January 23rd to 25th, Birmingham will be home to The Great Hospitality Show, attended by Britain’s top chefs, restaurant owners and vendors. The event features food and beverage exhibitions as well as classes and lectures on issues facing restaurants today.
OpenTable caught up with chef Andreas Antona, ambassador to the show and chef/owner of the Michelin-starred Simpson’s restaurant in Birmingham, to find out what attendees can expect from the show this year.
Why did you want to participate in the Great Hospitality Show this year?
I had been involved with the show previously as both a Salon Culinaire judge and also a Business Mentor. This time around I was asked to be an Ambassador for the show and was honoured to accept.
It’s a great platform. I appreciate my standing in the industry and it doesn’t come lightly. People portray me as an ambassador and I’ll take that title. I relish the responsibility.
As 2017 begins, the Great Hospitality Show gives us the opportunity to network and reflect – we are all there collectively and we could do a lot of good if we could harness the energy of the debates and insight on the show floor. After all, these events are not just about networking – they must also be about industry-wide reflection.
Issues such as Brexit and its implications for hospitality require a concise and collective response. At times like these we need to get together to discuss and deliberate, because it could be a fight for our livelihoods.
What can restaurant owners and chefs expect to see at the show?
Alongside a host of new products, both from established exhibitors and first-time suppliers in the Small Producers Village and Fresh Tech Zone, culinary competition, Salon Culinaire, is set to showcase the wealth of chef talent this country is capable of producing.
The young chefs of tomorrow will also be in action at Junior La Parade des Chefs, the fine dining challenge, with mentored brigades tasked with preparing a three-course lunch menu for 100 covers. New for 2017, the Skills Theatre will see students, many of whom will be competing for the first time, undertake a number of key back and front-of-house challenges.
Elsewhere, my fellow Ambassador, Cyrus Todiwala OBE, will be discussing Brexit and another subject close to my heart, the skills shortage, with a panel of industry experts including, People 1st Executive Director, Martin-Christian Kent and Chief Executive of the Institute of Hospitality, Peter Ducker.
Another highlight will be chef Tom Aikens, who will be joined by founder of the World Gourmet Society, Matthias Tesi Baur, to discuss what it takes to reach the very pinnacle of the profession. Two panel discussions that all chefs and restaurateurs can ill afford to miss.
2017 also sees the return of the Staff Canteen Live, which will showcase the skills of some of the UK’s best known chefs as they create recipes from their own operations. A highly talented chef that I have known for many years; Glynn Purnell, leads a line-up including: The Beehive’s Dom Chapman; Brad Carter of Carters of Mosley; Beverley Dunkley and Julie Sharp from high end chocolatiers, Callebaut; Shay Cooper of The Goring Hotel; Hywel Jones of Lucknam Park Hotel; Nick Edgar from Cumbria’s The Samling; Cliveden House’s André Garrett; Mark Abbott from Midsummer House and Adam Reid from Adam Reid at the French.
What are you most excited to see at the Great Hospitality Show?
Meeting friends old and new and discovering new innovations and their relevance to the industry.
I’ve always been blessed with having eyes in the back of my head and I want to see everything. I’m really interested in seeing food products at every level, from organic to the latest innovations. Obviously I’m a chef at heart so I love to see new gadgets for the kitchen. As a judge at previous Salon Culinaire’s I also have a keen interest in the talent coming through in the competitions.
What makes the hospitality industry a great place to work?
It’s like life, it’s all about people. Whether you work back or front-of-house you always want to provide an experience. Hospitality is the greatest industry on earth for that. You’re always playing with people’s expectations.
You can register for The Great Hospitality Show 2017 here: www.hospitalityshow.co.uk/register.