Our Central Region hosted a festive food festival to remember! Over 200 employees and 20 suppliers enjoyed the event on Thursday 2nd December, held at a Formula One racing team HQ in Milton Keynes.
Our teams experienced food innovation at its finest, from our talented chefs and artisan producers, to live cooking demonstrations and coffee tasting. Even Hertfordshire-based DJ, So Discos and Wacky photobooth joined in the fun.
Head Chef, Clarissa Burgess hosted the Mac Shack where guests enjoyed macaroni cheese with all the toppings, from bacon and butternut squash, to chorizo and maranth.
The central region ventured to Mexico for their flavours, with Regional Chef Logan Lloyd presenting Mexican Kitchen. Guests sampled red pork tamales with cranberry salsa, chicken pozole verde with pickled vegetables and the ever-popular churros. A large queue formed next door at BEYRoots street food van cooking up a Lebanese-style storm, from grilled halloumi wraps to homemade falafel balls and fattoush salads.
Inspired by seasonal ingredients, Chef Academy duo, Rik Razza and John Hicks created a Winter salad of pumpkin done three ways, scored brussell sprouts and a kale salsa, alongside marinated tofu – perfect for retail, hospitality and fine dining.
Hospitality Head Chef Alex Taylor and Sous Chef Francesco La Luna showcased a selection of freshly baked focaccias packed with tomato, confit of garlic and thyme, accompanied by Belazu’s Verdemanda dipping oils. Head Chef Craig Gribble inspired guests with his very-own ‘heat to eat’ range, including Marrakesh meatballs and wild mushroom with Milano chicken.
Crowds gathered at the festive bakes display run by Catering Managers Matt and Sam; with samples of mini mince pies, rocky road and gingerbread spiced biscuits. Next door was Head of Tea and Coffee, Miguel Camara, giving guests a taste of coffee action using our Down To Earth espresso blend and Rude Health alternative milks; the gingerbread latte was a definite crowd pleaser.
Head of Technology, Ashoak Lakhaney and Technology Co-ordinator Haris Lodhi were on hand to demonstrate the latest tech innovations across our locations, from click and deliver to contactless MCR.
The venue was buzzing with over 20 local suppliers including Wild Harvest, Sysco Speciality, Fentimans and vegan chocolatiers, Doisy and Dom. Vegetarian Express also attended, introducing their latest product range from vegan sticky toffee pudding to Junkstar Chedda Cheeze sauce.
Pat & Pinky’s were on hand to give guests a taste of their authentic Guayan sauces, from cranberry and sorrel chutney to wiri wiri chilli oil, whilst Head Chef, Tom represented Barber’s Cheese on the night, handing out samples of their award-winning vintage reserve cheddar, topped with festive chutney.
Ellice Hudson, Operations Manager commented: “The food festival was such a great event. Seeing so many people come together to share all their festive ideas and recipes for our customers is always so good to see, and it’s the perfect opportunity to connect with friends and colleagues. Our culinary teams were so impressive, from their dedication to making the festival a success, to their creativity and innovation – they inspire me every day”.
Head of Food for the Regions, Adam Nossek added: “It is a real privilege and I am so proud to be working with such a great team. The commitment that has been shown over the coming weeks has been amazing. The power of people has brought us together and shown as an inspirational spirit. The planning by all has been meticulous which has created innovative dishes and ideas, so that we can continue our food journey for 2022, with a huge focus on not only our favourites but to encourage us to use delicious ingredients, that are plant-based too. Watch this space!”