A visit to the cafe, restaurant or food outlet within a visitor attraction should no longer be seen as an add-on at the end of the visit, but it is expected as part of the whole experience.
My presentation at the VisitEngland Assessors Conference last month provided ideas to help raise the standards and quality of food and drink at visitor attractions. Topics up for discussion were:
* Food and catering plays an essential part in creating a seamless customer journey at attractions.
* Catering is a great business with healthy margins and has the capacity for creating a distinctive product.
* A great Café or Restaurant can increase footfall and visitor numbers and become an attraction in itself.
* Quality food and drink if done well can rival the best of exhibitions.
* Food and drink outlets are an important secondary spending stream.
But as always looking at current food trends created the most lively of discussions.
We should be proud of our food and drink heritage in Suffolk. It is one of the finest places to eat in the country. So it was no mean feat to judge the Best Restaurant Category for publisher's Archant, the promoters of the awards. Armed with score sheets and an insatiable appetite to sample multiple courses and many meals, the very worthy winner was The Unruly Pig at Bromeswell. Runners up were The Bildeston Crown, 1921 and Tuddenham Mill. All areas of the businesses were scrutinised in the judging process, including pre-arrival booking processes, the welcome, menu knowledge, wine service, cleanliness as well as the quality and presentation of the food. Pictured above are head Chef Dave Wall and owner Brendan Padfield from The Unruly Pig.
I have just put together a four week practical course for a client which will show the versatility of popular culinary herbs. Sessions will be 3 hrs long and include a dish to cook and take home and recipe sheets. This is based on a course I taught a few years ago at West Suffolk College. I have always been fascinated by herbs and their many uses and have developed recipes for all of these popular and easy to obtain herbs.
Week 1 - Basil, thyme and chives.
Week 2 - Parsley, tarragon and bay.
Week 3 - Coriander, sage and oregano
Week 4 - Mint, rosemary and dill.
Get in touch if you would like a short cookery course created or delivered for you.
It's always good to get published in a cookbook! I have lots of local food knowledge and contacts in the food world if you need recommendations
Today saw the launch of the Eating Out in the Broads guide. I visited and assessed (with a little help) most of the eating establishment situated within the Broads Authority. The launch took place at one of my favourite hotels. The Norfolk Mead Hotel in Coltishall.
For those of you that think I have a dream job. Here are the figures. In the last two months I have dined out on more than 60 occasions. I ate belly of pork 6 times, 8 curries, 8 fish pies, a handmade burger on 9 occasions, endless sausage rolls and cheese scones. Not to mention the 4 lemon possets, 5 slices of cheesecake, apple crumbles and cheeseboards. I think I added it up to 67,680 calories. No wonder my trousers are tight!
I was invited by Quality in Tourism to present a workshop on Taste and Food Trends for the VisitEngland annual conference in Broadway. Worcestershire.
We discussed the sensoriality (made that word up) of food and our five senses. I used different types of honey to carry out a taste test and to find out who was a taster and who was a non taster.
Talking about food trends created a lively discussion. Titled from the cramen burger to the cronut we looked at what was hot and what was not. Chicken Tikka Martini anyone?