Thursday, 21 May 2015

Hamilton Food & Drink Festival

Bank Holiday weekends are always stressful as they put pressure on you to do something with that valuable extra day. Thankfully, the good people at Forum Event Management have a solution at hand with the Hamilton Food & Drink Festival which is taking place from Friday 2nd - Monday 25th May.
The festival is taking place Friday - Monday from 10am - 5pm & they will have around 40 different traders with all different types of hot & cold foods on offer. Tony Singh will be along on Saturday & Sunday from 12pm onwards & will be doing a cookery demonstration showcasing as much as he can from the producers. He will also be doing an interview on stage, book signing as well as mingling with the public for some Q&A.
Local butcher Andrew Henderson will have a marquee with demo area & he will be showing best way to cut meats etc for dishes & recipes. We will also have a demo stall where each trader is invited to showcase any of their products & answer any questions.
The stage is being run by Dougie Jackson and there will also be a range of street entertainers varying each day from fire eaters, jugglers, stilt walkers, balloon modelling, huge bubbles & our Chef Di Campo will be there each day. The festival will also be running competitions for the public to take part in as well as a few surprises.
There will also be 2 licensed areas with a beer tent run by local hotel group Manorview & Thistly Cross Cider will be serving up their own products in the other.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Taste of Arran founder honoured at HIT Industry Event

Alastair Dobson, Managing Director of Taste of Arran, has been recognised for his ‘inspiring innovation and business acumen' at a glittering awards ceremony hosted by industry body, Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland (HIT).

The annual award, presented by Arlene Bonomi, Sales Director for Brakes, recognised Alastair's considerable achievements and boundless energy that has seen his business grow from a single van enterprise to a collaboration of ten food and drink premier producers from the Scottish Isle of Arran.

Paying homage to Alastair's success, James Stagg from The Caterer magazine spoke of the ‘marketing brilliance' of the Taste of Arran that has boosted the island's economy and provided producers with a sustainable and successful business platform from which to grow.

James said: "Alastair's flair for marketing and innovation led him to diversify the business without ever losing sight of his drive for quality and innovation: his Isle of Arran Dairies ice cream is synonymous with the island he operates from".

Accepting the award, Alastair paid tribute to the quality, innovation and hard work of fellow producers as well as acknowledging the HIT's achievements in developing the skills and ambitions of young people working in the hospitality industry.

The dinner, to celebrate HIT's 21st anniversary, was attended by over 500 industry representatives. The event raised a staggering £67,000 for HIT, a registered charity that delivers scholarships and bursaries for those working in the industry

Sponsored by Diageo, guests were served up a sumptuous dinner of local produce and enjoyed glittering entertainment from Edward Reid, Britain's Got Talent, who emerged from a giant cake.

Summing up the night, HIT's Chief Executive, David Cochrane said: "This generous and fun loving industry partied like never before and dug deep to secure the future for many of our next generation of industry leaders. I am hugely proud to be part of a sector which contributes so much to Scotland."





Saturday, 16 May 2015

Nocking Point Wine - UK Launch Party

This weekend, Birmingham will be the safest city on the planet as the Hilton Birmingham Metropole plays host to the City of Heroes convention. DC Comics stars from TV shows Arrow, The Flash and Gotham will decend on the hotel to meet and greet their fans.
Stephen Amell, the actor who plays The Arrow, is making good use of his time in the UK as he hosts a launch party for the wine label that he owns with friend and business partner Andrew Harding. Nocking Point Wine is a relatively new wine producer and operate out of the Walla Walla Valley in Washington State, USA. Nocking Point Wine is sold exclusively through an already fully subscribed wine club and carries artwork created by legendary DC Comics illustrator, Jim Lee.
Nicola is a huge fan of Arrow and Stephen so as soon as she found out about the launch party, she had to go, and as I always seem to be dragging Nicola to various food events, it seemed fair that we go and do something that she wanted to do.
Everyone who attend the party at Birmingham's Old Stock Joint can look forward to a great night including;
  • Spend the evening with Stephen, Andrew, a handful of their pals, (as Stephen has been at City Of Heroes all weekend with his TV friends, we are hopeful that we might get to meet more than one superhero) and a room full of new Nocking Point friends!
  • Take home a custom "Nocking Point Comes to the UK" commemorative wine glass.
  • Taste all of NP’s newest wines: Apex 2.0, Verdant House Wine, Year Two: New Bow, Wicked Aim, MAJA, KDH, and their 2009 Merlot. Enjoy other wines, cocktails, beers, wonderful canapes, small plates and desserts provided by the NP team.
  • Enjoy awesome live music all evening long and have an overall one-of-a-kind wine party experience with Stephen, Andrew and a great group of their fellow NP supporters!
  • Bid to WIN extremely cool silent auction & raffle items with all proceeds going to benefit a cause they love. There will also be some AWESOME collectibles there!
So roll on Sunday and our trip to Birmingham. Hopefully, I'll come back with more information about the wines that Stephen and Andrew produce and members even a new superhero recruit for 5 Questions.


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

5 Questions - Graham Gardner, Sous Chef @ Morblas, Hilton Glasgow

It's not too long now until The Ideal Home Show Scotland makes its return to Glasgow's SECC. The show promises something for everyone and for those with a passion for cooking, there are a number of demonstrations being carried on the Super Theatre stage. One of the chefs who will be doing his bit to wow the crowds is the current sous chef at Hilton Glasgow restaurant Morblas Seafood & Grill, Graham Gardner.
Graham has over 15 years experience in the kitchen and has honed his skills at a number of venues including Glasgow Art Club and the Blythswood Square Hotel.
Here's Graham's Story;

How did you get started?

I got a summer job washing dishes in a local Indian restaurant, after a few weeks of being in a kitchen that was it. There was nothing else I wanted to do other than cook. I got an apprenticeship with Hilton as soon as I left school and just started to learn as much as I could so I could get better.

What’s the best piece of advice you could give any young aspiring chefs?

Be prepared to work hard, be willing to listen and always want to keep learning! Even learning simple things like the fastest way to peel a potato will help you. Also read a lot of books.

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time?

Not sure about 5 years time, I’m focused on achieving my goal of running my own kitchen within the next 12-18 months. Once I have achieved this, I will look further into the future.

If you could only cook one of your own products/recipes, what would it be & why?

It would have to be my scallops, peas and hazelnuts dish. It's 3 individual ingredients that I love and when you put them together it’s hard to find anything better in life. At the time of creating this dish, I was still not confident in my ability to create new dishes but once I was given the opportunity this dish came about and has been on our menu ever since. It was even one of the dishes we demonstrated at last year’s Ideal Home Show Scotland.

You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?

It's got to be my childhood hero Hulk Hogan, he was everywhere when I was a kid and pretty much still is, now that I’m an adult.

Anyone who has had such a long career, no matter what that career is, is always worth looking up to. I’d be happy to just have a burger and chips with him, the less time spent cooking the meal, the more time I would have to hear some of his stories from his career.

As mentioned earlier, Graham will be on the Super Theatre stage at The Ideal Home Show. You can see Graham, and his Hilton Glasgow colleague Stuart, in action on the Ideal Home Show Scotland Super Theatre stage on:

Saturday 23rd May at 1pm

Sunday 24th May at 12 noon

Monday 25th May at 11am

Pop along and see them on the Super Theatre and you may be lucky see some of the Hilton staff who will be giving out 20% discount vouchers which will allow you to experience the fantastic Morblas Seafood & Grill menu for yourself.



Sunday, 10 May 2015

30 Second Beer Review - Hibernation White IPA by Bear Hug Brewing

London is bursting with craft brewers making sure that there are always plenty of unusually named beers vying for your attention.
Hibernation White IPA (ABV 5.2%) from Bear Hug Brewing.
  • Bought at Whyte & Brown, Soho for £5.50
  • Pours with a tight foamy head that hangs around until the end.
  • This hybrid beer looks like a wheat beer with it's cloudy, pale hazy yellow appearance.
  • Very citrusy on the nose with grapefruit and lemon fighting for your attention. Background floral notes are also evident.
  • Medium to high carbonation.
  • This is very easy to drink with almost champagne biscuity flavours yielding to lemon and grapefruit. Good bitterness leaving a clean dry finish.
I really liked this offering from Bear Hug Brewing and while it claims to be a hybrid of wheat beer and IPA, there is no mistaking that this is very obviously IPA in style. That said, Hibernation White IPA has all the characteristics that I like and I can't wait to get my hands on my next bottle.