the results. There was a drinks and street food reception before the announcement, and so the event was a great chance for the industry to get together and do a little networking.

The winners were announced and while Piotr wasn’t amongst them this time, it was a brilliant showcase to what Angel Hill Food Co. can do. Being in the finals was great recognition of the talent we have at our disposal, he really did us proud and we’ll be back again next year!

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Recipe: Tony’s Jerk Chicken

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Background

In this recipe, Tony Stephens, Executive Head Chef at one of our most prestigious sites, shares his mum’s fantastic Jamaican jerk chicken recipe. Below is a bit of background on what makes this stunning dish so special.

“Back in the 1970s my dad got paid on a Thursday and my mum would buy a chicken. She’d then clean it, cut it and marinade it, military style! When my mum cooks she cooks with love, her jerk chicken always tasted amazing and she’d always always add just the right amount of ingredients to get the same taste every time – that’s experience for you! The marinading process takes three days, so the chicken was always ready for our Sunday lunch. I know lots of people have chicken for their Sunday lunch, but I promise you, this is special.

Sundays back then were a magical time for us, Dad used to play Bob Marley albums and make our favourite drinks – Guinness punch and carrot juice. We always sat around the table as a family, except when friends and family came over, then it was every man, woman and child for him or her self! They were great times; loads of talking, jokes, smiles and empty plates. I know everyone says their mum’s the best cook, but mine is truly awesome, she still cooks jerk chicken and my kids love it.”

Recipe (serves 4)

Jerk chicken recipe

4 chicken quarters with skin on

1 lemon

3 tablespoons oil

1 bunch spring onions roughly sliced

Thumb size piece of ginger peeled & chopped

6 garlic gloves chopped

2-3 scotch bonnets finely chopped (if you don’t want it hot, just use one. If you want it even milder, take out the seeds and discard)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves chopped

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground allspice

6-8 tablespoons Dunn’s River Jamaican jerk seasoning

3 tablespoons oil

  • Rinse the chicken under cold water, dry and slash the skin 3 times – but not too deep. Squeeze the lemon juice over chicken and massage. Leave to rest in fridge for around an hour.
  • In a bowl, mix all the other ingredients together. You should get a dry paste, now rub over the chicken making sure every part of it is well coated.
  • Place the chicken in the fridge for a maximum of 3 days and a minimum of 24 hours (I prefer 3 days)
  • Cook in an oven for around 45 minutes at 180c
  • While the chicken is cooking make the rice ‘n’ peas (recipe below)

Rice ‘n’ peas

200g dried kidney beans (soak them overnight in cold water in the fridge. Dried kidney beans are best as they taste better and give the rice the correct colour, but you can use canned kidney beans. Just don’t soak them.)

2 tablespoons cooking oil

½ onion finely chopped

3 spring onions finely chopped

3 sprigs of thyme

2 garlic cloves chopped

¼ scotch bonnet (if you want the rice hotter, use more)

1tsp Dunn’s River all-purpose seasoning

200g block coconut cream grated

2 teaspoons salt

400g Long grain white rice (I love long grain rice, but basmati rice can be used)

  • Drain kidney beans and rinse with cold water. Fill a saucepan with 1.5 litres of cold water, bring to the boil and add kidney beans. Boil for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 35 minutes until the beans are soft.
  • In another pan, fry the onions with oil, spring onions, thyme, garlic, all-purpose seasoning and scotch bonnet. Cook for 7 minutes on a medium heat and then add to the beans
  • Wash the rice and add to the beans, cook for about 20-25 mins until all the liquid has evaporated.

To Serve

It is always served with coleslaw and often with a Jamaican style hot sauce. When you want to impress, add a portion of fried plantain. So grab a glass of Guinness punch and carrot juice and enjoy!

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Angel Hill at the ACE Wine Dinner

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We were delighted to support ACE (Association of Catering Excellence) by supplying the canapés for their Wine Dinner in support of the Wiggly Worm charity. The event marked the 80th anniversary of the group’s founding and was held at The Langham in London. Michel Roux Jr. and Adam Handling added some culinary star power to the event and so it was great to showcase our chefs at such a prestigious event.The invitation to do the canapés for the reception came as a result of the impression we made at the FSM Awards a few months prior, which was fantastic. Vic Laws MBE, Administrator of ACE, approached us to see if we’d help support ACE with their dinner and we were more than happy to do so. IMG_4256Chris and the team soon set about designing the menu, knowing that our dedication to quality food with meaningful provenance served by knowledgeable chefs would hold us in good stead for the event. After some careful thought and consideration, this is what they decided on:

  • Mi-cuit river trout, sauce vierge
  • Tuna and black pepper, petit ratatouille, caper and tarragon
  • Gilt head bream cerviche, lemons, lime and chilli
  • Tartare of Shropshire beef, potato crisp, quail egg
  • Potted Suffolk ham, sauce gribiche
  • Bresaola, parmesan and rocket
  • Spinach, pinenuts and feta, crispy filo pastry
  • Watermelon cup, goat’s cheese, black olives and mint

We were lucky that The Langham is situated just across the road from one of our central London sites, so the team arrived early in the morning and prepared the food for the day in the kitchen there. It was then a case of packing everything up in special refrigerated containers and wheeling it across the road, where it was all put together on site.

Below are a couple of candid videos of  Matt and Tony walking us through the preparation behind the Beef Tartare and Potted Ham canapés.

Once the chefs had prepared everything, it was time to set up, plate up and serve the guests. Because we have truly awesome people at Angel Hill, we decided to do a live preparation station, allowing the guests to see our chefs creating the canapés and to chat about the food, where its from and how it was prepared. In addition to the live station, our chefs walked the room with plated canapés, and they really enjoyed engaging with the guests and talking them through the dishes.It was a fantastic evening for all involved and the feedback we had from the event was excellent. We’ll leave it up to Vic Laws MBE, ACE Administrator, to have the final word:

“I first experienced Angel Hill Food Co. at the FSM Awards and we were all very impressed.  I approached Chris Ince, their Chef Director, to see if they would support ACE at their Wine Dinner at The Langham Hotel. Where we were raising money for Wiggly Worm, their chosen charity. Chris, without hesitation, offered their support.

The canapés served were exceptionally good and the chef’s display attracted a lot of attention.  They truly contributed to an evening that raised over £16000 for our charity.  Thanks guys!”C5cWS9OWgAAcwWV

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Xmas Lunch for SIFA Fireside

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We are proud to support SIFA Fireside’s annual Christmas lunch for their clients, and we have done so for many years.

SIFA Fireside is the result of the merger of two charities; Supporting Independance From Alcohol and the Fireside Charity. They are based in the Digbeth area of Birmingham and have around 100 staff and volunteers. They work with those who are homeless, affected by alcohol or otherwise socially excluded to improve their physical, social and mental well-being.

SIFA Fireside aim to empower people to meet their short and long term goals. They do this through practical support, including daily drop-ins, a resettlement service, a specialist alcohol support service, well-being and activity groups and an employment and training programme.

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In order to help support SIFA Fireside, we donate a Christmas lunch for their clients – so we supply a full kitchen and front-of-house team, all the equipment and, of course, a full three course lunch. Those of us who have been lucky enough to participate in the event always look forward to it, as it really is amazing to be able to give back to the community and help spread some festive cheer.

Regional Operations Director, Martyn Stockwin, commented, “I’ve been involved in this event since we partnered with SIFA Fireside, and I really look forward to it every year. I’ve got to know their team over the years, and it’s great to be able to support the fantastic work they do”.

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The team arrived early on the morning of Wednesday 14th December, ready to cook and serve dinner for over 100 of SIFA Fireside’s clients. Chef Director, Chris Ince, was creating the magic in the kitchen with Martyn leading the front of house. On offer was a prawn cocktail or Polish sausage salad for starter, a full Christmas dinner for the main and a traditional Christmas pudding with custard for dessert. It was a busy service, but with everyone working like clockwork, it went really smoothly and we were delighted with the feedback we got from SIFA Fireside’s clients.

Ewen Kinnear, Chair of the Trustees at SIFA Fireside, commented on the day:

“We’re delighted with what you’re doing. I’ve been involved for about five years, and every year it just gets better and better. Our clients see this as one of the biggest occasions of the year, not only do they enjoy the food but they get the feeling of importance. Your level of professionalism is first class, but it’s also the fact that you care and you’ve stuck with us for all this time, giving us so much support – it’s absolutely brilliant. We couldn’t ask for more.”

All that’s left is to wish everyone a very merry Christmas from all of our team!

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Angel Hill Food Co at the 2016 FSM Awards

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The FSM award show is an annual event held to recognise excellence across the contract catering industry. The 2016 show was held at the Lancaster Hotel in London and various companies within the industry were invited to provide a course for the guests, with Angel Hill Food Co doing the canapés for the reception.

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Once the invitation came in, our development team sprang into action and started to plot our plan of action. Chris, Rhys and Matt wanted to showcase two of the most important things to us; the awesome people we have within our business and their dedication for exceptional food. So they decided that hand-caught River Test trout, from the fantastic Chalk Stream Foods, would be centrepiece of the food offering and that our Culinary Classroom chefs would be the team delivering it.

In the video below, Chris walks us through some of the thought processes behind everything.

 

The awards show was held on a Monday, so there was a busy weekend of preparation before the big event. The team were fantastically dedicated and pulled out all the stops in ensuring the evening went off without a hitch. With thousands of blinis, bites and skewers to be made, it wasn’t for the fainthearted!

We also decided to put a slight twist on the canape reception, by having a live table where guests could build their own canapés or have freshly carved trout gravadlax. This allowed our Culinary Classroom chefs to interact with the guests, chat about the provenance of the dishes and to experience the buzz of the show. It also mirrors our Chef Theatre offer, which has gone down so well in our restaurants.

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The results of all of this were absolutely staggering, and everyone involved with Angel Hill Food Co were immensely proud of the chefs and their flawless execution on the night. The canapés received loads of positive feedback from the guests and it served as a brilliant way to introduce Angel Hill Food Co to the industry as a whole.

We’ll let Chris, our Chef Director, have the final word.

What the team delivered last night in terms of quality does them a huge amount of credit. It was our first ‘outing’ as a new catering brand in front the whole of our industry, competitors and customers alike. The stakes were really very high and they delivered above and beyond expectation. Their interaction with the other chef teams, willingness to get involved and professionalism overall was outstanding. The hotel are delighted and I’ve just received an email from them inviting us back next year!

img_2888-minWe can’t say better than that! A huge well done to the team, it really was fantastic.

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SERVEST ACQUIRES CATERING ACADEMY LTD.

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Servest, a leading multi-service facilities management provider, has acquired Catering Academy Ltd in a strategic move to grow the Group’s catering division.

Catering Academy is an independent catering company that has built a reputation for bringing innovative solutions to a wide range of catering and ancillary services. Formed in 2004 by Louise Wymer and Kevin Cannon, the company operates nationally and works with a significant number of clients in the business and industry, education and healthcare sectors.

The acquisition will enable Servest Food Company to expand and develop its presence in the education and healthcare sectors. Servest initially approached Catering Academy in 2015, believing the dynamic catering company would be a good cultural fit. Both parties share aligned values, such as passion for excellent service and the belief in human partnerships to create mutual success. Cannon, Wymer and the senior management team will remain in place to facilitate a smooth transition into the group and to continue to grow the business by utilising their knowledge and expertise.

Servest Food Co’s vision is to continue to grow a number of brands that have real expertise and passion in specific sectors of the foodservice market. Wymer, Cannon and the rest of the Catering Academy team will utilise their passion and experience to drive the business forward into the education and care market sectors.

Louise Wymer, Co-Founder and Director of Catering Academy said: “We are excited to join forces with such an illustrious organisation in order to continue providing excellent service to our strong client base. The senior team at Catering Academy are thrilled to be a part of the exciting future at Servest.”

Servest has built a reputation for its acquisitive nature, and many of the senior team members from the businesses the company has bought are still in the driving seat of the business. Growing the divisions to new levels with the support of the wider group behind them. It is this entrepreneurial spirit that sets Servest a part and is a key factor in the culture of development within the group.

Rob Legge, Group Chief Executive Officer UK and Europe at Servest, said: “The acquisition of Catering Academy forms a part of Servest’s growth strategy and will help develop our already successful catering division. This decision demonstrates our commitment to boosting the Group’s footprint in the education and healthcare sectors and will enable us to offer additional expertise to our clients. I look forward to working with Catering Academy’s senior management team on assimilating the business into the Group.”

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Servest Group acquires Accuro Catering

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Servest Group acquires Accuro Catering

11th January 2016

Facilities management service provider Servest has further expanded its catering division with January’s acquisition of Accuro Catering, part of the Accuro FM Group.

Servest has identified the national contract catering company as being a good strategic fit for the expansion of the business. Accuro Catering works with an array of education, hospitals and healthcare clients and this recent acquisition will give Servest Group an increased presence in these key sectors.

Named as one of the UK’s top five fastest growing foodservice companies by the AlixPartners Report 2015, Servest Catering has secured many blue chip contracts and business wins in a short period of time and this most recent acquisition will assist its continued growth in key sectors.

Rob Legge, Group Chief Executive Officer UK and Europe at Servest said: “The acquisition of Accuro Catering enables us to offer additional catering services and expertise to clients. We welcome a very professional and experienced Accuro Catering operations team to Servest and look to support them in providing even greater standards of innovation in food and service to our new clients and customers.”

Nigel Prothero, Chief Executive of Accuro Support Services Group, worked closely with the Servest team throughout the acquisition process. “Having taken the decision to divest of our food service division to focus on our core cleaning and facilities management services, we were then keen that we partnered with the right company,” commented Prothero. “Servest stood out as a service provider that values its staff highly and invests in their wellbeing, which can only enhance the service provided to clients.”

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Servest’s rhys richardson named blue arrow chef of the year 2015

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Servest’s Rhys Richardson named Blue Arrow chef of the year 2015

18th November 2015

After a thrilling final, Rhys Richardson, Development Chef for Servest Catering, has been awarded the coveted title of Blue Arrow Chef of the Year 2015.

The competition was open to all ambitious and promising culinary professionals, offering a chance to showcase their talent to industry experts. With over thirty applicants this year, the competition was tough. The four competitors had previously battled through the challenging semi-finals held in London and Edinburgh to win a sought-after place in the final.

Cooking alongside Richardson were; Michal Wlodarczyk from The King’s Head House in Eastington, Gloucestershire, and BaxterStorey’s Jonathan Taylor and Rian Devaney.

The contestants had just three hours to cook a four-course meal, consisting of their signature dishes, under the watchful eye of an expert panel of judges. There was even an extra challenge in the form of the fish course, for which all four contestants had to prepare a dish using set ingredients, including hand-dived scallops..

The judging panel comprised of; Richard Skinner, Executive Chef for Artizian Catering (and Blue Arrow’s first Chef of the Year 2013), Sudha Saha, Executive Head Chef at the Saffron Group, and Mark Sargeant, renowned Michelin Star chef. They were tasked with judging the originality, skill and flavour combinations, as well as the visual presentation, use of seasonal ingredients and the complexity of each dish.

Servest’s Development Chef Richardson was unanimously declared the winner; his food was described as ‘absolutely delicious’ and the presentation of his dishes received especially high praise. Richardson’s fish course was the standout dish on his menu, being highly acclaimed for its innovative combination of flavours and mouth-watering presentation.

Richardson commented, “I’m over the moon! A lot of hard work and planning has gone in to creating my dishes and I’m chuffed that each dish looked and tasted the way I wanted. I couldn’t have done much more, so I’m elated with the feedback the judges gave me. I couldn’t have asked for better praise.”

In addition to being named Blue Arrow Chef of the Year, Richardson was awarded a personalised chef’s jacket and luxury 5-Star gourmet weekend break to Rome with £1500 spending money.

The winning menu:

Starter – Venison tartare, crispy quail’s egg, smoked emulsion and beetroot

Fish – Duo of hand-dived scallops, Granny Smith apple, hazelnut crème fraîche, chorizo oil and pea shoots

Main – Pan seared partridge, horseradish mash, black cabbage, date purée and pomegranate reduction

Dessert – Clementine cheesecake, gingerbread and pickled cranberries

Toni Richards from Blue Arrow said: “Now in its third year, this competition aims to celebrate the skill of chefs from across the UK. It was amazing to see such talent at work. We would like to thank all those who entered, and the support we received from our judges and clients has been phenomenal. A huge congratulations from everyone at Blue Arrow to Rhys and Servest on this fantastic achievement.”

 

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Servest group launches culinary classroom

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Servest Group launches culinary classroom

20th May 2015

Catering provider Servest Group has launched a development programme for talented chefs in the business, who want to progress to being head chefs.

The Culinary Classroom programme will see eight existing Servest chefs embark on a 10-month programme of training from September. The sessions will be held at a variety of locations around the UK.

The chefs will spend three days working under Luke Tipping at Simpson’s Michelin star restaurant in Birmingham as well as receive training from industry leading chefs and managers.

The training sessions will encourage the chefs to develop their own ideas and each session will have a different focus such as seasonality, vegetarian cookery, menu planning, seafood cookery skills, and much more.

Their progress will be evaluated by Servest’s Chef Director Chris Ince and Development Chef Rhys Richardson. At the end of the programme, they will be presented with an ILM endorsed award in kitchen management at a graduation event.

Chris Ince, Chef Director at Servest, said: “I’m really excited about the Culinary Classroom which demonstrates our commitment to fostering our talented chefs and to ensuring a pipeline of talented future head chefs. It’s a fantastically diverse training programme, culminating with the opportunity to work with Luke Tipping, one of the most accomplished chefs in the UK.”

The Culinary Classroom programme will be marketed internally. Candidates need to demonstrate strong culinary skills, innovation, knowledge of food trends, confident and articulate communication, leadership potential, and drive and ambition.

Interested candidates are asked to get support for their application from their line manager and then complete an application. The closing date for applications is Friday, 29th May 2015.

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Medals for Servest chefs at Salon Culinaire

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Medals for Servest chefs at Salon Culinaire

11th February 2015

Three Servest chefs competing at the world-class culinary competition Salon Culinaire have won medals for their outstanding dishes.

Servest’s Matt Vernon, Rhys Richardson, and Nathan Rees competed against other top chefs in their respective categories at the event at the Hospitality Show 2015 at Birmingham’s NEC from 19-21st January.

Vernon ranked second out of eight competitors and was awarded a silver medal for his dishes in the gluten free two-course meal category.

“I’m over the moon with my result,” said Vernon, who put in many hours of practice and has improved upon the bronze medal he won at last year’s competition. “It’s the best I’ve done it, since practicing. I’m very proud.”

Richardson, who took part in the Gifre Tableware challenge, ranked second in his class and received a bronze medal, in his first chef’s competition outside of university.

And Rees, taking part in his first ever chef’s competition, was awarded a bronze for the street food challenge.

Servest’s chef director Chris Ince is exceptionally proud of all three chefs. “I’m really proud of our results and the effort and commitment shown by the participants who have been working out of hours to practice and perfect their dishes. It’s always great to attend these events and put ourselves shoulder to shoulder with the leading chefs in the business and in the industry. It really highlights the skills we hold and showcases our abilities.”

Ince added: “The amount of support and encouragement from around the business has been a true testament to the people within our business and stands us in great stead for the future.”

About Servest’s chef competitors

Matt Vernon has worked for Servest for three years and is based at Bosch in Worcester. Matt took part in the Gluten Free Two Course Meal competition, preparing braised wild turbot with seared scallops, pancetta and sweetcorn chowder with pea shoots for a starter. This was followed by a roasted rump of English veal with potato fondant, sweet breads and honey roasted carrots and charred leeks with a celeriac puree and madeira and morel mushroom sauce for a main.

Rhys Richardson has worked for Servest for 10 months. Rhys took part in the Gifre Tableware challenge, which involved styling around the plate and having 30 minutes to prepare and serve the dish. Rhys prepared pan-fried duck breast with braised chicory, flowering sprouts and date puree, served with Jerusalem artichoke chips and a citrus reduction.

Nathan Rees, who has worked for Servest for one year, took part in the street food challenge. This involved preparing and serving two portions of food in 45 minutes and at a total cost of £5. Nathan prepared Vietnamese stuffed squid with pork, sticky rice and papaya salad. He said: “I wanted to create a unique dish that hopefully no-one else would do. I really enjoyed the experience. It’s something I want to do more of in the future.”