The Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) played host to the 57th annual Hotel & Catering Show this week. Under new management and with the tag line ‘A Fresh Look At Hospitality’, the H&CS has undergone a transformation into a dynamic and engaging event for the region’s hospitality sector at large. Hosted over two days (5-6th March), the shows aim was to deliver an engaging event for the hospitality sector through live demonstrations, seminars and exhibitor driven experiences.
We arrived on the opening day in time to see the first of the eight Staff Canteen Live innovation demo’s which were planned across the two day show. Two-time Michelin starred chef Tom Kerridge, from The Hand & Flowers, Marlow, provided a relaxed, humorous and interesting demonstration, sharing his expert skills as a chef as he cooked up Red Mullet stuffed with Braised Oxtail whilst talking about his experiences running a successful business (there is a one year waiting list at the Hand & Flowers for Saturday night bookings)!
After questions were taken from the ever growing crowd, Tom was joined by Michelin starred chef Paul Ainsworth for a Saturday Kitchen Live inspired omelette challenge. Voted for by the audience, Tom was the successful winner taking home a medal wearing rubber chicken for his mantelpiece!
Another highlight was the Chefs Kitchen. A collaboration between the H&CS and the Craft Guild of Chefs, the Chefs Kitchen featured contract catering giants Compass and Sodexo competing to serve up the ultimate event experience for diners. Visitors were able to get access to see the teams working in the kitchen, providing a chance to gain insight on techniques and methods.
The show was split over two areas within the centre and contained a mixture of stands from suppliers offering EPoS software, kitchen equipment and utensils, to local produce and beverages, all of which we were delighted to see, offered a delicious array of samples.
A business seminar programme also allowed visitors to attend a number of 45 minute sessions where guest speakers spoke about their own experiences and took questions from the audience. Covering business operations, customer behaviour and marketing, sales and innovation, we listened to panellists Ian Murray, Editor-in-Chief, Southern Daily Echo, Peter Adams, Editor, Caterer, Licensee & Hotelier and Elizabeth Barnett, Editor, Hampshire Life and Compass advise on how companies can stand out from the crowd and how best to target media to help get maximum coverage – something we know all about!
All in all a good day out, and we even managed to dip our toes in the sea!
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