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Good morning, here’s the latest hospitality news for the south west. Why not share any updates from your business with over 22,000 fellow industry professionals? Contact our News Editor, Carolyn Moss, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 01305 897172. Follow us on Twitter @BreadButterNews.
Cornwall to get UK’s first “six star” holiday resort
Cornwall Council have approved the construction of Camel Creek, a “six star” resort on the former site of Crealy Adventure Park between Wadebridge and St Columb.
The proposal is for a holiday and leisure park on the 90-acre site with 236 holiday lodges including nearly 50 tree houses, an exhibition space, convention centre, restaurant, café, pub and shops. The scheme has divided local opinion. The developers say it will create 900 jobs but objectors have questioned its sustainability and environmental impact.
Council planning officials said the project was “considered to be an expansion of an existing tourism facility in an appropriate location where existing needs are not being met. The scheme would support economic growth and create jobs in this rural area.
“The benefit of the application outweighs the negative impact. The extent of the harm associated with the development can be controlled through the imposition of conditions and planning obligations which will secure mitigation.”
The Camel Creek Resort project is headed by businessman John Broome, who has described it as Britain’s first “six star resort”. His previous ventures include Alton Towers theme park and a failed bid to develop Battersea Power Station.
August breaks records for overseas visits to UK
New figures released by national tourism agency VisitBritain show August 2016 had the highest ever number of overseas visits to the UK with 3.8 million in total, up 2% on the same month last year.
Overseas visitors to the UK spent £2.6 billion in August, 4% up on the same month last year.
Some of the strongest growth came from North America with 510,000 visits, up 13% compared to the same month last year.
The Office for National Statistics figures also show a record-breaking first eight months of the year for visits from EU countries, the UK’s largest visit-generating region, with 16.8 million visits, 3% up on last year.
Tourism Minister Tracey Crouch said: “2016 has been an incredible year for British tourism and underlined our status as one of the top visitor destinations in the world.
“We continue to attract a record number of tourists from across the globe, which is not only great news for the sector, but the whole economy.
“We are absolutely committed to supporting the industry, and our Tourism Action Plan and £40 million Discover England Fund will help it grow further and spread the economic benefits across the country.”
VisitBritain/VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said: “These back-to-back record-breaking figures not only underpin a longer-term pattern of growth for inbound tourism, one of our fastest growing export industries, but also demonstrate its growing importance to the UK economy.
“We’re inspiring overseas visitors to book a trip right now through our #OMGB ‘Britain, Home of Amazing Moments’ campaign, showcasing the incredible experiences on offer across our nations and regions. And we’re working with commercial partners in our key inbound markets including China and the US to convert the desire to visit into bookings.”
The latest record-breaking numbers follow new figures announced by VisitBritain earlier this month that showed that overseas visitors spent an extra £800 million across the nations and regions of Britain. That meant that every £1 invested in VisitBritain’s activities resulted in an overseas visitor spending £23 in Britain.
Bath gets posh sausage restaurant
Bristol up-market bangers and mash restaurant The Clifton Sausage has opened a second venue down the road in Bath. The 80 cover restaurant is in the former Grade II listed Cow Shed site in Bladud Buildings on The Paragon.
The Clifton Sausage opened in 2002 and serves traditional British food with a menu that features at least six varieties of sausage every day including Gloucester Old Spot, Beef and Butcombe Ale and vegetarian sausages all served with mash potatoes or champ.
Children’s food and drink at visitor attractions ranked
The Soil Association have uncovered some of the country’s best – and worst – children’s lunch options at the UK’s most popular museums, art galleries, zoos, visitor centres and theme parks.
Working with parents as their army of ‘secret diners’ as part of their Out to Lunch campaign, they found unhealthy pre-packed lunch boxes, questionable ingredients and a lack of transparency about food sourcing.
75% of children’s lunch boxes didn’t include any veg or salad options. 50% of attractions offered lunch boxes including muffins, cakes and sweet treats, but no fresh fruit.
The Eden Project (1st place) and Chester Zoo (2nd place) topped the league table of healthier choices. Chester Zoo served locally sourced milk and farm assured meat. All meals at the Eden Project were freshly prepared and included locally sourced meat and vegetables.
Rob Percival, Soil Association Policy Officer, said: “Visitor attractions are making life hard for parents who want to enjoy a healthy and happy day out. Lunch boxes loaded with sugar and unimaginative ultra-processed foods are the norm. So long as junk-filled lunch boxes continue to dominate family outings, parents will have a hard time convincing their children that healthy food can be a treat too.”
The Out to Lunch campaign is calling on attractions to take five simple steps to improve the food for children and their parents:
1. Ensure that all children’s lunch boxes and main meals include a portion of veg or salad
2. Ditch unimaginative ultra-processed foods and focus more on fresh ingredients
3. Protect parents from an over-abundance of sweet treats, which make it harder to enjoy a healthy and happy day out
4. Make free fresh drinking water available to families throughout their visit
5. Support British farmers by buying the best of British produce, including organic
An interactive league table profiling each attraction can be viewed on the Soil Association website: http://www.soilassociation.org/outtolunch
South West Chef of the Year finalists announced
After battling it out at the semi-finals, the next generation of top chefs is set for the grand final of the South West Chef of the Year on Monday 24th October. Now in its thirteenth year, this competition was co-founded and is co-judged by Michael Caines MBE and aims “to nurture the next generation of top chefs.”
The finalists are Martin Blake, Senior Sous Chef at Manor House Hotel; Shaun Cassidy, Sous Chef at Jack in the Green; Jamie Coleman, Head Chef at Saunton Sands Hotel; Joseph Fallowfield, Sous Chef at The Square and Magic Kijewski, Head Chef at Molecular Magic.
Finalists in the Young Professional category are: Timothy Kendall, Chef de Partie at The Seafood Restaurant; Joshua Martin, Junior Sous Chef at Deer Park Country House Hotel; Lily O’Donoghue, Commis Chef at Mount Somerset Hotel and Jade Stephens, Chef de Partie at Lucknam Park.
Finalists in the Student/Apprentice category are: Harrison Brockington of Exeter College and Apprentice Chef at Dart Marina Hotel; Maia English, Apprentice Chef at The Elephant Restaurant; Sophie Kennard of Somerset College and Apprentice Chef at The Swan Inn and Lauren King, Apprentice Chef at The Horn of Plenty.
Michael Caines said: “All the entrants put in a huge amount of hard work with rigorous standards shown throughout the preparation stage and in the cooking and presentation of dishes. The judging team was delighted to see cooking of such high calibre.”
Guestline extend digital marketing services for hospitality sector
Developed specifically for hotels, serviced apartments and pubs, WebSuite is a digital marketing solution covering website design, email marketing, blog design, copywriting and e-commerce.
The websites created by Guestline are fully optimised for desktop, mobile and tablet with an online booking manager that is said to integrate with the hotel’s PMS and a Content Management System that gives the purchaser full editorial control of their website.
Rupert Gutteridge – Sales and Marketing Director at Guestline said “It has been an exciting time for Guestline over the last 12 months and I am extremely pleased to see WebSuite deliver results in the marketplace. The team have listened to what hoteliers require from their digital offering and WebSuite has been designed with hoteliers’ needs at its core.”
FOOD & DRINK NEWS
South West chocolate maker wins seven awards in one year
Solkiki, based in Dorset, are celebrating winning seven major international awards in their first year of trading.
Their Maranon 68% bar won the Best Dark Chocolate in the UK and a Silver in Europe. The International Chocolate Awards also recognised their Tahitian Nougat Salty Peanut White Chocolate as the best flavoured white in the UK this year and awarded the Maranon 60% Salted Caramel Dark Milk a national Silver.
The Academy of Chocolate awarded Belize 73% Dark and Solkiki’s Toasted White Chocolate an International Bronze.
All Solkiki’s bars are vegan, dairy free and made in small batches by two people in the south west. They have also just won a bursary stand at the BBC Good Food Show in Olympia, London this November and will have a new bar ready for Christmas as well as new packaging which was unveiled at the recent Salon du Chocolat Chocolate Show in Olympia.
Contact them at www.solkiki.co.uk
Hamper firm expands after first year success
Letter Box Hampers are introducing new product lines, investing in a new website and looking to find larger premises.
Currently based in Exeter Quayside, they are also interested in increasing the variety of south west suppliers while staying loyal to producers they already work with like Tregothnan Tea, Willie’s Cacao and Plymouth Gin – who all feature in their popular Best of British hamper.
Their new website allows customers to pick and choose produce to curate their own hamper, as well as writing a personal card and choosing a preferred delivery date.
Find out more at www.letterboxhamper.com/news
The Aviator hotel gets new GM
Dominic Osborne takes charge of the 168-room, four AA red star aviation themed hotel at Farnborough in Hampshire, joining from Hilton at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
The move comes after existing general manager Mark Ashton announced he was stepping down to move into hospitality education, taking up an associate tutor role at the University of Surrey.
Osbourne will look to improve consistency of service and integrate the hotel’s gastropub, The Swan. The hotel is also a strategic partner of Farnborough Airshow hosts, Farnborough International, who are building a 20,000 square metre events space adjacent to the the Aviator.
South West Chef of the Year Annual Awards Dinner
Exeter Golf & Country Club
“A lavish award ceremony and dinner hosted by the judges including Michael Caines MBE. The awards dinner is a culinary feast comprising courses prepared by three top chefs from the region.”
New Forest Food Festival
31st Oct – 6th Nov
New Forest, Hampshire
“A week of culinary events, produce, tastes, dishes and activities for every foodie. 15 themes with amazing Headline Events hosted by leading Forest venues & producers all with a special twist. Tasting menus, celebrity chef evenings, tea parties – there’s something for everyone.”
Gin for Breakfast at Chewton Glen’s Festival Business Event
Tuesday 1st November: 07:30-09:30am
Chewton Glen, Hampshire
“Business men and women from across the New Forest and beyond will meet for a New Forest Breakfast on Tuesday 1 November. The addition of gin is not a sign of the times – but an introduction to one of the Forest’s latest and most exciting businesses.”
The south west is blessed with some of the country’s finest food markets but we might have met our match – and then some – once the forthcoming Bourdain Market opens in New York sometime in 2019.
It’s the dream of chef, writer and TV presenter Anthony Bourdain to bring the world’s finest food to a 155,000 square foot space in the Big Apple. Despite delays that mean it won’t meet its original 2017 opening, Bourdain has assured Vogue that the project is still as ambitious as he originally envisioned and will feature 100 hand picked vendors, both retail and wholesale, from across the world that make some of his favourite food. These include old-school Sydney, Australia butcher shop Victor Churchill; Singapore’s Geylang Claypot Rice; and Ensenada, Mexico–based tostada vendor Sabina Bandera. The visa applications could take a while…
As well as butchers and fishmongers in a traditional wet market, there will be a full-service restaurant overlooking the Singapore-style hawker stalls as well as communal eating areas and spaces for entertainment and culture. The developers expect to attract 20,000 visitors a day.
As Bourdain told the New York Times in 2015: “The way people eat has changed…They want to be at counters and communal tables. They want heat and funk and chicken wings that set their hair on fire. They’re as quick to brag about the greatest $3 bowl of laksa as a dinner at Ducasse. That’s what I want to create for New York, some place where I would want to eat. Right now, there is nothing like that.”
The vast warehouse building Pier 57 that will house the Bourdain Market is now being readied for renovation. We wonder if any stalls from the south west will make it over there?