Monday, 26 September 2011

Guoman Hotels joins London Restaurant Festival celebrations

Guoman Hotels, has announced the Grand Imperial London will be celebrating the London Restaurant Festival for the first time by hosting Oriental Tea & Jazz afternoons in its bar lounge from 3-17 October 2011, bringing authentic Hong Kong Cantonese food at its finest.

Guests will be able to indulge in an Eastern take on Afternoon Tea with a selection of savoury and sweet dim sum.  Surrounded by the splendid Feng Shui setting of the restaurant's bar lounge, accompanied by jazz on the piano. The Oriental Tea & Jazz afternoons are a chance for guests to take their palate on a sumptuous journey to the East.

The Oriental Afternoon tea includes classics such as 'Char Sui Bao', 'Concubine Chicken Wrap' and Grand Imperial's signature 'Chocolate Dim Sum' or a velvety 'Green tea brulee'. To accompany these treats, guests can select their favourite soothing Oriental tea or opt for a glass of Balfour Brut English Rosé and, exclusively for the festival; they can pick any cocktail including the latest popping Boba drink. Throughout the festival guests will also have the opportunity to sample the restaurant's Oriental bar menu offering an extended choice of delicious Cantonese treats.

London Restaurant Festival returns to the capital in 2011 from the 3rd to the 17th of October and is a two-week celebration of London's extraordinarily diverse range of restaurants. Grand Imperial London will also celebrate with a bespoke 2 course menu, available by reservation only and which includes specialities such as 'Crispy duck salad' and 'Black cod with honey pepper sauce'.

Oriental Afternoon Tea & Jazz will be served up every day between 3-6pm and priced per set with the option of an extra glass of champagne or a cocktail.

Located in landmark heritage hotel The Grosvenor, Victoria, Grand Imperial London is headed up by Chef Rand Cheung and is one of Malaysia's leading restaurant groups with a premium reputation in fine dining. Featuring original pieces of artwork and calligraphy excerpts, Grand Imperial London has been designed around the ancient practice of Feng-shui, along with traditional artefacts and a private dining room to entertain up to 24 guests.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

That's Christmas: Wolf Blass Sparking Rose wine for Christmas

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Spicy ice cream? It's time for the Llangollen Food Festival!

SPICY ice cream and beer shampoo are among the more weird and wonderful products making their début at this year's Llangollen Food Festival.

The annual culinary spectacle is in its 14th year and has garnered a reputation for attracting exciting, independent producers from across England and Wales, and provides a great day out for any food lover.

Among those will be Mon ar Lwy, an award-winning ice cream maker from Anglesey trialling Hellish Relish, an ice cream "sizzling" with spices and chilli. And local brewers Llangollen Brewery will be selling soap and hair products with its Welsh Black ale being a key ingredient!

Held over the weekend of October 15 and 16, few food feasts boast a more beautiful location and the tree- and heather-clad hills above the Vale of Llangollen will be ablaze with autumnal colour providing an amazing day out for all the family.

Centred on Llangollen's Pavilion venue, home to the world-famous Musical Eisteddfod, the festival will star Welsh TV chef Dudley Newbery and Graham Tinsley from ITV's "Taste the Nation" as they share simple home cooking through a series of workshops and demonstrations.

This year's festival has a back-to-basics theme. Recognising the household spending squeeze, there will be a greater emphasis on grow-your-own ingredients and smarter shopping - how to buy from small, independent traders and save money.

A real ale trail will feature a courtesy shuttle bus linking the festival site with more than a dozen pubs in and around Llangollen.

Festival entry is £5 (under 16s enter free). For more information visit

World Cup Winning Indian Cricket Team Visit Chak 89 for a Meal

Indian Cricket Team Visit
Chak89 were recently visited by some of the victorious Indian Cricket World Cup winning team. Virat Kohli, R.P Singh, Pravin Kumar and Munaf Patel enjoyed their meal with the owner Mr. Frank Khalid. A few members of the team joked that they not eaten an Indian meal for 8 days and that they had been eating mainly pasta. They all really enjoyed the food and complimented Mr. Frank Khalid on the exquisite cuisine. They loved the food and said that they would like to come back but next time with the rest of their team mates.

Mr. Frank Khalid said “The food must have helped them because the following day the 4 players almost won the Lords One-Dayer. R.P Singh took 3 wickets, Pravin Kumar 1 wicket and Munaf Patel 1 wicket and 1 run out but unfortunately the rain came down and took away their victory.”

Chak89 are not only one of the best Indian restaurants in London, but they are also a perfect solution for all types of wedding celebrations and great Indian wedding venues, they can accommodate and cater for up to 650 guests in two adjoining banquet halls. They are also the ideal choice for business conferences, or they can bring the CHAK89 experience to you by allowing their Indian caterers to stage your special day at any venue of your choice.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Monday, 19 September 2011

Reinventing The Takeaway?

Serial entrepreneur Simon Prockter is hoping his latest venture will help change the way we look at takeaway food, for good.

He's about to launch the UK's first gourmet takeaway service – - starting in London this week.

The site has received six figure backing from a group of private investors, including Bebo co-founder, Paul Birch.

Housebites gives food lovers the opportunity to enjoy individually prepared meals, made by top cooks and delivered straight to their door.

However, whilst the food is of a restaurant quality it won't come with a restaurant price tag, with customers able to pick up a main meal for around the same price as a delivery pizza.

The site has already attracted a wide range of local chefs who have worked at some of the capital's top restaurants including The Ivy, Le Caprice, Barrafina, Fifteen, The Bluebird and The Sanderson Hotel.

In addition seasoned cooks will also be given the opportunity to sell their dishes in their area, regardless of restaurant experience, as long as they pass the taste test.

MasterChef finalist Andy Oliver has also been brought in to advise the site on catering strategy, having previously spent two years working at London's prestigious Nahm restaurant.

Mr Prockter, whose previous ventures include SpeedDater, Europe's largest dating events company and activity holidays firm Adventura, says housebites caters for consumers who demand more from their takeaway.
He explains: "'I'd been exploring ideas within the food sector for the last 18 months and whilst so many traditional industries are being disrupted by the internet such as hotels and car-hire, I couldn't see anything great happening in food.
"We believe housebites will change the way people eat, for good. No longer do consumers have to settle for a soggy, cold pizza or a stodgy Chinese takeaway, instead they can eat restaurant quality meals cooked to order by a local chef, for the same price.

"A wide range of dishes will be available including classics such as curry and pizza and we're confident they will be made using superior ingredients and cooking expertise than down the local takeaway."

The site was recently shortlisted for Real Business' Future 50 award, which details Britain's top 50 most exciting start-ups.

Using housebites couldn't be easier with customers entering their post code, browsing the menus of local cooks, placing an order and then waiting a maximum of one hour for the food to arrive. The site promises the highest levels of quality control - just like the Michelin Starred kitchens many of the local chefs have worked in. Cooks will be asked to prove their credentials by cooking a signature dish which will be assessed, before being allowed to expand their menu.

Feedback through social media is a key part of the experience allowing users to rate their food, tweet local cooks, add comments to the Facebook page and interact in forums.

Mr Prockter says not only will the site benefit consumers, it will also offer local chefs a great way to earn a living working from home.

He said: "By working just four days a week local chefs could earn a greater wage than if they were spending the time in a restaurant's kitchen. If they're able to fill orders five days a week they'll make around £65,000 a year, which is a great work from home income.

"We're confident this flexibility and salary will attract more and more top cooks to join the service as time goes on. This will also ensure that the quality of the food on offer will continue to grow as competition for customers increases."

Mr Prockter says he believes his site will make serious inroads into the UK delivered food market which is currently worth £1.6bn and is expected to rise to £2.5bn within three years.

He said: "The market is extremely wide ranging and due to our pricing model we will be competing with a variety of takeaway favourites. The difference is consumers will know exactly what each dish comprises of and also who will be cooking and delivering it, which we believe is a real plus.
"By using the site we think people can eat better and try a wider range of foods, which will cost around the same price as the dishes they've been eating for years."

"The UK market for delivered food is huge and expanding rapidly. We have a quality yet affordable offering and are confident we can capture a significant market share."

Link to the site's Future 50 shortlisting -

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Cookery School Urges British cooks To 'Be Proud of Pastry'

The Lake District cookery school, LucyCooks, is issuing a rallying cry of 'Be Proud of Pastry', urging British cooks to cherish the pastry dishes that we take for granted, but which foreign diners relish when they visit our shores.

The cookery school is inviting keen cooks across the country to send in their favourite pastry recipes. The best will be rewarded with a prize of a cookery course for two at its state-of-the-art premises in Staveley, on the outskirts of the market town of Kendal.

The prize relates to two places on one of the school's own pastry or baking courses, such as its Pies, Puds and Perfect Pastry courses, which regularly run to show the cooks who lack confidence with their pastry exactly how versatile it can be as a topping or encasing for a variety of fabulous dishes.

The closing date for the competition is November 30 and the winning recipe will then be posted on the LucyCooks website at with all due credit to its ingenious deviser.

LucyCooks general manager, Magnus Mumby, says: "I have worked all over the world and can honestly say that British pastry dishes are a unique part of this nation's heritage and something of which we should be proud. We are inviting British cooks to share their own pastry dishes with us, whether these are based on traditional recipes, or are modern dishes offering an innovative twist on pastry and our message to everyone, regardless of whether they can cook or not is to 'Be Proud of Pastry', enjoy dining on our pies and puds and if you don't yet know how to create your own pastry dishes, come along and learn how to do so!"

To enter the competition, cooks can send their recipe to: Be Proud of Pastry Contest, LucyCooks, 1 Mill Yard, Staveley, Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 9LR, along with their name, address, telephone number and email address. All entries received by November 30 will be judged by the LucyCooks chefs and the winner advised by December 14, 2011.

Chocolate Unwrapped, A Dedicated Chocolate Show On 15th & 16th October

The highlight of Chocolate Week, Chocolate Unwrapped is a show where visitors can immerse themselves in a decadent feast of chocolate. This wonderful London chocolate show is host to more exhibitors than ever with 40 chocolate companies at the event. New, established, British and International, the range of stands is a showcase of the best of the chocolate world.

The very top British chocolatiers and chocolate companies will be at the show along with chocolate makers from France, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Holland and Germany. Exhibitors include Artisan du Chocolat, Valrhona, William Curley, Paul a Young, Amedei, Duffy Sheardown, Idilio, Hotel Chocolat, Original Beans, Lauden, Sir Hans Sloane, Paul Wayne Gregory, Thorntons, Lindt Excellence, Akesson, Bojesen, Divine, Chocolate & Love and many more.

Highlights of the show include:
• Talks, tastings and demonstrations from top chocolatiers and pastry chefs
• A stunning exhibition of chocolate art
• The Harvey Nichols chocolate café
• See chocolate being made from the bean in our miniature chocolate factory
• Win a trip to Switzerland courtesy of Lindt Excellence


• Chocolate Unwrapped takes place at Vinopolis, Stoney Street, Borough, London, SE1 9BU on 15th & 16th October
• Takes place as the highlight of Chocolate Week which is from 10th-16th October
• Tickets are £10 on the door or £8 in advance available from
• For a video on the week and the show visit the home page of the site.
• Chocolate Week is kindly funded by the Ecuador Tourist Office, Divine Chocolate, Thorntons and Hotel Chocolat.

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My Secret Kitchen, the UK's first food tasting company, launch their Autumn/Winter range of inspirational foods with a twist

Mochaccino Cookie Mix
The new range of foods with a twist from My Secret Kitchen have now been launched and they are as intriguing as the rest of them.

White wine and Porcini finishing sauce. - was developed in response to requests for something special for chicken, pork and white fish. A finishing sauce is designed to be added at the end of cooking to bring a finishing touch to your dishes. They combined white wine with porcini mushrooms to create an elegantly flavoured sauce. Add a touch to fish pie or use with chicken stock for a risotto. It's also great for turkey leftovers, finishing pasta dishes and making mashed potato extra tasty. They employed  a vegetable-based bouillon so the sauce is vegetarian, too.

Chocolate Peppermint Sauce. - They combined dark chocolate with a beautifully fresh peppermint oil and vanilla extract to create a cool and creamy peppermint sauce. Add to ice cream and desserts; use to make peppermint profiteroles; stir a heaped teaspoon into hot milk for a soothing drink; pour over Ultimate Chocolate Brownies; or just open and enjoy!

Mochaccino Cookie Mix.- A brilliant cookie mix, bringing coffee together with chunks of white and dark Belgian chocolate.

My Secret Kitchen is the UK’s first nationwide food and drink tasting company, and was started by husband-and wife-team, Clare and Phil Moran They’ve taken the traditional Tupperware style business concept of home demonstration parties and turned it into a wonderful food tasting evening, where the host and his/her friends have an enjoyable time experiencing unusual and different foods, sharing recipe ideas in a warm relaxed non-pressure environment.

The business concept has proven to be a great success in the recession for food lovers who are looking for an extra income and have joined My Secret Kitchen as a consultant, earning money from showing all the great foods.

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Saturday, 3 September 2011

Brand New Beer Bonanza For Staffordshire!

Titanic Brewery
This year’s Stone Food & Drink Festival promises to be bigger and better than ever, with the inception of a brand new event for beer-lovers – The Titanic Brewery ‘Best of Staffordshire Beer Festival’.

With over a dozen Staffordshire brewers taking part, including Blythe, Enville, Burton Bridge – and of course, Titanic - this new addition will make The Stone Food & Drink Festival the go-to event for ale lovers.

Taste of Staffordshire members, Titanic Brewery, have attended Stone’s premier celebration of all things gastronomic for the past three years, and this year have invited fellow Staffordshire brewers to come along and celebrate the county’s fantastic and distinctive ale offer with them.

Dave Bott, Director at Titanic Brewery, said: “We have always thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the festival, but this year we decided that we wanted to look at the bigger picture and invite other brewers to come and get involved.

“The Best of Staffordshire Beer Festival will add a whole new dimension to The Stone Food & Drink Festival and we would encourage anyone with a passion for real ale to come along and sample some of the best that the county has to offer.”

With a huge variety of beers, from light to dark, bitters to stouts, and various strengths and styles, this year’s Stone Food & Drink Festival, from Friday 30th September – Sunday 2nd October is not to be missed for anyone with an appreciation of ale!

Now in its seventh year, The Stone Food & Drink Festival continues to be sponsored by Taste of Staffordshire, the county’s foremost mark of taste and quality for local food and drink.

Create your own Dim Sum feast at home

Delicious Dim Sum
Usually found in China Town restaurants as authentic Oriental sharing dishes served with tea, Dim Sum cuisine is undergoing a transformation.

The popular social Chinese way of eating is being turned on its head with modern, celebrity-packed restaurants opening, – led by the Michelin-starred Hakkasan and sister restaurant Yauatcha in London.

But! Why pay inflated Michelin prices to indulge with family and friends? Beat the high prices by creating some tasty home-cooked Dim Sum dishes with a little help from Wing Yip.

The UK’s top Oriental grocer offers a huge range of vital ingredients for popular dim sum dishes such as wontons, dumplings and hom bao (Chinese buns).

Wing Yip also has a full selection of prepared Dim Sum dishes available to buy in store for quick and tasty treats for a night in.

Mr Wing Yip, founder and chairman of the Oriental grocery empire, said: “Dim sum is the perfect way to enjoy lots of different types of Oriental food with others. Our Hoi Sin, Oyster, Mushroom or Sweet Chilli sauces are the perfect accompaniment to add spice and flavour to a wide range of Dim sum dishes.”

Next time you’re in a Chinese restaurants look for the following tasty Dim Sum varieties on the menu and try to sample a mix of steamed, baked and fried dishes:

Rice noodle rolls
Thin rolls made from a wide strip of rice noodle filled with prawn, pork, beef or vegetables and served with soy sauce.

Prawn dumplings are a popular dish you must try. Made with a translucent skin, these little parcels make a divine mouthful. Also try vegetable, pork, scallop and other variations.

Fried dim sum
Deep fried squid, spring rolls and shredded turnip puff pastries all make a tasty selection of fried dim sum dishes.

Steamed sponge cake
For those with a sweet tooth, this sponge cake is steamed making it deliciously moist.

And for the more adventurous look out for chicken feet, pig stomach and ox tripe.

Wing Yip is the UK’s leading Chinese grocer, with stores in Birmingham, Manchester, Cricklewood and Croydon.

Each store is situated close to the city centre with easy access to the motorway and plenty of free car parking for customers.

A visit to one of their stores is like taking a trip around the world with over 2,500 products from the Far East.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Two ‘Golds’ for legendary Christmas pudding

The only thing missing from a festive celebration with a Feeding Your Imagination Christmas pudding this year will be frankincense and myrrh...

Christmas is going to be extra special this year for Feeding Your Imagination and Master Chef Paul Da-Costa-Greaves. The Bristol based fine food company have received Gold in the 2011 Great Taste Awards and Gold in the 2011 Taste of the West Awards.

The multi-award winning food brand entered their famous Christmas pudding into both Taste of the West and the Great Taste Awards, and won. The Great Taste Awards are organised by the Guild of Fine Food and are widely acknowledged as the benchmark for speciality food and drink - described by many as the ‘Oscars’ of the food industry. The prestigious Taste of the West Awards is also one of the most highly respected in the food and drinks industry and is run by Taste of the West, based in Devon.

The Christmas pudding is part of a premium food range from Feeding Your Imagination, headed up by Celebrity Chef, Paul Da-Costa-Greaves. ‘As an innovative company, both the Great Taste Awards and the Taste of the West are extremely important to us. We are excited to have won two more Gold awards which will now certainly differentiate our Christmas pudding from the norm. These independent awards offer absolute confidence to the consumer that the product they are buying comes with a reliable seal of approval purely based upon great taste,’ says Paul.

Having developed the recipe over 15 years ago, after ‘pinching’ it from his Jamaican Aunt, Paul has gone on to refine and adapt the Christmas pudding. It is now Gluten free, suitable for vegetarians and does not contain any suet. The overall result is a festive pudding that is fruity and light in texture. It comes wrapped in a muslin cloth and presented in a striking carry box, making it ideal for gifting.

Paul, who has delighted the West Country foodies with his Christmas pudding for many years and has become quite legendary in the Devon fine food circles, says. ‘I am absolutely thrilled to have won two Golds this year for the pudding, it’s fantastic to receive acknowledgement from independent sources for all of the hard work we’ve put in over the years, to get the pudding to where it is now.

We have never stopped listening to our customers and we continue to refine our products based on the feedback from the market. The “Chrimbo Pud” is vegetarian and we also have full Gluten and Wheat free approval from the Coeliac Society. We also approached Courvoisier this year to request a license agreement, as we only use their VS Cognac in our puddings. We were delighted to have been granted full approval from Courvoisier to promote their brand on our packaging and I believe we are the only Christmas Pudding manufacturer to have this!’

All entries to the Great Taste Awards are judged by three different judging panels at three different venues. The Taste of the West Awards take the best part of a year to coordinate, from launch to judging, culminating in the awards ceremony which will be held in November 2011 in the Mediterranean Biome at the Eden Project.

The Chrimbo Pud from Feeding Your Imagination will serve 6-8 people and is certified Gluten free and suitable for vegetarians. Purchased either online at or from independent delicatessens and various retail outlets across the UK, details of which are available on the company website.

Feeding Your Imagination has a premium range of puddings, chocolate bars and gourmet seaweed sauce products which are all available throughout the UK, either online or via approved stockists.

For further information, where you can purchase or how to become a stockist, please visit; or email;