Category Archives: FOOD & Drink News

London Produce Show – Hospitality Conference

New food conference launches at London Produce Show in June

New hospitality conference free for chefs & buyers launches at London Produce Show in June where I will be chairing a credible & eclectic mix of well known foodies and trend setters and promises to be an event not to miss.

See details below & see you on 8th June ……. Jason


The one-day event is dedicated to ‘Putting Produce First’ in the foodservice industry

We have enhanced the London Produce Show and Conference 2016 (LPS) by adding more unique events into the schedule and we are pleased to announce the agenda for the brand new Foodservice Forum on June 8, 2016 from 8.45am – 5.25pm in the Ballroom of the Grosvenor House Hotel, a JW Marriott Hotel on London’s iconic Park Lane.

The Foodservice Forum is a one-day, interactive seminar programme dedicated to the UK’s diverse and thriving foodservice industry. The forum theme ‘Putting Produce First’ will address the question of how to get more fresh produce on restaurant plates and encourage more chefs and development chefs to have produce front of mind when developing menus for restaurants of all shapes, genres and size.

The Foodservice Forum will add another level of value to the LPS16 and will appeal to culinary heavy hitters and major UK and international foodservice companies. The programme will include seminars, panel discussions, chef demonstrations, and ideation sessions – all with a view to improving the performance of fresh produce across the foodservice and catering sectors. A top-class group of speakers and panelists will cover topics including: Produce – The New Fast Food, menu customisation for consumers, committing to zero food waste, creating nutritional and exciting meals for youngsters and much more. The forum is sponsored by Reynolds, Westlands, ChefsKit, WilcoxBurchmore and Feedback – the London Produce Show’s official charity partner.

For marketers of fresh produce, the morning’s keynote speaker is a must-see. Food-lover Andy Clarke was the long-time producer of smash-hit BBC television show Saturday Kitchen and knows a thing or too about getting products into the rarified atmosphere of prime-time TV. He will help you find the elements of your fresh produce mix that will not only excite consumers, but also the chefs who want to cook with them on air. And if you fancy a bit of that limelight yourself, Andy will also have a few tips on overcoming camera shyness.

The LPS16 Foodservice Forum will provide the opportunity to learn from industry experts about what it takes to be part of the UK’s burgeoning food scene and how to grow your foodservice business. It is a networking opportunity to share experiences with foodservice suppliers, top chefs and fresh produce experts.

The day will be hosted by Food Retailer and Restaurateur Jason Danciger a Paris-trained chef, former M&S head of hospitality and Food and Beverage Director for Wyvale, and now chairman of Espresso Board for HEJ Coffee.


How can we get more fresh produce on restaurant plates and encourage more chefs to have produce front of mind when developing menus?


9.15am – INTRODUCTION by Jim Prevor

9.25am – Jim introduces host – Jason Danciger, a Paris-trained chef, an ex-M&S head of hospitality and fresh counters, once responsible for cafes and restaurants at Wyevale, and now chairman of Espresso Board, Hej

Jason Danciger, Ian Nottage, Chef Director at Reynolds and Sean Burlinson, Director of Food at POD – one of the new produce-centric fast-food chains – start the day with a lively discussion about the evolving use of produce in one of the fastest growing foodservice sectors, talk through some of POD’s best-selling lines and analyse what suppliers can do to be part of the story.

Richie Bissett at Allegra Strategies – Setting the foodservice scene
Richie is a Senior Client Manager at Allegra Strategies, a leading-edge research and strategy consultancy based in central London. He sets the scene for the rest of the day – with a broad overview of the latest market developments and trends, as well as some unique insight into leading players and market segments.

Andy Clarke – TV Producer for BBC1, BBC Bristol, creator of and contributor to Crumbs Magazine
Andy has been involved in TV cookery for 10 years and produced ‘Saturday Kitchen Live’ on BBC1 for seven of them. After starting his TV producing career with ‘Richard & Judy’ he worked on children’s classic ‘Blue Peter’ for a number of years. Andy then paired his TV know-how with a life-long love affair with food and drink on Saturday Kitchen. A keen cook and wine enthusiast, Andy has recently been busy training chefs who aren’t used to cooking on TV by helping them make the transition from kitchen to camera. Andy will be discussing how to produce TV around seasonal fresh produce. He will give tips to chefs and the produce industry on how to get fresh produce on TV, how to pitch your products to TV production companies and also a few pointers on how to overcome camera shyness.


A successful menu is rarely going to be purely about the person developing the menu; it’s also about giving the consumer what they want in a way that makes sound commercial sense. The Foodservice Forum panel discusses how to develop attractive menus that both make money and delight consumers.

Jason Danciger – Chairman
Ian Nottage, Chef Director, Reynolds
Sean Burlinson, Director of Food, POD
Stefan Catoui, Co-founder and Product Director, Vita Mojo
Nicholas St. Peter – Executive Chef at Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott Hotel

Students from Hotelschool the Hague, Oxford Brookes and Springboard develop solutions to a series of practical scenarios from different foodservice settings, with the help of delegates from the sector


Feedback is an environmental organisation that campaigns to reduce food waste at every level of the food system. It intends to catalyse action on eliminating food waste globally, working with governments, international institutions, businesses, NGOs, grassroots organisations and the public to change society’s attitude toward wasting food. The panellists have made it their mission to reduce food waste too and Feedback hosts a debate around a topic that’s on everyone’s agenda.

Edd Colbert Feedback Campaign & Research Manager – Chairman
Mark Linehan – MD of Sustainable Restaurant Association
Adrian Collischon – Chef Director at Eden Caterers
Mark Zornes – Founder of Winnow Solutions
Justin Horne – Founder of Tiny Leaf

Celia Brooks – Food Writer, Cookery Book Author, London Gastrotour Host
Celia’s inventive style of vegetarian cooking has made her an established name on the cookery shelf. She has written eight cookbooks including the international bestseller “New Vegetarian”, and has contributed to many others. She conveys her passion for food in every way possible, through books, journalism, consulting, live demos, and has her own business called “Gastrotours”, conducting tours around London’s foodie hotspots. Celia will discuss how even though less than 2% of the population follows a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, restaurants are creating dishes to appeal the the rest of the 98% with veg-centric or plant-based dishes. Increasing the vegetable items on your menu while appealing to a larger audience is about flavour enhancement and cooking technique, not necessarily about being meat free.

3.15pm FRESH 4 KIDS
Speaker – Oli Blanc, London Produce Show & Conference 2016 Ambassador
Oli, who has developed Henri Le Worm and a group of friends, a cartoon series aimed at enthusing children about fruit and vegetables, asks who the industry need to target in order to increase consumption of produce amongst the youngest consumers of foodservice menus- and what are the key messages and products that might make a difference?


Reynolds development chef Diane Camp and Daniel Acevedo and Sarah Wasserman from top vegetarian restaurant Mildred’s – creating one of the meals from Mildred’s menu and explaining the thought process that went into creating that menu option in the first place. – would also highlight the importance of development chefs working with their customers to support menu development at this session

4.45pm PANEL – LPS16 CHEFS
What do chefs need from produce suppliers and are they getting it? Find out from three of our demo chefs at LPS16

Jason Danciger – Chairman
Jesse Dunford Wood – Head Chef Parlour
Damian Wawrzyniak – Owner of Fine Art of Dining
Hari Ghotra – Tamarind & Tamarind Kitchen Owner of

5.25pm WRAP-UP

The day is free for chefs and fresh produce buyers to attend. For all others, there is a fee of £99. Spaces are limited so book your place now! Click here to view the full schedule.

The Foodservice Forum will be followed by the London Produce Show and Conference’s opening cocktail reception, the largest annual social gathering in the UK’s fresh produce calendar with 750+ industry professionals from around the world, in the Great Room from 6:30pm to 8.30pm at the Grosvenor House Hotel.

We also recommend you book a hotel room at the LPS16 venue, the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane. Not only will you benefit from the convenience of having the LPS on your doorstep during the show dates but you can also take advantage of pre and post-event networking with other attendees and exhibitors. We have a limited number of rooms available for LPS attendees. Make your reservation now before they sell out.

For more information on the LPS Foodservice Forum visit or email

An incredible year for F&B at Wyevale Garden Centres


Wyevale Garden Centres picked up the award for the regional café chain of the year at the Café Quality Food Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel this month.

This highlights two great years improving the offer, the environment & customer service resulting in strong LFL growth and creation of a number of strong concepts.

The team have won a stream of awards this year for best new concept (midas), CR (lunch business), design (restaurant & bar design award) and my favourite ‘Greatest F&B Team’ (Garden Trade News & HTA)


Garden centre coffee house wins new concept award

The development of quality coffee shops in garden centres is a trend which has been noticed over the past few years – and now, the Coffee Grounds concept of the Wyevale garden centre in Endsleigh has won the prize for ‘best restaurant or bar in another space’ at the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards.

These awards are the main such scheme for the licensed trade, and cocktail bars and pubs around the world enter every year – there are usually over a thousand entries. There is no café category, and coffee-shop entries are usually found in the ‘fast casual dining’ section – but for Coffee Grounds to have won the ‘best bar in another space’ category is quite an achievement.

The Coffee Ground concept was launched last year, and was pioneered by Jason Danciger, who has a track record in coffee – at one time recently he ran 300 in-house cafes for Marks and Spencer. The Wyevale group runs many of garden centres across the UK, all of which use individual business identities, but work as part of a chain. The café idea was to use space within garden centres to offer customers ‘a wholesome shopping experience with an exceptional and high quality food and beverage offer’.

Coffee Grounds – Bar Awards

The beans are Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance certified, and spent grounds are collected for recycling into compost. Wyevale also says it is the only coffee shop group in the UK to roll out micro- roasting – it has one-kilo roasters across its café operation, and even says that ‘every single coffee shop on the high street is likely to follow us’.

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Thrive 6 at 6

Thrive 6 at 6

Jason Danciger

Each month we will be interviewing CEO, MD & CMO level executives asking 6 probing questions, answered in 6 minutes, and emailed at 6am to our exclusive Thrive members

For our first Thrive 6 at 6 we have spoken to Jason Danciger, Ex Head of Hospitality and Fresh counters at Marks and Spencer with the aim of getting to the bottom of innovation and commercial growth.

To hear Jason share his views on Innocent, the French, micro-bakeries, and provenance click on the video below, or for an over view take a look below at some of the main themes.

1. What’s the one business issue that keeps you awake at night?

Nothing keeps me awake at night! What worries me however is the same question that worries every single operator. Are we giving great service everyday in every bakery!  We put a lot of focus into our staff through recruitment and training, with a lot of effort being put in too, ensuring brilliant success in terms of standards and communication. But in every single bakery, everyday are the bakers baking fantastic bread and are they showing off their best products everyday. That will always keep me awake at night!

2. What would you personally like to be ‘famous’ for achieving within your time at your current company?

Selling bread to the French, on a big scale!

Read rest of article & watch video on:

Quality Food Awards

Food producers and retailers scoop top industry awards

Thursday 10 November, saw the prestigious Quality Food Awards presented at The Park Plaza Hotel, London where Britain’s leading food and drink producers and retailers were honoured.

It is a really strong competition where I have been on the panel of judges for many years and have been enthused by innovation and drive for quality despite difficult economic climate.

These awards are highly regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of the food and drink industry and reward products on sale in UK grocery outlets.

I was delighted to present the Christmas awards that has put me in festive spirit!

Check out winners at

Barista of the Year!

Announcing our Barista of the Year!

In September the annual Barista of the year championship was held at at the Business design centre in London.

We originally received over 300 entries from M&S baristas across the UK and Ireland. In-store assessments were held during the summer in over 180 stores.

From these assessments eleven finalists were selected:
Darren McCory, Jayne Semple, Chloe Prenton, Sean Linden, Jack white, Eve Haslam, Hetal Sodagar, Maria Thomas, Amanda McLean, Amy Jackson, Luke Evans

On the day all the finalists were required to set up their coffee machines and adjust the grinder to check the quality and time of the espresso coffee which forms the base of all our speciality coffee drinks.

Finalists were asked to produce four perfect espressos and four perfect lattes. Bonus points were awarded for latte art where the aim is to make a pattern on the coffee using only the milk and a great deal of skill.

Each contestant was asked to devise a speciality coffee based drink using only M&S ingredients. This year flavours included cherry, caramel, hazelnut and cinnamon, all were delicious with a mixture of iced, blended and hot drinks.

Sensory judging was carried out by a team of four including M&S cafe operations manager, David Condliffe, last year’s M&S Barista of the year, Alex Passmore and our coffee partners, Matthew Algie including Caroline Carter, National training manager and Regional training manager Kerry Wilkinson. Technical judging was conducted by Natasha Kemp and proceedings were overseen by head judge Sarah Bolwer who is also a UK barista championship judge.

Third place was awarded to Sean Linden from Dundrum store.

Runner up was awarded to Amy Jackson from Cheshunt store.

The title of M&S Barista of the year 2011 went to Luke Evans from Worthing store.

Luke was presented with the David Williamson trophy which he can keep for one year and, £250 of M&S vouchers. All finalists received a signed book by chef Tom Aitkens, a certificate and a bottle of Champagne. In addition to his winner’s prize, Luke will travel to the Matthew Algie roastery in Glasgow to roast his own coffee. The presentation of awards was carried out by Jason Danciger, Head of hospitality and in store food production at M&S

The M&S Chef of the Year Challenge

The M&S Chef of the Year Challenge final took place last week, with colleagues from across the business battling it out for the prestigious title.

Following last year’s successful M&S competition we ran two events; the amateur division was open to anyone from our offices or stores and our professional division was opened to trained chefs.

The finalists were all present on merit, following several stages of selection and had beaten their way through hundreds of entries from across the UK & Ireland. The chefs were tasked to produce a three course meal for two people using M&S ingredients consisting of a vegetarian starter, a sustainable fish main course and finally a dessert of seasonal strawberries, in just 90 minutes.

The standards incredibly high making it difficult to pick out an outstanding individual, but eventually the winners were announced.

Roz Graham from Camberley store, who works as a staff coordinator, was crowned the amateur chef of the year 2011

Melvyn Redding from Hedge End store – who works as the head chef in one of the busiest M&S restaurants – was announced as the Professional chef of the year 2011

Well done to Roz and Melvyn, but also congratulations to all of the finalists who showed great skill and made the final a truly high-quality event; fiercely competed but in tremendous spirit.

Our Amateur finalists
Mya Aronica – Aberdeen
Judith Battimelli – Maidenhead
Roz Graham – Camberley
Stephanie Keating – Navan

Our Professional finalists
Marc Herron – Lisburn
John Law – Culverhouse cross
Robert Parish Smith – London Colney
Melvyn Redding – Hedge End

The event was supported by The Craft guild of Chefs; the country’s leading chef organisation and our trophies were generously sponsored by Bakkavor and Manitowoc food service solutions.

Head of hospitality for M&S Jason Danciger, also a member of the craft guild of chefs, chaired the judges for both of our chef challenges along with Lead chefs from the M&S development teams and representatives of our sponsors.

“The food was outstanding and some of the amateur dishes could grace the table of many top restaurants in the country,” said Jason. “The professional level was up to the standard of national competitions that I have judged – in both cases this just shows the incredible talent in our M&S people. Congratulations to all our finalists, and especially Roz and Melvyn”.


Another gold for M&S Cafe

M&S has won a prestigious Design Effectiveness Award from the Design Business Association (DBA).

M&S took the top prize of ‘Gold’, beating all contenders in its category. The award was given for our M&S Café and the many touch points around customer journey, efficiency and environment and the subsequent phenomenal commercial results and outstandingly positive customer feedback.

There were two rigorous rounds of judging from business leaders including company directors from the BBC, Sony & HSBC.

Jason Danciger, Head of Hospitality, said “This is a great achievement for M&S and its hospitality operations and after winning gold for its learning programs as well really makes the M&S Cafe the cream of the industry. This is a fantastic tribute to the great teamwork between retail, design & food teams to arrive at such an incredible award.”

The DBA was founded in 1986 to recognise, communicate and reward the integral role that design effectiveness plays in commercial success. The annual Design Effectiveness Awards are the only award scheme that uses commercial data as a key judging criteria.

Support Hugh

Around half of the fish caught by fishermen in the North Sea are unnecessarily thrown back into the ocean dead.

The problem is that in a mixed fishery where many different fish live together, fishermen cannot control the species that they catch.

Fishing for one species often means catching another, and if people don’t want them or fishermen are not allowed to land them, the only option is to throw them overboard. The vast majority of these discarded fish will die.

Because discards are not monitored, it is difficult to know exactly how many fish are being thrown away. The EU estimates that in the North Sea, discards are between 40% and 60% of the total catch. Many of these fish are species that have fallen out of fashion: we can help to prevent their discard just by rediscovering our taste for them.

Others are prime cod, haddock, plaice and other popular food species that are “over-quota”. The quota system is intended to protect fish stocks by setting limits on how many fish of a certain species should be caught.

Fishermen are not allowed to land any over-quota fish; if they accidentally catch them – which they can’t help but do – there is no choice but to throw them overboard before they reach the docks.


We need to diversify our fish eating habits, and we need to change policy so that it works for fish, fishermen and consumers.

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which is the political framework for the quota system, is currently being reformed for 2012. Scientists and environmental groups have suggested a number of ways that that the policy can work to protect fish stocks. Some details of these can be found on our solutions page.

Re-writing the Common Fisheries Policy is going to be an enormously complicated business, and unfortunately there is no one easy solution to ending discards. Many people agree that the answer will lie in a combination of different ideas and policies.


• Sign up to the campaign on the sign up page. You will be writing directly to policy makers in Europe to let them know that the unnecessary and unethical discarding of perfectly good fish must stop. We can make a difference. If enough people sign up to the campaign, they have to listen to us. We aim to get 250,000 signatures by summer 2011. Click on

• Write to your MP to ask them to support the Fish Fight Early Day Motion.

• Expand the selection of fish that you eat by trying some of the lesser-known species of local fish currently being discarded as trash. In the UK, cod, salmon and tuna account for more than 50% of the fish that we consume, and tasty, exciting and nutritious fish such as flounder, dab, coley and pouting are overlooked and thrown away.

• Spread the word, tell all of your friends and family about Hugh’s Fish Fight and get them to sign the campaign too.

Together we can stop this ridiculous carnage. Join Hugh’s Fish Fight now!

Thanks very much,

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall