They’re The Chef

It’s been a great school year for Cucina so far and as is often the case, our success has come through the work we do to develop new and exciting food offerings. Our new travelling Street Food stall is a great example of this.

In my role as Director of Food, I spend quite a bit of time with our chefs around the country. Thanks to their hard work, I have to say that we have really impressive brand consistency across our sites, north to south and east to west. Our shared company ethos is all about the food and no matter what the constraints, that is the one thing that will never be compromised. I am sure this is one of the reasons that morale among our teams is so high, and why our chefs continue to amaze us with their creativity and innovation. This was in full evidence during October’s British Food Fortnight, where chefs had the opportunity to share their own British foodie favourites – either their versions of old classics, or entirely new creations.

This was also an opportunity to deepen our educational partnerships, with students being invited to enter the Cucina ‘You’re The Chef’ competition which we organised in conjunction with Love British Food. Students were asked to create and submit their own British recipes, with winners eating free in their school restaurants every day for a fortnight, and having their recipes cooked for the entire school. They also had their recipes printed onto special cards for staff and students to try at home. We saw some fantastic ideas and chefs tell me they found it very hard to pick the winners, whose recipes were then entered in the Grand Final to be judged by our partner Phil Howard, the two Michelin Star chef at London’s The Square Restaurant.

Our national winner was Peter Bishop, a Year 8 student from Francis Combe Academy, Watford. Peter created his own mini versions of classic British roast beef – ‘Roast Beef Bites’. Phil said Peter’s dish showed “fantastic attention to detail and great understanding of basic cooking principles.” Congratulations to Peter and to Runner Up Rosie Swan from Teddington, who each receive £100 worth of Argos Vouchers and a signed copy of Phi’s latest cookbook. This competition and this partnership has been ideal for our company because the ideals of Love British Food fit so well with our own. One of the great things about this year’s project is the way it involves students in food. We have always seen this kind of engagement as absolutely key to driving sales and you only have to look at our figures everywhere to know how successful we have been at that.

It’s also been great to see the original British recipes that our chefs have created for our ‘Cucina Loves British Food’ project. You can check these out in the coming weeks on our company facebook page:

Please take a look, and if you feel moved, please leave us a comment.

Sam Davies

Director of Food

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