The Staff Canteen Live 2022: Networking Lunch, The Angel at Hetton

The  Staff Canteen

Michael Wignall and the Angel at Hetton team gave us a warm welcome today for the May run of our 2022 networking lunch series

We were joined by some of the industry's finest chefs and suppliers for a pleasant bit of mingling, a tour of the Michelin-starred kitchen followed by a sit-down tasting menu prepared by celebrated chef Michael Wignall and his team. 

Ingredients throughout the menu, as well as the wine pairings, were provided by some of the events' sponsors.


Nyetimber Classic Cuvee MV

Snacks

Umami
Trout
Sourdough & cultured butters

~
Nyetimber  Blanc de Blancs 2014

Eel

Smoked eel, rillette & torched granny smith, aerated Ivoire chocolate,
Oscietra caviar


 

~

Nyetimber Tillington Single Vineyard 2014

Potato

Jacket Potato, chive, ox tongue, smoked & confit la Ratte

~

Nyetimber Classic Cuvee 2009

Sweetbread

Calves’ sweetbread, confit hens yolk, crisp lichen & mushroom

~

Nyetimber Prestige Cuvee 1086 Rosé 2010

Squab

Anjou Pigeon, courgette, Tokyo turnip & master stock

~

Nyetimber Demi-Sec MV

Strawberry

Gariguette strawberries, Mexican marigold, coconut & citrus

~

Yeast

Yeast parfait, chocolate ganache, salted caramel, walnut & pearl barley


 

Chefs

Attending were sous-chef at Lerpwl, Keiron Ryder; chef patron of the Swan Inn Islip (opening in the summer), Paul Welburn; senior sous-chef at Bantam, Shane Leadley; Jon Mahoney, executive chef at the Revere Pub company; John Rudden, executive chef at Grassington House; Callum Bowmer, executive chef at Rudding Park; Chris O'Callaghan, head chef at The Devonshire Arms Hotel and Spa; Mary-Ellen McTague, chef founder of Campagna at The Creameries; Struan Macintyre, senior sous-chef at Fletchers at Grantley Hall; Liz Cottam, chef owner of Home, Cora and The Owls in Leeds; Jim Hall, executive chef at Lumley Castle; Jon Hughes, head chef at Man Behind the Curtain; Tom Board, head chef at Shaun Rankin at Grantley Hall and Jonathan Hawthorne, chef owner of Chef Jono at V&V.

Sponsors

Supporting the event were Udale Speciality Foods; , Valentine Catering Equipment; ChefWorks; Mara Seaweed and Nyetimber

What the guests said

Steve Elliott, head of sales at Valentine and Cuisinequip, joining us in support of a TSC Live networking lunch for the first time, said: "It's been really good, I've had really good long conversations with various chefs."

"It's good to hear things from their point of view and it's interesting to hear some of their equipment challenges, which is obviously important to us."

Asked if the format helps with the sales process, he said: "I think it does, very much," as, although it is important to speak to people, to broker a sale "is really a two-way street, and listening is really key to that."

Business development manager for ChefWorks Bragard Aaron Craig said that he had enjoyed the chance to network with chefs, "some I know, some new."

"It's really good for business to see what people are doing, what they're wearing from a company point of view as well." 

Having been a chef himself, he said, "I find now, how difficult chefs are to reach and get in contact with. They don't want to be sold to." When he was a chef, he said, "If I wanted something, I would contact [suppliers]."

"Chefs are really busy now," he said, even more so due to the current staffing issues, "you need to get to them at the right time." 

"It's all about relationships. If you build that relationship at these networking lunches, the next time you cross paths they know what you're about, you know what they're about and you've got common ground as opposed to going in cold." 

 

Elizabeth Cottam of Home in Leeds said: "It's been absolutely brilliant today. Just a really great group of people, fantastic food. The suppliers that we met were all brilliantly diverse and interesting. We've had a really good chat over dinner about some really useful relationships going forward."

She specifically commended Nyetimber for being an "outstanding supplier" and applauded Michael Bush for his wine introductions for each pairing. 

"Suppliers can knock on your door, they can email you a million times, they'll get fobbed off from me by staff." 

"Ordinarily you don't get the airtime because you're so busy to concentrate on a product that you don't even know about. You just don't have the brain capacity to think seriously about it." 

Even with interesting products, "there are probably lots of missed opportunities to find a brilliant thing because you just don't have the time." 

"So on a day off, when you can sit around the table in a very relaxed way, where you're not feeling like you're being sold to, to find out about someone's product, business, to make a relationship with somebody who you'd quite like to do business with, it's a great way to find new people to work with."

Callum Bowmer, executive chef at Rudding Park Hotel, who had never attended a lunch before, said "it was good to mingle with people in the industry," not to mention Michael's food, which he said was "super sharp, super clean, really fresh stuff."

He acquiesced to the suggestion that the lunches are a good way of meeting suppliers, as, he said, "you're out of the kitchen, you're out of the restaurant, you're out of work, you can be a bit more relaxed, a bit more chilled, you've got time to focus, concentrate, be open and talk about stuff." 

"You have to put faces to a name, which is always good." 

"I would definitely recommend it to other people - you get to meet other people, to chill out and you get some banging food as well." 

Jon Hughes, head chef at Man Behind the Curtain said: "It's been amazing, nice to meet people who you wouldn't normally wind up having lunch with, within the industry." 

"There's something about [suppliers] circulating around the tables which means you're already at ease and relaxed and enjoying yourself, so the conversation can go into a more natural flow and you can end up discussing things that aren't just set around one aspect of the product. It just feels a bit more relaxed." 

"It's not too salesy, it feels a little bit more chilled." 

Even when it comes to the interactions amongst chefs, he said, the lunches deliver something quite singular. "This is the kind of things chefs should do more," he said. 

Being so time poor, "it feels like a bit of an effort to do it, but it's a constructive way of rubbing shoulders with people who do the same job as you."

"It's good to know who people are and where chefs are cooking." 

 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 16th May 2022

The Staff Canteen Live 2022: Networking Lunch, The Angel at Hetton