Day of Celebration: Cooks and Qualified Cooks

From cooks to senior chefs to production supervisors, Mustard Foods has been celebrating Cook Academy graduations for Gergana Luchkova and Konstantin Andonov while welcoming Georgi Tsenkov as a Trainee Cook.

At Mustard Foods we strive to promote from within, rewarding the talent and work ethic of our team personnel.

HR Manager Adrian McCaffrey along with Head Chef James Flockhart recently had the honour of presenting a chef’s hat to Luchkova at the weekly ‘stand up’ event.

Luchkova, who has been with Mustard Foods since 2017, began as a member of the packing team before joining our Cook Academy as a Graduate Cook where she is now an established Senior cook.

It was also a day to celebrate for Andonov, who began his journey with us through an agency before becoming an official Mustard Foods employee in June 2016.

From working in ingredient prep to Trainee Cook to Senior Cook, he qualified as a Team Leader, demonstrating outstanding standards of commitment, passion and leadership resulting in his latest promotion to Production Supervisor with effect from July 2019.

Celebrating Cooks and Qualified Cooks

McCaffrey and Flockhart were also on hand to welcome new trainee Georgi Tsenkov to the fold.

Although Tsenkov has been in our kitchen since February, working through an agency as a General Operator, his excellent work ethic saw him fast-tracked into our kitchen prep team before progressing to becoming a Graduate Cook in June.

McCaffrey said: “It is a pleasure to watch our team personnel take strides forward in their journey with Mustard Foods.

“All three have become integral to our business success and through guidance from James, they have a full understanding of connective cooking, CCPS, temp recordings and all compliance requirements whilst ensuring our products are consistent and of the highest standard for our clients.”

Celebrating Chilango’s cook book launch – The Chilango Burrito Bible

Chilango, Mustard Foods’ original customer, have launched their first cook book ‘The Chilango Burrito Bible – Mind Blowing Mexican Favours’, and we were on hand to celebrate the momentous occasion.

Chilango has been a Mustard Foods’ client for the past decade, a relationship that is still going strong.

Chilango held the launch for the cook book at their Leather Lane restaurant where guests, including Mustard Foods’ Strategic Account Manager Dan Pearson and Technical Manager Emma Crosbie, were greeted with margaritas, a Marachi band and of course mind-blowing Mexican food.

All the food on offer, and there was plenty of that, features in the new book with the Chorizo Burrito the highlight of the evening’s food. Delish!

To add a bit of spice to the evening there was a DIY chilli stand where guests could concoct their own chilli sauce, bottle it and take it home.

Co-founder Eric Partaker gave a speech to thank key people who were responsible for getting the book to press as well as all those involved in Chilango’s on-going success.

From there the evening moved upstairs for more food and drinks.

It was a great evening, not only celebrating the cook book but catching up with industry peers and alike.

Mustard Foods was given a signed copy of the book from Eric for us to give away to a member of our cook team. This was presented to Production Cook Gergana Luchkova, who recently led the way in the cooks’ new training manual, at our weekly stand-up meeting.

Hands on with City Harvest & Wandle Trust

Mustard Foods joined forces with City Harvest and Wandle Trust over the weekend, not only helping to deliver our food to charities in need but also taking an active part in cleaning up the local environment.

Last year we welcomed City Harvest to the fold, teaming up with the non-profit organisation to supply charities across London.

Every Friday Mustard Foods donates approximately 240kg of food, which is then sorted at City Harvest’s headquarters before being delivered to various community programmes including homeless shelters.

This weekend members of our team joined City Harvest, taking part in the complete process from our front door to those in need.

We sorted food into crates before doing the heavy lifting and loading the vans.

From there we were off on the day’s route, making deliveries to several charities while also collecting food donations from other businesses.

The weekend’s work, though, was by no means over.

On Sunday, Mustard Foods joined 40 volunteers and the Wandle Trust in a community clean-up, picking up litter in our local environment.

With fly-tipping a serious problem not just for the Wandle but most urban rivers, we chose this particular charity because the Wandle runs behind our Wimbledon headquarters.

While half the volunteers put on waders and ventured into the river, the rest cleaned the river banks and the surrounding park areas.

Unfortunately when we arrived all the waders were already taken – hopefully next time!

“It was incredible getting our hands dirty this weekend while doing good for the community,” said Emma Crosbie.

“Although we have been with City Harvest for over a year, this was the first time I have had the opportunity to see the end result and the food reaching the people that very much need it.

“There are a lot of people in this world, and even in our own London, who rely on organisations such as City Harvest so being in a position to help is a blessing.

“As for the community clean-up of the Wandle, that was a lot of sludge and even more fun but far too much litter.

“We are all aware of the fly-tipping problem and complain about it without doing much else. It was great to finally take action.”

All in all a great weekend filled with good deeds and even better memories.

Learning, laughing, strategising with Kerridge

Mustard Foods visited the Cotswolds last week for Kerridge’s annual conference; two days of learning, laughter and strategising for the future.

Last year Kerridge acquired Lakeview, the company that built Mustard Foods’ ERP system.

Purchasing Manager Kyle Richards and Karolina Lenkiewicz attended their two-day conference, which began with a review of Kerridge’s achievements over the past two years.

Andrew Wilkinson, Kerridge’s European Sales Director as well as MD for UK and Ireland James Mitchell set out the company’s plans for the future with regards to mobile app strategies, product updates and how business partners, such as Mustard Foods, can get the most out the ERP system.

It wasn’t all business as neuroscientist Dr Jack Lewis took centre stage on the opening day, giving a talk on how people could better look after their brains.

The evening’s entertainment was handed over to guest speaker Jo Caulfield.

Nominated as ‘Funniest Woman 2010’ at the LAFTA Awards, Caulfield had everyone in the room in stitches as she didn’t hold back in roasting those present – Mustard Foods didn’t escape.

Day Two began with break-out sessions with Kerridge team members about what they can offer with in-depth talks about their updates.

There was lectures on the likes of Manufacturing Solutions, Effective Procurement, Sales Intelligence and their mobile apps for Field Service Solutions.

These proved invaluable for Mustard Foods with Kyle and Karolina also having the opportunity for some one-on-one time with key people from K8 LV.

All in all, a very worthwhile event for moving both Mustard Foods and Kerridge forward.

Until next year!

Achieving great leadership through e-learning

Mustard Foods has introduced e-learning as part of our Good Business Journey, aimed at assisting our Team Leaders in their endeavour to become great leaders.

At Mustard Foods we stand by our company values of quality, prudence, integrity and believing in people while also striving for progression, both as a company and among the people working with us.

We are committed to the continued investment in education and progression beyond the workplace for our Team Leaders.

As such we have launched a new online e-learning platform that offers our Team Leaders the opportunity to develop their management and communication skills.

There is also Green Cross training for compliance in first aid at work, COSHH and fire warden training.

This unique online training platform gives our Team Leaders the chance to learn at their own pace and feel comfortable about achieving success within their own set timeframes.

HR manager Adrian McCaffrey explained: “I am committed to assisting our Team Leaders in every way possible to be the best leaders they can be.

“In order to ensure that Mustard Foods is the finest food production company in the UK, we need strong leaders throughout every aspect of the business.

“This online platform is just the latest innovation that we have adopted to ensure we get the best out of our people, and they get the best from us.

“In doing so each of our Team Leaders becomes empowered to lead their teams and take responsibility for delivering the high quality products to our clients, timeously and consistently.”

A day at the Opera Holland Park

Mustard Foods recently visited the Opera Holland Park to be mesmerized by the Royal Ballet School.

Taking place in an elegant marquee auditorium that was designed for open-air opera performances, the group watched the ballet company’s White Lodge students put on a powerful and elegant performance.

A mix of dance styles ranging from classical ballet to contemporary, the dancers performed work by choreographers including Frederick Ashton, Marius Petipa and David Bintley.

“I really enjoyed the classical ballet and the modern dance, which is very entertaining,” said Accounts Manager Nema Amavasee.

It was a wonderful evening, thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who attended.

Production Manager Edgar Solis added: “I recommend this unique experience, it is a must-see for everyone and I would definitely want to return.”

Founded in 1974, the Mustard Group has a long-lasting relationship with arts and culture in London, catering to many prestigious venues including the V&A, The Royal Opera House and The Wallace.

That continued with the establishment of Mustard Foods in 2009 with the company maintaining a close affiliation with the Royal Ballet School through Chairman Woodin, one of their long-term supporters.

Many of those attending the prestigious dance school come from less fortunate parts of the world with patrons such as Mustard Foods helping make their dreams come true by providing financial support for ballet shoes and other dance equipment.

What’s cooking: Five trends for 2019

We at Mustard Foods are going bananas for our new plantain product…

Plantain sales have increased over the recent years and Mustard Foods is proud to have successfully launched a plantain product for a multiple site restaurant group.

The fruit, otherwise known as a cooking banana, offers health benefits as it is a good source of Vitamin C and potassium while being starchier and lower in sugar.

The riper they get – like bananas they continue to ripen after they’ve been picked — the moister and sweeter they are.

We have been working with a local supplier to source, ripen and prepare the product to our client’s preferred specification; prepared and delivered fresh on the days needed for our production plan.

Technical Manager Emma Crosbie has been leading the quality focus and intake checks with her team with all deliveries going through our onsite Quality and Technical team before being used in the production kitchen.

We at Mustard Foods are proud of our ability to work with various raw materials to deliver a consistent and tasty product to our client.

If you have a bespoke ingredient or recipe you require scaling for your restaurant group, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Food and Innovation Manager.

Billed by the Guardian as a “vegan sensation”, Jackfruit is a species of tree in the fig, mulberry, and breadfruit family that is native to southwest India.

In recent years it has become a fashionable meat substitute that has cornered the vegan market.

Mustard Foods is currently using in a delectable curry for a client and we have a number of other recipe ideas ready for launch.

The jackfruit is not only fairly low in calories, only 95 per 100g, but it contains a wealth of antioxidants that boost the immune system, improves energy levels while it is also known to be beneficial for the cardiovascular system.

It is a healthy vegan option that is commonly used in South and Southeast Asian cuisines.

HOP Pale Ale
Everyone says “cheers” to the new vegan gluten-free HOP Pale Ale from First Chop.

We Brits are known for enjoying a pint but most contain gluten, an allergen for many.

As such we have spent considerable time searching for a suitable replacement ale in order to remove an old product that contained gluten.

Enter HOP Pale Ale.

This Ale has allowed us to reduce the allergen risk in our production kitchen while making our end products more accessible to those who suffer gluten intolerances.

4.1% alcohol, the First Chop Hop Pale Ale has a “wonderful subtle malt character from the floor malted Maris Otter.”

It has a pleasant bitterness and big fruity hop flavours.

Of course ale is a wonderful addition when cooking with Mustard Foods recently developing a Beef and Ale Stew, Ale and Onion Gravy and Ale Braised Beef Cheeks.

Sea greens
Sea greens are set to be another trend for this year. Although many people have a taboo against seaweed, just something that washes up on the shore, it is a versatile superfood that has been a staple in the diets of coastal people throughout the ages.

Sea veggies are a source of iodine, Vitamins A, B, C, and E while also rich in protein, calcium, magnesium and fiber.

From kelp noodles to algae that has been turned into plant-based tuna alternatives to seaweed butters, foodies have now rethinking the use of seaweeds and various ocean plants as food.

“Their flavors can be intense, but the beauty of them is really how they integrate into dishes, how they accentuate and highlight other flavors,” says Barton Seaver, author of Superfood Seagreens.

As part of Mustard Foods’ drive to explore new compound butters, we have been begun working on seaweed butter.

Black Chickpeas
Black chickpeas, also known as Bengal grams, are part of the desi variety of chickpeas and benefit everything from hair to skin to overall health.

With a delicious nut like taste and buttery texture, this extremely versatile legume is used in a variety of Middle Eastern and Indian dishes like falafels, hummus and curries.

Being a high protein source, chickpeas have become one of the new go-to foods for vegetarians.

Super high in fibre and providing just 46 calories per ounce, they aid in weight loss while there are cardiovascular benefits with chickpeas proven to lower cholesterol, stabilise blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes.

As as a great source of iron and protein, they are good for skin, combat hair loss while aiding in hair growth, reduce dandruff and prevents greying of hair.

Including chickpeas in your diet regularly not only supports your health and may reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.

Truly a super food!

Brexit or No Brexit, Mustard Foods is ready

As Brexit continues to dominate headlines in the United Kingdom, Mustard Foods is prepared for either eventuality – Brexit or No Brexit.

There continues to be uncertainty over Britain’s exit from the European Union, whether it will go ahead and if so when with the latest reports saying April 12th or May 22nd.

However, with so much at stake we are not leaving anything to chance and have taken the opportunity to upgrade our warehousing and therefore ensure we have sufficient storage to stock the ingredients we need.

With this in mind we have maximised our warehouse unit, stripping it back and adding more push back racking that allows for an additional 74 pallets.

The push back racking is unique with its sliding pallet runners that mean we can store pallets behind one another but still have easy access. This allows us to make our FIFO, first in first out, processes more efficient. As an extra measure we have implemented colour a coded pallets system making it easier for our Warehouse Team to identify in take dates. This has given us a better ability to insure stock is rotated correctly and picked in order.

With the new racking in place, we have begun to stock pile ingredients with an additional three months ambient ingredient stock.

Kyle Richards, Purchasing Manager, said: “No one knows how Brexit is going to turn out but our first responsibility at Mustard Foods is to our clients and our team members. Thanks to our new push back racking, we have streamline stock picking and management, making it more efficient while increasing our pallet storage – Brexit or not Brexit, Mustard Foods is ready.”

Celebrating the best at our annual Christmas Party

Mustard Foods celebrated 2018 in style, heading to the Munich Cricket Club in Victoria for our annual Christmas Awards Party.

Live music, fantastic food, free-flowing beers and a bit of dancing that left a lot to be desired were the order of the night as we gathered to toast a successful 2018 for the company.

The awards evening wasn’t all about the fun and the food, it was also a moment to acknowledge the tremendous work done by many at Mustard Foods.

From the newcomers who have integrated with us so seamlessly to the loyal team members who have been with Mustard Foods for years, we saluted them last Saturday.

Ashley Lotcho and Adrian McCaffrey

Newcomer of the Year:
This award goes to the person, or persons, who joined the company in 2018 and represents our values as well as being a team player.
Monika Konczyk
Ismail Bilgic

Our Values Award:
Awarded to the person who has the five attributes of believing in people; quality – what we do, we do very well; progression – continuously advancing in everything we do; integrity – always open, honest, ethical and fair; and prudence – take time, thought and care.
Angelika Chrzaszcz

Team Player:
This award is given to the person who best represents the three key attributes of humility, hunger and people smarts.
Ken Mortimer

Loyalty Award:
Mons Mathew
Edgar Solis

Mustard Foods Christmas Awards Jan 2019 award

Operations Manager Ashley Lotcho was on hand to present the awards along with our Facilities Manager, Adrian McCaffrey.

“It was a honour and privilege to join Adrian presenting this year’s awards at Munich Cricket Club,” he said.

“The award winners for 2018 have all shown incredible leadership qualities, adaptability, a continued desire to work with others, self-initiative and resilience.

“We have a team from around the world, from all walks of life, with a wide range of abilities, skills and experiences.

“In my humble opinion there are simply not enough awards to reflect the hard work and commitment of the entire team over the past 12 months – well done to all!”

Munich Cricket Club

Mustard Foods makes a Ripple

Mustard Foods is embracing a new world order with our first international transaction using RippleNet.

Paying a supplier in Mexico, it took just a matter of seconds for the funds to cross the pond.

Using XPR, often referred to as ‘real cryptocurrency’, and RippleNet, we saved 31 hours and £79.17 on the transaction.

“As a bespoke food production company supplying 500+ restaurants in the UK and Europe, we are constantly paying suppliers around the world to get the right ingredients at source for our customers,” said Commercial Director James Durrant.

“Faster, cheaper payments allow us to fulfil our orders quickly and grow our business.”

A global payment network, RippleNet makes it easy to connect across its network of 200+ banks and payment providers worldwide.