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Torquay Palace hotel acquired, all staff made redundant
The Palace hotel in Torquay will close at the end of July, and all the staff will be made redundant while it’s refurbished for an undisclosed period of time. This follows the announcement that Singapore-based investment company the Fragrance Group had acquired the four-AA-star, 141-bedroom hotel at the start of July. The guide price was over £10m. This made it the second UK hotel to be bought by Singapore businessman Koh Wee Meng after he acquired the Imperial Hotel in Blackpool, for £12.8m.
The directors of Torquay Palace released a statement which read: “The purchasers have significant plans to redevelop the property and, as such, the hotel will be closing at the end of July to allow for this.
“In view of this, the directors will be closing the business and will therefore be undertaking a period of collective redundancy consultation with all staff. All guests who have bookings for the period beyond 31st July 2017 will be contacted and we are seeking to assist with alternative venues where possible. We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause and, in particular, are very sorry to be consulting with staff regarding redundancy, many of whom have loyally served the business for decades.
“Our priority at this time is ensuring that staff and guests are properly consulted, we will therefore not be making any further statements at this time.”
Wyke Farms and OMSCo partner to become the largest producer of organic cheddar
Wyke Farms, the UK’s largest independent milk processor, and The Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative (OMSCo), the UK’s largest producer of organic milk and organic cheese exporter have announced a growing partnership to expand organic cheese production, distribution and sales.
Wyke Farms and OMSCo plan to more than treble their range of organic cheese. Wyke Farm will now source all the milk requirements for organic cheese production from OMSCo while OMSCo will increase its range of specialist organic cheese made by Wyke Farms for export markets. It will also take a share in the ownership of bulk cheddar stocks for a proportion of domestic and export sales.
The new arrangement will allow Wyke Farms and OMSCo to capitalise on the growth of the organic market on a global scale. They will also jointly own the maturing cheese stock so that cheddar stock can be built to supply a world market looking for longer matured cheddars with more flavour.
Rich Clothier, managing director and third generation family member at Wyke Farms, said: “This arrangement means that Wyke and OMSCo have a fit for the future vehicle to supply the best quality organic cheddars to the world market. Our combined scale and efficiency makes us the logical supply partners for organic cheddar. It gives us the capacity and milk supply necessary to expand organic cheese production rapidly. It also gives us access to OMSCo’s different milk types to produce organic cheddar with different attributes and with access to different markets. It will complement our existing business which currently produces over 14,000 tonnes of cheddar annually, entirely from our own source of renewable energy.”
OMSCo’s managing director, Richard Hampton said: “This new chapter presents an exciting opportunity to drive our joint business together, supporting the development of cheese stocks as well as allowing us to further develop our supplies of UK organic whey for use in our rapidly expanding specialist ingredients business. This is an example of OMSCO working more closely with our markets and end users of organic products across the globe.”
Carpigiani announce gelato and sorbet courses
Italian ice cream and gelato equipment manufacturer Carpigiani are launching a series of dedicated courses and qualifications for those producing artisan gelato and sorbet in kitchens across the foodservice industry.
The Carpigiani Development Centre in London will host chefs from across the world on its ‘Gelato University – Foodservice Professionals’ course.
Led by Carpigiani UK’s Development Chef, Michele Stanco, who formerly headed the pastry team at Heston Blumenthal’s, 3-Michelin Starred, Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, the course has been designed to meet the needs of professionals looking to expand their knowledge and experience of using gelato, with the aim of developing new techniques and ideas.
Andrea Cocchi, CEO of Carpigiani Group, said: “We chose to create this new program in London to highlight the fact that the UK is one of the most advanced countries in the world for fine dining and one of the most receptive towards innovation and fusion of different food cultures… This launch represents a step towards new paths, providing a unique training program, with a mission to combine the best traditions of authentic Italian gelato and the best in food.”
The new courses will start on 9th October 2017 and will be split into one-day modules to allow chefs to manage their attendance away from the kitchen. Content covered includes ‘Sweet and Savoury Gelato’, ‘Frozen Dessert Creation’, ‘Alcohol based flavours and Infusions’ and ‘Gelato Science and Technology’.
To find out more, go to www.carpigiani.co.uk
Coastal Recycling secure Lympstone Manor contract
The South West’s leading independent recycling and waste management specialist Coastal Recycling have won the contract for the luxury country house hotel Lympstone Manor in Devon.
They aim to recycle or recover 100% of hotel’s waste from the kitchens, gardens and offices of the 21-bedroom hotel situated in 28 acres of grounds, founded by chef Michael Caines.
Michael Caines MBE, said: “We are committed to recycling and respecting the wonderful estuary location we have at Lympstone Manor. Because we value our beautiful natural surroundings and the wild birds of the Exe estuary, recycling is a top priority. Coastal Recycling is delivering a solution that matches our attention to detail and vision.”
Richard Marsh, Director, Coastal Recycling said: “We are pleased to be working with Lympstone Manor, an exceptional hotel offering the very highest level of hospitality. We are delivering the ultimate solution for recycling across the hotel and its grounds ensuring we meet the exacting standards set by both organisations.”
River Cottage wants to expand
River Cottage plans to expand its cookery school and add a guest house and events space at their headquarters near Axminster in Devon.
The submitted plans extend the current cookery school with an events space and add a 16-room guesthouse which River Cottage say will secure the “long-term viability” of the business.
The plans state: “The existing farmyard buildings are the core of the River Cottage operation. This expansion plan allows River Cottage to continue to grow the Cookery School so that it can accommodate increasing demand from overseas visitors and the professional catering industry – who all require on-site accommodation, communal areas, and a great range of classrooms and presentations rooms.
“The future offering will include four-day residential cookery courses in line with other major cookery schools like Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Padstow Seafood School and Ballymaloe Cookery School. The expanded development will also enable us to provide safe accommodation to any of the young cooking apprentices who require it.”
Taste of the West Awards Ceremony
This year’s Taste of the West Awards Ceremony will take place in The Great Hall of Exeter University on Thursday 14 September.
Taste of the West will be hosting around 400 guests with the event kicking off mid-morning with a drinks reception followed by a sit-down West Country lunch featuring this year’s award-winning products.
The Champions of each category and the winners of the 2017 Supreme Champion Product Award, Award for No. 1 Place to Go and South West Producer of the Year will be announced. There are also two new awards for 2017: the South West Food & Drink Innovation Award and Best Newcomer Award. Go to www.tasteofthewest.co.uk for more details.
Tickets are now available to purchase and are priced at £62.50 each (excluding VAT), with discounts available for tables of 10. To find out more, or to reserve tickets, call 07792 790257 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOOD & DRINK NEWS
Apple syrup from Dorset
Dorset producer Liberty Fields are launching Apple Syrup at the end of July. Described as “Britain’s answer to maple syrup” it’s made with apples from their orchards and no added sugar or sulphites. They suggest using it for drizzling over pancakes or muesli at breakfast, with ice cream or apple tart as a dessert and mixing with lemonade to make a fruit cup. Liberty Fields make several apple-based products on their organic dairy farm including 6 Year Old Apple Balsamic Vinegar, Apple Aperitif and Porter’s Perfection Vodka.
Go to libertyfields.co.uk for more details.
Cones for canapés
Pidy are launching a range of bite-sized canapé cones for summer. The Belgian food business have designed them to be the ideal base for creative canapés.
The cones are available in various savoury flavours including; neutral, tomato, spinach, curry, sepia and sesame seed so they can be matched with complementary flavours. The manufacturers suggest a Thai green curry filling or a chicken tikka topped with fresh mango chutney in the curry cone and whipped crab and avocado mousse in their sesame seed cone.
Pidy also offers different display options so chefs can present their creations in stands and display palettes.
Fabien Levet, National Account Manager – Foodservice, at Pidy UK said: “It’s our aim to encourage chefs to be creative and produce an array of exceptional dishes they can be proud of, completing the perfect meal for their guests. The light crisp texture of the pastry, delicate flavours and fantastic colours are all the vital factors for creating an extra special final product. The rest is down to you, construct classic combinations or take things up a notch with elaborate creations, Pidy’s cones are suited for every chefs’ need.”
Visit www.pidyuk.com for more details.
Seaview Hotel appoints new head chef
The only restaurant on the Isle of Wight hotel to hold a Michelin Bib Gourmand, The Seaview Hotel, has appointed Liam Howes as head chef.
The 24-year-old has been promoted from sous chef and will oversee a seven-strong team. He replaces Bruce Theobald in the role. Howes began his career at 15 as an HTP apprentice and worked his way up to head chef.
Studland hotel sold
Savills have sold Knoll House Hotel in Studland Bay, Dorset for an undisclosed price.
The 84 bedroom hotel was built in the early 1900s and is set in 4.33 acres of woodland with direct access to a three-mile long beach. The hotel was owned and run by the Ferguson family since 1959.
Martin Rogers, head of UK hotel transactions at Savills said: “We are delighted to have secured new owners for Knoll House as the owners head into retirement following nearly 60 years of business. The UK regional hotel market continues to attract investors’ attention as they look for long-term income security and well known local assets.”
The Watercress Company
Dorset and Hampshire growers, The Watercress Company, have recently celebrated the start of the British Watercress season with the largest ever Watercress Festival, held annually in Alresford, Hants.
A record 16,000 people attended and enjoyed a street fair as well as activities that ranged from taking part in the Guinness Records recognised watercress eating competition to sampling the Cerne Abbas Brewery’s new drop, Watercress Warrior. Over £4,000 was raised for Hampshire Children’s cancer charity, the Joe Glover Trust.
Over the last few years, watercress diversification into other products is rapidly gaining popularity. The peppery crop is being used in everything from salami through to chocolates and even as the key botanical in Twisted Nose Gin.
The recipe of the moment has to be in smoothies. TWC are working with Dorset County Hospital donating fresh watercress and spinach for smoothies in the oncology department. Both staff and patients alike have been enjoying the fruity mango and watercress drinks and the company are looking to expand the scheme into other hospitals in the South West.
TWC have also seen a surge in demand for baby watercress due to increasing popularity of the food-to-go sector moving towards healthy choices. As well as a range of watercress year-round, TWC also provides baby leaf salad and fresh wasabi.
For supply in the Bristol area, TWC watercress and baby watercress is supplied by food service specialists Arthur David. Contact them on 0330 333 4441 or visit www.thewatercresscompany.com for further details.
Hampshire Food Festival 2017
1st – 31st July
Various locations in Hampshire
“The Hampshire Food Festival is an opportunity to show people what is grown and made in the county and offer unique experiences. From walking with buffalo to distillery tours or watching demos from top local chefs, the festival offers something for all tastes.”
FoodWorks SW Interactive Workshops – Make it, or get it made?
13th July, 9am-3pm, £25
The Hive, Weston-Super-Mare, BS24 8EE
“This highly interactive workshop aims to help you get your food and drink product made. Addressing the question of making it yourself or as many others now do; get it made for you.”
The Yeovil Show
15th – 16th July
The Showground, Yeovil, South Somerset
Celebrating Yeovil and South Somerset – showcasing amazing local food and drink including two food halls, the cheese & cider marquee and live cookery demonstrations.
The Mid Devon Show
Knightshayes, Tiverton, Devon
“Experience a true celebration of rural Mid Devon with an eclectic mix of breathtaking entertainment, food, shopping, music, horticulture and farm life.”
New Forest & Hampshire County Show
25th – 27th July
The Showground, New Park, Brockenhurst
“Three days of agricultural fun and entertainment for all the family – now rated among the top ten agricultural shows in the country.”
FoodWorks SW Summer Workshops – Where to source money?
27th July, 9am-3pm, £25
The Hive, Weston-Super-Mare, BS24 8EE
“Do you have a product but want some ideas on how to finance getting it to market? This highly interactive workshop aims to help you get your food and drink project financed.”
Bristol Sausage & Cider Festival
4th – 5th August
Old Passenger Shed, Temple Meads Station, Bristol
“Music, real cider, and great sausages from artisan producers.”
South West Coffee Festival: Coffee & Cafe Culture Show
4th – 6th August
Powderham Castle, Devon
“The South West Coffee Festival is the first of its kind here in The South West! A Trade & Public show, it’s the perfect place for business owners to discover new suppliers and products, and a great place to talk directly to their consumers.”
Great Dorset Chilli Festival
5th – 6th August
St Giles House, Wimborne St Giles, Dorset
“A great day out for chilli enthusiasts, food lovers and families. A glorious weekend of “chilli fiesta”, with stalls selling all things chilli, plus cooking demonstrations; talks on growing chillies; artisan food producers and spicy street food.”
CAMRA Great British Beer Festival 2017
8th – 12th August
“Celebrating its 40th Anniversary – Real Ale and other Craft Beer, Cider and Perry plus English Wine, Street Food and Entertainment.” Includes the CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain competition.
The Isle of Wight Garlic Festival
19th – 20th August
Newchurch, Sandown, Isle of Wight
“There are huge garlic and food marquees and cooking demonstrations from top Island chefs in the all new theatre kitchen”
The Melplash Show
The West Bay Showground, Bridport, Dorset
“One of the South West’s premier agricultural exhibitions, the show is packed full of exhibits including livestock, horses, homecrafts and horticulture. There are over 350 trade stands selling everything from locally produced food to tractors….and plenty in between!”
River Cottage Summer Festival
26th – 27th August
River Cottage HQ, Axminster Devon
“There’ll be demonstrations from well-known chefs, inspirational speakers, masterclasses to take part in, tasty street food to sample, not forgetting our very own River Cottage chefs preparing the best seasonal food for you to enjoy.”
Witcombe Cider Festival
26th – 27th August
UK’s largest Cider Festival. 50 Ciders and a strong line-up of national music artists.