The September issue of Catering Insight has a distinct events theme. This month, face-to-face events are restarting with a bang for the UK catering equipment supply chain, and we previewed some of the upcoming key dates in this edition.
There is a double meaning to my headline though, in that there are extra issues that events now have to take account of, namely how to make sure everything is Covid-safe. Yes that pesky pandemic still hasn’t gone anywhere, and with the Delta variant making sure that case rates stay stubbornly high in the UK, all event organisers are having to ensure they put into place measures to minimise the chances of spreading the virus.
First up in the conference and awards dinner stakes is the FEA Conference, starting tomorrow at the Chesford Grange hotel. It will be interesting to see how they can attract a mass audience to watch the keynote sessions during the day, then the awards ceremony and meal in the evening, which I will be taking particular note of for our upcoming Catering Insight Awards.
Yes, our awards will be back with a bang on Thursday 18 November at London’s 8 Northumberland Avenue, and we have the larger Ballroom space there so that social distancing will be available. Like all event organisers, we’ll have to consider layout, airflow and guests’ vaccination status to ensure they remain safe – it may not be quite the same experience as previously, but I will be thankful that we can experience anything at all after this last 18 months! Our full awards programme is still identical though.
Then we have the return of the major exhibitions, which we’ve put under the spotlight in our September issue. While the cancellation of the NAFEM show in the US has cast a bit of a cloud over the viability of international events, the UK-focused ones should be on much safer ground. So I for one am looking forward to Commercial Kitchen on 23-24 September, when it makes its London debut at ExCeL, co-locating with sister shows lunch! and Casual Dining. You can come and visit Catering Insight on stand B59, where I will be masked up and socially distancing – you can never be too careful!
Plus don’t miss our first ever Market Talk Live session at the show, where I and my colleague, FEJ’s editorial director Andrew Seymour, will be chatting to C&C MD Peter Kitchin, CHR Equipment MD Paul Neville and Hatherley Commercial Services’ MD Kirstin Hatherley about building Britain’s best kitchens. You can see us in the onsite Keynote Theatre between 1.15-1.45pm on Thursday 23rd.
And last but definitely not least in this month’s edition, we have previewed the Host trade show. The Catering Insight team will be walking the vast 11 halls of the show, to be held at the Fieramilano on 22-26 October, and it will be fascinating to see if the event can attract the same scale of exhibitors and visitors as usual. We will also see what travel restrictions remain so I hope any extra faff will be worth it!