The winner of the Operator of the Year for Menu Development award is Hotel Chocolat.
This category, sponsored by Carpigiani, recognises that kitchens aren’t just places for operators to prepare food for customers or guests — they are also a test-bed for devising new menus, product creations and dishes. It therefore honours operators that have enhanced, improved or grown their menus over the past year, acknowledging the investment that goes into making this happen.
Hotel Chocolat has introduced a brand new concept called ‘Ice Cream of the Gods’ following an extensive menu development programme using the latest commercial soft serve ice cream equipment.
The luxury retailer and cafe operator’s new offering has already been rolled out to more than 45 stores after it challenged itself to launch something that nobody had ever tasted before and came up with cocoa nib-infused ice desserts.
With no incumbent recipes for what it sought to achieve, its development chef started from scratch, crushing roasted cocoa nibs into a fine powder and blending it with ice cream before infusing a mix of Jersey milk and cream to create the thicker, smoother and silkier product it desired.
James Drake, café and flagship manager at Hotel Chocolat (pictured alongside Hotel Chocolat chef David Demaison receiving the award from Scott Duncan, UK sales director at Carpigiani), said: “We are proud to receive this award, as our menu development has involved a lot of hard work. This menu has never been achieved before, but has been realised using complex technology and a lot of commitment; it’s ground-breaking.”
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