More than 300 staff from the National Trust’s F&B teams are at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire this morning for the second day of the organisation’s first ever Food and Beverage Festival.
The event has been created to celebrate the achievements of the National Trust’s chefs and catering staff, recognise hard work and innovation, and share best practice.
A series of talks, workshops and cookery demos have taken place over the two days, so that staff can return to their properties with new ideas and inspiration. Today will see food entrepreneur and musician Levi Roots take to the stage to address employees.
A central theme of the event has been the importance of sustainable food, grown with care. Those in attendance have had the chance to learn about working with kitchen gardens, reducing wastage and the relationship between the food served to millions of visitors.
As reported previously by FEJ, catering is a massive generator of income for the National Trust, third only to the revenues it makes from enterprise and renewable and membership. Its most recent accounts reveal that £71m was made from cafes across its 350 properties last year.
Last night the company hosted an awards ceremony to honour the work carried out by its kitchens. Accolades were given out for Most Inspiring Local Dish, Most Inspirational Leader and Best Customer Service, as well as Best Food Innovation Group recipe.
The Festival aims to be the National Trust’s first Food & Beverage event to produce no landfill waste. Attendees received a reusable hot cup on arrival, the bar is only serving drinks in glass, cans and PLA cups, and food vendors will be supplied with the Trust’s compostable Vegware packaging, which is made from plants not plastic.
There have also been workshops on minimising environmental impact and drop-in sessions with Vegware. Bespoke recycling collections have been organised through BIFFA and carefully managed by the Trust. In setting this goal, the conservation charity aims to prove what is possible regarding waste reduction, and use learnings to shape future activities.
The National Trust serves 3.5 million cups of tea every year, made from a bespoke blend of Clipper tea.
Up to 75% of food produced in cafes is made fresh, on site, every day. In many cases the food is grown on-site in kitchen gardens, or supplied through tenant farmers.