Monday

When the nights draw in and the air gets chilly, the mind inevitably turns to warming, full-flavoured comfort food. Whether you have a distinctly sweet tooth, or revel in life's more savoury pleasures, this collection will have a dish for you.

 The selection of delicious recipes come from many renowned chefs, including Tom Aikens, Dominic Chapman, Adam Gray, and Paul Ainsworth.

Please click on the link below…

 Comfort Food Recipes - Great British Chefs

Thursday

Christmas is back!

How is your company celebrating the festive season this year?

It’s 43 sleeps until Christmas Day, and here’s hoping that for the first time in three years families can spend Christmas Day together again.

Most of us who do celebrate Christmas managed to do so in some form or another over the last two years, whether it was virtually, outside in the garden wearing many layers, or, in some cases, carrying on regardless.

This year the Albacore team are looking forward to providing a fortnight of festive lunches and events for our clients and their employees.

The Christmas jumpers will be reunited with their owners from the back of the wardrobe, the servery and seating areas will be decorated with tinsel, baubles and lights, and there might even be a tree! There may be an exchange of Secret Santa presents.

And this year people can sit together with their teams instead of a table for one, they can enjoy a delicious turkey dinner using crockery, cutlery and glassware, pull crackers, and sing along to Michael Buble’s Christmas hits!

This may be the first time they have all sat down together as a team in three years, and this is an event that can really bring everyone together and cement relationships that have perhaps only ever been virtual. And most importantly, it’s an opportunity for employees to feel appreciated for all the hard work they’ve achieved in 2022. We are really looking forward to it!

 

With the passing of Queen Elizabeth earlier this month, it is interesting to look back on the monarch’s impact on dining over the past seventy years through the eyes of those who worked closely with her.  

https://www.foodandwine.com/news/how-queen-elizabeth-impacted-food-drink?hid=55d09a47720729402ac0c73a476582c6bb6f5378&did=837350-20220911&utm_campaign=faw-top10_newsletter&utm_source=foodandwine.com&utm_medium=email&utm_content=091122&cid=837350&mid=96816869894&lctg=78702369

Wednesday

ARE YOUR EMPLOYEES BEGINNING TO FEEL THE PINCH?

Caring employers can demonstrate their commitment to employee welfare at this time of crippling energy bills and food inflation by providing a subsidised catering facility offering their workforce a choice of nutritional and affordable meals at break time.

Social media, newspapers and television broadcasters are currently bombarding the public with tales of doom - soaring energy bills, the Ukraine war affecting food prices, and more and more food banks and charities opening up to help families make ends meet. Unions are demanding pay increases, workers are on strike – in fact you could almost believe we are back in the 1970’s! People are feeling the strain of increased costs against their salary.

Employees not eating regular nutritious meals could become unwell, resulting in long term absences or inability to continue in their role, particularly if it requires the individual to be physically and mentally fit. You can reduce the likelihood of absence through illness by providing a canteen for your workforce with healthy options at a subsidised tariff.

Yes - it is an overhead to your organisation, however replacing employees on long term sick and recruiting inducting and training new members of your work are equally expensive. An unhappy workforce causes interruptions on the production line and lead to loss of product or time. The canteen is their place of sanctuary to relax and unwind with their colleagues away from their place of work.

Over 25 years, Albacore have transformed the culture of many well-known Scottish companies with our simple philosophy of providing fresh local produce simply prepared and served by our team of professional chefs and assistants who are always prepared to go the extra mile.

The space you choose for your catering facility should be convenient for your workforce to access at break times, and should have power, water and extraction. With the capital expenditure you have available we will advise the best use of the space operationally for the kitchen, equipment, serving area, and seating area layout, and recommend the style of service best suited to your organisation in relation to your budget. We will then transform the area into a vibrant social space for your workforce with our professional catering team providing a friendly service and fantastic food.

You are at a point of decision.

Get in touch for an initial chat!

Nicola Harrison

Director

M 07734 734 974

www.albacatering.co.uk

www.linkedin.com/in/nicolaharrison1

 

Saturday

Watching the closing ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealthgames2022 Games the  other night with Ozzy Osbourne, UB40 and Dexys Midnight Runners, brought back fond and vivid memories of when I worked at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games exactly 36 years ago!

Literally two days after graduating from Napier University, I joined students and lecturers from the Napier University Hospitality Department in providing the catering operations in the Food Hall of the Athlete’s Village at the 1986 Commonwealth Games. We drew the short straw – the 6am – 2pm shift! We fed and watered breakfast and lunch to the 1,660 competitors who were based in Pollock Halls and other nearby accommodation, the volunteers and the emergency, security and transport services.

My work placement at university encompassed contract catering and five star hotels, followed by a holiday season in a restaurant on a campsite in France. Weekends during term time involved banqueting shifts at The Caledonian and Grosvenor Hotels which were an extension of my social life with my fellow students. I felt I already had quite a lot of experience in the industry, but working on an event of this magnitude was an opportunity too good to miss – and it certainly turned out to be just that!

The village mobilised a couple of weeks before the games opened, and we spent the first week gearing up, setting up systems and customer journeys while learning about global foods, portion control, customer service, and getting to grips with the politics between front of house and the kitchen.

The sheer scale of daily food, beverage and disposable orders arriving was impossible to comprehend, the top commodities being bacon, 20 litre drums of oil, chicken breasts, haddock, butter, and a daily plantation of bananas!

The range available for breakfast and lunch blew me away, with menu choices from all over the world. Onion bhajis and pakoras, pasta, eggs, rice, grilled meats, bread, yoghurt, exotic fruits and vegetables, cereal and traditional breakfast disappeared at a rate of knots from 6.30am. Our Food Hall team were paired at food stations - we were friendly faces for the athletes, standing straight (no leaning!) throughout our shift, and keeping the counters topped up by alerting the Operations Manager every time we replaced a tray from the hot cupboard below. I can’t remember her name, but I do remember she was super organised, had a great rapport with the kitchen, and worked hard to make a team out of us and make it really fun. We were instructed to control portion sizes, but found we were fighting a losing battle with the gigantic weightlifters in the war of two link sausages versus six!

To pass the time we tried to guess who played what sport by what they looked like and what they ate! I became pretty good at it.

Highlights of the event were the day that Prince Charles and Princess Diana toured the food hall, and the whole place was awash with police and sniffer dogs who were going berserk with the smell of the sausages! Also spotting famous athletes like Daley Thomson, Steve Cram, Tessa Sanderson, Liz McColgan, Steve Redgrave, Adrian Moorhouse and Yvonne Murray as they came in to eat their meal and relax with their fellow athletes.

Controversially, 32 countries boycotted the games due to Margaret Thatcher’s government’s policy of maintaining sporting links with apartheid South Africa, and the huge reduction in numbers at short notice caused a logistical headache to say the least. The City of Edinburgh was out of pocket by £500,000 due to funding issues.

Watching the Birmingham games these past few days has brought it all these memories flooding back. It also reminded me why I chose to work in hospitality in the first place.


Friday

 Good news for those of you who find your bags of salad greens wilt before you have time to use them…

 

“The majority of bagged salads have an incredibly short shelf life and don’t survive much beyond the first serving, leading to 40% of them being thrown away (according to figures from government waste advisory body WRAP). However, since 2010 fresh & naked have been demonstrating that, by following a careful growing process and minimising the washing of the leaves, it’s possible to create a top-quality bagged baby leaf salad that stays fresh for longer whilst also tasting amazing.”

Fresh & Naked: The Waste-Minimising Bagged Salad - Great British Chefs

Tuesday

THE FOODIE FESTIVAL IS BACK!

We are delighted to hear that the Foodie Festival is taking place this year throughout the UK.

It’s a celebration of quality local food and drink, launched in Edinburgh in 2006, and there are now 12 festivals around the country, which makes it the largest food and drink festival in the UK.

You can attend the festival in Edinburgh from 5th to 7th August and in Glasgow from 12th to 14th August for top chefs, tasty food, delicious drinks and live music!

 

https://foodiesfestival.com/events/edinburgh/

 

https://foodiesfestival.com/events/glasgow/

Seafood Staycation!

 If you are planning a beach staycation this year, there are plenty of recommendations for excellent seaside cafes and restaurants all over the UK.

Click on the link to discover some amazing places to east, including three in Scotland

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2022/jun/05/20-of-the-uks-best-seaside-restaurants-cafes-shacks

The Seafood Restaurant, St Andrews

https://www.theseafoodrestaurant.com/

 

The Lobster Shack, North Berwick

https://www.lobstershack.co.uk/

 

The Seafood Shack, Ullapool

https://www.seafoodshack.co.uk/

Foraging season is upon us…

“The turn of spring brings with it a bounty of fresh produce – but few are more representative of the season than wild garlic. Wonderfully versatile and particularly pungent, these distinct flowering plants (also known as ransoms) can cover woodland floors like a blanket for a few months each year. This makes wild garlic a brilliant starting point for those who want to give foraging a try. Its short but sweet season means your window of opportunity is slim, but the abundance of wild garlic means there's plenty of it up for grabs.”

Click on the link below to learn all about this amazing plant.

 

https://www.greatbritishchefs.com/features/how-to-forage-wild-garlic?utm_source=sendinblue&utm_campaign=11032022WildGarlic&utm_medium=email

Monday

There’s still time to decide choose some of the best recipes for that very special day…

Click on the link, Take a look at all the sections, pick your favourite from each and enjoy cooking your way through recipes from true experts. Happy Christmas!

 

https://www.greatbritishchefs.com/features/your-christmas-sorted-recipes?utm_source=sendinblue&utm_campaign=09122021Christmas&utm_medium=email

Wednesday

The trials and tribulations of post pandemic recruitment 

According to the Office for National Statistics, "hospitality businesses are most likely to be experiencing challenges in filling vacancies compared with normal expectations at this time of year."

We are proud of our low employee turnover within Albacore and don't need to recruit very often. However, I've just completed the recruitment process for a vacancy as our client experienced a surge in employees returning to the office  preferring to interact with real humans again - great news for us!

Here we are edging out of the pandemic  and finding that Brexit, hospitality business closures and the end of furlough have forced so many talented hospitality professionals to seek employment in other sectors.

I try to recruit all of our employees and it's a process I usually enjoy. My highlights are the amusing email addresses candidates use in the hope of securing their dream job. santababy@xxx.com, mamawontwork@xxx.com , and Im-just-bad-news@xxx.com, to name just three!

I then send about one hundred "I was impressed with your cv and experience however... ''emails, and keep the six best for interview and trial shift if appropriate. 

I utilise an online advertising and community website as it's reasonably priced and you can use unlimited words, unlike a newspaper where ‘’ Catering Asst required M-F Bathgate’’ will set you back the price of a city break.

A couple of weeks ago, I placed one of my usual advertisements online with what I thought was a great opportunity. Catering Assistant, Monday to Friday,7am to 3pm, living wage, meal on duty, uniform, pension, development programme...I braced myself for the deluge of applications.

Replying to the first three candidates emails all three came back undelivered multiple times.

Then three applied by text- fantastic!

Initial phone interviews, all sounded perfect for the role, a wonderful dilemma! Trial shifts arranged with payment at the end. 

All with the usual confirmation email, full instructions for location, travel, access to the building plus the plea that as I was travelling an hour to the site especially to meet them, JUST TEXT if you change your mind. Reply to my email to confirm you'll be attending. 

I arrive at site half an hour early. Reception, security, the team and I wait with anticipation. Will they be THE ONE?

Twenty minutes later my welcoming smile has become rather crumpled. I feel like a teenager whose first date didn't show up.

What did I say?

What did I do wrong?

Did the bus break down?

Are they all lost, panicking out there somewhere?

Were they all abducted by an alien?

Are they all involved in a vendetta to repay me for something I unknowingly did to upset them?

Strangely now, the mobile number I was previously connected to with warmth and enthusiasm now cuts off when I speak, or goes straight to voicemail. I leave a lonely voice message, followed by an insincere text "I assume you're no longer interested in the position. Wishing you all the best for the future" and hold myself back from adding NOT! 

It's not all doom and gloom, though. A day later, I received a text "intrstd in job no cv". I took a chance, called back within a millisecond and arranged the interview, trial shift and immediate offer and start date all completed in two days. The team on site are so happy with their new member and so is our client. And I'm ecstatic! On cloud nine!

I’m not speaking from actual experience, but just like dating sites, there are still some really great matches out there, we all just have to work harder to find them!

Good luck to everyone recruiting at the moment. I wish you every success in finding THE ONE!

Tuesday

How do you take your coffee?

 Personally, I like a simple cafĂ© latte, but some coffee drinkers like to add all sorts of flavours to their caffeinated drink of choice.

I’m all for trying different things, but adding pureed vegetables isn’t something I’m keen on.

Click on the link to see some of the ideas from the new Food people blog…

As they say, each to his own…!

https://thefoodpeople.co.uk/blog/autumn-coffee-drinkswatching


www.albacatering.co.uk