It’s Meat Free Fridays for Mustard Foods

Veganuary is in full swing with Mustard Foods introducing a vegan day to our staff canteen offerings.

Last Friday’s menu, brought to the team by Staff Chef Michael Simpkin, was vegan sausages in a vegan red onion and thyme gravy, olive oil mash and garlic and thyme roasted field mushrooms.

Production Manager Edgar Solis found it mouth-watering.

“I honestly couldn’t tell the difference and they tasted great,” he said. “What is very important to me is that my team are all still getting a hearty, balanced and nutritional meal allowing them to keep working in a busy fast-paced kitchen environment.”

Such has been the success of our Meat-Free Fridays that they are here to stay, and not just for Veganuary.

Everyone at Mustard believes we must do our bit for the planet, however small it is, but also there is enormous value in educating our team that vegan meals can absolutely be delicious, nutritious and wholesome.

But while Fridays are meat-free, every day of the week we offer a different vegan or vegetarian option in the canteen.

The favourites currently being served are ‘Sweet Potato and Butternut Katsu Curry’, ‘Braised Green Lentil Masala with Kale’, and ‘Smokey Brazilian Black Bean Feijoada with roasted Carrots’.

“Cooking for the Mustard Family is a big responsibility and one that I have learnt to thrive on,” said Staff Chef Simpkin.

“Keeping all 70-plus members of staff happy, and fed, is by no means easy, however as I progress here under the expert guidance of Development Chef Jonathan Francis.

“The positive feedback has been very rewarding and enabled me to believe in myself more and therefore continually improve in everything I serve.

“Here’s to a successful 2020 and maybe the introduction of a second vegan-only day in the not too distant future!”

All staff are welcome to a meal in the canteen pre- and post-shift with Mustard Foods providing tea, coffee, fresh fruit and four meals every day.

We serve breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a 3 am mid-shift meal to our 70-plus team, split across three shifts. This equated to just under 55,000 meals served in 2019.

Feeding the team is not only about ensuring everyone is marching on a full stomach, but also that they have an opportunity to sit and eat together, building a sense of belonging to the Mustard family.

Hasan Johnson: King of Mustard Foods’ Arancini Balls

Meet Hasan Johnson, the man behind all the arancini balls created by Mustard Foods – that’s over two million last year alone!
The young lad, after all, age is but a number, was born in the United Kingdom in 1965 before moving back to his family’s birth land, Jamaica.
Returning to England two decades later, it wasn’t long before he walked through Mustard Catering’s doors.
In fact, joining the company as it was known back then in 1988 it means he has been part of our crew for 31 years, longer than even Managing Director James Robins.
At least now we know who is the longest-serving Mustard Foods member!
Starting out in the Wash Up area in Brixton Road, he worked his way up the ranks, staying with the company when it became Mustard Foods in 2016.
Hasan’s journey with us has seen him mix with high society, catering at his favourite venue, the Banqueting House, and later doing so for none other than Her Royal Highness, The Queen, at the Royal Academy.
These days he’s in our kitchen, working on our famous arancini balls. Such is his expertise that he even rolls them in his sleep!
Outside the kitchen, Hasan is a family man, who speaks both English and Jamaican, and is married with two daughters.
Like many in our country, he’s a man who loves his sport from watching cricket to supporting his favourite football team, Crystal Palace. After all, a man cannot support a team that he cannot watch up close. As you can imagine the celebrations were huge when they stepped up to the EFL in 2013.
The church is a big part of Hasan’s life and he has taken the role of team leader at Saint Barnabas Church in Bromley.
Perhaps it is listening to church hymns since childhood that has given him his appreciation for music.

But while ‘Hello is it me you’re looking for’ by Lionel Ritchie is his all-time favourite, Hasan also enjoys a bit of rap. We know, he gave us a sample during our interview.

A night of celebration at our annual Christmas party

Mustard Foods celebrated a successful 2019 at our annual Christmas Awards party with a few prizes, a moment with ‘Ant and Dec’ and a fair amount of bad dancing.

Heading to the Munich Cricket Club in Victoria for a night of celebrations, HR Manager Adrian McCaffrey and Production Manager Edgar Solis got the ball rolling as they entertained with their best Ant and Dec impressions.

On a par with some of the night’s dance moves, at least the live music, food and thirst-quenching beverages raised the roof.

Attended by most of the Mustard Foods team and their partners, the evening was also about paying tribute to the best that the company has to offer.

The yearly awards, from Newcomer of the Year to Team Player, were presented by our Managing Director James Robins.

“It is always an honour to publicly acknowledge the commitment and spirit of Mustards’ employees,” he said.

“Year in and year out our team personnel rise to the challenge from newcomers to those who have been around for years.

“While this evening’s awards put the spotlight on just a few, I wish to thank everyone at Mustard Foods for their contribution to the company and our ever-improving standards of excellence.”

Newcomer of the Year:

This award goes to the person, or persons, who joined the company in 2019 and represents our values as well as being a team player.

Carmen Grigore – General Operative

Rey Guerzon – Goods in General Operative


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.

Cleve Whitely- Night shift General Operative

Team Player:

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

Konstantin Andonov – Production Supervisor

Loyalty Award:

Emma Crosbie – Technical Manager

Bernardo Sanz – General Operative

A Merry Christmas from Mustard Foods

From our family to yours, Mustard Foods wishes all our clients, team members and friends a very Merry Christmas.

This year has been one of growth and reward for Mustard Foods as we have set new targets.

We have celebrated the success of our team personnel as they have been promoted up the ranks and have taken to e-learning to achieve great leadership.

Mustard Foods has embraced diversity with new plantain products while hitting the two million mark with our much-loved arancini balls.

Named ‘Best Specialist Food Production Company’, we have been to the Opera, helped clean our local environment and celebrated a book launch for our first-ever client, Chilango.

May 2020 bring more prosperity to everyone associated with Mustard Foods.

Merry Christmas.

Mustard Foods at the Wimbledon Park Christmas Fair

On the 8th of December this year, Mustard Foods will be attending the fun-filled Christmas Fair at Wimbledon Primary school. 

Wimbledon Park Primary school captures the essence of the unique family atmosphere and because of that the community calls them the “village school in the heart of Wimbledon.” It is also one of the top-performing primary schools in the country. 

Helen Keller said, “Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” At Mustards Foods we believe in building the community. We support the school financially to ensure that the school remains as one of the top-performing schools in the country. The funds we raise support the school in installing new playground equipment, musical instruments, refurbishing the library and also supplying iPads for children to learn new IT skills. 

Mustard Foods will be sponsoring the event and we have been gladly doing that since 2016 and looking forward to more years. 

The Christmas Fair is open to all children, their parents and guardians are invited too. We want everyone to join in the fun, even our very own Mustard Foods employees never miss the event.

Wahaca Centrepoint Sleep Out charity

Mustard Foods has made a donation to the Wahaca Centrepoint Sleep Out charity.
The main purpose of the Sleep Out is to raise money to help get young homeless people off the streets and give them the chance of a better life.
The money raised on the Sleep Out will assist homeless people between 16-25 years old in the UK to find jobs and own their own home.
Wahaca will be joining other individuals for the Sleep Out on 21 November 2019 in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Although Mustard Foods will not be part of the Sleep Out, we are glad to make the donation because we believe in making a change.
If you want to be part of the Wahaca Centrepoint Sleepout charity please click here to make a donation.

On target for 2 million arancini balls in 2019

Mustard Foods is on target to create two million arancini balls in 2019, an impressive tally given that each individual ball is hand finished.

In simple terms, arancini balls are stuffed rice balls that are coated in bread crumbs and deep fried.

However, in 2015 Mustard Foods took the simple Sicilian dish to a new level.

We put together a specialist team producing bespoke hand finished arancini for restaurant groups across the UK and Europe.

Every arancini, which means little oranges in Italian, ball is hand finished by a member of the team.

Strategic Account Manager Dan Pearson said: “The interest and demand for bespoke arancini is growing, we’ve developed everything from vegan arancini to luxury truffle infused.

“Arancini are simple to cook from frozen and has a great shelf-life.”

Mustard Foods sell the balls frozen in 4kg cases, which have a six month self-life.

Each case holds 300 arancini balls or more dependent on the spec range.

Cricketing revenge, a dish best served cold

Mustard Foods tasted sweet revenge, beating Dawsongroup Temperature Control Solutions in the second annual cricket match.

The first edition of the match, DGTCS took the victory, smashing Mustard and leaving the squad hankering for revenge.

That finally came as we headed to the Bletchley Rugby Club decking out in cricketing blues.

After an early start to sunny Bedfordshire, with a brief stop at the Red Lion along the way, the game was on with Mustard captain Adrian McCaffrey winning the toss and deciding to bat first on a flat batting surface.

Mustard scored 147 runs thanks in part to solid start of over 50 by the openers, an impressive innings from Jonny Francis and a huge six from James Durrant.

A special mention to those who have never picked up a cricket bat but learned quickly; Konstantin Andonov, Pavel Iliev, Edgar Solis and Karolina Lenkiewicz all displayed energy and enthusiasm to help the team.

Dawsons were next in with Mustards’ opening bowlers Kevin Sweeney and Tanguy Durrant tight and hard to score off, leaving the opposition 30/4 after seven overs.

It was more of the same as the match continued with Dawsons unable to recover, falling to 50/7.

That gave Mustard the opportunity to blood a few first-time bowlers, already preparing for next year’s return fixture.

Dawsons fell some 50 runs short of the target with a sweet victory for Mustard levelling the series at 1-1.

McCaffrey said: “A huge thank you to Dawsons, who were great hosts on what was a wonderful day out.

“While it was fantastic to level the series, the comradery after as we enjoyed a few drinks and shared stories in the bar was something special.

“Until next year; the decider is already being planned for summer!”

Mustard Foods named ‘Best Specialist Food Production Company’

Mustard Foods has added yet another accolade to the growing list, ‘Best Specialist Food Production Company – UK’ as decided by LUX Life.

LUX Life magazine, the best destination for luxury lifestyle news on the web, has named the winners of its fourth annual Food & Drink Awards.

Award winners are decided through extensive research that centres around in-depth evaluation of skills, services, client satisfaction and the wider market reputation.

Awardees must also demonstrate expertise within a given field, a dedication to customers service, and a commitment to excellence as well as innovation.

Mustard Foods was handed a gong, named ‘Best Specialist Food Production Company – UK’.

The judges’ verdict: “Research into the core values adopted by Mustard Foods yielded great results; we were impressed with the company’s dedication to implementing exemplary quality and hygiene production measures to provide customers with high-quality, tailored food products.

“We were also pleased to discover that Mustard Foods demonstrate commitment towards promoting an ethical work environment and work closely with clients and the community; all are actions which suggested to us that the consideration Mustard Foods applies to the creation of outstanding, reliable food products extends beyond food production itself and is evident in every aspect of the business.”

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.”