The industry's biggest show is back, at ExCeL London on 28 February-4 March. Daniel Thomas details the A-Z of this year's show - plus a free meal to win, interviews with Philippe Rossiter and David Russell, and tips on competing at the show and making the perfect coffee.
The inaugural Hotelympia Innovation Awards launch this year. Exhibitors have been invited to enter products that demonstrate innovation, with an element of sustainability, in one of four categories: equipment, food and drink, design, and technology.
Entrants have been whittled down to 12 finalists (three in each section) whose products will feature on touch screens in "innovation pods" situated around the show, offering visitors a chance to vote for their favourite. The People's Choice winner will be announced on the last day of the show, 4 March.
Bathrooms and spas
A dedicated bathroom and hotel spa hall will provide the opportunity for bathroom and spa suppliers to exhibit and highlight the latest products, services and ideas available to hotels and leisure facilities. With a variety of products including luxury baths, high-tech self-filling baths, luxury towels, bathrobes, duvets, bed linen, guest amenities and premium spa ranges, this is a section not to be missed.
Careers in Hospitality
Careers in Hospitality is a co-located show that will take place on 1-2 March alongside Hotelympia. It will showcase career opportunities with some of the leading hospitality employers, and is aimed at those already working in the sector as well as those about to enter the industry.
Exhibitors from a broad spectrum will be there, including those from the hotel sector, bars, restaurants, cruise ships and the armed services, together with organisations offering advice and training. The free seminar programme will see some of the leading lights in the industry offering practical advice on developing your career.
Anne Pierce, chief executive of hospitality careers organisation Springboard, says Careers in Hospitality is well worth a visit.
"It is a relatively new part of Hotelympia and something that is long overdue," she says. "You have employers that have jobs on offer and are showcasing their career development opportunities. You may well find the job that is right for you.
"In addition, there is a really vibrant speaker programme, plus, as an exhibitor, you not only get access to those already in the industry, but you see around 3,000 students from colleges and universities interested in getting their first job."
Decor & Design
For both interiors and exteriors, the Decor & Design section of the show aims to provide inspiration and new ideas for all designers and architects who visit. It will encompass a wide variety of design products and services including contract furniture, outdoor furniture, heaters and pavilions, lighting, flooring, soft furnishings and artwork.
Hotelympia is the largest forum of dedicated catering equipment suppliers in the UK, who will be presenting and demonstrating their latest and most innovative light and heavy equipment products and services, from refrigeration and ice makers to knives and warewashers. This dedicated section runs in partnership with The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA).
Food and Drink
From hard-to-find speciality ingredients to leading food brands, Hotelympia has more companies exhibiting food and beverages than any other hospitality event. Visitors will be able to enjoy the Speciality Food Pavilion with new food and products from the UK and abroad as well as Cost Sector Catering Live, which will feature an exciting programme of activity including a culinary display from the armed forces and a Ready Steady Cook-style competition where leading school chefs chosen by LACA will take on top Craft Guild chefs to test their skills at creating food within the budgetary and nutritional restrictions imposed by the Government.
Visitors to Hotelympia will get the chance to have a look at the planning behind the UK's greenest new-build hotel, the Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall, in a seminar on 3 March. The property, which opened late last year, has a distinctive external copper (recyclable) wall, a special recyclable membrane on the zinc roof, uses 150sq m of solar panelling and is heated by a biomass boiler.
Hostec Europe will once again be co-located with Hotelympia. With more than 100 exhibitors and a high-profile seminar programme, it is Europe's leading technology event in hospitality and food service, and an opportunity to experience a broad selection of the latest innovations and current thinking from around the world. Seminars will focus on key IT issues such as digital TV, security, digital marketing, RFID tagging and in-room technology.
The Hotelympia Inspiration Team is a panel of 14 high profile professionals from across the industry, who will be on hand to lead, advise and pass on their knowledge in the run-up to the show in line with the exhibition's three major themes for 2010 - reaching out to the buyers of tomorrow, sustainability and innovation.
The team includes Michelin-starred chefs Shaun Rankin and Chris Galvin; Michael Godfrey, executive head chef at Bekynton, Eton College; Tim Payne of Hell's Kitchen fame; Gerard Basset, co-founder of Hotel du Vin and now owner of Hotel TerraVina; and Andrew McKenzie, current Hotelier of the Year and managing director at the Vineyard at Stockcross.
Rebecca Hawkins, from Oxford Brookes University, will be representing sustainability and Sandra Russell, head of catering at Warwickshire County Council, will be leading on public sector catering.
The team also includes world barista champion Gwilym Davies (see box on page 35); David Russell of the Russell Partnership, who is creating the food vision for the 2012 London Olympics; Billy Waters, IT manager from Yo! Sushi; and Vincent McKevitt, founder of salad bar chain Tossed and 2009 Acorn Award winner, representing entrepreneurs. Last year's Catey Special Award winner Anne Pierce, chief executive of Springboard, will be spearheading careers while Stephanie Briggs, director of design for Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, will be overseeing design issues.
Jogging for charity
On Sunday 1 March the show will once again kick off with the Hotelympia 10K race, which raises money for Springboard, helping young, unemployed and disadvantaged people improve their chances in life by providing them with information and advice, skills development opportunities and work experience throughout the hospitality industry and at the same time helping the industry address its severe skills shortage.
The entry fee is £15+VAT and the Post Race Brunch is set to be better than ever with support from the Craft Guild of Chefs.
You will have to be quick if you want to take part - the deadline for entries is 21 February. Go to www.hotelympia10k.com for details.
Drop in to the Hotelympia Knowledge Exchange to glean hospitality know-how from the Inspiration Team and industry experts, at a one-to-one session.
Are you looking for advice on how to attract customers into your outlet, in search of ways to make your business more sustainable or just wondering what vegetables are currently in season? Whatever your query, make an appointment at Hotelympia's Knowledge Exchange for a session with your pick of the Inspiration Team, representatives from Foodservice Consultants Society International (www.fcsi.org) and other industry experts to share their wisdom.
The sessions will run from 10am to 4pm on 28 February and 10:30am to 4:30pm the rest of the week. They can be booked on arrival at the Hotelympia Knowledge Exchange reception.
Le Salon Culinaire International de Londres
Le Salon Culinaire will be hosting more than 80 competition classes throughout the five days of the show, across both the North and South Halls (don't miss out by sticking to one Hall).
Salon Display, sponsored by Compass Group UK, will provide a platform for the junior and senior programmes, while the Live Theatre, sponsored by Delice de France, will showcase a series of masterclasses and challenges.
La Parade des Chefs, sponsored by Nestlé Professional, will be serving up a three-course fine-dining experience to visitors, which will be cooked by one of 10 competing teams. The dining experience is run under competition rules and places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. La Parade des Chefs costs £34 (including a £2 discretionary fee donated to Hospitality Action).
The Live Theatre will raise awareness and demonstrate solutions to the ever-growing issue of preserving fish stocks. It will be hosting Sustainable Fish Classes, sponsored by M&J Seafood and Alaska Seafood, requiring competitors to prepare, cook and present two portions of a fish dish in 35 minutes using red gurnard, megrim, mackerel, pollack or albacore tuna.
Minister in the spotlight
On 4 March, tourism minister Margaret Hodge will be answering questions put by British Hospitality Association chief executive Bob Cotton. Hodge became tourism minister in July 2007 before taking compassionate leave in October 2008 to look after her sick husband, returning to the role last September.
Hodge has not always endeared herself to the tourism sector, most notably in 2008 when she attacked the quality of hotels and visitor attractions in the UK. Speaking to Holiday Which? magazine, the tourism minister said: "I agree that hotels are expensive and I worry about the quality."
The Government's commitment to the tourism sector has been repeatedly questioned in recent years with the UK tourism deficit standing at around £20b, so expect some tough questioning from Cotton.
New additions to Hotelympia for 2010 include the Schwartz Flavour Pairing Challenge, which will be open to teams of two chefs; Chef at Salon using Nestlé Professional Jus de Veau Lie; the Major International Contract Catering Awards and the Villeroy & Boch Culinary Challenge and Culinary Ability Awards.
Salon Display will also have additional categories including Chocolate Petits Fours, Sugar Flowers, Bread Display, Food Service Challenge, Plated Three-Course Fine Dining and City & Guilds 7100 Challenge.
It's not too late for hospitality operators to benefit from the business opportunities arising from the 2012 London Olympic Games. Mike Mulvey, head of the London Business Network, will be revealing how at a Hotelympia seminar on 2 March. Presentations will talk delegates through the ins and outs of identifying tender opportunities and how to go about winning bids.
More than 14 million meals will be served across 40 locations during the Games. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) will be responsible for feeding the 15,000 athletes, but there will also be contract catering opportunities at the various venues and throughout the capital.
Premises and Facilities
If you're a facilities management specialist in hospitality, food service or leisure, or facilities management falls into your remit as general manager, then this hall is for you. Hotelympia will host a number of leading providers showcasing their latest products in everything from laundry and hygiene to work wear.
Tuesday 2 March will see the presentation of the Caterer and Hotelkeeper Equipment & Supplies Excellence Awards 2010. The awards recognise innovation and enterprise in the development of professional catering equipment and supplies, which make such a vital contribution to successful food service operations.
There are 16 categories: Ancillary equipment (for example, insect control, water treatment); Beverage making and dispense; Combi ovens, steamers and microwaves; Crockery, cutlery and glassware; Disposables; Food display and bar installations; Food preparation, cookware and kitchen gadgets; Fryers; Green award (offering energy-efficient/eco-friendly benefits); Grills, griddles, barbecues and toasters; Hygiene and waste management; Ranges and ovens; Refrigeration (including blast chillers and freezers); Warewashing; Best installation case study; Best maintenance case study.
Last year's winners included the Convotherm Mini Mobile combi oven from Enodis UK and the Clifton Food Range water baths by Nickel-Electro. The Best Installation Case Study award went to Vision Commercial Kitchens for its project at Cameron House Hotel, Loch Lomond.
Roux brothers, Rhodes and Raymond Blanc
Four legendary chefs will be making exclusive appearances at Hotelympia. On 3 March at 1pm there will be a rare chance to see the iconic Roux brothers, Albert and Michel, together. The Silver Catey award winners will be talking about the best and the worst of hospitality trends over the past 50 years.
Following the Rouxs on stage, at 2pm, will be Raymond Blanc, who will be conducting a cookery demonstration on behalf of the Seafood Choices Alliance. Blanc is passionate about this organisation and will be explaining why.
Gary Rhodes will also be taking to the stage. He is set for a busy 2010, with a number of television projects and plans to launch a second restaurant in Dubai. Rhodes, who has a restaurant at the Grosvenor House, is also hoping to launch a second venture at its sister hotel, Le Royal Meridien. Hear more from the man himself at a special Hotelympia interview on 1 March.
Sustainability will be a major focus at Hotelympia. Conference organiser Fresh RM is running the show under the new sustainable event standard BS 8901, which sees every operational element comply within set criteria.
In addition, Hotelympia will host sustainability seminars on the Main Stage; sustainability is a pre-requisite for entries in Hotelympia's Innovation Awards; and sustainability competition criteria will feature at the Salon Culinaire Internationale de Londres for the first time.
A dedicated area, called Sustainability in Action, will visitors better understand how to make their operation more green. Exhibitors already signed up include the Carbon Trust, Veolia, Waterscan and Kingspan.
In addition to this area, visitors keen to engage with sustainable suppliers can drop into the Innovation Pod, situated within the Sustainability area, which will incorporate sustainable furniture and use of energy-saving products. Touch-screen units will showcase the Innovation Awards finalists, sustainable nuggets from the Inspiration Team, plus other event information. There will be a small seminar area where exhibitors can showcase sustainable products and know-how via professional speakers and chefs.
Toby Wand, group exhibition director at Fresh RM, said: "It's our responsibility to share information to help people build their businesses and sustainability is an area we wanted to help demystify.
"The hospitality sector is well placed to not only become more efficient, but also to use sustainability as an increasingly important selling point to customers. The interactive elements of the show will appeal to the younger audience - the next generation of decision makers - providing inspirational information to build operators' business whilst highlighting the importance of a sustainable future."
From the high end to the durable and cost-effective, Hotelympia offers the widest source of tableware, with hundreds of companies using the show to launch their new products. You'll find everything you need to keep your business on-trend in the Tabletop section of the show, whether it's a five-star hotel, a country pub or a burger bar.
UK Barista Championships
More than 20 contestants will battle it out on Sunday 28 February in a day of intense competition for six places in the final on Monday 1 March. Monday's winner will be crowned UK Champion and go on to compete against 55 other nations at the World Championship held in June.
Expectations will be high as last year's UK champion, Inspiration Team Member Gwilym Davies (see box on page 35), went on to win the World Championship in Atlanta. A series of lively demonstrations will provide some light relief to the drama of Monday's final.
View the past of work uniforms
To kick-start each morning, starting on Tuesday 2 March, students from Westminster College will be putting on a fashion show, demonstrating work wear from different decades. Expect catwalk models, music and glitz.
Witness a world exclusive at Stage 75 - celebrating 75 years of Hotelympia - and be among the very first to get a glimpse of the Savoy's renovation, after more than two years' work, when architects Conrad and Reardon Smith tell all about breathing new life into the UK's most iconic hotel.
Other Stage 75 highlights include a presentation on the Art of Wine by Inspiration Team wine connoisseur Gerard Basset; award-winning chef Tom Kerridge of the Hand & Flowers, Marlow, cooking up a storm at the Craft Guild of Chef's Skillery session; and Design LSM and Chris Galvin talking about the launch of the Galvin brothers' new restaurant, La Chapelle, which is already being described as a "modern classic".
ExCeL London is the venue for Hotelympia (1 Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, London E16 1XL. Tel: 020 7069 4000). London City Airport is located five minutes away, by car or taxi. For those travelling via London Underground, the Jubilee Line is recommended as the quickest route. Alight at Canning Town to change onto the DLR (upstairs from the Jubilee Line level - trains normally depart from platform 3) for the quick two-stop journey to Custom House for ExCeL. For those driving, follow the signs for Royal Docks, City Airport and ExCeL. There is easy access from the M25, M11, A406 and A13 and the venue has 4,000 car parking spaces. The show opens at 11am on Sunday 28 February and closes at 4.30pm on Thursday 4 March.
Your Show Planner
The Hotelympia Show Planner is an online tool (go to www.hotelympia.com and follow the link) to help you make the most out of your visit to Hotelympia.
Submit your business interests (product category) to generate a personalised list of exhibitors that match your interests. Exhibitors' stand locations will be shown on a personalised floor plan.
The search result can be printed as a personalised PDF document to assist you to navigate your way around the event and contact exhibitors prior to the event.
Zone for exhibitors
The Exhibitor Zone allows exhibitors at Hotelympia to update their contact details (allowing visitors to the site to contact them directly), add press releases to the website, and view useful information on exhibiting.
WIN A MEAL FOR TWO AT LA PARADE DES CHEFS
Hotelympia is offering Caterer readers the opportunity to win a meal for two at La Parade des Chefs, where they can enjoy a three-course fine dining experience cooked by one of 10 competing teams.
To enter the competition
Answer the following question: How many teams are competing at La Parade des Chefs?
E-mail your answer by 5pm on 23 February to Catherine@jellybeancreative.co.uk with the subject heading "CHK La Parade Comp" and include your name, company and contact telephone number.
WHY VISIT HOTELYMPIA?
"It is very important for the younger generation to visit Hotelympia. I've been going to the show since I was a teenager and it has provided me with a great deal of inspiration over the years. There is so much to learn and with the exciting new features at the 2010 show, it is sure to be an invaluable, inspirational experience.
"I encourage my staff, both in the kitchen and front of house, to visit Hotelympia to encounter industry innovation and come back to work and put it into practice."
Chris Galvin, Chef-patron, Galvin Restaurants
"The show is a must-do on the calendar; how could any chef not support an event of this nature? It is a great event; a chance to catch up with new technology coming into market, food trends and meeting up with suppliers and without doubt taking in the Salon Culinaire.
"The show will also highlight the importance of new energy-efficient technology coming in and how this will assist our usage of commodities in the future.
"My tips for visitors? I would plan the day ahead, look through the schedule, and tick what is right for you and your market sector, so you do not leave the show without doing what you had set out to."
Michael Godfrey, Executive head chef, Bekynton, Eton College
"You should visit Hostec-Europe because most of the main suppliers are there - it's a good opportunity to talk to the people providing the solutions and see their equipment. Rather than looking through a catalogue or going online, you get to see everything first hand."
Billy Waters, IT manager, Yo! Sushi
"Being based in Jersey, I don't get over to the UK as much as I would like, so I am really looking forward to seeing what's new in the market. No one should leave without going to the live cookery shows and also taking time out to see some of the presentation work that chefs have taken hours and hours to perfect.
"My best memory of Hotelympia has to be the first time I went - I was 17 and had just arrived in London to work. I remember just standing there in the entrance, trying to pick my jaw up off the floor. I was gobsmacked by the pure scale of it."
Shaun Rankin, Head chef,Bohemia, the Club Hotel & Spa, Jersey
"When I visit Hotelympia, there are always a couple of gems that you never knew were out there. It's a place where there is so much innovation; if I can walk away having picked up two new ideas then that's great."
Vincent McKevitt, Founder, Tossed
"A huge variety of things can grab your interest at Hotelympia - it's a real showcase of the top skills. You get the students competing who are the chefs of the future and then those who have already reached the pinnacle that are showing off what got them there in the first place. It gives you, as a visitor, lots of ideas that you can take away and put into practice in your own business."
Anne Pierce, Chief executive, Springboard
Philippe Rossiter is chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality. He will be appearing at Hotelympia alongside the BHA's David Clarke and Rebecca Hawkins from Oxford Brookes University to debate the question: "Can operators save the planet and save money?"
Sustainability is the hot topic right now. But what does it mean for hospitality?
The question is the same for all businesses. People in the industry often see themselves in isolation on this issue, but actually everybody is affected in the same way. Where the challenge is clear is the nature of the business in hospitality: dealing with customers who are actually seeing what you are doing. Service provision is often related to food and beverage, which creates waste in production, transportation and energy. If you are seen not to be acting in an environmentally friendly fashion, consumers will see it - the public consciousness makes them more alert to these issues.
What are the most effective sustainability measures you have come across in hospitality?
Some might predict I would say this, but one of the most successful initiatives was Hospitable Climates, an Institute of Hospitality-led scheme, which offered all sectors of the hospitality industry a free advisory service to help reduce energy consumption. It ran for eight years and would have been running today had the Carbon Trust not decided to withdraw its funding (worth around £150,000 a year). It was a great shame that it ended as it accurately identified how members were saving money on energy costs. A lot of schemes, such as the Sustainable Restaurant Association and Considerate Hoteliers, require operators to make a contribution, but this was free.
What are the benefits of focusing on sustainability?
What exercises any business is increasing profits and anything you can do to enhance that potential must be a good thing. Most of the actions around sustainability lead you to be more profitable, with energy costs being the most obvious example. But there is also water - the trend to move away from bottled water may mean operators are missing out on the mark-up, but all the associated costs, such as stock and distribution, are removed. And there are the intangible benefits - by adapting better practices you drive customer loyalty and repeat business. It's not about the planet; it's about business.
What major challenges do operators face when implementing sustainability programmes?
There is a level of ignorance on the part of operators and their employees, not assisted by the ongoing debate on climate change. The word "sustainability" gets bandied about, but the challenge is making it very clear what this means: it improves the profit of the business. It's also important not to get swept away and go berserk on sustainability measures, as it become meaningless. Sometimes it's not possible to do everything environmentally - if someone is paying £250 for a hotel room they expect a level of luxury.
Should the Government be doing more on sustainability?
I wouldn't argue for more legislation as it can be divisive - for example, the Carbon Reduction Commitment only applies to very large companies. A lot of legislation is more to do with the Government's reputation outside the UK. I would like to see more joined-up thinking across the agencies. There are so many - Carbon Trust, WRAP, Envirowise and so forth - that it creates confusion. Why can't we have a coherent approach? Programmes should be more targeted, particularly at the local level. There are some good schemes out there, such as the Carbon Trust's £50,000 interest-free loan, so i'd like to see more like that.
What are you hoping will come from the Hotelympia debate?
We need a bit more honest debate and sensible discussion: not just "green is good". We need more of a sense of why we are doing this. In a sense, it's a bit like the progress of labour relations. Of course there has been some legislation, but it has moved on through changing culture - people simply can't behave like they used to because people won't let them.
David Russell is founder of the Russell Partnership, which has been tasked with creating the food vision for the London 2012 Olympics. He is a member of Hotelympia's Inspiration Team and will be on hand during the show to share his expertise.
Can you give us an update on where the planning for catering for the Games is right now? What is the timescale moving forwards?
We launched the Food Vision in December and the procurement process is now under way. This process, which is managed through the CompeteFor website, will run until December. Another notable landmark is the launch of the food charter this spring.
What companies are getting involved? Are there any gaps you will be hoping to fill in this respect?
It is a complete cross section, from global to local companies.
What lessons can be learnt from previous Olympic Games when it comes to catering?
You need to create a strategy for food; develop a detailed food, operational and financial model; and to procure early, working towards partnerships.
What has the reaction been to the London 2012 Food Vision?
It has been well received by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the National Farmers Unions, the British Hospitality Association, London Food Board Sponsors and Sustain. It has also gone down well with contract caterers
Where is the integration between Hotelympia and the Olympic Games?
This year's Hotelympia is all about innovation, youth and sustainability and our role is to write a food vision that captures those aspects as well. Through sustainability, we have created a food group that is working together with industry to find new standards of sustainability. Through innovation, we are thinking through new ways of creating procurement and co-created companies where we will work together to create new ideas. Through youth, well that is everything 2012 is about, reaching success and creativity through young thought and innovation.
HOW TO ACHIEVE PERFECT COFFEE
By barista champion and Inspiration Team member Gwilym Davies
Make sure you know where your coffee beans come from. At the moment I am using a blend of two - 50% Yellow Bourbon, pulped natural from the Fazenda Passeio Farm in Minas Gerais, Brazil and 50% Gerbicho Rogicha, a dry processed coffee of heirloom varieties from Southern Sidamo in Ethiopia.
Coffee is an agricultural product - the varietal, processing method and growing conditions have a huge impact on its flavour, aroma and texture, just like wine. For example, Yellow Bourbon beans are particularly sweet - pulped naturals have a good body and the growing region give it low acidity and hazelnuts, mixed with the dry processed Ethiopian beans, bring a dried fruit flavour, in this case apricots.
For freshness, you need to know when the coffee was roasted - it should be used within three weeks, with an optimum time of six to 10 days from roast. Look out for roast dates on the bag - this is a clear indication of a roaster's philosophy concerning freshness.
My coffee is roasted by Squaremile Coffee. Build a mutually beneficial relationship - find out from your roaster how fresh the coffee is and get a starting point brewing recipe. In turn, give your supplier feedback on how the blend behaves; they can then pass this on to the importers/farmers.
Finally, try these tips for the perfect coffee:
- Go for a burr grinder, not one with helicopter blades because they don't grind evenly.
- A good-quality machine with a stable temperature is key.
- Be careful not to overheat the milk - If milk is steamed too hot it will lose sweetness and texture.
- The steam wand must be kept clean - a dirty wand, as well as being unhygienic is also a good indicator of the machine's general cleanliness.
PREPARING TO COMPETE AT SALON CULINAIRE
By Multi-Gold winner and Inspiration Team member Michael Godfrey
- Make sure you have pre-registered for your chef competitor badge (see www.hotelympia.com).
- Cook dishes you are used to or have practised and know can be achieved in the given time.
- Take into account that the stove and oven at the salon will be just that - a plain stove and oven, not fan-assisted and no steamers.
- Think your menu through and draw up an equipment list.
- Pull together a prep list to follow on the day of the competition. Lists keep you on target, aid the mind when under pressure and assist in defining the outcome.
- Have a few run-throughs and aim to finish under the allocated time. Try to practise the dishes in a normal oven if one is to be used.
- Only take what you need; do not get bogged down with loads of kit.
- If possible, take someone with you - good for morale and great to assist when clearing and setting up.
- Be ultra prepared - check and double-check that you have everything you need before you leave for the event.
- Get some rest the night before, I know this one sounds limp but it's really important that you don't go on a mind-bending beer session the night before; it reflects in the performance and the day may be quite long with the travelling to and from the venue.
- Allow plenty of time to get to the venue - remember that you will not be able to park right next to where you will need to be. Passes should also be ready to aid this process of dropping off and picking up kit.
- Only take what food will be needed into the competition area, otherwise it will look like you have wasted too much produce.
- Work tidy, stay focused on cooking the food, not mopping the floor, taste with spoons and do not double-dip them, no matter how tempting.
- Taste, taste, taste - I can't stress this one enough. It's really important that you know what the food is like prior to serving it - great flavour and balance, along with a good visual, should see an outcome that is deserved. Competition cookery is a bit of a journey so stick with it and you will get what you work for.
- Be confident and go out to win.