Gary Aymes, Birmingham Hippodrome’s Director of Hospitality and Service, blogs about the latest news from the Conference, Events and Catering side of the theatre.
We all like a pat on the back when we’ve done well and there was plenty of back slapping at The MARCHE Awards for Excellence dinner held recently at the ICC. MARCHE are the Midland Association for Restaurants, Caterers, Hotels and Entertainment. Amongst other things, the good people at MARCHE organise annual awards across nine categories, covering the likes of Chef of the Year, Food Service, Sales and Manager of Tomorrow.
Birmingham Hippodrome joined up last year and I’m very proud to say had five finalists in four categories with one Silver Award Winner! Congratulations to Mark Drayton who took home the Silver Award in the Sales Coordinator’s category. Our other finalists were Will Newman, Chef of the Year; Josh Summlar, Junior Chef of the Year; Clarissa Etienne, Food Service and Nicola Ray, Sales Coordinator.
The Awards Dinner itself was a great night with over 1,000 of Birmingham’s hospitality luminaries attending and a ‘Rock Music’ theme that took me back a few years and kept my fingers drumming all night! Great too that the event was in aid of charity and proceeds from the evening went to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Charity begins…with a coffee!
Still on a charitable theme, you might be interested to know that since September 2008, every cup of Arabica coffee sold in our bars and Deli Bar has enabled the Cool Earth Charity to purchase an incredible 19 acres of rain forest in South America therefore helping to stop deforestation. This success (managed through donations from our coffee roaster, Nairobi Coffee) equates to ‘locking in’ 4,940 tonnes of carbon dioxide!
Our Cup Cakes Overfloweth
Spring is definitely here now, but Frost & Snow, our Cup Cake supplier, isn’t going anywhere – their cup cakes are far too delicious! We sell them from our Deli Bar and foyer bars at most shows. But there’s more to it than that, Frost and Snow began when an amazing cupcake baker Sarah Frost, met the homeless team from Midland Heart based at Snow Hill, Birmingham. They had a joint ambition to set up a successful social enterprise making fabulous cupcakes and that was the start of a great idea.
The plan is to make fantastic tasting and beautifully presented cupcakes whilst creating training and job opportunities for people who have been homeless, and now want to get into employment but need training and work experience. The business is first and foremost about a consistently high quality and beautiful product that cake lovers everywhere would crave more of; the bonus is that every purchase contributes to creating opportunities for previously homeless people to get back on their feet. All the profits from Frost and Snow will be used to support the homeless to regain their independence.
New menus coming soon
When the seasons change, we know it’s time for a menu change in our StageSide Bar and Restaurant. And Chris Bratt-Rose (our Head Chef) and his team are currently putting the finishing touches to the Spring and early Summer menu. It’s an exciting time of the year food-wise, with the new season’s fresh produce just around the corner. We buy locally whenever we can and our suppliers source most of their produce from farmers around the Midlands. Chris and I are taking Josh, our commis chef (see Awards news above), to visit a couple of our suppliers at the Birmingham Wholesale Markets next week, an early start for all! Our Circle Restaurant menu changes as the shows change, so Chris is able to keep the menus nice and seasonal as we progress through the year.
IT’S CHRISTMAS!!! … screamed Noddy Holder a few decades ago, and every one since! Well, I make no apology when I say that our thoughts have also been turning to Christmas over recent weeks. Emma Raybould, Conference & Events Manager and Mark and Nicola (see Awards news above) have been busy planning this year’s Christmas Festivities. And with ‘Join a Party’ public events, your own Private Party, Royal Box Panto Buffets and much more, there’s been a fair bit to organise!
We’ve been providing first class Hospitality and Private Dinners with our experienced in-house Catering Team for a number of years now, but this is the first year that we are really pushing the ‘Festive boat’ out. So whether or not you have a ticket to The Nutcracker or Cinderella later this year why not let us make your festive season a memorable one. www.birminghamhippodrome.com/eatanddrink