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Category Archive: Industry News

  1. Halloween and the world of pumpkins

    Halloween is almost upon us and here at Caterer’s Club HQ, to get into the seasonal spirit, we have been learning all about the world of pumpkins; or more importantly the need to promote the colourful and nutritious culinary delights!

    Halloween takes up a large slice of the British social calendar, much more than it  did a decade ago; possibly due to the rising popularity of North America’s cultural  charm diffusing across to the UK. Given the pumpkins’ fiery orange hue, it is clear to  see why it is used to illuminate homes and provide a colourful glow for retail  establishments. However, the autumnal North American ritual of actually eating the  pumpkin is yet to take on in the UK.

    It has been estimated that 12 million pumpkins are grown in the UK each year. Yet  whilst there are about 15 culinary pumpkin varieties, just 3% of the UK’s production  is geared specifically towards cooking varieties. Even though the government is  actively encouraging people to reduce food waste, the flesh of the many millions of carved pumpkins is likely to go to waste. The flesh is not only edible but highly nutritious: pumpkins are high in fibre and beta-carotene (which the body converts into nutrients).

    What our experts say
    Steve Whitworth, of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire based Oakley Farms says:

    “We are seeing a bit of an increase in edible varieties of cucurbits, including butternut squash and pumpkins. Twenty-odd years ago edibles were sought after, then they weren’t, and now they are coming back in vogue again but it probably ties in with seasonal squash and butternut squash sales.”

    Renowned pumpkin grower Paul Southall of D Southall & Sons in Worcestershire also believes the interest in culinary pumpkin varieties has stepped up along with the seasonal availability of squashes and pumpkins. He says:

    “My impression is it’s something that’s building up. There’s now good interest in edible pumpkins, and over a reasonable period from September/early October until post-November. I think the whole pumpkin thing is coming together – along with the “monsters” (extra large-sized pumpkins), squash, Halloween… you’d hope that the edible side is part of it all!”

    As part of a retail wide drive to reduce waste, large supermarket chains are publishing useful recipe ideas to encourage consumers to use up their pumpkin flesh after carving. Some of the recipes include, soups, salads, pasta dishes, curries, cakes, muffins and pies, to name a few! But are these online resources enough to brew up public interest on a monster-sized scale?

    Charlotte Wheeler of Tozer Seeds, Surrey based vegetable breeder believes the industry needs a celebrity face to join the campaign against wasting the pumpkin. Wheeler believes the help of a celebrity chef to make the vegetable fashionable would give the culinary market the boost it needs.

    Paul Southall agrees that the edible side of pumpkins needs to be pushed. He added that:

    “Fortunately, as Halloween nears, some retails are starting to promote these amber globes.” For instance, supermarket Morrisons, recently posted a link on Twitter to a recipe on its website, resourcefully encouraging people to use up leftover pumpkin flesh.”

    pumpkin patch

    It’s a WRAP!

    Waste charity WRAP have launched a campaign, Love Food Hate Waste, which has taken to Twitter to promote the fact that there are so many ways to cook a pumpkin. Social media activity is bound to enchant consumers. Perhaps then, the key to growing the pumpkin category is for the fresh produce industry to lend more support by making the most of all forms of communication? This would include social media platforms, endorsement from chefs and in-store recipe cards that run alongside promotions during the Halloween season.

    Get in touch!

    We love to hear from our members at Caterer’s Club. Do you have any pumpkin recipe ideas? Or perhaps you sell pumpkin based products? Please share this with us by sending any recipes or stories to marketing@caterersclub.co.uk

  2. The British Street Food Awards

    At Caterer’s Club we know that sometimes the best food isn’t served up in a Michelin starred restaurant, it comes from the innovative street food vendors found up and down the country, who are dedicated to producing fun and delicious food for the masses.

    The freedom of the street food vendor breeds innovation and The British Street Food Awards are set up to celebrate the best of the best when it comes to street grub.

    For the first time this year, they are holding regional heats to ensure they unearth all the culinary talent from the length and breadth of the British Isles. Central England and the West and Wales have already held their heats in May, with the remainder of the heats being held in June and July.

    The categories the finalists will be competing in are:

    • Best Pie
    • Best Dessert
    • Best Drink
    • Best Burger
    • Best Main Dish
    • Best Sandwich
    • Best Looking Mobiler
    • Best Snack
    • Best Breakfast
    • Best of the Best

    The finals will take place over 26th-28th September, in a three day long foodie extravaganza. The event includes seminars on how to get started in street food, as well as live street art and children’s entertainments. All finalists will be present and giving out samples of their fare, they will then vote to decide the ultimate winner.

    Dates for the remaining heats are:

    The South Heat, in Brighton, on June 14 https://twitter.com/StreetDiner,

    The North Heat, in Manchester, on June 14 http://www.guerrillaeats.co.uk/bsfa

    The London Heat, in London, on July 19 http://www.kerbfood.com/events/kerb-presents-british-street-food-awards-2014-the-london-heat/

    The Scottish Heat, in Edinburgh, on July 20 http://www.greatergrassmarket.co.uk/blog/2014/04/british-street-food-awards-scottish-heat-in-edinburghs-grassmarket

    The East Heat, in Norwich, on July 31 http://www.feastonthestreet.co.uk/british-street-food/

    Click on the links to get involved and keep up to date on the latest news, or go to http://britishstreetfood.co.uk/awards/application-form  to sign up your business.

    Good luck to all involved, don’t forget to let us know how you get on in your heat.

  3. Young’s Seafood announces first Fish & Chip Shop!

    The first Young’s branded fish & chip in the country opens at the end of January and will be based in Cambridge, becoming the first of its kind on the high street.

    The refitted shop will be jointly branded as ‘Young’s Fish & Chips, brought to you by the Petrou Brothers’ and revamped to feature a distinctive navy blue and red decor to match the brand identity of Young’s Seafood Limited.

    Simon Clarke, Business Unit Director at Young’s Seafood Limited is excited by the prospect of linking the strength and loyal following of the Young’s brand with one of the most famous names in fish and chip restaurants.

    The involvement of a major retail brand into the fish and chip sector highlights just how far the industry has come in the last few years.

    The revamped shop will combine an extended restaurant with an additional take away service. The venture also represents Young’s Seafood Limited’s first venture into supplying Young’s fish direct to the consumer via the fish and chip shop trade.

    Young’s Seafood’s foodservice business has supplied fish to this sector of the industry for many years and this provides them with an opportunity to present seafood directly to consumers on the high street.

    Do you run a local fish and chip shop? If so, what are your thoughts on a large retail brand partnering up on the high street?

  4. Humble pie gets the Hollywood touch

    Not content with inspiring the nation to go barmy for bread and crazy for cakes, master baker Paul Hollywood is hoping to reignite our appetite for those traditional British staples of pies and puddings.

    “Good bake”. “Nice crumb”. “It’s over-proved”. “The gluten hasn’t developed”.

    Four years ago, only expert bakers would have understood these terms. Now, thanks to Paul Hollywood and his Great British Bake Off co-judge Mary Berry, they’ve become familiar phrases in millions of home up and down the UK.

    And it’s not just Bake Off terminology that’s been on the rise – the show has led to a staggering revival in home baking too.

    “I can’t go a day without someone coming up to me and showing me a photo on their phone of their latest loaf or cake,” says Hollywood, 47. “I love it.”

    There’s no respite on Twitter either, where celebrities including Fearne Cotton and Sarah Millican have taken to sending the famous baker pictures of their bakes, or asking for tips.

    The fourth series of Bake Off ended recently with 31-year-old Frances Quinn’s surprise victory, and once again supermarkets reported increased sales of baking ingredients and cake-making tools along the way.

    “Where’s my share?” jokes Hollywood. “I haven’t got any money out of it.”

    That, of course, isn’t quite true. The chef, who was born in Cheshire and is taking a live baking show on a tour of the UK next April, is now synonymous with baking. His Bread series and accompanying book were huge hits earlier this year and he’s never been more in demand.

    Just two weeks after filming finished for Bake Off, he went straight to work on his latest offering, Pies & Puds. There’s a book out now and a TV series will follow.

    “It’s hard fitting it all in,” he says. “There’s always something, but it’s good to have loads going on, especially when it’s all so much fun to work on.

    “There are thousands of recipes out there, and it’s just about being able to pick the right ones, harness the right ideas, and put them in a great package for people to try themselves.”

    There’s no shortage of mouth-watering recipes in Pies & Puds. In the same way Bread introduced novices to basic techniques and walked them through more advanced methods, Pies & Puds includes basics like sausage rolls and quickly moves on to slightly more challenging tasks.

    These include pasties, bread and butter pudding made with croissants and cherries, and various types of pastry, from cheat’s puff pastry, rough puff and beyond.

    The book is, as Hollywood says, like a cookery course, and one of his favourite recipes is his take on a classic. “I do a beef and ale pie, but use water buffalo instead of regular beef, and I must say the pie is absolutely gorgeous.

    “Throughout the book I’ve twisted things, added new flavours, modernised classics and come up with a load of recipes that are beautiful to eat. It’s about comfort food, really, and I’m celebrating what Britain’s good at – pies, puddings and pastries. Real autumn food too, so it’s also perfect for the season.”

    An accompanying BBC series will see Hollywood travelling to Edinburgh to catch game and visiting a Boer goat farm in Lancashire – both becoming filling for his pies.

    There’s also a nod to his Merseyside roots, with his take on the classic Scouse. His mum used to make a mean Scouse, he says, so he’s taken the recipe and used it as a filling in a pie.

    The series will also feature a number of guests. “It’s set in a kitchen and I’ve got guests in with me baking,” says Hollywood.

    “Food heroes, people like that, and I have a collaboration dinner where we cook and then sit down and eat what we’ve made. It’s not as formatted as other shows I’ve done, it’s much more relaxed.

    “The main thing about everything I do is that I just love teaching. The idea that people are learning while watching and being inspired to try things themselves is absolutely brilliant.”

    Paul Hollywood’s Pies & Puds by Paul Hollywood is available now with a BBC series of the same name will be shown later this year.

    ‘Copyright Courtesy of PA Featurefile Ltd’

  5. National Cupcake Week!

    Last month saw the exciting National Cupcake Week, celebrating creativity and passion for cupcakes! A whopping 30 million cupcakes were sold over the last year, which shows how popular this type of cake has become!

    A national competition was launched to find the National Cupcake Champion! This year there is one competition for the professionals and one for the home bakers. The four categories are the same for both competitions, with a winner being announced for each category.

    These categories were:

    Classic flavour cupcake – decorated in any way

    Themed – any theme with presentation of this being the key

    Free-from – to suit any special dietary requirement

    Made with Alcohol – Think cupcake cocktails! Combining alcohol with cake, to deliver an award winning flavour.

    Fifteen finalists have been shortlisted in each category and the finals are taking place at Cake International on 9th November at the NEC, Birmingham. A panel of top judges will put the cupcakes through their paces, with the individual category winners, for both professional and home-baking being announced the same day!

    Good luck to all of the finalists!

    For more information and to buy tickets for this event please visit…

    http://www.cakeinternational.co.uk/tickets/BC

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