The Staff Canteen Live 2022: Networking Lunch at Alchemilla

The  Staff Canteen

We kicked off our 2022 networking lunch series at chef Alex Bond's Michelin-starred Nottingham restaurant today, treating our guests to a great start to their year.

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Chefs from around the country caught up with suppliers in an informal setting, enjoying a five-course meal prepared by Alex Bond and his team.

Menu

Nyetimber Classic 2010

Mackerel, escabeche, chamomile, finger lime

Beef tendon from Udale, raw langoustine, gherkin, dill

Hash brown, miso BBQ sauce, smoked marrow

Lobster, chanterelle, burnt lemon, brown butter

Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs 2014

Mussel, pink fir, seaweed relish

Nyetimber 1086 Prestige Cuvee 2010

Aged duck from Udale, mataike, caramelised hay cream, pickled walnut

Nyetimber 1086 Prestige Cuvee Rose 2010

Larch rose wood, beetroot, yoghurt, scotch pine

Nyetimber Cuvee Chèrie MV

Chocolate, chicory, artichoke

Chefs

Attending were Tom Heywood, head chef at The Rattle Owl; Rosanna Moseley, head chef at The Oyster Club; Ed Warren, chef owner of Warren's Eatery; Lee Smith, chef owner of Lovage Restaurant; James Sherwin, chef owner of Wild Shropshire Restaurant; Lucy Kelly, executive head chef of Severn Valley Railway; Xun Esvan Yao, pastry chef at World

Service Restaurant; Matthew McKinley, head chef at Browns Restaurant; Tom Bennett, development chef for Muscle Food; James Peck, private chef and founder of Burnt Lemon Catering; Private chef Craig Floate; Paul Huddleston, chef owner of The Waterside in Shipley; Ben Evans-Dodd, sous-chef at Rafters, Riverside House; Steven Wattrus, head chef of Wilson Vale; James St Claire-Jones, executive head chef at Hoarcross Hall Hotel and Spa and Joe Bains, head chef at Jöro.

 

Sponsors

Sponsoring the event were ChefWorks, Meiko, Nyetimber and Udale, providing items for the menu where appropriate and goodie bags for the hosts and chefs attending.

What the guests said

Having paired wines with each of the award-winning team's dishes, central regional sales manager for Nyetimber Thomas Jacques said; "It's an amazing opportunity to be able to speak to chefs and to learn more about what's going on in the industry - and really, just connecting with various different people from all over the country."

"I think it's such a brilliant way of being able to get to know people on a basis where there's no distractions, there's no interference in any sort of way. You get to really connect in a genuinely sociable way, so it's great."

Rosanna Moseley, head chef at The Oyster Club, who was attending a TSC lunch for the first time, said: "it was great chatting to all the chefs in the industry, talking about what's going on at the moment, staffing, things like that.

"Obviously the food has been amazing," she added, and to meet the sponsors in such a context "is a lot more informal, over a meal you can just chat and it's a bit more free flowing and a natural conversation than it would be if you spoke to a supplier normally." 

Should the suppliers reach out now, having attended would make a difference to her interaction with them, she continued, "because you know who they are already you've spoken to them already."

 

Overall, the event "has been brilliant for networking, meeting people, you get a really nice meal, try some food, travel to a different city... It's been really good."

Lucy Kelly, the executive chef at Severn Valley Railway said: "It's been amazing, just to feel that everyone is going through the same thing, they have the same issues, it makes you feel like you're less alone."

"I met a few faces that I'd seen before and to put faces to names has been really good."

Steven Wattrus, head chef at Wilson Vale agreed, and added that "it's great to meet the suppliers - some of them I hadn't heard of, others that I had heard of but it allowed me to put a face to the name. 

"It's a great way of meeting other people in the industry."

 

Lucy added: "I quite often get message after message after message and [suppliers] probably think I'm being rude but I just don't have any staff so I'm working on the ground with them and I don't really have the chance to reply swiftly." 

"This is a great way of relaxing and really learning in-depth about what they do rather than just getting a quick snippet."

Steven agreed, and said: "When a supplier comes to the restaurant it's always just a quick ten minute chat and you always feel they've had to come out of their way to talk to you and you just don't have time to sit there and chat."

"This way, you've got nowhere to go, you can sit down and talk to them, you can have an in-depth conversation about what they believe in and whether it follows what you do as well."

 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 13th January 2022

The Staff Canteen Live 2022: Networking Lunch at Alchemilla