News Thu, 02 Apr 2015 01:20:18 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb University helps Cardiff become one of UK’s first sustainable food cities

Cardiff has become one of the first cities in the UK to be officially recognised for promoting sustainable food, as part of a wide-ranging partnership which included the University.

The Sustainable Food Cities bronze award recognises work in areas such as promoting healthy food to the public, reducing waste and tackling food poverty.


Food Cardiff, which was set up to help Cardiff become a sustainable food city, has worked closely with a wide-ranging group of partners to secure the award.


One such partner was the University, which is committed to offering sustainable food to staff and students.


The University has a Soil Association Food for Life Catering Mark for its three restaurants at Main Building, Trevithick and the Julian Hodge Building Lounge.


This means, for example, the University will always source meat from farms which satisfy UK welfare standards and ensure free range eggs are used. It has also made a commitment to source fish from only sustainable sources by signing the Sustainable Fish City Pledge.


The University is part of the Food Cardiff Council, which was set up in 2012 as part of the Sustainable Food Cities Movement. It includes bodies such as Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, City of Cardiff Council, the Soil Association, Cardiff Food Bank and Wrap Cymru.


It meets at least four times a year to share knowledge and look at ways to tackle food-related problems such as obesity and food waste.


One of the University's flagship engagement projects, Community Gateway, is also working with Food Cardiff to look at ways of promoting affordable, healthy food in Grangetown.


The criteria for the Sustainable Food Cities Award hinge around six themes: healthy diets, food poverty, the local economy, community activity, public sector food, and waste.


Cardiff will now work towards a silver award for which it must demonstrate that its sustainable food achievements and activities are increasing year on year.


Brighton and Hove, Plymouth and the London borough of Lambeth are recognised alongside Cardiff as leaders of the Sustainable Food Cities movement.

Wed, 25 Mar 2015 23:22:06 +0000
Ayrshire College recognised for providing healthy food options

Ayrshire College has retained the Healthy Living Award for an impressive fourth consecutive year at its Ayr and Kilwinning campuses.


In total, 185 businesses were honoured at the award ceremony on March 17 - with only 15 businesses, including the College, celebrating their fourth renewal of the award.


Four out of five campuses at the College hold the Healthy Living Award - which is a national award for the food service sector in Scotland based on the general principles of a healthy balanced diet.


Ayrshire College has kept the award because its caterers use healthier ingredients and cooking methods to keep fat, salt and sugar to a minimum, as well as ensuring water, fruit and vegetables and low-fat dairy products are always available.


NHS Health Scotland and the Scottish Government both support the Healthy Living Award.


Mark Hunter, Catering Services Manager at Ayrshire College, collected the award at the Hampden Park ceremony, which was hosted by popular broadcaster Stephen Jardine and featured a number of key speakers including Chef of the Year 2014, Neil Forbes.


Mark said “I am delighted that my team across Ayrshire College helps to promote healthy living.  Their dedication ensures that we provide healthier options for our students and staff.”

Wed, 25 Mar 2015 23:07:25 +0000
Survey reveals 40% of students go without food because of money concerns

As many as 40 per cent of students have gone without food because they are concerned about their finances, a stark new survey has revealed.


The time spent at university is often sold as the best years of a young person’s life, but almost 30 per cent of students have considered dropping out of education because they cannot afford living costs, with 60 per cent saying they do not feel financially secure.


In a survey of almost 1000 students for, almost three quarters received a Government maintenance loan, but only a quarter said it was enough to live on.


An anonymous second year student told the website: "There have been times when I have had little to eat within a week. Mainly because I was too embarrassed and didn't know where to go about it all.


"But when I found out that the university are able to help with that, they were able to help with food vouchers so I didn't go hungry."


The findings highlighted how students are struggling to fund their educations, with 33 per cent resorting to selling their possessions to make basic payments for rent, bills and food shopping, while almost 30 per cent say that they cannot afford to heat their homes when it’s cold.


A further fifth said they were forced to “do other desperate things” for money, while a worrying 3.6 per cent said they’d done something illegal.


And of the 7 per cent of students who resorted to taking out a payday loan, 40 per cent regretted it, with one telling the website they were trapped in a "vicious circle that I'll never be able to escape from."


The study also dispelled the myth that students are reliant on their parents, as 50 per cent of students relied on their families, while 46.4 per cent didn't  and the remained preferred not to say.


Last month, a separate study showed that essentials including technology, textbooks, and printer credit were costing students an additional £1,800 over three years.


Charlotte Burns, Editor, Student Money Saver, said: “Hearing that students are poor, wouldn't surprise anyone. However, what this survey has shown us, is that the level of poverty is much worse than initially thought.


"Students are going without food and heating, as well as becoming desperate and selling possessions, taking out payday loans and seriously considering dropping out to get by.


"The fact that there are students living in serious poverty is completely unacceptable. Many parents have been completely left in the dark about this, and would be horrified to find how their children are living," she added.

Wed, 25 Mar 2015 21:01:40 +0000
University caterers win big at TUCO Competitions 2015

The 22nd University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) Annual Skills Competitions returned to the Blackpool Hilton, on 17 March 2015, with hundreds of leading figures from the university catering sector gathering to celebrate the winners of the prestigious competition.


Building on the successful awards evening last year, the atmosphere was unmatched as over 200 talented chefs, foodservice personnel, caterers and baristas from higher education institutions across the UK took part.


The competitors’ skill and knowledge was put to the test as they competed in a series of events, including Barista Skills Challenge, Chefs’ Challenge, Foodservice Skills Competition, Salon Culinaire as well as Training Workshops.


Brand new to the competition this year was the introduction of the Bartender of the Year award, in which bartenders went head to head and created some show-stopping cocktails, demonstrating their exceptional talent.  There were also awards for Sustainable Initiative of the Year, Student Experience Initiative of the Year, and the Street Food Chef of the Year.


No shortage of talent


Julie Barker, Chair of TUCO Ltd, commented on the event:


“The TUCO Skills Competitions is the ideal platform for professionals to showcase the fantastic talent within this industry.  The higher education catering sector can be overlooked in terms of style, skill and expertise, but every year this show-stopping event continues to prove that there’s no shortage of talent within this sector and that’s something that I’m truly proud of.”


Winners of the awards

TUCO Chef's Challenge, Sponsored by Bidvest 3663


  • TUCO Chefs' Challenge Gold Winner - University of Reading
  • TUCO Chefs' Challenge Silver Winner - University of Cambridge
  • TUCO Chefs' Challenge Bronze Winner - University of Birmingham
  • TUCO Chefs' Highly Commended Menu -University of Aberdeen & University of Exeter
  • TUCO Chefs' Best Hygiene - University of Edinburgh


TUCO Initiatives Awards, sponsored by Campuslife and Footprint


  • TUCO Student Initiative Winner -  Royal Holloway, University of London
  • TUCO Sustainable Initiative Winner - University of Reading


TUCO Salon Culinaire, Sponsored by KFF, Excellence and Urban Eats


  • TUCO Salon Culinaire Best in Salon - University of Derby


Salon Culinaire Gold Winners


  • TUCO Salon Culinaire Cupcake Challenge - Royal Holloway, University of London
  • TUCO Salon Culinaire Coffee Shop Cake - University of Brighton and Cambridge University
  • TUCO Salon Culinaire  Novelty Cake - University of Chester
  • TUCO Salon Culinaire  Decorative Exhibit - University of Derby
  • TUCO Salon Culinaire  Plated Main - Cambridge University
  • TUCO Salon Culinaire - Canapes - Cambridge University
  • TUCO Salon Culinaire - plated Dessert - University of Derby and Cambridge University


TUCO Bar Competition, sponsored by Carlsberg, Coco Cola, Air Liquide and Gram UK


  • TUCO Bar Competition Gold Winner - University of Birmingham
  • TUCO Bar Competition Silver Winner - University of Reading
  • TUCO Bar Competition Bronze Winner - Lancaster University
  • TUCO Bar Competition Best Speciality Cocktail - University of Reading


TUCO Barista Skills Challenge, Sponsored by Tchibo


  • TUCO Barista Skills Challenge Gold Winner - Imperial College London
    TUCO Barista Skills Challenge Silver Winner - Keele University
  • TUCO Barista Skills Challenge Bronze Winner - University of Edinburgh
  • TUCO Barista Skills Challenge Best Speciality Coffee - University of Edinburgh


TUCO Service Skills Challenge, Sponsored by CUBO


  • TUCO Service Skills Challenge Gold Winner - Royal Holloway, University of London
  • TUCO Service Skills Challenge Silver Winner - University of Birmingham
  • TUCO Service Skills Challenge Bronze Winner - Keele University
  • TUCO Service Skills Challenge Best Table Lay-up - University of Edinburgh


TUCO Street Food Chef of the Year, Sponsored by Bidvest 3663


  • TUCO Street Food Chef of the Year Gold Winner - Keele University
  • TUCO Street Food Chef of the Year Silver Winner - University of Exeter
  • TUCO Street Food Chef of the Year Bronze Winner - University of Glasgow
  • TUCO Street Food Chef of the Year Best Newcomer - University of Glasgow


To see more photos from the TUCO Competitions please visit the TUCO Facebook page.

Thu, 19 Mar 2015 12:47:48 +0000
SRA to launch sustainability training for hospitality businesses

The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) is set to launch a new training programme to increase knowledge and change behaviour across the hospitality industry.


The Continuing Professional Development (CPD) accredited SRA Sustainability Training will help improve sustainability practice across the food service sector – as the two million strong workforce becomes better informed about these crucial issues.


SRA President Raymond Blanc said: “If knowledge is power and sustainability is about securing our future, then the SRA’s sustainability training is a potent and essential tool for any hospitality business.”


Suitable for all staff, front and back of house


The programme, which is suitable for all staff, front and back of house, whatever their knowledge level, will help restaurants, cafés, hotels, cookery schools, and universities source more ethically and responsibly, become more socially responsible and reduce their impact on the environment.


The SRA has been developing the programme with a number of businesses from across the sector, from university caterers to large restaurant groups.


Everyone can make a difference


Rob Rees, founder of Star Bistro in Cheltenham, recent winners of the People’s Favourite award following a national public vote, said by giving staff the knowledge, the SRA was empowering hospitality businesses.


He added: “Everyone has a role and everyone can make a difference by thinking about and implementing changes on what we buy, how we buy it, prepare it, use it and dispose of it. Of course we are talking about sustainability in its broadest sense in the hospitality industry. To make this happen all our staff need the information to make those better choices for our environment. This training brings alive the ‘what is’ and the ‘how can I’ of sustainability. I haven’t seen anything as good and inclusive for all levels of staff in our industry before. Well done the SRA and thank you.”


Launch event


The SRA is hosting a special event to launch the programme on 9 April at Brigade, the social enterprise restaurant in London Bridge which in association with Beyond Food Foundation helps homeless people develop skills and motivation to find employment.


Speakers at the event, which will include an introduction to Brigade’s work and a thorough overview and introduction to the training, include Huw Gott, co-founder of Hawksmoor, a Three Star SRA Rated Member and an outspoken advocate of staff training. Workshops on food waste, sustainable diets and ethical meat and dairy will provide attendees with a taste of the SRA’s expert knowledge too.


The training is available in four different modules, offering a combination of online and face-to-face learning, ranging from a fundamental introduction to sustainability through to a completely bespoke programme. The programme is based around the SRA’s widely respected sustainability framework, built on the three pillars of Sourcing, Society and Environment.


For more information on the event or the programme click here

Thu, 12 Mar 2015 14:36:47 +0000
Pucker up and share your best trout pout!
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has teamed up with WWF for Earth Hour and is asking people to support sustainable fishing and healthy oceans by sharing their #fishface on social media in the run up to Earth Hour 2015.

To launch the campaign, students in over 30 MSC certified universities will be championing their best trout pout on social media using #fishface. A sustainable fish and chip van will also be visiting select campuses to inspire students to suck in their cheeks and post a picture online.


George Clark from the MSC, said: “We know that British consumers want sustainable fish in supermarkets and restaurants and last year the British public bought over £350 million of MSC labelled fish.


“#fishface is a fun way for each of us to show our support for sustainable fishing and build the demand for MSC labelled sustainable seafood.”


The campaign will peak on Earth Hour on March 28th at 8:30pm and people are also being asked to celebrate choosing MSC labelled fish and enjoying a candlelit dinner. WWF's Earth Hour encourages people to switch off their lights for one hour in a symbolic display of support to the planet.

Wed, 11 Mar 2015 18:42:57 +0000
Durham University students get a lesson in sustainability

The Whitby Fish and Chip Company will be offering Durham University students a first-class tutorial in sustainable fish and chips at a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) event on Thursday 12 March to help raise awareness of sustainability. The event, held on the University’s science site, will encourage students to post a #fishface selfie to support MSC certified fishing for Earth Hour 2015.


Hungry students and staff can swap a tweet for a treat with taster portions of The Whitby Fish and Chip Company’s award-winning chips and sustainable Scottish haddock, while they soak up information on how to choose and cook fish from a sustainable source.


The MSC event will be the first outing for The Whitby Fish and Chip Company’s mobile trailer, run by the multi-award winning Fusco family, which own Whitby’s Royal Fisheries, the Fish Box, and 2014’s UK number one fish and chip shop and restaurant Quayside. The eye-catching trailer – the only MSC certified catering trailer in the UK – has a unique frying range with a high capacity, giving people a taste of Whitby away from the seaside.


The MSC works with fisheries, retailers and governments to transform the world's seafood markets by setting and maintaining the standards for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability and promoting sustainable fishing practices. It seeks to increase the availability of certified sustainable seafood with more than 25,000 MSC blue ‘ecolabel’ products, and works with schools and universities to spread the word about marine issues.


Wed, 11 Mar 2015 18:26:18 +0000
TUCO strengthens Executive Board with new appointment

TUCO has announced a new addition to its Board, further strengthening the organisation’s experience and value-add to its stakeholders.


Gavin Brown, General Manager at the University of Sheffield, brings a wealth of knowledge, craft and management experience to the role having held a diverse range of positions from General Manager at Derby County football club managing corporate hospitality and sales, Executive Chef at the University of Nottingham to Commercial Manager at the University of Sheffield.  Much of Gavin's career – over 25 years – has been developed within the Higher Education sector, of which he comes with a thorough and in depth understanding.


Gavin whose heritage with TUCO spans 20 years including winning a Gold Medal at the annual TUCO Skills Competitions - now aims to focus on how TUCO can help develop and share best practice from its member institutions, drawing on member expertise and the wider industry to look at new and improved ways of working across the sector as a whole.


He says: “As an organisation TUCO does tremendous work in its efforts to promote and develop the Higher Education catering sector and there’s a lot of passion within this thriving community.  I am delighted to have the opportunity to work within the Board to help make a positive impact on the future and on members directly.”


Julie Barker, Chair of TUCO, added: “Gavin has proven himself a valuable asset to Sheffield in his many roles, taking a forward thinking and innovative approach to his work and displaying a real commitment to driving excellence in the sector as truly aligns him to TUCO.  We are delighted to welcome Gavin to the Board where we are sure his passion and vigour will add to and complement the skills that TUCO already enjoys.

Tue, 10 Mar 2015 22:49:41 +0000
Bristol Online Survey - Milk & Bread / Fish & Seafood Supplier Vendor Assessments 2015

We've launched the TUCO Fish & Seafood and Milk & Bread Supplier Vendor Assessment Surveys for 2015.  These Vendor Assessment surveys are designed to capture your feedback on the level of service which you are currently getting from the suppliers which you have opted to use.

If you are using either framework then please, as the end user, spare a few minutes to complete the survey. TUCO will then discuss the results and any comments made with the suppliers during the annual contract review meeting.

To complete either survey, please click on the appropriate link below.

Mon, 09 Mar 2015 10:23:00 +0000
UCB unveils new £2m food suite to foster chefs of the future

University College Birmingham has unveiled a new £2 million high-tech food suite to train the chefs of the future.


The Food Innovation Suite will train the next generation of industry professionals, featuring food testing and diagnostic technology alongside state-of-the-art kitchen facilities.


The 9,000 sq ft building will be used by students on existing food courses and chef programmes as well as undergraduates in food science, nutrition and food manufacturing.


Food and drink is a key growth sector for the region, employing 58,000 people in more than 1,500 companies across the West Midlands with the former IMI site in Witton identified as a new “food hub”.


UCB has also unveiled new courses including applied food and nutrition, food development and innovation, culinary science and bakery and confectionery technology.


Pauline Lovatt, assistant dean of UCB’s College of Food, said the new facilities and degrees had been developed in response to industry demands.


She said: “The food industry has very creative chefs and very good scientists, but it needs professionals who can link the two areas. The new Food Innovation Suite at UCB will provide first-class opportunities to gain the skills and expertise required to flourish in this growing area of the industry.


“We constantly examine and refresh our courses to ensure our graduates meet the exacting demands of industry. Our degrees lead to a variety of career paths including process development technologists, quality assurance, culinary scientists, development chefs and food product developers.”


The cost of the Food Innovation Suite, situated at UCB’s main campus in Summer Row, has been funded by the university with financial support from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership through the Local Growth Fund.


The suite consists of a series of thematic learning spaces including Create It, Innovate It, Analyse It and Evaluate It.


There is a sensory laboratory for food-tasting featuring eight self-contained booths.


Tasters will be presented with students’ dishes via hatches that lead off a central food preparation area.


The brightness of the lighting within the booths, and the colour of the lighting, can be altered to gauge the effects of visual stimuli on taste and flavour perception – for example establishing if strawberry jelly still taste of strawberry when the red dessert is bathed in an icy blue light.


Sound can be piped into the booths to see if different styles of music affect the eating experience, taste and food appreciation.


There is also a pilot plant with manufacturing equipment used in commercial food production and a media suite for photography, filming and food styling.


There will also be testing equipment to establish the fat, protein and moisture content of different foods as well as a lab to look into the texture, thickness and elasticity of foods.


Prof Ray Linforth, vice-chancellor and principal of UCB, said: “The new Food Innovation Suite will ensure we remain at the forefront of vocational education and training in food-related disciplines. The facilities and our new food degree courses have been designed with industry in mind.”

Thu, 05 Mar 2015 13:25:21 +0000