Our regular monthly Menu Matters feature is back for July, with the team at food supplier Oliver Kay taking a look at how hospitality businesses can maximise the opportunity presented by British Food Fortnight.
From Lancashire hotpot to Welsh rarebit, and Cornish pasties to Scotch eggs, Britain has no shortage of regional speciality dishes and high quality local and seasonal products. British Food Fortnight is back with a bang for 2021, running this year from 18 Sept to 3 Oct.
British Food Fortnight is the flagship event of the Love British Food campaign, whose director Alexia Robinson, says “After such a diabolical year for hospitality, we’re planning the biggest national celebration so far.“
“Demand for British produce is through the roof after the difficulties during the pandemic. People are keen to support local farmers and producers and are actively looking for establishments that support British on their menus. Commercially it makes sense to capitalise upon the tremendous new appetite there is for eating local produce.”
For most pubs, getting involved is as easy as checking your menu and promoting the great British classic dishes that you already offer. Post-lockdown, interest in nostalgic, familiar food and drink is running at high levels as consumers think about careful consumption in terms of what they eat, and look to stay local, and the appeal of familiar dishes after a long period of isolation and uncertainty is strong.
Favourites such as fish and chips, Sunday roast, bangers and mash, or a steak and ale pie, especially when accompanied by a pint of cask ale, are high on the list of dishes that customers expect to find on a pub menu. Your supplier should be able to give you the information you need to promote the British products on the menu, whether it’s the port where the fish was landed or the farm where the veg was grown.
With a core menu in place, why not also offer some specials featuring British produce? Mackerel is a wonderful, tasty fish, and often in good supply and great value. Try this recipe featuring grilled mackerel with candied beetroot, watercress and new season Cox’s apple salad, and an apple cider dressing: https://www.directseafoods.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Mackerel-recipe-from-Direct-Seafoods.pdf
Beef is a British classic, and while it’s the mainstay of a classic roast dinner, it’s worth featuring a few more exotic recipes as midweek specials to tempt customers. Campbell Brothers Baby Back Ribs, Soy Chili Glaze & Charred Sweetcorn has a strong appeal to those that like a spicy kick to their main meal:
Pheasant comes into season at the start of October, so why not finish off the fortnight with a game special such as this tasty Roasted Pheasant Breast, Confit Leg, Creamed Sprouts And Chestnuts, Pheasant And Port Jus With Blackberries: www.oliverkayproduce.co.uk/food-info/seasonal-recipes-ideas/120-sprouts/321-pheasent-sprouts
For a side dish spotlighting high quality produce, Kale and Heritage Carrot Slaw makes a great accompaniment served with a freshly-made burger, or fish and chips: www.oliverkayproduce.co.uk/food-info/seasonal-recipes-ideas/302-kale-and-heritage-carrot-slaw
To make sure customers know what your plans for British Food Fortnight are:
• Use your website and social media to promote your menu.
• Spotlight your British food specialties on posters and online promotions.
• Pair regional foods with appropriate beers, ciders and wines.
• Hold a special event, such as seafood night featuring the range of species caught in British waters, or a food-themed pub quiz.
The website at www.lovebritishfood.co.uk has resources including menu templates and recipe ideas for pubs to plan British Food Fortnight activity. For the very best of British products, contact the specialist suppliers at:
Meat and game: www.campbellbrothers.co.uk
Fish and seafood: www.directseafoods.co.uk
Fresh produce: www.oliverkayproduce.co.uk
1-in-5 UK adults, who celebrate Christmas, have already started planning for Christmas, according to a new consumer poll from research consultancy, KAM.
With 7% stating that they’ve already made a reservation for a pub or restaurant for the upcoming festive period and 17% saying they have already invited people to their houses to celebrate.
Members of the UK’ks hospitality trade are coming together for a series of cocktail themed events which are set to be staged across the City, including a special "thank you" to NHS and other Keyworkers for their tireless efforts during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
The Cocktail Week Co is launching Chester Cocktail Week running 20th-26th September, partnering with venues and drinks brands to celebrate the best the city’s hospitality scene has to offer. This will be swiftly followed with Liverpool Cocktail Week during 18th-24th October, and in 2022 events in Manchester, Leeds, York, Newcastle, Durham, Wales and Scotland.
Guests can purchase wristbands which allow them to enjoy cocktails that have been especially created for the week, and will be sold at the reduced price of £5. Venues are supported by drinks brands to run the promotions - creating a win/win partnership for all parties to help them bounce back from the pandemic.
Participating venues in Chester include Prohibition, The Suburbs, Exotic Booze Club, Liquor & Co, Bar Lounge, with Liverpool partners including Butter, Boojee, Butter, The Clubhouse, Boom Battle Bar, Pins Social Club, Cafe Tabac, plus dozens more. Venues which wish to take part are encouraged to visit the Cocktail Week Co website and sign up to be paired with a brand.
Wristband holders get £10 off tickets to all the Cocktail Week events - which can be redeemed by calling the priority booking line: 0808 168 9474. Cocktail fans can attend a number of pop up events - including masterclasses by Distillers, Gin Tastings, enjoy live music from Jonathan Nickoll (the resident pianist at the American Bar at London’s Savoy Hotel), plus a Bartender’s Brunch for hospitality workers - and much more.
Wristband holders will also be treated to deals from non-hospitality businesses during the weeks, with discounts from many local businesses from retailers to hair and beauty salons and restaurants helping make the weeks city wide celebrations with something for everyone.
Drinks brands are also able to get involved for as little investment as £100 per city - and can also create bespoke experiences for the trade and consumers to generate interest in their products. The aim is to generate lasting partnership with venues and the community to repay the brands supporting their local communities. Brands wanting to get involved can call to chat about opportunities on 0808 168 9474.
So Let’s Talk, mental health advocates for the hospitality industry, will also be running a series of seminars for workers as part of the events calendar.
Tickets are now on sale through the Cocktail Week Co website - where guests can also upgrade to annual passes - which continue to offer discounts all year round in Chester venues - plus give entry all cocktail weeks in 2022 across multiple cities.
The Cocktail Week Co not only want to celebrate the reopening of hospitality, but also thank Key Workers who kept the country going during the COVID lockdowns - so are giving away thousands of wristbands (yes, for free!) to Key Workers from the NHS, educators, council employees, front line and emergency workers, plus students and of course hospitality workers, as thanks for their tireless efforts during the pandemic.
A fun musical video advert is created for each city to support the events, which are filmed across participating venues, capturing the happiness the events hope to create and showcasing the city in all its glory.
James Nicolian, founder of the Cocktail Week Co said “We are so excited to celebrate the power of positive drinking during our Cocktail Week festivals. We’re pleased to create an affordable opportunity for guests to rediscover their city and check out new venues, and revisit their old favourites - whilst learning about the craft of Cocktail culture. What a great way to enjoy hospitality venues again!”
The Cocktail Week Co is also launching a “Drinks for Good” initiative, donating 50p from every wristband sold to The One Foundation, who help eradicate water poverty in the world’s poorest communities