The 2019 Product Excellence Awards were once again hosted by Delaware North at the London Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, home to West Ham Football Club.
The event was an opportunity to recognise excellence and innovation in food, drink and equipment products within the hospitality sector and salute and acknowledge all the manufacturers, producers and suppliers behind them. It also allowed the finalists the chance to network with the judges, who had spent many hours deliberating the results.
We hope you enjoy reading all about the winners in the following pages.They are the UK's leading food, drink and equipment products available in hospitality and it continues to be our privilege to represent them all in the pages of the industry's only weekly magazine.
Lisa Jenkins, products and suppliers editor, The Caterer
About our sponsor
Delaware North UK, the US-owned hospitality and food management company, has a growing portfolio across nationwide sports stadia and travel hubs in the UK, including Wembley Stadium, the London Stadium, Excel Exhibition Centre, St Pancras & Euston Stations, Luton and Glasgow airports, Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, Fulham's Craven Cottage and Derby's Pride Park stadium and Moor Park training ground.
In 2018 Delaware North secured a 20-year partnership with Coventry's Ricoh Arena to provide catering and hospitality services across the stadium, the Ericsson Exhibition Hall and the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel.
- Andrew Aston, head of wellness and nutrition, BaxterStorey
- Dipna Anand, co-owner and cookery school trainer, Brilliant Restaurant
- Julie Barker, non-executive director, CUBO
- Adam Bateman, group operations and development chef, IHG/Kimpton Hotels
- David Bentley, director, Bentley Consulting
- Al Crisci, founder, the Clink Charity
- Alison Cullin-Woodcock, consultant, Clifton Foodservice Consultants
- Jack Davies, F&B project manager, London Clinic
- Roger Denton, national secretary, NACC
- Scott Dineen, head chef, BaxterStorey
- Julian Edwards, managing director, Food Service Allergen Management
- Kate Gould, managing director, KEG Catering Consultants
- Neil Phillips, wine consultant, the Wine Tipster
- Craig Roberts, project manager, Humble Arnold Associates
- Mark Sharland, project manager, Willis Jenkins
- Craig Smith, head of corporate affairs, ISS World
- Kenn Tagg, commercial director, Space Group
- Laurence Tottingham, business development chef, Revolution Bars
- Preston Walker, chef/director, Oak House Residential Home
- Jamie Warley, head pastry chef, St Ermin's hotel
- Carl Weldon, chief operating officer for Europe, HFTP
- Ken Winch, owner, Ken Winch Design
The London Stadium
Formerly the Olympic Stadium in Stratford London, the much-loved destination has now been transformed into a superb multi-use venue and the home to Premier League football club West Ham United and the national home of UK Athletics.
London Stadium is described as the people's stadium, with a close connection to the local community, as well as being the capital's showcase for the world's greatest artists and performers.
With the development of the meetings and events facilities at London Stadium there has been a focus on ensuring that the history of the East End is retained while embracing the recent but substantial history of the stadium. The resulting venues are spaces that have been brought to life with stories that will inspire all those that attend events Mini-tours have been developed specifically for the meetings and events market, and delegates and dinner guests will be able to put themselves in the shoes of the Super Saturday athletes as they made their preparations on the warm-up track before the roar of the crowds.
They can also follow in the footsteps of footballing heroes and make the walk along the players' tunnel, out to the manager's dug-out before standing pitch-side at the iconic venue, where they can imagine they are being serenaded by a deafening rendition of ‘Bubbles' by 54,000 fans.
Head chef Gary Foakes and his menu
Gary Foakes has cooked for the Queen on three separate occasions, catered for 1.6 million meals for the athletes of the Olympic village in 2012 and has worked at events under the lead of such chefs as Gordon Ramsay, Anton Edelmann, Anton Mosimann and Raymond Blanc.
- Factory bread selection, whipped salted butter
- Butter-poached lobster arancini, thermidor cream, Parmesan
- 55-degree lamb rump, braised shoulder, crisped brick pastry, pistachio dukkah, fermented carrot juice
- Deconstructed lemon meringue
- Rosalba Bianco, Italy A blend of Italian and local grapes is used to produce a fresh and fruity wine with a slight nuttiness and a zingy acidity
- Rosalba Rosso, Italy A blend of Italian and international grapes, this red has well-balanced fruits and spices
Delaware North would like to thank Belazu Ingredients for its support with the PEAs menu. Belazu Ingredient Company manufactures and supplies a broad range of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern ingredients for a variety of sectors within the food industry.
The business is obsessive about the quality of its premium products, level of service and impact on the environment. This ethos is shared among many of Belazu's producers and customers. Belazu has supplied Delaware North since 2017. As a leader in hospitality and foodservice, it operates in the most prestigious sites and its experienced chefs consistently deliver memorable experiences through inspiring menus.
**Ancillary cooking equipment: Jestic, Winston CVap 7-series Cook&Hold
The Winston CVap 7-series Cook&Hold cabinets give chefs precise control over food temperature, moisture and texture while preserving quality.
The series was assessed by the PEAs judges on efficiency, functionality, design and benefits to the end-user. CVap, which stands for Controlled Vapour Technology, can prevent delicate ingredients from drying out. The cabinets also include touch controls with HACCP data download capability for temperature monitoring.
Bakery: Café de Nata, Raspberry Pastel de Nata
The Pastel de Nata is synonymous with Portugal, and over the past couple of years the tartlet has seen its fame reach new heights in the UK.
The bite-size treats were developed by monks in Portugal before the 18th century and are traditionally eaten with a bica (espresso).
The Raspberry Pastel de Nata from Café de Nata is a modern twist and our judges were immediately smitten with its excellent pastry and well-balanced flavour.
Beverage making and dispense equipment The Brew It Group, Milkit
Milkit is a milk tap system developed to help cafés achieve milk dose consistency, maintain milk integrity (reducing the risk of cross-contamination) and improve barista workflow. The Milkit system sits on top of the counter and is connected to a 24-pint pergal beneath the unit, out of sight of the customer.
Coffee: Change Please, Adventurous
The number of people who are homeless has doubled in the UK since 2010, and more than 4,000 people sleep rough every night. Change Please supports the homeless community bytraining them to be baristas, paying the London Living Wage and providing support with housing, bank accounts and mental wellbeing. The company also produces award-winning coffee blends, and the judges thought the 100% Arabica Adventurous blend was exceptionally well-balanced with a long-lasting flavour.
Condiments: Belazu Ingredient Company, Aged Malt Vinegar of Modena
Belazu's Aged Malt Vinegar from Modena is made using the same method as balsamic vinegar production. It's aged in oak barrels, which mellows the acidity and brings out caramel notes. The judges agreed that this product was smooth and rich with a quality and depth of flavour that makes it one of the best they had tried.
Dairy: Eurilait, Alfresco Barbecue cheese steaks – original
Our judges loved this innovative new product, describing it as "a delicious, simple idea". The cheese steaks don't contain gluten, artificial flavours and preservatives, and can be cooked on the grill to make the perfect vegetarian alternative to a beefburger.
Desserts: Traiteur de Paris, Cappuccino Pie
The judges described this as an exquisite product that presents perfectly on the plate. It combines an intense coffee flavour with a crunchy, chocolate-coated crumble base, a layer of chocolate and coffee cream mix, topped with a layer of sweetened milk froth. The pie comes in individual or 12-portion versions and is free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.
Fish and seafood: Direct Seafoods, Glitne halibut
After Glitne halibut are harvested from Norwegian waters with a temperature of 9°C, all the handling of the fish is done by hand. The halibut are immediately cooled in ice and transported to a packing station, where they are gutted, packed and shipped directly to customers. During cold storage the flesh matures, enhancing the flavour and taste and producing flesh that is muscular yet tender. The judges raved about this product, proclaiming it a good-quality farmed fish with "good colour and good texture, that's easy to cook and a good price."
Fish and seafood: Clearwater Fine Foods Europe, Wild-caught Canadian Sea Scallops
Clearwater's Wild-caught Canadian Sea Scallops are frozen at sea within an hour to lock in their freshness and natural moisture for minimum shrinkage and greater yield. The scallops cooked at the PEAs judging session were beautifully caramelised and delicious. They are sustainably harvested and a consistent supply is available all year round from Canada's largest quota holder.
Food preparation equipment: Robot Coupe, Robot Cook
The Robot Cook has a plethora of patented innovations and technologies built into a single appliance. It cooks, cuts and blends and can save preparation time by emulsifying, grinding, blending, chopping, mixing and kneading.
Robot Coupe describe the Robot Cook as a smart assistant for the kitchen – and the judges agreed.
Frozen: Traiteur de Paris, Potato Gratin with White Truffle
This luxurious product was chosen for its flavour, its speed of serve and its benefits to the operator. It provides an alternative to traditional gratins thanks to the truffle (1%) and truffle oil (0.2%) flavouring the dish. The gratin comes in individual portions, which present well on the plate, and is free of artificial colours, preservatives, flavour enhancers and alcohol.
Hygiene: Winterhalter, C170 BLUe Cleaner and Sanitiser Super Concentrate 2L
Winterhalter has taken the lead in its sector with its policy to manufacture chemicals that are as environmentally sound as possible. Its C170 BLUe concentrated cleaner and sanitiser is coconut derived and the surfactants are biodegradable to EU standards. It kills 99% of bacteria in 30 seconds.
Meat and poultry: Henson Meats, Salt Beef
Henson Meats has a long history as a catering butcher. Salt beef is a product dating back to Tudor times, when beef was soaked in barrels of brine and saltpetre to preserve and tenderise the meat. Nowadays, foodservice customers expect a more sophisticated product, and Henson's Beef is made with prime, grass-fed brisket and a delicate low-salt cure. The judges said: "Henson Meats' salt beef is full of flavour but, just as importantly, it cooks well and is available for a very good price. Something an operator always looks for."
Prime cooking: Rieber, Catering Circle
Rieber's ‘pop-up' catering concept, the Catering Circle, is a system that can be configured into a square, a circle, a triangle or rectangle, combining a multipurpose steel container with cooking, hot or cold display, sink, beer font, self-ventilation and refrigeration. The judges commended the mobility and flexibility of the system, with rapid connectivity for the caterer.
Refrigeration: Hoshizaki, Gram Baker Pro GA 950
The GA 950 is a three in one piece of kit, acting as a refrigerator, a freezer and a prover. The control system and steam generator facilitates the precise setting of time and temperature throughout the whole cycle, including air humidity control in the retarding and proving phases. Its ideal for confectioners and pâtisseries, but also ideal for heavy-duty operations. It's rated with Climate Class 5 and suitable for use in ambient temperatures of up to 40°C.
Soft drinks: Coca-Cola European Partners, Coca-Cola Signature Mixers Herbal Notes
The judges loved the sophisticated herbal variant from the Coca-Cola Signature Mixers collection, a group of four mixers specially designed to pair with dark spirits. Herbal Notes is a crisp, floral mix that delivers tart, herbaceous notes of lemongrass and dill, pairing beautifully with amber whiskies and rum.
Snacking: Supernatural Food, Boundless Activated Nuts & Seeds – Rosemary & Cayenne
These healthy snacks flavoured with cayenne and rosemary also contain almonds, cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, maple syrup and salt. They are vegan approved, gluten-free, and high in protein. As our snacking winner they provide an important dose of protein and a delicious grab-and-go burst of energy.
Special diet: Bidfood, Simply Puree Level 4 Cottage Pie
Whether customers are demanding dishes for food intolerances, allergies, medical conditions, or wellbeing, hospitality operators are expected to deliver. Our winner this year provides a solution for a specific sector of hospitality and does it exceptionally well. Bidfood's Simply Puree Level 4 Cottage Pie is created especially for people with dysphagia. Bidfood's texture modified dishes were a hit with the judges, who praised the comforting taste and aroma.
Tea and hot chocolate: Shibui Tea, Earl Grey Teabags
Shibui Tea is a family-run company that has worked to reduce the plastic in its packaging, with most of its teas available in compostable and recyclable packaging. Shibui is a Japanese word that describes something that appears simple but has a complex nature and our judges agreed. The Shibui Earl Grey Teabags are a flavoursome blend of rich Assam and Ceylon black teas flavoured with citrussy bergamot, creating a decadent and luxuriant beverage.
Technology: Syft, SyftForce
The judges were looking for innovation, benefits to the operator, convenience and money-saving credentials in this category, and SyftForce hit all the buttons. The staff management app was launched in 2015 and was acquired by www.indeed.com in 2019. It is a free team management tool that can plan and post shifts, set team permissions, clock-in and clock-out staff and fill vacant jobs.
Warewashing; Meiko, M-iClean US
Chef-restaurateur John Campbell's testimonial speaks of how the machine produces crystal-clear glassware, and what an advantage that is to the business owner. The judges commented on the quality of the results and the intelligent energy management system that gradually shifts functions into standby mode when the machine is idle, saving electricity.
Wine and spirits: Booker, Alfred Button & Sons, Lovely Lemon Sherbet Gin
The judges were full of admiration for Booker for stocking Alfred Button Lemon Sherbet Gin, which has a ‘mystical shimmer' and packs a citrusy punch. It was perfect as a simple gin and tonic, but worked just as well as a dash in a glass of Prosecco. As one judge said: "It will complete any celebration."