The Staff Canteen Live 2020 Networking Lunch at Caractère

The  Staff Canteen

On Tuesday 21st January, We kicked off our TSC Live Networking lunch 2020 series in style, welcoming our guests and partners at Notting Hill hotspot Caractère. 

Diego Ferrari, Emily Roux and the team at Caractère gave our guests a warm welcome at the restaurants for chefs and suppliers to candidly talk business. 



Tigella with coppata

and parsley condiment

Black olive tapenade wafer

Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2015


Ricotta and lemon-filled papparadella

Alaska Seafood salmon roe

 Astina Cress

Gusbourne Blanc de blancs 2014


Alaska Seafood confit salmon

Parsnips, foraged coastal herbs, bean blossom, blinq blossom and micro mix salad from Koppert Cress

Gusbourne Guinievere 2017


Roast dry-aged venison saddle

from Udale

Confit potatoes, lime pepper and juniper with scarlet cress from Koppert Cress

Gusbourne Pinot Noir 2018


Bergamot and lemon tartelette

Hazelnut praline, preserved lemon, Melissa Cress, Zallotti Blossom from Koppert Cress

Gusbourne Ratafia

Petit fours


After enjoying a glass of English sparkling wine, chefs were given a tour of the kitchen, before sitting down for a five-course tasting menu devised in-house at Caractère, using ingredients from the food suppliers backing the event.  



Attending were Trafalgar Tavern executive chef Andrea Mura, Alex Jaquemin, head chef at The Cat Inn, executive head chef at Bicester hotel and spa Alan Paton, Jahid Rahman, head chef at Trafalgar Tavern, executive chef at King's College Chris MacCormick, David Hughes, executive chef at Castle Royle Golf country club and spa, head chef at Volta Do Mar George Tannock, MJP chef owner Mark Poynton, Mark Drummond, head chef at Holborn Dining Room, Park Plaza County Hall executive chef Stephen Rey and Cotswolds Private Dine Service chef owner Wayne Sullivan.



Our headline sponsor for this event was hospitality industry uniform specialist ChefWorks, joined by Zenith Hygiene, Koppert Cress, Gusbourne, Udale Speciality Foods and Alaska Seafood

Private Dine Service chef owner Wayne Sullivan said: "The Roux name is synonymous with great food in the British cuisine world, so to come to the third generation Roux restaurant is brilliant. I've eaten at Le Gavroche and you can certainly see that there are elements that have fallen down through the family, so to speak." 

He added that it is "great to catch up with suppliers, The Staff Canteen is something that I've followed for quite a long time on social media and it's good to catch up with you and the crew."

"Speaking to ChefWorks about some of the chef jackets and some of the products that are coming along, Gusbourne I've heard of through certain podcasts which have been really really informative. I've not tried too many English wines so to try some really good English wines has been great." 

"It's much better to be sat down informally next to a supplier where you've got somebody sharing the same food as you, talking to all of your friends, they're not trying to choral somebody walking past at a show stand, it's not a cold call, they're not emailing you randomly because you clicked on a link of a website. It's a much more informal and comfortable way to meet people." 



Mark Poynton, chef owner of MJP Restaurant ltd. said it was good to meet up with "friends old and new" at the lunch, interacting with suppliers "and actually trying a restaurant that I've not tried before." 

"It's been a really good day." 

The chef said the casual format of the lunches works well. 

He added: "we can give our feedback to the suppliers about what we like and why we use certain suppliers. I.e. I said to ChefWorks about a certain chef jacket that I wear and why I like it and they said to me about what they can do. I think it gives us that opportunity to talk to each other." 

"Phone calls don't always work. Talking to someone face to face and telling them what you like and don't like, it's a good format." 

"In this industry we like to know people." 


ChefWorks international marketing manager Emma Cohen said the event was a success. 

"Really good crowd," she said, "and the food was absolutely delicious." 

"Met some new chefs and met some old faces which is always nice and it's good for us to get that market feedback, to be able to meet that many chefs in a couple of hours would ordinarily take me weeks. To be able to sit and chat while they're off duty - about their likes and dislikes, what uniform they need and what we can do was really." 

Gusbourne's London sales manager James White said he thought the event was "wonderful." 

"For me specifically it's good to meet this side of the kitchen because as a sales person I often meet the front of  house. It's really interesting to get the wines in front of people and to see what their reaction is when it comes to the food and wine matching - and what a wonderful restaurant to choose - this is one of the restaurants of the moment, it has great reviews and celeb chefs.

"I'm looking forward to coming back next time." 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 23rd January 2020

The Staff Canteen Live 2020 Networking Lunch at Caractère