National Waiters’ Day – an annual celebration of front-of-house staff – saw the best in the business dash through Hyde Park, with laden trays in hand. National Waiters Day was launched six years ago by First Dates ’ host and maître d’ of Galvin at Windows, Fred Sirieix. This […]
Reviews: Michael Deacon visits Harry and Meghan’s first date venue and Marina O’Loughlin is unmoved by Hide
The Telegraph’s Michael Deacon reviews Harry and Meghan’s first date venue, Dean Street Townhouse, London.
“Tell you the thing that really gets me about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. They met on a blind date. An actual blind date. Think about that. Imagine the conversation beforehand between Meghan and the mate who arranged it.
“Anyway, however unusual the circumstances of their first date, it clearly went very well. The venue was Dean Street Townhouse, an upmarket restaurant and hotel in Soho. I went along to find out what it was like. The answer: busy. Busy, and noisy. Not in an unpleasant or aggressive way; it was just stuffed to the gunwales with people yakking and braying and hooting, at the top of their posh, confident voices. The music was fairly loud too, and blandly upbeat. The atmosphere was less restaurant, more drinks party.
Interview Q&A – Matteo Bartaletti, executive chef at STK Ibiza
Matteo Bartaletti, the new executive chef at STK Ibiza, who brings with him a wealth of culinary experience, discusses the differences in food trends seen in the UK versus Ibiza as well as what he predicts to be the next big thing in the industry.
Technology at the root of international restaurant trends
In the UK, we are used to turning to the US to see what the latest market trends might be. No doubt, if it’s proving to be big business across North America, it will make the jump to the UK and the rest of the world soon. In the foodservice and hospitality markets, it’s no different. Many trends are being driven by evolving consumer demand but are made possible by emerging technologies. Nick Hucker, CEO at Preoday, the online ordering and mobile technology, explains further.
In contemporary society, the consumer demand is for everything to be faster, more convenient and personal. Cashing in on this, McDonald’s has been leading the way with in-store kiosk ordering and mobile order and delivery. Alongside these technologies it has also been trialling a number of innovation stores to see which have the greatest impact.
A good example is a McDonald’s restaurant in New Jersey without seats. In an effort to speed up service, the company has introduced ‘walk up’ windows which are similar to the ‘drive thru’ but specifically target commuters passing by on foot. This has proven a commercial success and wait times have been drastically reduced; sales at this single outlet are up by 5.7%. Given such results, we wouldn’t be surprised to see similar tactics employed in the UK soon.
Giraffe trials ‘version 2.0 ‘ format in Bristol
The restaurant, which is owned by the Boparan Restaurant Group, is aiming to improve customer experience by providing the option of both full table service, and ordering from tablets, according to BigHospitality’s sister publication MCA. New menu items being trialled at the site include Malaysian laksa; salt and pepper squid; pizza-inspired flatbreads; and Vietnamese pho.
The 38-strong restaurant group had its last makeover in 2016, when it was rebranded with the tagline ‘world kitchen’. The Bristol site is testing out ‘feel-good food’ as its catchphrase, and its extended salad offering suggests it is placing more emphasis on healthy dishes.
According to MCA, some elements of the new format have also been tested at the group’s restaurants in Basingstoke, Norwich and Reading. Aside from its 38 restaurants proper, Giraffe operates three grab’n’go format sites, two under the Burgers and Cocktails brand, and four international sites.
40 semi-finalists chosen for National Chef of the Year 2019
At this stage all entries have been judged blind with scores based on online submissions including a description of dishes, cooking methods and photographs of chef's completed menus. The 40 chefs will go on to cook in heats in Sheffield on 12 June and at Le Cordon Bleu London on 19 June, with judges including Gary Jones, executive head chef at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Phil Howard and Alyn Williams.
Just ten chefs will make it through to the final at The Restaurant Show in London on 2 October. The winner of each heat will be automatically seeded a place, while the final six chefs will be chosen based on the highest scores across all four heats.