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Prestige the magazine for foodies

Making sustainability CRYSTAL CLEAR Could eco-buildings be part of the answer to global warming?

winter 2012/13


What the BUTLER SAID The secret to butlering for celebrities and royalty


0844 346 3611




s I reflect on the last year and look forward to 2013 I feel very optimistic. The economic climate that affects us all has focussed Prestige on what is really important to clients and brought out the best in everyone. London 2012 was a great example of this. It was a huge challenge but it created such a buzz and so many people wanted to get involved that I think it has helped to raise spirits and open people’s eyes to what is possible, even in difficult times. I believe that the legacy in terms of people, skills, technology and sustainability will vindicate the politicians’ decision to put on the Games and provide the country with a real boost. At our recent thought leadership forum, reported in this edition of Prestige, we took a serious look at the challenges facing all of us as we try to find the right balance between running our businesses sustainably and dealing with the economic issues that affect the world and Europe in particular. The services that we provide you with will deliver greater efficiency, enhance employee engagement and free up valuable management time to focus on core issues. Whilst we are very proud of our heritage in foodservice, we offer a full range of front of house services and can provide more technical support through a fully integrated approach. So in the coming months as you look for new ways of doing things, please consider the resources available to you through my team and get in touch to see how we might help. I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your support and continuing interest in Sodexo Prestige and wish you all the very best for 2013.

Chris John Managing Director, Sodexo Prestige












Chris Wilkinson, the Crystal’s architect, shares his solution to global warming

An epicentre of history and culture




Erica Reeves, assistant account manager at Thales, recalls the glamour of Planet Hollywood

Take a peek under the Christmas tree

WELCOME Chris John, Sodexo Prestige managing director, reveals the winter issue of Prestige



WHAT THE BUTLER SAID The life and work of a regal butler


Prestige Conference ‘Adapting to a changing environment’

making sustainability crystal clear




Prestigious cleaning services



A look at where luxury turkeys come from

Tamsin Gane, sustainable procurement manager for Sodexo, on how to be green.



Interviews and recipes from Sodexo Prestige’s top chefs

Win a weekend for two in the rural paradise of Bury St Edmunds




PRESTIGE BY NUMBERS Fun facts and figures from Sodexo Prestige

04 • PRESTIGE • winter 2012



Sodexo Prestige offer brochure coming soon. Call us to get your copy on 020 3116 4361. For more information on Sodexo Prestige scan here.


Prestigious Partnership Erica Reeves, Sodexo Prestige assistant account manager at global technology group Thales, went to work abroad for one year. Ten years later she returned with a remarkable story to tell. How long have Sodexo and Thales been working together? This relationship has been growing for more than fifteen years and the new facility in Crawley is fast becoming an industry standard. You’ve worked all over the world; how did you catch the travel bug? Before studying politics, French and economics at university, I spent a year in Australia and was hooked. After graduating I couldn’t wait to get back out into the world and went to Hong Kong to teach English and French, but it was hard to meet people; I needed a social network. Since I was 14 years old I had loved the customer interaction of working in pubs and kitchens, so when the eleventh Planet Hollywood store in the world opened in Hong Kong, I joined as a waitress. Was it glamorous working for Planet Hollywood? It was 1994 and owners Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, were the biggest stars in Hollywood. The restaurant was a really exciting place to be and we would have celebrities such as Jean-Claude Van Damme and Cindy Crawford visit regularly. As I had been there since the beginning, I soon became a new store opening trainer and was flown all over the world to train staff in Paris, Singapore and Orlando. I was in my early 20s socialising with Hollywood A-listers such as Jackie Chan, Bruce Willis and Danny Glover and being flown around the world in business class; it was amazing!

Where did your passion for training take you next? I became head trainer, restaurant supervisor, then relief manager and quickly realised I wanted to pursue a career in management so I moved to open and manage Planet Hollywood on the Island of Guam. An American territory 40 miles long and 17 miles wide, Guam is south of Japan between the Philippines and Hawaii. The island is home to US air force and naval bases and is a tourist hot spot for water sports and weddings. I was responsible for all training in the whole Asia group, producing manuals and teaching materials for the 12-week programme I designed. Teams from as far away as Tokyo and Melbourne would come to Guam to complete the course. It was paradise and my contracted year became six! After 10 years abroad how were you feeling about the UK? As much as I loved my beachfront apartment, swimming pool, days off snorkelling and cocktails at sunset, it was a 24 hour flight home, I missed my family and friends and I felt like it was finally time to leave Planet Hollywood. I had no plan and the Asia group were offering me everything to stay, but I wanted a job with more sociable hours, in England. So after a brief stint in America, bringing Krispy Kreme doughnuts to London, I decided to enter contract catering.

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What has your experience at Thales been like? After four years at RHS Garden Wisley with Sodexo Prestige - a large day visitor site with regular events, conferences and banqueting business, I moved to Thales. I used my experience of store opening to recruit and train staff and set up everything from signage to tills. The challenge with having the same customers every day is that you must find creative ways to increase revenue, upsell and continue to make profit. One innovation was bottled water for hospitality. Instead of buying in glass bottles of mineral water, we installed a filter water system and bought washable branded bottles for the client. This investment is still paying off, financially and environmentally. We have been using the system for three years, financially, and are now pushing it into the other Thales sites. How is Sodexo Prestige different to your previous employers? Planet Hollywood, Krispy Kreme and Sodexo Prestige are all driven by high standards, but it’s the support structure of Sodexo’s resources that make the difference. HR, marketing and food experts, such as the food and beverage team, have the knowledge and contacts to let you implement ideas quickly. After the success of the flagship Thales site in Crawley, Sodexo Prestige has now taken over all restaurants in the Thales group in the UK. Many units were in poor condition and needed refurbishment, trained staff and menu standards, which is what I love to do! What does the client think? Chris Hindle, Finance Director, at Thales Crawley: “Sodexo have been a trusted partner to Thales from the inception of Crawley, balancing business objectives with delivering a quality service to the 2,500 staff now using the site. The constructive and open relationship with the Sodexo team lets us work together to provide numerous special events, including large customer attended functions. This relationship has now been extended to other UK sites, working together to upgrade the facilities, standardise and improve the service delivery whilst also maintaining the business ethos of driving better value for both Thales and our employees. The Sodexo team on site are seen and treated as part of the Thales family and contributing to the positive work environment.”

Innovation stations • W  e encouraged Thales to use a cashless system to speed up queues and allow staff to make purchases even if they have forgotten their wallet. • W  e introduced the Costa brand that people know and trust from on the high street. • I nto our retail outlets we introduced newspapers, stamps, magazines, dry cleaning and even sell convenience items such as adapter plugs for international colleagues and visitors. • S  tar chef Willie Pike came in recently to mentor the chefs and provide new ideas for the menus. • W  e revamped the service offer at the training centre used for internal and commercial events.



What The



Sodexo Prestige private dining manager Osman El-Tahlawi reveals the secret to 40 years of serving royal households and global icons from Princess Diana to Muhammad Ali. After studying hospitality at university in Cairo, Osman El-Tahlawi began as an apprentice at the Nile’s Shepheard Hotel where he started on a career to become one of the UK’s finest and most respected maître d’s. Osman has devoted his entire working life to people, ensuring that their every need, under his watch, is catered for. The pleasure he derives from guests enjoying themselves is palpable. “I really enjoy the people interaction, I think you have to in any customer facing role. I feel so lucky to have met so many wonderful people and to have been part of their experiences, whether that has been guests at the Waldorf or patrons at Royal Ascot,” said Osman. Osman’s passion for people means he will never settle for anything other than complete customer satisfaction, down to the finest detail, and from that goal he effectively works backwards to ensure that will be the case. Since arriving in the UK in 1972 Osman has worked at The Savoy, Waldorf and Grosvenor House Hotel before joining Sodexo Prestige in 2000, where he has overseen distinguished guests at Ascot Racecourse and the Chelsea Flower Show, amongst others. Osman now spends his time between being the maître d’ at The Grill at the Montcalm Hotel, run by Sodexo Prestige, and being the company’s private dining manager at events such as the London 2012 Olympics and Royal Ascot. He has served everybody from the Queen to Muhammad Ali, from Russell Crowe to Princess Diana, although Osman insists that regardless of the guest, the approach always remains the same. “I will not accept anything less than the highest standards in our rooms. If we are working at an event like Royal Ascot I will visit the boxes the day before the event begins to examine the layout of the room and ensure any major issues are addressed. I’ll then iron all the tablecloths, as I like them done in a certain way. On the day I will be there several hours before the guests to make sure that the equipment, staff and uniforms are right, and that the temperature, seats, tables, carpet, cutlery, walls and presentation are exactly in keeping with the event and my vision for the room. A briefing with the waiting 10 • PRESTIGE • winter 2012

Robert Maxwell required two bottles of vintage 1962 Dom Perignon champagne otherwise he would move out of the hotel. In the 1980s, London wasn’t quite the culinary and gastronomic centre that it is now and this champagne was incredibly rare. We searched across the UK and although it took two days we eventually found it. and kitchen staff ensures that we anticipate any special requests or scenarios, as it is inevitable that we will get some off-script enquiries,” he said. With more than 40 years of experience serving the world’s rich and famous it is little wonder that Osman has had some demanding clients, but he is quick to point out that the more difficult the client, the greater the opportunity for job satisfaction. “I do not mean to sound arrogant or complacent, but I know that my team and I, from the chefs to the waiters, do a great job. Our rooms will be

Scan here to find out more about the Grill at The Montcalm.

Osman’s top dinner party tips 1. L  et your vision run throughout It’s important when creating a setting that you know how you want the room and food to look and feel. Once you know the end goal you will find most decisions take care of themselves.

2. Flowers are fundamental A bland room can come to life instantly or a good looking room can look great.

3. relax Although you should be attentive towards your guests you must allow yourself to enjoy the evening and you’ll find that your guests feed off this positive energy.

immaculate, the food delicious and the service nice slice of tongue and a few potatoes.” exemplary and I always enjoy a challenge. I recall Since 1972, Osman has seen many trends and a time at the Waldorf in the 1980s when Robert innovations in food and drink but thinks some things Maxwell required two bottles will never of vintage 1962 Dom Perignon Serving the Queen is always the highest change. champagne otherwise he would “The need honour. She is so polite, warm and easy for high quality leave the hotel. In the 1980s, London wasn’t quite the culinary going and always grateful even though service and and gastronomic centre that it staff remain the she requires the minimum of fuss is now and this champagne was same now as incredibly rare. We searched across it was in 1972 the UK and although it took two when I started. days we eventually found it at another London hotel. All careers are tough at the beginning as you find He was delighted and it was hugely satisfying for me your way, but if you put the effort in I guarantee that and the team to be able to fulfil his unusual request. working front of house in a restaurant or in a hospitality “The client’s happiness is always my number one environment is fantastic. You meet all sorts of people and priority. I cannot let them leave the restaurant or the event unless they are happy. A lot of the time they can be wrong on issues but you have to make them feel like they’re right. I remember another occasion at the Waldorf when a guest wanted a double Louis Tres Cognac with ice and coke. The wine waiter refused to serve it because it was almost criminal to ruin such fine Cognac with ice and coke but I had to overrule him because the customer’s experience was paramount.” It has been a particularly busy year for Osman. As well as looking after the Queen at Royal Ascot and a dinner for her at Windsor Castle to celebrate 300 years of Royal Ascot, there has been the little matter of the Olympics, where Osman was also looking after the Royal family as well as international heads of state and other dignitaries. “The Olympics was spectacular with an incredible atmosphere and so many important guests, but my favourite event of the year and possibly ever was the Royal Ascot 300 year anniversary dinner at Windsor Castle. There are occasions when everything harmonises for a perfect event and this was one of those times; the room was spectacular, the food was incredible and our staff were impeccable. “Serving the Queen is always the highest honour. She is so polite, warm and easy going and always grateful even though she requires the minimum of fuss – just a 11


I will not accept anything less than the highest standards in our rooms. If we are working at an event like Royal Ascot I will visit the boxes the day before it begins to examine the layout of the room and ensure any major issues are addressed. I’ll then iron all the tablecloths, as I like them done in a certain way.

it’s a job of continual rewards and satisfaction. Every minute of the day there are different people, different requests and you never know what is coming from one moment to the next. It’s so exciting!”

Want to be a private dining manager? Butlers Guild tells you everything you need to know. WHAT'S IN A NAME The butler was originally the person in charge of the wine cellar and the name derived from Middle English ‘bottler’ meaning bottle bearer. Britain transformed this profession into an art form and set the standard. The stereotypical British butler was authoritative, witty, snobbish, discreet and intelligent. He was respected and feared, even by his employer. He knew all about etiquette, food, drink, sterling silver and glassware. He knew about literature, opera, and history. And if he didn’t, he cunningly pretended he did.

WHAT WILL I BE DOING? Being a butler these days is a managerial, almost executive occupation.The butler is responsible for everything happening in and around the house.You could be hiring, training and instructing personnel, managing household budgets, taking care of guests, dealing with contractors, caring for silver and glassware, making travel arrangements or buying wine. It’s hard work.When working for a private family, the butler usually lives in an apartment in the main house, or on the estate.This can put a strain on the private life, as the butler never leaves work, physically or mentally.

MONEY TALK A butler’s earnings depend on his skills, dedication and employer. An average salary will be somewhere between £30,000 and £75,000 a year. Housing and transport are usually free and suitable clothing is provided. 12 • PRESTIGE • winter 2012

One of America’s highest paid butlers is rumoured to earn over £900,000.

WHERE DO I START? You don’t need any particular education to start working in a private household.What you do need is a pleasant personality, correct manners, tact, flexibility, discretion, reliability, service mindedness and a certain degree of stress resistance.You should be prepared to work long hours for days on end. If you don’t have any relevant experience then it will prove to be impossible to find a position but a good reference is like gold dust.This is a career for life that can see you into old age. For more questions contact



Hospitality and facility management specialists gather at the Crystal, London’s most sustainable building, to share ideas at Sodexo Prestige’s conference ‘Adapting to a Changing Environment’.


M directors, asset managers and consultants arrived at the Crystal in Royal Victoria Docks on 14 November, 2012, to hear from experts on industry trends and how they can prepare their businesses for a more profitable future. The first speaker, Chris Sheppardson, managing director for EP, stressed that a move away from contacts to business relationships and more engagement with technology and personalisation were key to success. In his talk, ‘A business world in transition; Dawn of a new era’, Chris asked the audience how they were going to add value to the client’s business. “The new type of leader who is emerging is the young entrepreneur. It

is these young business owners who are building their brands around being ethical, healthy and sustainable. People are concerned with provenance. Workplace caterers must embrace that fact that their customers are looking for the best value and an experience.” Addressing the commercial pressures facing businesses was Sean Haley, chief operating officer, Corporate Services IFM, Sodexo. After citing market drivers such as globalisation, changes in employee work patterns and outsourcing non-core activities, Sean pinpointed partnership as an effective solution to saving money and adding value. “We have to work in a more open way and trust each other,” he said. 13


Vote now: Delegates vote using iPads

Simon Stenning, foodservice strategy director at Allegra ... revealed that the national turnover for eating out last year was £51 billion and rising. Simon’s figures showed that Britain is becoming a “foodie nation” and customers are demanding fresh seasonal ingredients and transparent provenance. “Businesses need to offer more to make their client’s resources, be that people or facilities, more effective. Contracts are becoming more based on emotion and providers need to demonstrate alignment with the client’s brand values.” One example of how companies are working together to increase equity can be seen from the relationship between the Churchill War Rooms and HMS Belfast and Sodexo Prestige. The museums’ director, Phil Reed, has renewed Sodexo Prestige’s contract by competitive tender for another seven years. “With government cuts in the museum sector we are relying on grants, but Sodexo Prestige is helping us make money independently, with the café, events and a swanky new upstairs bar on the boat. Our partnership must be doing something right because the money we make on events and from the café helps to keep us in business,” he said. The future of food design was tackled by Simon Stenning, foodservice strategy director at Allegra. He revealed that the national turnover for eating out last year was £51 billion and rising. Simon’s figures 14 • PRESTIGE • winter 2012

Phil Reed, Churchill War Rooms and HMS Belfast museum director

showed that Britain is becoming a “foodie nation” and customers are demanding fresh seasonal ingredients and transparent provenance. “The average lunch break, whether eating in or out, is 29 minutes, found Allegra’s Lunchtime Trends report for Sodexo. In this time, people are looking for varied, personalised experiences, from street food to fusion cuisine such as Turkish and Indian.” Simon also supported Chris Sheppardson’s argument that restaurants must offer more personalisation and hospitality must become more commercial in service delivery due to zero subsidy on food provision in workplace restaurants. “As people are working longer hours, we are seeing a sharp decline in home cooking and a trend in people

eating breakfast as a meal out. Customers are also demanding healthier options and the alcohol industry has seen a decline as people are drinking less,” he said. Also having a positive impact on the coming years is the Olympics. Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive officer, British Hospitality Association, was convincing in her explanation of the hospitality industry in London. “One out of every six meals is served by hospitality and in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea it accounts for 22% of the employment. The UK is seventh in the world’s hospitality rankings and the government is working to get us back to fifth by creating 236,000 new jobs in the industry,” she said. Following Ufi, managing director of Sodexo Prestige Chris John, summarised the key legacy issues as he saw them. “People and skills supported by investment in technology and stronger partnership are where we need to focus for a profitable future. At the Games we used a dedicated website linked to social media for recruiting, training and communicating with staff, with great results,” he said. The conference concluded with an audience iPad vote on the issues facing businesses (see pie chart). Visit the conference LinkedIn Group ‘Adapting to a Changing Environment’ for more information.

Ufi Ibrahim, British hospitality Association chief executive officer

Scan here to join the LinkedIn group

Wellbeing in your workplace




economic pressures on your business

Innovation & Technology


74% What are the top issues facing your business? Sodexo Prestige conference delegates poll results, 14 November 2012 15


Sustainability Making

crystal clear

Siemens’ £30m eco-building is a glimpse of how cities may look in the year 2050. As official caterers of the Crystal, Sodexo Prestige talks to its architect Chris Wilkinson about global warming and the need for sustainable design.


s Venice plunges five feet underwater, the world glimpses a future of rising sea levels and a new generation of climate change diaspora. Sustainability, which used to be a buzzword is now becoming the DNA of everything from selling coffee to urban planning. So when architect Chris Wilkinson of Wilkinson Eyre (left) was handed the brief to build a landmark building to regenerate Royal Victoria Dock, sustainability is exactly what he did. The faceted chiaroscuro glass walls of the Crystal glimmer in the reflections of the surrounding water, while inside glows an exhibition showing visitors how buildings could look in the year 2050. Chris came up with the idea of the crystalline forms from nature. 16 • PRESTIGE • winter 2012

“They not only catch the light, but they create a silhouette that is a different geometry to the surrounding buildings. Most buildings are infill buildings, but if you need something special that could become iconic, you need something different that will attract people’s attention for the right reasons,” he said. The Crystal uses no energy from the national grid and every part of it was designed to have as little impact on the environment as possible. “People think that glass buildings are like Crystal Palace, made of thin glass with no insulation, which need a lot of energy to heat. But the glass we use is highly insulated and the parts facing the sun are reflective so it’s cool in the summer. It’s more durable than a lot of brick because you can wash it easily and you would have to hit it extremely hard with a pointed axe to break it,” said Chris. The roof has 580 square metres of photovoltaic cells, which provide 30% of the energy. Seventeen kilometres of geo-thermal tiles in the ground supply 100% of the building’s heat and the majority of the cooling. Rainwater harvesting means all the water is recycled to


catering with a difference • Managing the Crystal café, a 72-seat restaurant with stunning views, conferences and events, Sodexo Prestige is combining functionality with aesthetics. A waste and recycling station with three specific areas for food, packaging and liquids has a living wall of plants and herbs to encourage people to use it. • When recruiting, Prestige is working closely with Newham Workplace, the council’s recruitment service.  teve Garner, Siemens’ operations manager at the • S Crystal is pleased with what he sees, “The café at the Crystal is great place to visit as well as a place for the local community to meet and relax, offering excellent food and service provided by Sodexo Prestige.”

A lot of people are unreceptive to innovation and I don’t know why. Would they rather we stay in the Stone Age? drinking standard and stored in an underground tank. There is no disputing the Crystal’s sustainability credentials, which have come a long way since the 80s. “I started my firm, Wilkinson Eyre Architects, 30 years ago. Since then the quality of modern architecture has improved enormously. As most people now live in cities or towns, the biggest influence on them is the urban environment, so we have a responsibility as architects to provide a satisfying one. “Critics of glass buildings think their prevalence in London is homogenising the skyline. I think they add lightness and drama to the skyline. Look at The Shard. Using glass is not an architectural phase, it’s about using the materials of today to meet the brief. And that brief was to regenerate the surrounding area of Newham, East London. People who criticise everything, are often badly informed, bigoted and don’t like change. A lot of people are unreceptive to innovation and I don’t know why. Would they rather we stay in the Stone Age? Because that’s where we’ll be unless we embrace change and innovation,” he said. With 100,000 visitors since it opened in September, it seems East London is embracing its newest addition. Chris’s latest project in Singapore, Gardens by the Bay, also tackles the subject of climate change and has become the most popular building in the city. Changing the climate inside from tropical to Mediterranean, it is solely powered by bio mass energy fuelled by the clippings of the seven billion trees in Singapore. In the period Chris has been an architect he has seen eco standards improve legislatively and become aspirational. He sees this happening faster in the more advanced countries but defends the lack of progress in less developed countries as they don’t use as much energy. “In the next 30 years we have to deal with climate change and that depends on the climate. We will have to respond to it. Just changing the energy used by buildings won’t solve the problems. Changes in sea level will affect cities because most large ones are on the waterfront. Venice is a very particular situation and they are constructing a barrage to control rising levels. London is well placed because we have a barrage and can control Thames water levels, although we may need to increase its height. New York didn’t have anything and suffered the consequences.” Chris believes the solution to energy is under our feet. “You’re not going to change energy requirements because the need for energy is increasing. You need to find long-term energy solutions and governments only deal in short-term problems. We are embarking on new nuclear generators and have more wind farms, but will have to phase out coal and gas. It’s the Earth’s core that could be a massive energy source if we could harness it like they do in Iceland where the Earth’s crust is thin.” Buildings such as the Crystal are making people aware of the issues as well as providing examples of solutions. With the technology that Siemens has developed combined with Chris’s practical and aesthetically pleasing design it demonstrates what can be achieved with technology and off-the-grid thinking. 17

Sodexo stocking

Hipster essential Sleek and simple, this oak brown hip flask has been crafted from stainless steel and encased in the finest bridle leather, making it the ideal companion for the style conscious country gent. Leather hip flask, £90, Thomas Lyte

talking point This silk elephant daisy tie features a quirky, multi-coloured elephant pattern that will add character to any shirt. Made from 100% silk. Elephant Daisy printed tie, £65, Thomas Pink

BOY’S TOYS Make a child’s first car ride a memorable one with Playsam’s classic Saab Roadster, based on the very first Saab - Sixten Sason’s prototype 92001. The steering wheel is also made of wood and metal, the same as the original car. Saab Roadster, £315, Playsam




Make sure this year is a Christmas and new year to remember with timeless gifts and memories that will last for years to come. game on For fun on the run, this travel backgammon set is fashioned by leather experts Aspinal of London and is sure to survive the most extreme adventures. Travel backgammon set, £250, Aspinal of London

sweet dreams Cut from glossy silk and trimmed with lace, this luxurious robe, designed by Paul McCartney’s daughter, will put a glamorous spin on Christmas morning. Clara Whispering silk robe in midnight blue, £225, Stella McCartney 18 • PRESTIGE • winteR 2012

celebrate good times See in the new year at a horticultural Hogmanay. Enjoy stunning views over Edinburgh and a firework display at midnight surrounded by beautiful gardens. New Year’s Eve Party, £95, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

pack leader With his head up howling at the moon, this cuddly Steiff Selection Wolf will be a topic of conversation in your home and a collectors item in years to come. Enchanted Forest graphite wolf, £170, Steiff

ON THE BALL Football fans can chant in luxury this year with a Toon Army experience to remember. Match day hospitality, price on application, Newcastle United Football Club, Newcastle upon Tyne

Boho chic The acorn makes for a simple but effective necklace that when worn with similar necklaces creates a bohemian-inspired festival look. A Life Within Acorn silver necklace, £110, Oak

Well heeled This regal evening slipper’s soft velvet, satin quilted linings and hard sole complement the fine calf leather of the Oxford everyday shoe. Slippers, £195, Oxfords, £315, Crockett & Jones

BEAUTY SLEEP This striking eyemask is silk screen printed with a navy design illustrated by Amanda ChapmanBruce and finished with two delicate bows. Luna silk eye mask, £28,

snug as a bug These fluffy and snug booties will provide babies with a sense of comfort, security, peace and well-being. Basil & Lola baby slippers, 0-16 months, £15, Moulin Roty

cocktail hour A delectable menu boasts a sumptuous array of exquisite dishes reflecting the best of British cuisine with a contemporary twist. The Grill recognises the importance of quality ingredients, sourcing only the finest meat from Britain’s rich countryside and produces a relaxed five star experience. Champagne afternoon tea, £36.50 per person, The Grill restaurant at The Montcalm hotel 19


Turkey Run

As the crowning glory of Christmas dining, it is important that the turkey is sourced from only the most reputable and trusted suppliers. We go behind the scenes of London’s oldest butchers, Allens of Mayfair.

Roast turkey has been a symbol of celebration since the late 16th century, from Thanksgiving in America to Christmas in England. It is a meal steeped in tradition, so it seems fitting that Sodexo Prestige get their birds from the oldest butchers in London – Allens of Mayfair. It’s been a hard time for butchers over the last decade, with the success of giant supermarkets having a detrimental effect on butchers around the country. In order to survive, Allens focused on supplying prestigious hotels and restaurants with the highest-quality produce. David House and Justin Preston bought the company in 2006, taking it from strength to strength. Butcher and owner David says, “Part of the secret of our world-renowned and famously flavoursome bronze turkeys is that we buy them as one-day-old chicks. Poultry gets very stressed when they are moved around, so we keep our turkeys at the same location at our farm in Kent, roaming free from the day they are born. The less stress, the happier the bird and the more superior the taste.” This year, Allens will produce over 1500 turkeys, all from the same farm. The owners say that their bronze free-range turkeys are bred and treated like royalty. Every winter they hang at least 50 turkeys at a time in the iconic shopfront so customers can come and pick the one they want. “Allens supplies The Savoy, The Connaught, Claridges, The Churchill Hotel and more, but with a relationship spanning more than six years, Sodexo Prestige is our most valued customer,” says David. Throughout the year, Allens 24 strong team of butchers and sales staff in the shop in Mayfair supplies Sodexo Prestige with chicken supremes, pork belly, lamb rumps and seasonal sausages. A new selection of condiments and accompaniments are also proving popular and a complementary jar of cranberry sauce is given away with every turkey they sell online and in store. “We are often asked by private customers for advice on cooking time and we say that whenever you roast poultry, you must ensure that you turn the bird upside down for the final 30 minutes of cooking time. This will allow all the juices to run through, creating the most moist and juicy meat,” says David. “For 20 • PRESTIGE • winter 2012

me, it’s all about Boxing Day cold turkey sandwiches. There’s big family rivalry in my house as we get all the leftovers together and some freshly baked bread and compete to see who can make the biggest, most innovative turkey sandwich”. David says, “We have had many unusual visitors to the shop over the years including some of the country’s top chefs, Hollywood actors, comedians, politicians and Olympic gold medallists. We take pride in providing Sodexo Prestige with everything and more that you would expect from London’s oldest and finest traditional butchery.”

To see a behindthe-scenes film of turkey farming scan here.

turkey etymology The guinea fowl was imported from Madagascar, via Turkey, by Near East traders in the 1540s. The larger North American bird was domesticated by the Aztecs and introduced to Spain in 1523 and then to wider Europe and Turkey via North Africa. The word ‘turkey’ was first applied to it in English in the 1550s because it was treated as a species of the guinea fowl. By 1575, turkey was becoming a staple dish at a British Christmas and its meaning had come to indicate “inferior show; failure,” in 1927 show-business slang, probably because of the bird’s reputation for stupidity. This evolved in 1951 to mean “stupid, ineffectual person” and in the WWII era, a “turkey shoot” meant “something easy” because in marksmanship contests a length of turkeys were tied behind a log with their heads showing as targets.


good taste

Good TASTE Three top Sodexo Prestige chefs go under the spotlight, sharing their passion for cooking and some of the best winter recipes to try out this Christmas

How far have you come since your first experiences in the kitchen? The day after I left school at 16 years old I remember wanting to be a chef, so I scrubbed pots and pans for chefs in the kitchens at ScottishPower in Cathcart. I was taken on as a kitchen porter but within a few months I became a trainee chef. Now, at 30 years old I’m cooking against the top chefs in the country in contests like the Chef of the Year award at Earls Court.

John Howie John Howie works his culinary magic every day at the sprawling Thales Optronics site at Linthouse, Glasgow, and was recently in the running to win the prestigious Chef of the Year competition.

What are your main responsibilities? I am in charge of the day-to-day running of the restaurant where we normally serve in excess of 200 freshly made meals to staff every day. The restaurant is very popular because of the quality of the food and the reasonable prices. We are always striving to improve the service and rotate the menus regularly to keep things interesting. I also provide the corporate entertainment in the boardroom and other meeting suites. What was the first meal you cooked for paying customers? Fish and chips, which is a hot favourite among staff at Thales. I must have done thousands of fish and chips. Another favourite is mince and tatties. What did you have to cook for the Chef of the Year award? We all had the same ingredients and then it’s up to your own creativity and skill. I cooked mousseline of scallops with a seafood medley, seasonal vegetables and shellfish nage (broth) served with spiced

22 • PRESTIGE • winter 2012

tomato consommé. For the main course I did loin of venison with Wensleydale blue cheese potato cake, sweet and sour plums, Savoy cabbage with bacon and roasted sesame seeds, served with girolles and black peppercorn jus. Dessert was flavours of toffee, apple, and chocolate: Madagascar chocolate velour; cindered candy wafers and Calvados toffee apples served with vanilla ice cream and hot butterscotch sauce. Was it an amazing experience? It was great to show that contract catering can compete at the same kind of level and calibre as previous winners such as Gordon Ramsay and Mark Sargeant. All of the finalists were taken down to the Unilever plant in Surrey to meet the judges as part of the mentoring day. They gave us insights into what kind of things to expect at Earls Court and how to present ourselves. In the competition, 140 chefs entered, so to make the final eight was a huge achievement. What do John’s colleagues think? We asked… Jim Doolan, Sodexo account manager at Thales in Glasgow, said: “Reaching the final was a huge result for John as well as for Sodexo Prestige. I have never doubted the talent or determination that John has shown when given the opportunity. It is said that great chefs only work in Michelin star restaurants, but John has shown that they can be anywhere and just need to be given the opportunity to shine. This time, the final – next year, the winner.”

Sea Bass Provençal vegetable tart, poached langoustine, red pepper and basil dressings (serves 4) Ingredients 20ml olive oil ½ red onion 1 clove crushed garlic ½ each of red, yellow and green pepper 100g diced courgette 100g diced aubergine 50ml white wine 20g tomato puree 100ml tomato passata 10g chilli sauce salt and mill pepper puff pastry 2 sea bass fillets ---50g spinach 5ml olive oil

lemon juice grated nutmeg ---1 red pepper 10ml white wine vinegar 20ml tomato ketchup 10ml sweet chili sauce 30ml warm water 30ml vegetable oil ---4 langoustine tails 100ml white wine juice of ½ lemon pinch of salt and sugar 50gm butter

METHOD 1. Roll out the puff pastry 1 8” thick and rest it. 2. Pan heat oil and add the chopped red onions and garlic. Cook for 2 mins, add courgettes and aubergines and continue to cook gently for 2 mins. 3. Add white wine and cook gently until reduced. Add tomato puree, passata and sweet chilli sauce and cook until soft. 4. Cut out a puff pastry round approx. 3” diameter and lay on your baking tray. 5. Sit smaller ring on top of pastry leaving ¼” on the outside and spoon the cold Provençal mixture into the ring, remove ring and brush the pastry edges with egg. 6. Bake in a hot oven 180oC for approx. 8 mins until crisp and golden. 7. A  dd cleaned spinach to hot oil and gently cook for 10 seconds. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and a squeeze of the lemon. Drain out any excess juices. 8. P  an roast red pepper in vegetable oil for the dressing until cooked and well blistered. Allow to cool. Remove the charred skin and dice, discarding the seeds. Blend pepper and add ketchup, vinegar and sweet chilli sauce, blend until smooth and add warm water and vegetable oil. Pass through a fine sieve and keep for serving. 9. R  educe the white wine by half and season with salt, sugar and lemon juice and whisk in the butter to emulsify. Lay in the langoustines and gently poach for approx. 2 mins until cooked.

ASSEMBLY 1. Heat an oiled non-stick pan and place the seasoned sea bass fillets skin side down. Cook until crispy and golden. After 2 mins, turn over and butter fry to gently finish the cooking. 2. Assemble the dish. Spoon around the red pepper dressing with a little pesto and top the sea bass with the langoustine and a few shoot leaves.


good taste

How do you keep airport lounge food enticing? For next year we have been looking at pop-up restaurants and theatre cooking in the lounges to help to keep the product interesting. When did cooking call you? I’ve always enjoyed cooking but when I was 14 years old I wanted to take home tech rather than metalwork so I guess the die was cast at school. At college I got a part-time job in my local hotel and worked whenever I could. As a result, I’m still cooking 28 years on!

Glynn Lawrence As an airline executive chef at Sodexo Prestige for five years, Glynn Lawrence’s menus always reflect the values of the client, whether it’s in an airline lounge in South Africa, or a Virgin Holidays Lounge in Manchester.

Tell us about your career to date? I started in 1989 as a chef de partie at the Garrick Club in London and over the following 12 years I was a head chef for Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and HSBC HQ. What keeps you up at night? Lots! Looking after my team of 40 and developing them. Innovation, quality and, of course, value for money are also of paramount importance for client satisfaction. Variety and getting the right food for passengers in transit is a big task involving a wide selection of menu cycles across breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. How do you keep innovating? We regularly exchange ideas at the company’s chef’s innovation forum where we talk about new ingredients and brainstorm. The forum is charged with ensuring we share best practice and

24 • PRESTIGE • winter 2012

keep ahead of trends and look outside of ourselves. It’s a great discipline. I am always inspired afterwards and we have come up with great ideas such as a café concept ‘Grab n Go’, restaurant offers for corporate sites and our new hospitality package. What gives you the biggest buzz? I’ve worked with some great chefs - Albert Roux was probably the best! I’ve also got a buzz out of working with some of the biggest banking brands in the world. Our lounge business was voted best clubhouse in the world for Virgin Atlantic Heathrow Clubhouse, Silver in “Britain’s Best Burger Challenge 2012” and ranked 3rd in the global Emirates lounge network achieving a 97% passenger satisfaction rating! What do Glynn’s clients think? We asked… Lorraine Axten, airport services manager, Emirates: “Customer feedback always states the quality of food and presentation is outstanding and that the wines complement the food perfectly, reflecting the huge amounts of thought that Glynn puts into his menus.” Mark Murphy, clubhouse food & beverage development executive, Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd: “Glynn’s imagination and flare for getting the most out of fresh seasonal produce has let us engineer menus that are produced in-house rather than relying on a pre-prepared supply chain.”

PERFECT ROAST TURKEY With cranberry sauce and pancetta rolls (Serves 6 – 8) INGREDIENTS 50g butter sprig of fresh sage, 12 strips of streaky bacon 2 garlic cloves 1 red onion 2 sticks of celery a handful of breadcrumbs a handful of dried apricots 300g minced pork zest of 1 lemon a pinch of grated nutmeg 1 large free-range egg 12 small sprigs rosemary

4–4.5kg free-range turkey 2 large oranges 1l of gravy 3 parsnips 100g honey 1.5kg potatoes 200g lard 50g rosemary 4 large carrots fresh brussels sprouts 350g cranberries 175g sugar 1 red apple

METHOD 1. P  reheat oven to max. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add sage leaves and 6 pancetta or bacon strips. Add the garlic, celery and onion and fry gently until soft and golden brown. Remove pan from heat, add breadcrumbs, chop the apricots roughly and stir them in. When the stuffing has cooled, add the pork, lemon zest, nutmeg, egg, salt and pepper, and mix together well. 2. Slice the remaining strips of bacon in half and slice 1 garlic clove into thin slivers. Place a rosemary sprig and a garlic sliver on one end of a halved strip of pancetta and roll up tightly. Repeat until you have 12 rolls. Stab the turkey thighs and drumsticks in 6 places on each side. Push a pancetta roll into each hole until it peeps out. This will give turkey thighs a fantastic flavour and will keep them moist while they cook. 3. Place your turkey on a board. Find the edge of the skin covering the turkey’s breasts and gently peel it back. Work your hand under the skin, freeing it from the meat - you should be able to pull all the skin away from the meat, keeping it attached at the sides. Try not to make any holes! Spoon the stuffing between the skin and breast, tucking the flap of skin underneath to stop any leaking. Pop the orange in the microwave for 30 seconds and stuff it in the cavity. Weigh the stuffed turkey and cook for 20 mins per 500g. 4. Rub the turkey with olive oil and season. Turn the heat down to 180°C and roast until the juices run clear from the thigh if you pierce it. Remove tin foil for the last 45 mins to brown. 5. While turkey is cooking, parboil cut potatoes until on the verge of falling apart, drain and coat with melted lard, season and lay directly onto your roasting tray, sprinkle with rosemary and cook until golden and crispy. Cut the parsnips in half and into wedges, season and place in a small roasting tray and repeat for the carrots, add oil and the honey, place in the oven until soft, golden brown and sticky. Add the Brussels to boiling salted water and cook until ready. Before serving toss them in melted butter and season with nutmeg. 6. To make cranberry sauce, dissolve 175g sugar in a medium pan with the juice of 1 orange, add the 350g of cranberries, the zest of the orange and the peeled finely-chopped apple, cook for 10 mins until the juices have thickened and the fruit is soft. This can be done the day before. 7. Lift the cooked turkey and rest on a board covered loosely with foil for 20 mins while you finish the veg and gravy. Carve your turkey, serve with a lovely selection of vegetables, gravy and cranberry sauce and dig in! 8. Fall asleep in front of the TV, while watching the Queen’s speech!


good taste

What do you love about baking? After my youngest son started school, I decided to take my culinary talents into catering. I really enjoy trying new things in the kitchen and testing out my new recipes on my colleagues. We have a lot of repeat customers at The West Wing, so the pressure is on to continuously deliver fresh, delicious treats.

AnniE Wreathall Annie Wreathall is a member of Sodexo Prestige’s baking team at The West Wing at Ickworth in Bury St Edmunds. Trying out new treats on her colleagues makes her a popular member of the team.

How long have you been baking for the team at Ickworth? Before joining Prestige, I worked for the National Trust in their basement restaurant at Ickworth House, for nine years. When Sodexo Prestige won the catering contract in The West Wing, I jumped ship, albeit about 100 metres, and have been working with the team for six years. Has it been a rocky road? It’s been a winding road. Having left school at 16, I pursued a career with horses and after gaining my BHSAI, I taught riding and spent a few years working freelance before opening my own saddlery shop in the local town at the age of 19. When my two sons, Joshua and William were born, I became involved in the family farm, and spent many a happy hour driving tractors, pick-ups and helping to deliver lambs. What are your responsibilities now? I think one of the most important aspects of my job is to keep the quality of our products consistent as we have a lot of regular customers. We have built up a good reputation for trying different

26 • PRESTIGE • winter 2012

recipes, including special dietary cakes, such as gluten-free and dairy-free. We are always striving to offer our customers something new as well as all the regular treats they have become fond of. What are the highlights of your career to date? We have had many special and memorable events over the years. One that happened recently was a charity event in aid of leukemia and lymphoma research. The organisers supplied us with enough three-tier china cake stands for 200. I spent several hours producing, prepping and plating up the cakes. I was really thrilled with how they looked and hopefully they tasted good too. What’s the best thing about your job? Everything! I really enjoy my job and the people I work with. The staff are always eager to test out our new cakes and I hear customers asking the waiting staff, ‘which would you choose?’ They really need to know what they taste like! What are your favourite ingredients to bake with? Dates and prunes. People always laugh at that. Sticky prune and date cake is a delicious option and finely chopping them into chocolate truffles is yummy. What’s your favourite recipe? It’s got to be chocolate orange sponge cake as it has so many goodies in it. The varied texture created by the orange and walnuts combined with the creamy butter icing is delicious.

Chocolate Orange Sponge Zesty cake with chocolate butter icing (Serves 8) Ingredients 200g self-raising flour 230g caster sugar 4 large beaten eggs 200g good quality softened margarine 1 desertspoon golden syrup 30g cocoa powder 2 medium sized oranges a handful of chopped walnuts

Method 1. C  ream together the margarine and sugar before adding the eggs, flour and cocoa powder. 2. Add the syrup, orange zest, walnuts and some of the juice before stirring in to make a soft mixture. 3. Place in a tray bake tin and bake in the oven at 170oc for approximately 30 to 40 mins. 4. Decorate with chocolate butter icing with orange peel. This delectable sweet treat is the perfect pudding for winter dinner parties.


Facts & Figures

Prestige by numbers AW AR


Discover the figures that add up to make Sodexo Prestige what it is today

The PFM ‘Partners in Service to the Community’ nomination was awarded to Sodexo Prestige and Langside College for their work with students.

IPC Media’s mailroom, operated by Sodexo Prestige, handles 500,000 items per year from diamond jewellery for magazine shoots to sofas and furniture. 28 • PRESTIGE • winter 2012


John Howie beat more than 140 chefs to reach the last 8 in the finals of the Chef of the Year competition.




Sodexo UK won a Good Egg Award from Compassion in World Farming this year, a leading farm animal welfare charity.

Sodexo Prestige won Silver at the ECats in the Event Caterer Team Challenge at the Restaurant Show in October 2012 with its Halloween menu.

One in four of Sodexo’s staff in the UK and Ireland work in cleaning - that’s just fewer than 9,000 people.

At the Stirling Management Centre our 75-strong team of receptionists, chefs, waiters, porters, IT and housekeeping personnel run 1,700 events per annum for over 100,000 delegates.

More than 375,000 glasses of champagne have been served in 690 event rooms at more than 12,300 events in our museums, racecourses, stadia and unusual venues this year.

Our nominated Christmas tree supplier buys trees that are UK grown on sustainable tree farms, where every acre produces the daily oxygen requirement of 16 people.



The West Wing Restaurant at Ickworth is the first restaurant in Suffolk to be a member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

© Populous

Sodexo Prestige won Best In-house Recruitment Team at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development Recruitment Marketing Awards 2012 for its “Be More Than a Spectator” campaign to recruit staff for the London 2012 Games this summer. 29


Destination BURY ST EDMuNDS Discover monastic secrets and relax in the sumptuous Georgian splendour of one of England’s most beautiful and historic market towns - Bury St Edmunds.

Steeped in history, Bury St Edmunds is a town rich in medieval architecture and elegant Georgian squares. Dating back to before William the Conqueror, its famous market remains one of the most successful traditional street markets in Great Britain with over 80 stalls selling everything from artisan food to vintage clothes. Over the Christmas period the already picturesque market bubbles with a quintessentially English ambiance under hundreds of lights: a sight not to be missed! The ancient ruins of St Edmunds abbey church sit in stunning gardens alongside the cathedral and provided a venue for a meeting of barons in 1214 who swore an oath that they would force King John to accept a certain Charter of Liberties - the Magna Carta. Initially called Beodericsworth, Bury St Edmunds was a royal Saxon town. Slain by the Vikings in 903, King Edmund was buried in the town and following the King’s canonisation, it was renamed St Edmunds Bury. While the town is called Bury St Edmunds, the local council is still called St Edmundsbury. Earlier this year, Sodexo Prestige was awarded the contract to provide catering and event services at some of the council’s finest venues. The apex, the largest venue, is located in the arc shopping centre in the heart of Bury St Edmunds. A year after opening, the apex won the Royal Institute for British Architects (RIBA) Award for the Eastern region, reflecting the quality of its design and style, and has seen a wide variety of music, entertainment and corporate events since. The area has always had 30 • PRESTIGE • WINTER 2012

a strong resonance with artists, actors, musicians and writers such as Charles Dickens. Such was Dickens’ affection for the area that he set parts of Pickwick Papers there. Dickens would often stay in the Angel Hotel, which is part of our competition on page 35! In 1859 and 1861 Dickens resided there while giving lectures at another Sodexo Prestige managed venue - The Athenaeum. The Athenaeum is a recently refurbished Grade 1 listed building with a Georgian chandeliered ballroom ideal for wedding ceremonies, receptions and celebration dinners. Located just outside of Bury St Edmunds is the picturesque Ickworth estate, home to the Marquess of Bristol and the Hervey family since the 15th century

Over the Christmas period the already picturesque market bubbles with a quintessentially English ambiance under hundreds of lights

before it went into the care of the National Trust in 1956. The main building is a phenomenal example of opulent neoclassical influence, while the gardens reflect the building’s Italian design. Inside is a breathtaking array of family portraits and paintings from artists such as Titian, Velazquez and Gainsborough, as well as an architect’s model of Ickworth and a magnificent marble group by Flaxman, the Fury of Athamas. The house holds two libraries, including one of the largest and most interesting libraries assembled by a woman in the National Trust’s portfolio, that of Molly Lepel (1706-1768), wife of John, Lord Hervey. The West Wing at Ickworth has been managed by Sodexo Prestige since 2005 and has a restaurant serving a wide range of delectable dishes created by executive chef Ian Howell. The highlights of this winter’s menu include sustainably sourced smoked mackerel and lemon pâté served with oatcakes and horseradish crème fraiche; one pot pie, chicken, mushroom and vegetables in an Ickworth thyme and white wine sauce, and Dingley Dell pork and herb sausages with creamy mashed potato and seasonal vegetables and pastry. The restaurant was recently commended by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) for its excellent sustainable practice; it is also the first restaurant in Suffolk to be accredited by the SRA. The West Wing at Ickworth is a fantastic venue for weddings, conferences, marquee events, team building days and dinner dances. Famous writers, market stalls, architecture and dining, it’s all here at Bury St Edmunds, where every day you learn something new and every sight is a wonder to remember.

Scan here for more information on Bury St Edmunds 31


Squeaky clean Catering services is just one part of what Sodexo Prestige does and behind every café, kitchen and office building is one of the most important teams of all – Team Clean. We talk to Van Richards, Sodexo Prestige cleaning services expert to find out more.


well-maintained environment encourages pride in the workplace, which in turn encourages increased productivity, higher levels of staff engagement and lower levels of absenteeism. In corporate environments, an effective cleaning operation plays a key role in minimising the spread of socially acquired illnesses, such as flu and cold viruses. In the healthcare sector Professor Ulrich, of Texas A&M University, identified that hospital-acquired 32 • PRESTIGE • winter 2012

infections cost, on average, $40,000 per patient per year in the United States. Studies in schools show a direct link between house mites contained in carpets and levels of asthma, which means levels of cleanliness in schools can be linked directly with pupil absenteeism. Clearly, cleaning has more than aesthetic benefits. Van Richards, who is also HSBC GHQ housekeeping account manager at Sodexo Prestige, knows this and has been passionate about the cleaning industry for more than 21 years. Starting work as a cleaner in Heathrow in the early 90s, he is familiar with every facet of the job and now heads up HSBC GHQ Team Clean, one of the most prestigious cleaning contracts in central London. “I have a team of 96 full time staff, 88 of whom are cleaning staff. It’s a 24 hour operation and we clean just over a million square feet of office space every day, catering to 8,000 employees, on average,” says Richards. An expert on the cleaning services offered by Sodexo, Richards is introducing eco-technology and practices that are far ahead of the curve. “Our global chemical supplier Ecolab works closely with us and has reduced packaging. Whereas in the past we would have used plastic bottles in chemical dispensing systems, we have now switched to pouches to reduce waste and increase cleaning safety. Also, we are currently looking at chemical-free cleaning solutions as we aim to be at the forefront of the industry,” he said.

sparkling performance • S  odexo provides cleaning services for global brands such as Toyota Epsom, GSK, Unilever and Rolex • One in four of Sodexo’s staff in the UK and Ireland work in cleaning – that’s just under 9,000 people • Sodexo has been delivering cleaning services in the UK for over 50 years • Enzyme products with lukewarm water reduce the need for hot water • M  oving from a mopping system to a mechanical rotary machine can reduce time taken to clean a hard floor by a third • Using steam to clean floors uses 90% less water than conventional mopping

The children can see how well they clean their hands as the potion residue shows up under UV light. “One of these is an exciting new product that involves a chemical free cleaning process. A unit is connected to the mains water supply which oxidises water by running an electric charge through it. The H20 becomes 03 and, similar to water in a tornado, it has no impurities. We still need to use chemicals when cleaning certain areas, but furniture, floors and walls can all be cleaned with this water,” says Richards. His team has also introduced a new floor mopping system where the handle of the mop contains the chemical solution. This means time efficiency is increased and any risk of water spilling and people slipping is minimised. “We always look at the safety and environmental benefits as well as the costs!” Richards’ teams run their housekeeping service like a five-star hotel and are the first to notice little faults around the building.“Recruiting staff is generally done by word of mouth and Richards speaks with pride of the low turnover rate. “We have a yearly staff retention rate of 96%, which is extremely high. We take candidates through rigorous assessment processes where we will interview them to access their skills and how they conduct themselves. It helps that I was a cleaner myself because I recognise that not everyone has done cleaning before, but that if they demonstrate

a commitment to and aptitude for learning, they could do well,” says Richards. “Some people think that cleaning is a type of manual labour and not a skilled job. I do cleaning at home but cleaning in a commercial environment is completely different. If you get it wrong at work, it can be costly and dangerous. I heard of a case where a cleaner damaged a wooden table with polish and a cashmere carpet because they had not been trained to use the chemicals and machinery properly. It cost the firm £50,000 to fix.” ‘Essence’ is one of Sodexo’s cleaning offers and one of its main traits is that it is visible to the client. This means the client sees the cleaning happening and knows it’s being done to a high standard. “To bring cleaning to the fore like this is extremely innovative. Instead of having one cleaner per floor at HSBC, we have Team Clean, which involves 10 cleaners so you can’t miss them as they hit one floor at a time. This is better for the client as the cleaning is visible, and good for customers and staff as they can build a relationship with their cleaner and call them by a name as opposed to just ‘the cleaner’. This is great for team morale as it makes the cleaning team feel part of the wider client family,” says Richards. “Daytime cleaning cuts energy management as lighting costs are reduced. There are also crossovers with portering and floor stewardship, which enables our staff to branch out and learn new skills. But what sets Sodexo Prestige apart, is the firm belief that it’s the people who make the difference to client service. “We focus on people, their training and development, rigorous health and safety training, training days with suppliers. The annual Sodexo Service Excellence Awards include categories such as Cleaner of the Year, Cleaning Supervisor of the Year, and Cleaning Team of the Year,” says Richards. The company publishes a newsletter for cleaning staff, called ‘Sparkle’. This also provides a forum for comment and inspiring stories such as the ‘Glitter Bug Potion’ that Sodexo school housekeeping manager Helen Kearley is using to teach children about hygiene. The children can see how well they clean their hands as the potion residue shows up under UV light. Sodexo Team Clean believe that a clean environment is a direct reflection of a company’s image and how they do business. Sodexo Prestige’s cleaning offers are transparent, innovative, personable and effective and are the perfect integrated solution. 33



Second Interview

Tamsin Gane sustainable procurement manager for sodexo uk & Ireland

As sustainable procurement manager, are you an eco-warrior in your personal life? Absolutely! I recycle, don’t buy packaged food, grow my own fruit and vegetables and my home is insulated. It’s intensely frustrating when I people who don’t see the negative impact of what they’re doing to communities and the wider environment. Walking to the shops instead of driving is so easy. Last year, I made presents for my family such as strawberry jam, crab apple jelly and green tomato chutney, all from ingredients grown at home. I even made special flavoured vodka for New Year’s Eve using two handfuls of redcurrants and a handful of white sugar. Let it absorb the flavour of the currants for a couple of weeks and you will have a great cocktail mixer. In business terms what does being ‘sustainable’ actually mean and entail? Operating sustainably means meeting business needs in a way that is responsible to future generations. On a more practical level, it is about addressing the environmental, social and economic side effects. The purchasing decisions that we make on a day to day basis are not easy and a wide range of issues are considered. Our Better Tomorrow Plan sets out our priorities and enables us to have a consistent approach to tackling these challenges. What do you look for in a supplier? Suppliers have to meet a wide range of criteria before we will list them. We provide each potential supplier with a questionnaire to make sure that they meet our health and safety requirements and sustainability commitments. They have to demonstrate traceability, have the right accreditations and sign up to our code of conduct, which is based on the UN Global Compact and addresses such issues as freedom of association and prohibition on child labour and forced labour. The Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX) lets us see everything from a company’s diversity statistics to what its minimum pay is. Can sustainability save you money? There is a wide perception that sustainability comes at a premium price and whilst this is true for some initiatives, it is often about increasing efficiencies. For example, our enzyme based cleaning products are more environmentally friendly and save on water as well as labour, because the products only have to be applied once as opposed to traditional cleaning chemicals that require the original coat to be washed off. It is all about offering a range of options to clients and ensuring that our Better Tomorrow Plan commitments are never compromised. What are some simple and easy steps to making your company more sustainable? Buy in season – your food is going to taste better. Buy British meat, as we have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world. Simply using recycled paper, china instead of disposable crockery and not using polystyrene also make a big difference.

34 • PRESTIGE • winter 2012


win a weekend for two in

Bury St Edmunds The Angel Hotel

Win a weekend for two in a rural paradise

Fuchsia window boxes cascade over the façade of the Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds. A grand old coaching inn that famously made a cameo appearance in Charles Dickens’ novel The Pickwick Papers, this four-star boutique hotel is nestled in the heart of the higgledy-piggledy cobbled streets of this medieval town. With free wi-fi and parking available you can stay connected with the modern world as little or as much as you like. For more information visit

Sodexo Prestige is offering one lucky winner the opportunity to explore the beautiful, unique historic town of Bury St Edmunds. With winding cobbled streets surrounding the ancient ruins of St Edmunds abbey church, this picturesque town offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday living. Enjoy dinner for two and an overnight stay in one of the original rooms of the beautiful, ivy-clad four-star Angel Hotel and explore the wonders of Bury St Edmunds from its medieval architecture and elegant Georgian squares to kitsch shops and traditional cafes. The following morning, tuck into a delicious brunch or lunch in the elegant National Trust property in the West Wing at Ickworth House before roaming the 1,800 acres of spectacular gardens and wooded parkland. An experience not to be missed, enter now to enjoy this charming market town and historic stately home brimming with history, courtesy of Sodexo Prestige. Just answer the following question:

The West Wing at Ickworth

Step into your own period drama at Ickworth House. This historic Grade 1 listed building, created in 1745 by the fourth Earl of Bristol, nestles in 1,800 acres of spectacular gardens and wooded parkland designed in part by ‘Capability’ Brown. The West Wing was never finished and lay empty until 2006, when a joint partnership between the National Trust and Sodexo Prestige led to its renovation. A breathtaking venue, popular for weddings and parties, this is a meal not to be missed.

Which Charles Dickens novel is partly set around Bury St Edmunds? a) Great Expectations b) The Pickwick Papers c) Bleak House Please email your name and telephone number to stating BURY COMPETITION in the subject heading. Terms & Conditions Entries must be received by 5pm on Tuesday 15 January 2013 and the winner will be drawn at random on Wednesday 16 January 2013. The winner will be notified using the contact details provided. The prize is subject to availability at the time of request and is valid until 15 April 2013. Travel costs are not included. By entering this competition you are agreeing to The Angel Hotel and Sodexo using your details for marketing purposes. There is no alternative prize or cash alternative. Sodexo Prestige, One Southampton Row, London, WC1B 5HA

For more information visit

Published for Sodexo Prestige by:

One Southampton Row, London, WC1B 5HA 020 3116 4361,

7 Heron Quay, Canary Wharf, London, E14 4JB 020 7987 4320, 35

Brownies for books Help Sodexo and Tate & Lyle Sugars fund children’s education in Belize!

Just by enjoying our freshly made cakes and bakes: Help the communities that grow Fairtrade sugar secure a future for themselves and their families. Contribute to the ongoing projects to fund children’s education across Belize.

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