The CGC Academy delves into Delifresh to learn more about where our food comes from

The CGC Academy, established in 2018, was setup to further develop our shining stars of the future; members of the team who have been recognised for their potential, their hard work and their eagerness to learn more about our fast paced industry. The Academy members are drawn from across the business; from front of house food and beverage service staff to the up and coming chefs behind the scenes, it’s open to all those who show a desire to expand their knowledge and understanding of the catering trade. In order to join the academy staff members must be nominated for having shown a high level of:

• Positive attitude
• Commitment to the job
• Reliability
• Passion for the organisation and the industry

Topics covered during the 12 month programme include First aid, Supervisor training, coffee/barista style training, an introduction to wines and alcoholic beverages, online courses covering all due diligence, event planning and much more. Academy members and their newly gained expertise are then utilised throughout the business; buddying up with new starters, leading teams at VIP events and working towards taking greater responsibility.

A recipe for success

As the Academy’s first year candidates approach the end of their 12 month enrolment we’re pleased to see several members going on to greater things within our business. One has been promoted to being a full time event manager, two more are part time supervisors who have both played a huge part in successfully leading teams through our busy Summer season and there are many more successes as a result of engaging with the Academy.

January 2020 will mark the first anniversary of the Academy. Craig Adams, CGC’s Training Manager and Academy Lead, will be sad to see the first intake go…

“It’s been a real pleasure to see the Academy members progress through the sessions in the past year, they’ve all really thrown themselves into learning and expanding their own knowledge. I’ll be sorry to see them move on from the group but also excited to see where they go from here, either within our business or on to new things in the industry.

I’m looking forward to meeting the new intake and to building further on the successes and learnings from year 1. It’s so important to encourage the talent of the future and I’m proud to be leading CGC’s approach in this regard”

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So just where does our food come from…

Here at CGC we’re passionate about our food and, just like our customers, keen to understand exactly where the produce we put on our plates has come from. It’s such a crucial part of the whole process and the Academy jumped at the chance to learn more about the farm to fork process.

On Wednesday 13th November the latest session took the Academy members to the Bradford Depot of Delifresh Ltd. Delifresh, established in September 2002, supply the finest fresh produce, delicatessen and specialist ingredients, connecting an enormous network of dedicated producers and growers with the kitchens of restaurants, venues and caterers like us.

Delifresh are a passionate bunch, dedicated to providing our customers with the finest ingredients encompassing our family of fantastic producers.

Innovation and customer service are the beating heart of Delifresh as we constantly search to inform & inspire our chefs at every opportunity.

With the ever changing seasons and demands of our customers Delifresh operate in the most dynamic environment. We thrive on the fun and challenges that come our way every day and build our relationships on the solutions we find.”

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Learning from the experts

It was a chilly morning for the trip to Bradford but the Academy members received a very warm welcome into the development kitchen at Paul Kershaw House where Robert Ramsden (Innovative Development & Marketing for Delifresh) had coffee and freshly cooked bacon sandwiches waiting for the team. Robert, joined also by Delifresh’s Jonny Baron, both former chefs and founts of knowledge, talked the team through the history of the company, the logistical challenge they face with 1,000 deliveries to fulfil each day, and the sheer variety of products that they offer. Both are infectiously fanatical about food and have a real passion for sourcing the best ingredients and telling the stories of those so often unsung heroes; the producers and growers. The team learned of Annabel Makin and her team at Annabel’s Deliciously British who have been working hard to reinvent the British strawberry, just down the road from our own headquarters in Garforth! And they learned of the art of forced rhubarb from one of the few remaining growers in the Yorkshire rhubarb triangle.

Next it was on to St James’s Wholesale Market where Robert and Jonny walked the team through the wide range of fresh fruit, vegetables and exotic produce that was available to the catering trade. The variety of ingredients on display was inspiring with everything from beautifully ripe Granny smith apples to fresh aloe vera leaves and lesser known fruit and vegetables, some of which the team had never seen or heard of! Mouths watering, the team headed back to Delifresh HQ and donned their hairnets for a visit to the warehouse, an Aladdin’s cave of fresh and packaged produce with everything from fresh truffles and Romanesco to the finest vinegars and verjus from a family owned vineyard in Niagara, Canada. The hot summers and cold winters in Niagara allow Minus 8 to craft exceptional vinegars and verjus from their grapes. Their first and flagship vinegar, Minus 8, was named after the temperature at which the grapes were harvested.

The Academy members learnt so much in just a few hours with Delifresh…

“I really enjoyed the Delifresh session. It was so interesting to see and learn about the organisation’s operation, I learned about so many different foods and came away with some great knowledge. The whole day was very interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was also great to learn more about the stories behind the produce we use at CGC, I will now feel confident in passing the story of the food on to our customers. I enjoyed learning about the different growers and to see just how much effort from the team at Delifresh goes into getting the best produce for us to use.”

“My overriding feeling leaving Delifresh was how engaging I found our hosts. Hearing Jonny and Robert telling stories about the supply chain and how our products are sourced. Not only did I learn a lot from them but it did make me genuinely think more about how our produce arrives to us as a company. I now have a much greater appreciation of how CGC’s food gets from farm to plate. And that’s not to mention how much it made me realise I didn’t know in regards to different varieties of fruit and veg, which I now do!”

“I had a great day at Delifresh, seeing Jonny and Robert’s passion for their job and their enthusiasm when talking about the produce made it all the more interesting to learn about. I now have a better understanding about the seasonality of food and it’s journey from farm to table. I loved learning the stories about the people behind the products; such as the family founded minus 8 brand, and hearing just how well connected Delifresh are to the brands and people they work with.”

If you’re looking for a new opportunity, you could be our Academy stars of the future! We’re always on the look out for passionate, hardworking individuals to join our team. Why not send us your CV – recruitment@cgceventcaterers.co.uk

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