The Staff Canteen Live 2017 Networking Lunch at Alimentum in Cambridge

The Staff Canteen

This month, The Staff Canteen Live 2017 Networking Lunch was held at Alimentum which holds a star in the Michelin Guide UK.

Fifteen chefs and representatives from four sponsors gathered on Monday at Alimentum in Cambridge. Chef Patron Mark Poynton and his team prepared a delicious six-course meal with each course showcasing a different high-quality ingredient.



Buttermilk, dill and horseradish

Riesling, Steinmassl Erste Lage, Loimer

2014 Kamptal, Austria

 Ox cheek, snail, wild garlic & truffle

‘Figure Libre Freestyle’, Gayda

2014 Languedoc-Roussillon, France


Cumin roasted, curry, apple, coriander and yoghurt

‘Babiana’, Vondeling

2015 Voor-Paardeberg, South Africa 


Szechuan pepper, maple, grapefruit and carrot

‘Ménage a Noir’, Lethbridge

2015 Geelong, Australia 

Gin and Tonic 

White Chocolate

Raspberry, lemon and pistachio

Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos, Sauska

2003 Tokaj, Hungary 

Birchall Tea or coffee, petit fours

The chefs in attendance on Monday were: Kareem Roberts, freelance head chef; Mark Abbott, head chef at Midsummer House; James Carn-Pryor, head chef at The Angel Hotel; Matthew Edmonds, head chef at Auberge du Lac at Brocket Hall; Hans Schweitzer, head chef at Cotto; Alan Paton, chef-owner at Stoke by Nayland; Daniel Watkins, head chef at The Anchor Colchester; Paul Murfitt, former food and beverage director at Dunston Hall; Alex Rushmer, head chef at Hole in the Wall; Ben Pope, head chef at The Plough Coton; Richard Golding, head chef at Market Bistro, Kings Lynn; Benjamin Crick, chef-owner at The Anchor Burwell; Phil Fanning, chef-owner at Paris House; Justin Sharpe, owner of Pea Porridge; Martin Major, head chef at The Flitch of Bacon and Richard Stokes and head chef at Hotel Felix.

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Plating at Alimentum 

Upon arrival, guests were poured Pommery champagne and offered a selection of canapés. Mark Poynton then talked them through today’s menu and gave a brief tour of his kitchen. Courses at today’s lunch included a salmon dish from Mark’s recent guest chef night at Simpsons Restaurant and an ox cheek and snail dish made using Nestlé CHEF veal stock. Each course was carefully paired with a wine to compliment and the meal was finished with various Birchall teas and petit fours.

Mark Abbott, head chef at Daniel Clifford’s two Michelin-starred restaurant Midsummer House, said: “It’s been great, a lot of fun and it’s been lovely to see people from the surrounding area as well as a lot of people I haven’t met before. Then to meet with suppliers as well, it’s not very often you get time to sit down with a supplier and talk about their products in such a relaxed setting. And of course, the food has been fantastic as well!”

James Carn-Pryor, head chef at The Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmonds said: “I think it’s great to get a lot of people together from all different backgrounds of the industry and hearing people’s stories, chatting to different people, it’s been really enjoyable. The food has been incredible, some real highlights from that perspective. The ox cheek and snails were phenomenal.”

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He added: “Most of us chefs only have one day off in a week so it’s hard to get together, we’re busy and other things get in the way. So, it’s nice to have a reason to put a load of people together in a room and chat about all sorts. It’s interesting to hear about all sorts, staffing, suppliers, sourcing meat, even Brexit came up at one point! These are things people are always talking about on social media so it’s nice to talk about it face to face.”

>>>Related: Member of the Month May 2017: James Carn-Pryor

The headline sponsor for this month’s networking lunch was Santa Maria. Once the chefs were seated, Eimear Owens, F.O.O.D.I.E Country Sales Manager at Santa Maria UK Limited, gave an introduction to their brand and their range of herbs and spices.

She said: “What we find is that spices and herbs are in the forgotten corner but people want to know more so education is key. I also found out about the different distributors the chefs are using, and they had a lot of interest in pepper and other spices like juniper. It was another really good networking event.”

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White chocolate

Justin Sharpe, owner of Pea Porridge in Bury St Edmonds said: “I thought it was a great event, well organised, a fantastic group of people. You get to mingle and share ideas with fellow catering professionals over a tasty lunch and I learned a lot from seeing what else is going on.”

He added: “I was quite intrigued by the tea, it’s something I’d like to learn more about. And talking about the peppercorns and spices, that’s fascinating as well because I never thought that something so simple, an ingredient you don’t really think about so much, could have different complexities. That’s something I might look into a bit more.”

Today’s lunch was also sponsored by Charvet, Pommery, Birchall Tea, HIT Training and Nestlé CHEF.

Our next networking lunches will be held at Kitchen W8 on July 10 and The Black Swan at Oldstead on August 14.

>>> Sign up here if you would like to attend the next TSCLive Networking lunch at Kitchen W8

The Staff Canteen Live Networking Lunch sponsors



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The Staff Canteen

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Editor 13th June 2017

The Staff Canteen Live 2017 Networking Lunch at Alimentum in Cambridge