Chef urges growers to donate roots and shoots

Chef Tim Bilton of The Spiced Pear Hepworth has teamed up with the National Allotment Society, and is asking Yorkshire’s veg growers to donate their homegrown roots and shoots this month – so he can cook up a community feast for Harvest Festival on September 8th.

The Spiced Pear has teamed up with National Allotment Society to host the party in their 4 acre kitchen garden and restaurant, which will centre on a fabulous feast cooked up by Tim for all the contributing gardeners and locals.

The Yorkshire chef will create a feast made from fruit and veg grown on all 100 Kirklees sites – that’s over 1000 allotment plots in total!

Tim’s grow-your-own ethos was inspired by his training under Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons and since opening The Spiced Pear a year ago, his smallholding and garden has been his top priority.

“Local produce and growing-your-own has always been a personal passion of mine and I have loved working on my plot at The Spiced Pear," says Tim.

"I want to celebrate and promote the joys of growing your own and spread the allotment agenda! So, whether you want to show off your ravishing radishes, beautiful broad beans or stunning celeriac – we’d be delighted if you got involved and came to our party."

Di Appleyard from NAS, says: “We are very excited to have teamed up with Tim to emphasise the satisfaction of growing and eating your own tasty produce and promote the National Allotments Society; raising awareness of the social, cultural and health benefits that allotments provide helps the Society to get our message over to policy makers and government at all levels and protect sites for future generations to enjoy.”

If you’d like to donate your veg, get in touch with Tim at 01484 683 775 or drop it off at The Spiced Pear, Hepworth.

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Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker crowned Champion Beer of Britain

Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker has been crowned the 'Best Beer' in Britain at the Great British Beer Festival, Olympia, London.

The West Yorkshire brewed real ale was judged the Supreme Champion over a host of other finalists in 7 different beer categories (Bitters, Best Bitters, Strong Bitters, Golden Ales, Milds, Winter Beers, and the Speciality class), including beers from both small microbrewers and large regional brewers.

Nik Antona, Champion Beer of Britain Director, spoke in praise of today's winner, saying: “It is fantastic to announce Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker as the Champion Beer of Britain 2014. This full flavoured bitter is a modern classic that is as impressive today as the day it was first brewed.”

Head Brewer Peter Eells says: “I’m speechless. We work very hard to produce great beers and we really believe this is the best beer we can brew – so to have it acknowledged in such an important competition is absolutely fantastic.”

Managing Director Charles Dent adds: “We’re absolutely delighted. It’s our favourite, it’s the brewers favourite, it’s the beer that you drink if you’re drinking with us and it’s named after one of our favourites pubs – The Boltmakers.”

This year's Silver went to Oakham Citra, whilst the Bronze award went to Salopian, Darwin’s Origin.

All three of the beers are available at the Great British Beer Festival this week.

Overall winners-

Gold – Timothy Taylors, Boltmaker

Silver – Oakham, Citra

Bronze – Salopian, Darwin’s Origin

Mild category-

Gold – Bank Top, Dark Mild

Silver – Branscombe Vale, Mild

Bronze – Castle Rock, Black Gold

Bitters category-

Gold – Timothy Taylor, Boltmaker

Silver – Mighty Oak, Captain Bob

Joint Bronze – Flowerpots, Flowerpots Bitter & Sambrook’s Wandle Ale

Best Bitters-

Gold – Salopian, Darwin’s Origin

Silver – Red Willow, Directionless

Joint Bronze – Purity, Mad Goose & Langton, Inclined plain bitter

Golden Ales-

Gold – Oakham, Citra

Silver – Hawkshead, Cumbrian Five Hop

Bronze – Salopian, Hop Twister

Strong Bitters-

Gold – Church End, Fallen Angel

Silver – Blue Monkey, Ape Ale

Bronze –Loch Ness, HoppyNESS

Speciality Beers-

Gold – Saltaire, Triple Chocoholic

Silver – Offbeat, Way Out Wheat

Bronze – Peak Ales, Chatsworth Gold

Champion Winter Beer of Britain (from category winners announced in January 2014)-

Cairngorm, Black Gold (Stouts Category)

Dunham Massey, Dunham Porter (Porter Category)

Exe Valley, Winter Glow (Old Ales & Strong Milds)

Kinver, Over the Edge (Barley Wines & Strong Old Ales)

Champion Bottled Beer of Britain winners (Sponsored by Beer Hawk)

Gold – Marble, Chocolate Marble

Silver – St Austell, Proper Job

Bronze – Spire, Prince Igor Imperial Russian Stout

Bumper crop of gold stars for damson port from Yorkshire

Raisthorpe Manor Fine Foods proved to be good as gold as it picked up a hat-trick of gold stars for its new Damson Port, from the prestigious 2014 Great Taste Awards.

Raisthorpe Manor Damson Port is the first of its kind in the UK and the first Damson Port to win three gold stars at the awards, which are organised by the Guild of Fine Foods.

The Great Taste judges, who include Radio 2 resident foodie Nigel Barden, as well as the legendary Charles Campion and The Food Programme’s Sheila Dillon, said that Raisthorpe Manor’s port has ‘a gorgeous deep damson shade, lovely aromas of fruit skin with a hint of damson stone.’ They continued, ‘the palate is fabulous - pure, clear, simple in the sense of having great fruit clarity, yet complex from the hint of fruit stone. A wonderful balance of sweetness - just enough to carry the fruit flavours through to a glorious finish.’

According to Tortie Farrand, spokesperson at the Great Taste Awards, ‘being awarded 3-stars is a huge achievement. It means that the product has been blind tasted over and over again and that all the judges who taste it feel that the product is WOW.’ For a 3-star Gold Award, every single judge attending the session, which can be as many as 40 experts must unanimously agree that the food delivers that indescribable ‘wow’ factor.

Raisthorpe Manor’s Damson Port is the third unique product the Malton-based company has created, after coming up with the UK’s first Sloe Port and Sloe Sherry in 2010.

The port, made from locally grown damsons, was one of only 153 products out of 10,000 products entered, to win the coveted three gold stars at the 2014 awards. The exquisite drink is made from damsons collected annually, and by hand, by the Raisthorpe team from an orchard in Leavening, North Yorkshire.

Situated in Hockney country in the Yorkshire Wolds, owner Julia Medforth’s daily forage for fruit in the hedgerows on the Raisthorpe estate – and an ancient recipe from her grandmother – led her to hit upon the idea of making luscious fruit liqueurs. Today, Raisthorpe stays true to its original intentions, capturing an essence of Yorkshire in bottle.

“We pride ourselves on sourcing ingredients from the farms, fields and hedgerows in and around our 1,500 acre estate in Wharram, including sloes, damsons and raspberries. Because our product is packed full of fresh fruit, each batch can change minutely from season to season given different weather conditions, but we feel this brings the drinks alive in a way that fresh produce can only do – and we’re delighted the Great Taste judges felt the same,” says Julia. “We love the Yorkshire Wolds and our aim has always been to bottle a little of the place we love in our products.”

The Great Taste Awards are the largest and most trusted awards scheme for speciality fine food and drink, putting more than 10,000 products to the test with a panel of more than 400 experts including chefs, buyers, food writers and retailers.

Economic optimism continues to drive overall deal activity in the second...

Latest research from leading business and financial advisory firm Grant Thornton UK LLP confirms that the overall picture for deal activity in the second quarter is a positive one. Total food and beverage deal value rose significantly in Q2 2014, rising by 109% compared with the first quarter, and by 16% compared year on year.

In contrast, overall deal volume was down by 24% in Q2 compared to the previous quarter. Although when comparing the first half of 2014 with same period in 2013, deal volumes were higher by 5% for 2014. Soft drinks and wholesale and distribution were the most active sub-sectors, each accounting for 17% of quarterly deal volume.

Claire Elcock, director at Grant Thornton in Leeds, commented: “Continuing appetite is apparent among both potential acquirers and vendors in the food and beverage sector which is being driven by a more upbeat UK economy. Valuation multiples are rising, with the increase being driven partly by buoyant equity markets and by the availability of debt on borrower-friendly terms.”

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Godminster scoops four International Cheese Awards

The International Cheese Awards saw Somerset-based cheese maker Godminster win four awards.

The team from Bruton, Somerset, amassed two gold awards for their Oak-Smoked Vintage Organic Cheddar, a silver for their renowned Vintage Organic Cheddar and a bronze for their handmade Organic Brie with Garlic & Chives. It is the first time Godminster has entered its Brie into the awards.

Peter Andrew, CEO of Godminster, says:"We’re absolutely delighted with these awards, this is a record haul for Godminster. Winning an International Cheese Award is the stamp of excellence any cheese maker aspires to and we’re proud to be taking home this number of prizes.”

The double gold for the Oak-Smoked Vintage Organic Cheddar comes on the back of a silver award for the same cheese at the British Cheese Awards in June.

Peter Andrew believes this is the start of something special: “Our Oak-Smoked Cheddar has incredibly loyal fans. It is one of only a handful of naturally smoked cheddars in Britain. We’ve had great feedback on it from our customers both face to face and on our social media channels. It’s terrific to see it being recognised on both the British and international stages.”

The success in the prestigious awards comes ahead of the Great Taste Awards next month, where Godminster has historically achieved some impressive results.

Rémy Cointreau promotes Panos Sarantopoulos to CEO of Liqueurs & Spirits...

In a move to accelerate the growth of its Liqueurs & Spirits Division, Rémy Cointreau announces the promotion of Panos Sarantopoulos as the Division’s CEO.

Panos Sarantopoulos has earned his stripes in highly challenging situations in the fields of luxury and of quality wines and spirits.

For sixteen years at LVMH, he held, among other, the responsibilities of Business Development Director for Hennessy, Senior Vice-President Sales for Veuve Clicquot and President & CEO for the House of Krug. With his teams, he contributed to the record growth of these Houses.

He led the deployment of business game-changers that have been noticed in the industry. He joined Rémy Cointreau, in 2011, to take on the challenge of CEO for METAXA. Over the past three years, he led the renaissance of this historic House. With his teams, they have brought about the turnaround of METAXA to international growth, thanks to bold premiumisation and a series of award-winning innovations.

Sarantopoulos’ enlarged responsibilities within Rémy Cointreau, include responsibility for the House of Cointreau, for the N°1 French brandy St. Rémy, for liqueurs Passoa, Izarra and Ponche Kuba, and for whisky Guneagal, as well as for the distribution activity of Rémy Cointreau Gastronomie.

Panos Sarantopoulos says: “I am honored to be taking on the helm of the Liqueurs & Spirits Division of Rémy Cointreau. With the support of talented teams and our Group’s agile distribution network, we will inject fresh energy into the Division’s houses, brands and activities so that they continue to gather the worldwide recognition they deserve.

Renowned chef unveils plans for Culinary Academy

As a restaurateur, TV presenter and Guild for Chefs UK Master Craftsman, Chef Damian Wawrzyniak has a lot on his plate.

His latest venture is the establishment of the brand new City of London Culinary Academy, designed to help attendees develop unrivalled technical skills as well as gain invaluable insight into the art of classic cuisine and its origins. Set to open its doors in 2015, the academy draws on the experience of master chefs boasting over 30 years of culinary experience across the globe.

Overseeing the venture is Chef Wawrzyniak himself, experienced at Copenhagen’s two Michelin Star restaurant, Noma.

All class modules have been personally designed by Wawrzyniak who is now working on sourcing restaurant quality equipment and fine tuning the learning systems. As well as helping students refine tasting palates, sharpen knife skills and master presentation, Culinary Academy will bring a unique history aspect to the classroom. This module will delve into the origins of cooking in order to help students gain an enriched understanding of how modern cuisine has evolved over the centuries.

Wawrzyniak says: “Incorporated into the curriculum is a fascinating History of Cuisine module which delves into the origins of cooking and the techniques that were used thousands of years ago. Students will gain an enhanced knowledge of gastronomic history, learn about the historical significance of certain ingredients and explore the ways in which the culinary past has shaped the face of contemporary cuisine.”

Attendees of the Culinary Academy will enjoy state of the art facilities including a polyvalent room, food laboratory, multifunctional theory rooms and multimedia demonstration room where celebrity chefs will carry out professional demonstrations and master classes. The academy will also boast the highest quality equipment designed to simulate a five star commercial kitchen environment.

Lecturers hail from leading schools across the globe, handpicked for their exceptional teaching skills and great approach to student learning. Damian Wawrzyniak will assume the role of Head of the Academy, bringing a wealth of experience, expertise and unparalleled passion to the table.

The Culinary Academy will run short and long term courses, open to students across the UK. The highest performing chefs will be offered the chance to complete their training at a prestigious British restaurant where they can gain first hand industry experience with the country’s finest chefs.

With its cutting edge facilities, diverse curriculum and dedicated team of cookery connoisseurs, Culinary Academy is set to emerge as London’s premier institution for industry standard chef training.

East London pub scene star rises with crowd loan

A fast-growing East London pub chain is set to open its fourth pub after receiving a £43,000 refurbishment loan from peer-to-business lender, rebuildingsociety.

Electric Star Ltd, which operates The Star of Bethnal Green, The Star of Kings and The Star by Hackney Downs, is opening the doors of The Jackdaw and Star in Homerton later this summer, following a bespoke refurbishment.

rebuildingsociety works by allowing hundreds of individual lenders to pledge varying amounts towards a loan request posted on its website. It administers monthly capital and interest repayments on behalf of its borrowers.

So far over 60 loans, totalling more than £3m, have been created by rebuildingsociety for firms in a variety of industries across the UK.

Rob Star, owner of Electric Star, explains: “I’ve always had a strong relationship with my bank, but the last time I went for a loan, it took them five months to turn me down. With rebuildingsociety it was less than four weeks from our initial application to receiving the cash in the bank, and I’ve raised awareness of our business to hundreds of potential customers.”

Throughout the loan process, Rob interacted with members of rebuildingsociety’s lending community, who wanted to find out more about Rob’s business plans and financial projections.

“I enjoyed answering questions about the business. It made me think hard about certain aspects and was a valuable exercise. We believe we’re doing the right thing in a changing market. People want an experience now, not just a pint.

“We’ve embraced this by franchising our kitchens to chefs who are passionate about their food, which combined with our penchant for craft beers and a packed events schedule is really appealing to people in East London”, says Rob.

Nick Moules, Marketing Manager at rebuildingsociety adds: “Our lenders could see the clear growth trends in Rob’s business. He now has hundreds of new stakeholders with an interest in the success of his business. When Rob expands again, he will probably have a crowd of lenders ready to help him achieve his plans. We believe there is true value in raising loans from individuals ahead of the banks, and by that we don’t just mean the faster turnaround, competitive rates and waived repayment charge that we offer.”

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