Brand News


The Lusso Barista Championship serves a winner

Lusso, the specialist City caterer and part of CH&Co Group, has crowned Sylvia Begun its number one barista at the Lusso Barista Championship 2017.

The gifted barista showed first-class technical skills, knowledge and creativity at the final to beat tough competition and claim the title.

Among other prizes, Sylvia will enjoy an educational five-day coffee trip to Bologna, where she will learn all about coffee, from production through to service, and enjoy tasting some of Italy’s finest!

The Lusso Barista Championship, which is delivered in partnership with coffee supplier Bewleys, celebrates the UK coffee culture and upholds Lusso’s commitment to quality coffee prepared and served by talented, professional baristas, and developing the skills of its employees.

Demonstrating the consistent excellence of the Lusso coffee offer, every site was ‘mystery shopped’ in order to select the ten finalists, who then received specialist competition coaching at the Barista Academy.

At the final, competitors were challenged with producing and serving an espresso, a cappuccino and their own signature drink in a strict time frame that included preparation and clearing. The panel of expert judges, which featured an international competition judge, were looking for technical skills, taste, knowledge of the drink and coffee blends, as well as organisation and hygiene practices.

Lidia Concilio scooped second place and the Best Signature Coffee accolade for her Raspberry Coffee Caipirinha, and Giulia Mastino took third place.

Paul Hurren, Lusso’s managing director, said: “The Lusso Barista Championship was a brilliant event. The talent and enthusiasm of all the competing baristas was palpable. Huge congratulations to our winner, Sylvia, but also to all the competitors who did a fantastic job. “Coffee is a very important part of the Lusso offer and this competition demonstrates just how seriously we take it. Every finalist delivered an exceptional standard of skill and creativity that our customers will see every day at our sites. Our customers can also expect to see Lidia’s winning signature coffee on the menu next year, as it will be our special edition Summer 2018 drink.”

The Lusso Barista Championship took place at PRS for Music, King’s Cross, and was attended by Lusso and Bewleys colleagues and Lusso clients.


CH&Co Group’s ‘four-midable’ awards success!

CH&Co Group is celebrating award success with four coveted industry titles that recognise the exceptional talent that has been developed within its teams.

Laura Amos, the talented catering manager for Ampersand at the Palace of Holyroodhouse was crowned Employee of the Year at the CiS (Catering in Scotland) Excellence Awards 2017.  Popular and respected by her client, customers and team, she scooped the award for her forward-thinking approach and innovative marketing ideas that have made a real difference to the success of the catering operation – notably increasing afternoon tea sales by an astounding 400% in 2016 and visitor numbers by 30,000.

At the Craft Guild of Chefs Awards 2017, two brilliant chefs at very different stages of their careers were recognised with awards and the exclusive winners’ dinner jackets. Karen Poynter, the inspirational executive chef for the commercial division, won the Banqueting and Event Chef Award for her culinary excellence and flair that ensure exacting standards and capture the essence of each unique venue within the portfolio, and her commitment to nurturing talent within the business and wider industry.  

Ben Garnett-Sinclair, chef de partie and rising star at Lusso, claimed the Young Chef Award just two years after winning the Craft Guild of Chefs Apprentice Chef Award! Eager to learn and progress his skills and knowledge, Ben seizes every opportunity with passion, drive and creativity, from developing his culinary talent in the Lusso kitchen to mentoring at the CH&Co Group Chef Academy and representing the business in culinary competitions.

Callum Curtis-Bennett, deputy general manager at Westminster School for Brookwood, is an Acorn Award winner. It’s no surprise he has been recognised as one of hospitality’s 30 ‘ones to watch’ under the age of 30, as four years ago, at just 22, Callum became one of the youngest operations managers in the industry. His contribution includes significant business wins and cost savings, as well as supporting and mentoring his colleagues.  At Westminster, this has contributed to 95% staff retention rate. 


Bill Toner, CEO of CH&Co Group, said: “Congratulations to our award winners!  This is a great achievement for the individuals involved and for the business. All of them have shown fantastic dedication, expertise and talent in their roles and they deserve the prestigious recognition they’ve received. We’re privileged to have exceptional people working throughout the business and we’re committed to developing them and helping them to be the very best that they can.  Laura, Karen, Ben and Callum exemplify this ethos and we wish them, and all the other shining stars in the business, ongoing success.”


CH&Co Group and Harbour & Jones announce merger

Harbour & Jones, the independent and innovative caterer, has merged with CH&Co Group in a move that enhances the group’s diverse portfolio of specialist businesses and strengthens its position across the hospitality market, and particularly in education and the London region. 

The merger increases the Group’s turnover to £265m and it will now provide catering at over 700 sites across the UK and Ireland, employing more than 6,000 people. 

Harbour & Jones’ founders and managing partners, Patrick Harbour and Nathan Jones, will continue in their roles and the business and its brands, H+J, Fare, Tonic, Principals and Upfront, will maintain the names for which they are known and respected.

As the catering market continues to be increasingly competitive and challenging, compounded by global political influences, merging the resources and expertise of these two progressive companies will extend the reach of both in the business and industry, leisure, heritage, events, and education sectors, allowing them to continue to vigorously compete and grow.  

The deal is the right fit for both companies, says CH&Co Group’s CEO, Bill Toner, “Harbour & Jones and CH&Co Group are both dynamic businesses enjoying sustained growth. By combining our assets, knowledge, skills and expertise we will increase our strength to compete across the board, which is a very exciting prospect.”

“CH&Co Group is a collection of small businesses with their own distinct characters and specialisms. We’ve undertaken a number of mergers in recent years and have proven that being part of a larger company doesn’t dilute a business’ personality or personal touch. Quite the opposite in fact, it gives each one access to the group’s robust resources, systems and support to allow them to continually innovate and vigorously compete. We’re thrilled to have Harbour & Jones join the CH&Co Group family and we look forward to realising the opportunities this merger creates for the business, our clients and our teams.”  

Harbour & Jones’ co-founders, Patrick Harbour and Nathan Jones, will continue in their roles as Managing Partners. Harbour said, “For our clients and our teams it’s very much business as usual. We’ll continue to deliver the great food and service for which we have become known but behind the scenes we’ll be looking at how we can all pool our creativity and our verve to strengthen all the businesses within the newly-expanded CH&Co family. I’m looking forward to working with our new colleagues in the merged business and excited by the opportunities it will bring for all of us.” 

Jones continues, “It’s been clear from the outset that CH&Co Group is a great fit for Harbour & Jones. The merger also makes sense on a cultural level. Both businesses are made up of well-established, high-calibre brands with strong values. We’re driven by a desire to deliver delicious, innovative food and great service, and to uphold our strong reputation for looking after people.”