Brand News


CH&Co Group reduces salt usage by 28% during Salt Awareness Week

CH&Co Group strengthened its ongoing commitment to minimising salt in its recipes during Salt Awareness Week 2017, reducing the amount used across the business by an impressive 28%.

The group-wide activity demonstrated that by adapting recipes, where possible, with the use of herbs and spices, the amount of salt needed can be decreased.  Every site was challenged to look at its dishes to see where further salt reductions could be made.  Each site weighed the salt used in the kitchens prior to Salt Awareness Week and then for the week itself, to measure the impact of the changes.

Judy Roberts, creative director at CH&Co Group, said: “The results clearly show that by getting creative with herbs, spices and perhaps of dash of lemon or lime, the amount of salt used in recipes can be easily reduced without compromising on taste and flavours. 28% is a significant reduction and if you forecast a potential salt reduction across the business for one year, this figure translates into a mind-blowing four tonnes!

 “Reducing salt in our recipes has been a core focus for the business for many years and it’s a key part of the Chef Nutrition Workshop that we offer.  It’s really important that we help our kitchen teams to understand the role they can play in improving the diets of our customers. The Salt Awareness Week activity was a great way to strengthen our commitment and refocus salt-reduction efforts across our sites. The changes made during the week will benefit our customers ongoing, and our chefs will continue to identify new opportunities to keep salt usage to the minimum.”

The business was also a sponsor for the awareness week that works to increase public knowledge of the health implications of consuming too much salt.


Ampersand and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew launch new botanical dining experience

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Ampersand, CH&Co Group’s specialist venue and visitor attraction catering business, have opened a new dining experience for visitors to the world-famous botanic gardens – The Botanical.

The new table-service restaurant, located in the heart of the Gardens with stunning views of the Palm House and lake, has been specifically designed to enhance the unique Kew Gardens visitor experience. Ampersand is working with horticultural experts at Kew, including top tree man Tony Kirkham, to forage for herbs, plants and flowers within the garden walls to include in the mouth-watering seasonal menu. Meanwhile the curation of the space acknowledges the building’s former role as a museum, with artefacts on display in glass cases.

Serving brunch, lunch and afternoon tea, The Botanical offers modern British dishes and twists on classic favourites that uphold a strong commitment to seasonality and locally-sourced produce, and exceptional service. Reflecting the availability of ingredients and products, the innovative menu will change regularly throughout the year.

Dishes available include, for example, Hand Picked Kew Wild Garlic and Nettle Soup; Pan Fried Sea Bass with mixed grain tabbouleh and roast gem lettuce heart; and Botanical Garden Salad with heritage radish, elderflower and lime dressing.

Athena Morse, Head of Visitor Operations, said: “We are thrilled to have opened The Botanical restaurant, which offers visitors a very different dining experience to our other catering outlets. The view from the building is perhaps one of the best in the Gardens, stretching out across the water to the magnificent Palm House. We are confident that along with this visual feast, Ampersand’s menu, full of exciting, seasonal recipes, will lure visitors back again and again.”

Rob Santos, Operations Manager for Ampersand, said: “The Botanical is so much more than a restaurant. It’s part of the Kew Gardens experience. Visitors can enjoy a delicious bowl of wild garlic and nettle soup, overlooking the Palm House and lake, knowing that the ingredients have been hand-picked in Kew Gardens within walking distance of where they are sitting. There aren’t many restaurants in London that can say that!

“The beauty of The Botanical is that through foraging for some ingredients and forging close relationships with local suppliers, we have the scope to develop the offer throughout the year. Working closely with Kew experts, we will continue to discover exciting ingredients and create innovative dishes that capture the botanical essence of Kew Gardens.”

Advance booking of tables is recommended and can be made online at or on 020 8332 5155. Click here for more information.

Ampersand was appointed caterer at Kew Gardens in September 2016 and provides all catering services for Kew’s 1.5million annual visitors, including the White Peaks café (a family food hall and ice-creamery); Victoria Plaza café (an artisan coffee shop and bakery); the beautiful Orangery restaurant (offering all-day seasonal dishes); and the Pavilion restaurant that provides alfresco dining in the warmer months.


CH&Co Group strengthens learning and development with new team structure and key appointments

CH&Co Group has strengthened its commitment to the training and progression of its employees with a new learning and development team structure and key appointments.

The significant move is part of the business’ focused recruitment and training strategy to attract talent and give all employees the opportunities to develop their skills and knowledge and realise their career ambitions.

The team is responsible for delivering a leadership development programme of bespoke training workshops for everyone from team leaders to operations director; implementing a world-class customer service programme and comprehensive pre-boarding and onboarding for all employees; talent spotting, coaching and mentoring; the CH&Co Group Chef Academy; and apprenticeships.

Heading up the new team are James Godwin, Learning & Development Manager for general training, and Steve Oram, Culinary Learning & Development Manager. They are supported regionally by a newly-formed team of four Learning & Development Trainers.

With strong operational and training expertise, James is responsible for delivering leadership development across CH&Co Group.  He has joined the team from Bill’s Restaurants, where he was Training Manager during the casual dining brand’s rapid period of growth.

An experienced chef with a keen eye for spotting culinary talent, Steve is the driving force behind the CH&Co Group Chef Academy and apprenticeships.  Steve previously worked for Nestlé Professional as Business Development Chef.

The new regional trainers have been appointed from within CH&Co Group. Formerly site managers within business & industry and commercial catering operations, they have a common desire to motivate and nurture their teams and strong knowledge of the business and the hospitality sector. The regional trainers are:

·       Liam Hatcher, L&D Regional Trainer (London)

·       Natalie Williams, L&D Regional Trainer (North)

·       Matt Guyan, L&D Regional Trainer (Midlands)

·       Jules McEachern, L&D Regional Trainer (South)

Alison Gilbert, Group Human Resources Director for CH&Co Group, said: “Learning and development is fundamental to the success of our business.  By giving our people the right support and opportunities to enhance their skills and knowledge and progress their careers, we’re investing in the future of the business.  The new learning and development team is a crucial part of our ongoing recruitment and retention strategy. It’s no secret that the hospitality industry has a recruitment crisis and we need to be in a strong position to attract and keep talented people. The focused training programmes we offer, together with the potential to progress within our diverse business, enables us to do this. And, with regional trainers now visible and accessible at ground level, our employees know that the support is available to help them develop exciting long-term careers with CH&Co Group.”