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The 30 Most Important Things We Learned at The Show

Posted on Wednesday 08 July 2015

On Wednesday 1st July the world of football and food service was brought closer together than ever, as Lockhart’s The Show event arrived at historic Old Trafford. Dozens of exhibitors from all corners of the catering industry took over the Manchester Suite to share their best-selling products and show off their latest innovations, and of course we were there to find out more.

Throughout the day we ate, drank, chatted with exhibitors, interacted with their stalls and best of all, enjoyed an exclusive look at some of the UK’s most exciting rising star chefs in action. It was an enlightening day to say the least, and here are the 30 most important, exciting, or interesting things that we discovered at The Show!

1. Plastic drinkware just became a premium product

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Plasma, the latest range of plastic drinkware exclusive to Lockhart, is far from disposable. This premium range of cups, glasses, jugs and bowls would look right at home in even the most high-end establishment.

2. Cutlery was the star of The Show

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From polka-dot to perfectly ergonomic, we saw a fantastic variety of elegant and innovative cutlery designs on offer from brands including Elia, and Lockhart’s new and exclusive cutlery brand, Twenty-Eight.

3. Augmented reality can bring your new restaurant to life

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At the Lockhart Design Services stand we were dazzled by their use of augmented reality technology to bring the design of your new restaurant, bar, or kitchen to life. All we had to do was hold a tablet computer with an augmented reality app over a 2D design, to see on the screen the finished design superimposed over the 2D version in stunning 3D graphics. It really had to be seen to be believed!

4. Crème brulee has life-changing qualities

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During his cooking presentation, National Chef of the Year 2010 Hrishikesh Desai shared the one dish that changed the way he thought about cooking, and in turn, changed his life: the humble crème brulee. However, it was with his magnificent Indian spiced chicken and ham hock terrine that he wowed the crowds at The Show.

5. The Crème range of tableware is the perfect finishing touch

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Designed in collaboration with chefs, the brand new Crème collection of tableware, exclusive to Lockhart, proved to be the perfect platform on which to present each of the star chefs’ creations. The swooping curves of the Futuriste plate were the ideal match for Ruth Hansom’s red mullet, served with asparagus, confit fennel, and spiced carrot puree with a shellfish sauce, which she cooked up before a very hungry audience.

6. Tweezers have a place in the kitchen

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We weren’t surprised to learn that chef and The Ivy alumni April Partridge was a finalist for Young National Chef of the Year 2014, and especially not that she was named the Best Young Chef 2014 by Observer Food Monthly. This vivacious young chef was as captivating as her food and we were wowed by the attention to detail that she gave her dishes, including using tweezers to carefully garnish her lamb rump and slow-cooked lamb rump samosa with microshoots.

7. Chefs are some of the best-travelled people around

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Now settled in the Lake District as Executive Head Chef at The Gilpin by Lake Windemere, chef Hrishikesh has certainly collected a few stamps for his passport during his career so far. Originally from India, he has honed his skills in France when he won the Roux Scholarship in 2009 – for which he had to learn French – as well as in California at The French Laundry, among many other fabulous locations.

8. Burning food can actually make a dish better

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One of the key ingredients of April’s dish was her burnt onion puree, which is the perfect recipe for inept cooks as she explained to us, “you chuck the onion in a pan, let it burn, and then you can go and watch Coronation Street or EastEnders or whatever you want.” If that doesn’t make you want to try it out for yourself, we don’t know what will.

9. We saw the future star chefs in action

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At just 19 years old, Ruth has already landed a scholarship at Westminster College, an apprenticeship at The Ritz, won the Master Chefs of Great Britain ‘Young Chef of the Year’ in 2013, and is a Young National Chef of the Year 2015 finalist. It was a great honour to watch her in action because we’re positive that in a few years, she will be a culinary superstar.

10. ‘You eat with your eyes’

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Young National Chef of the Year 2013 winner Ben Champkin captivated his audience at The Show with his chocolate and olive oil ganache dessert, served with olive oil biscuit and milk ice cream, then garnished with dried raspberries and edible flowers. It looked so good that his motto that “you eat with your eyes” was certainly true.

11. An allergen kit is an essential for every restaurant

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At the FEM stand we discovered the Allergen Saf-T-Zone System by San Jamar, an innovative kit containing several colour-coded tools, including a knife, tongs, turner and cutting board, to help prevent cross-contamination in the kitchen. Purple is being established as the internationally recognised colour code for allergens, and we believe every kitchen needs one of these kits to help guarantee their guests’ safety. Watch the video below to find out more:

12. Decorating plates is great, messy, fun

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Who doesn’t love an opportunity to get their hands dirty? Prestigious tableware manufacturers Churchill 1795 were inviting The Show attendees to try their hands at plate decorating at their stand, and while we had a great time splattering paint, we think it’s a job best left to the experts!

13. It’s time to go for gingham

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Inspired by 1950s American diners, Dudson’s ‘Gingham’ collection of tableware made their exhibition stand a visual treat. We think it’s the perfect plateware whether you’re serving classic burgers and breakfast pancakes, or just want to add a little retro twist to your modern cuisine.

14. There are always new ways to make your food presentation ‘pop’

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Whether or not you serve popcorn at your establishment, you can add a little Americana to your presentation with quirky details like this ceramic popcorn box. It would make an eye-catching way to serve anything on a buffet, from breadsticks and tortilla chips to doughnuts and pretzels, when traditional bowls just won’t do.

15. ‘Organic’ isn’t just for food itself

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The ‘Harvest’ collection of tableware by Dudson caught our eye, not just because of the beautiful way it was presented at The Show, but because the collection itself has been designed to celebrate a passion for all things organic. Inspired by the unique look of hand-made ceramics, the growing interest in food provenance and the culture of street food, the Harvest collection is hand-finished so that no two pieces are ever identical.

16. There is more than just one way to present tacos

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If you serve Mexican or Tex-Mex-style cuisine, it’s time to ‘taco’ bite out of the world of funky food presentation with a sleek wire taco holder. Unfortunately, learning how to eat crispy tacos without the mess is another thing altogether!

17. There’s something fishy about trendy tableware

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Perfect for sauces and condiments or bar snacks, these trendy serving dishes in the shape of sardine cans will be a real talking point for your guests! Of course, they work just as well for serving sardines, but the only limit is your imagination.

18. Glasses can keep your drinks hot, while looking cool

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Designed by Jenaer Glas and exclusive to Lockhart, the ‘Hot n Cool’ collection of glassware can be used for every type of drink, thanks to its clever double-walled design that keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. And as there is a vacuum between the two walls, the drinker won’t feel extreme temperatures when holding the glass. Above all though, we simply loved the cool design that offers the ultimate in service flexibility.

19. Birds of a feather, drink together

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Another stand-out mini-collection in the Trend Set area of The Show was these stunning peacock feather-adorned wine and martini glasses. Designed by Artland, they have been electro-plated and then the peacock detail lasered out of the surface – and they’d look just as good in an art gallery as on your bar top.

20. Craft beer service is a craft in itself

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As the craft beer phenomenon continues to gather momentum, its presentation can no longer be an afterthought. If you serve craft beer it’s time to ditch the traditional pint glass in favour of specially-designed glassware that brings out the best in your beers by helping to enhance their flavours and retain their fizz for longer.

21. The vintage tea time trend is here to stay

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Even as contemporary, innovative trends keep on growing in the catering industry, the vogue for vintage-inspired afternoon teas is showing no signs of budging, but there’s still plenty of room for creativity. Dainty desserts served in Churchill floral teacups bring a modern twist to a traditional favourite, and we predict these will be in high demand for this summer’s weddings too.

22. Everyone wants a ‘pizza’ the rustic trend

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In the Trend Set area we discovered that as many as 90% of Brits now eat pizza at least once a week – so no wonder there are now so many stylish ways of presenting your pizza! Whether you serve artisan sourdough creations or are firmly in favour of deep-pan, cheese-laden temptations, the Savora pizza wheels by KitchenCraft and Churchill wood presentation boards are the perfect pizza companions.

23. Picnics are just as tempting for indoors too

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We all know that we can’t trust the British summertime, so try bringing the outside in with picnic-inspired tableware and serving dishes in the shapes of plant pots. If only predicting the weather was so easy.

24. Adding colour to your table is easier than ever

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If you’d like to add a little colour to your food and drinks service but don’t want to overpower or obscure the ingredients, the Vina Touch collection of glassware could be the answer. These sleek glasses have a hint of colour in the stem and base of the glass that adds a soft hue to the liquid too – match your glasses to your restaurant, café or bar’s colours, or mix and match to make an impression.

25. It’s time to make a move for metallics

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Extraordinary presentation isn’t just for food, and in addition to Lockhart-exclusive Utopia Alchemist glass beakers and flasks for cocktails, we were wowed by the copper martini glasses too that would add even more sophistication to any recipe.

26. Miniature can be magnificent

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From mini mason jars to small saucepans, the KitchenCraft stand was packed with unique food presentation ideas that we simply adored. The days of ramekins and pots being the limit of adventurous food service are well and truly over.

27. Spiralisers are an unsung kitchen hero

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Whether for courgette spaghetti (or courgetti, to those in the know), or for carrots and cucumber, a vegetable spiraliser by KitchenCraft should become a fixture for every restaurant kitchen, especially if you want to move towards a focus on healthy eating. They’re a quick and easy way of preparing vegetables for dishes and garnishes, plus the blades are interchangeable for even more prep options.

28. Take-away containers are more eco-friendly than ever

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Why recycle, when you can reuse? These ultra-cool containers, called Eco-Takeouts, have been designed not to be thrown in the recycling bin after use, but washed, sanitised and reused time and time again. Not only are they even better for the environment than recyclable containers, but they look great too and will add a special touch to your take-away food offering.

29. Drinks presentation just got more gin-teresting

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Gin was most definitely ‘in’ at The Show with a wide variety of glassware and barware on display that provides all the tools you need to make serve fabulous gin cocktails like Martinis and Negronis, or just good old gin and tonics using the ever-growing variety of ‘Botanical Gins’ that are arriving on the market. It’s a trend worth raising a glass to!

30. Simplicity is still beautiful

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Although we saw so many exciting emerging trends in the culinary industry at The Show, simplicity still had its place with gleaming white plates, cast-iron pans, stainless steel cocktail shakers and smooth wooden serving boards that let your food make the statement. So whether you prefer to go trendy or timeless, there was something on offer for everyone.

Were you in attendance at The Show? If so, what were your favourite products on display, and which ones will you be adding to your own establishment? Leave us a comment below, and if you weren’t able to attend The Show at Old Trafford, watch out for more information about The Show at Wembley soon!