This year’s CESA Light Equipment & Tableware Forum proved that the market seems to be looking for the same difference: all operators want to stand out in an individual way.
Therefore, the 20 light equipment suppliers which took part in this year’s annual training and demonstration event had their work cut out to convince over 80 distributor staff attending that their latest offerings could be the essential products to enable their end users to be unique.
Catering Insight was lucky enough to be invited along to the event on 22-23 May at Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire. As usual, the round-robin format saw distributor groups move round from table to table, visiting each supplier for 25 minutes of product training.
The first day began with a session from Denby, with national sales manager Jason Maughan and global hospitality account manager Jonathan Thornhill detailing that the British crockery manufacturer is making a big push into the UK hospitality market. The pottery company is bringing its new handmade Studio Blue range over from the retail sector, featuring a vitreous glaze which enables a 10 year chip guarantee.
Next up, Signature FSE MD Paula Sherlock demonstrated new ranges of Pinti Inox Excelsior and Style cutlery, both featuring black PVD coating teamed with stainless steel for a modern look. Revealing that the Kent-based firm will shortly be taking over the UK supply of French cookware brand Chasseur, Sherlock also noted that demand for induction compatible cookware is increasing.
Signature also supplies Clifton Food Range, which had its own stand at the event. MD Melvin Dickson reported that its sous vide equipment is moving into the bar sector for infusing and vacuum packing garnishes. He underlined that as well as the main water baths, immersion circulators and vacuum packers, dealers can also upsell accompanying accessories such as immersion grids, chamber dividers and plating tweezers.
For I Grunwerg, MD David Grunwerg detailed that hammered and plastic handled cutlery are finding favour, such as its Yin and Yang line, available in either black or white. He believes that natural materials are a big fashion in Europe and therefore the manufacturer is working on a range of wooden handled kitchen knives. It also brought along prototype stainless steel straws to the event to gauge market potential in the wake of the plastic waste reduction campaign.
Eddingtons’ session was full of innovations from its new catalogue, with recent launches including wine coolers and a combined six shot glass holder and bottle cooler. Other latest introductions comprised Epicurean boards in a cleaver shape, a dual knife sharpener with both a tungsten carbide and a ceramic sharpening agent, and the Beeswrap natural alternative to clingfilm, which is made with cotton, beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin.
The DRH Collection showcased its innovative and eye-catching glassware, including the multi-coloured Peacock, Mirage and new Neon collections, with the latter infused with a cracked effect during its mouth-blown creation process. MD David Homes noted that globe-shaped gin glasses are a major current trend, forecasting that dark spirit glassware will soon follow. The supplier’s egg coddlers, which enable egg poaching in a lidded cup shape, are also proving popular, as they can keep the contents warm for 30 minutes.
Contacto revealed its hammered cookware in casserole and saucepan sizes, as well as new baking mould shapes including diamonds and hearts. There were also two new additions to the mini range of presentation pans, including a sauteuse. MD Stephen Goodliff reported that although the copper trend is slowing a little, it is still popular.
While Testo highlighted how its temperature probes and data logger systems can reduce operators’ admin and reporting workloads. The firm is looking to work with more distributors, with product manager Ashton Baylis stating that Testo staff are more than happy to jointly demonstrate the systems with dealers to end users.
Dalebrook’s centrepiece was its new melamine brightly-coloured Casablanca tableware series, which it feels has opened up different sections of the market for the manufacturer, including Mexican and Mediterranean dining. Furthermore it previewed its Noir crackle glaze plates, created using decals, which should join its collection around the end of July.
Nevilles’ Genware brand launches 100 products every 3 months, and among the latest were expanded enamel tableware such as ramekins, and a wire basket for buffet display which can be used face down for containing products and face up as a riser for display. National account manager Kat Lane revealed that Nevilles’ products are aiming at an ‘uplifted’ casual dining sector that can translate to fine dining too.
Next up, FEM debuted the Hamilton Beach Quantum blender, featuring a 7 year brushless motor warranty. From the Pujadas brand were additions to its interlinking Cubic buffet display range and new trolleys, while the Mirage induction buffet warmer is now available in a larger 1/1 size. The Cambro brand has also launched light oak style laminated trays.
PFR unveiled the latest addition to its portfolio, Mealplak, which produces customisable boards and tableware from translucent Nacryl. Furthermore, sales manager Charlotte Deykin reported that Mercer’s Barfly barware range, introduced last October, is performing well. The American Metalcraft brand PFR supplies keeps up a swift rate of 150 product launches every 6 months, with one of the latest being a stylish combined oil and vinegar cruset.
T&G Woodware demonstrated new products including its salt and pepper mill funnel, which facilitates mill filling without mess. Key account manager Georgina Hunt pointed out that its Beehive-shaped salt and pepper shakers, as well as its Tip Top inverted mills are proving to be best sellers. She reported that rustic, distressed finishes for buffet displays are also popular.
Elia emphasised that its new Fine Crystal mouthblown glasses are handmade by skilled craftspeople and can create a point of difference at a fine dining restaurant by not only looking high quality but improving wine taste too. The firm also provides a decanter with a groove at the base for easy pouring. Plus its Virtu range comes with a tapered lip which places wine at the back of drinkers’ palates for a different tasting experience.
Row & Sons underlined its customisation capabilities for boards and tableware, with no minimum order number. The Essex-based manufacturer is making a big push on its Apex boards, which can also be used as countertops. These are made from synthetic rubberised and anti-microbial plastic which can self-heal cuts and scratches. It is already used in high end restaurants such as Claridges.
Elsewhere, Dualit’s new Coffee Pro machine is believed to be the one of the first to use coffee capsules and heats via a thermoblock so it does not need to be plumbed in, making it portable. Two dispensers can be used simultaneously at different temperatures, with water drawn from a 2.5litre tank. The unit is scheduled for an August or September launch.
ICTC has added the Wood & Soul range of teak boards to its existing Olive Wood offering. The French La Rochere glassware brand it provides specialises in tactile patterns, including a new Paperclip dessert dish. Catering national accounts manager, Steve O’Loughlin, believes this brand’s products are tough and versatile, as well as being dishwasher safe.
The last session at the forum for Catering Insight’s group was at Metcalfe, whose latest additions include the entry level Medium Line slicer, as well as Halde veg prep machines such as the CC34 combined dicer and food processor unit and quiet operation Ceado blenders. The firm previewed the new Fry Pod mini fryer from Roband too.