Emirates Arena caterer wins food gold medal

22 March 2013

Encore Hospitality Services has won national recognition for the standard of its catering operation at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena. The Soil Association’s Gold Food for Life Catering Mark was given to Encore, the external contract catering business of Cordia, the arm’s-length company formed by Glasgow City Council to run its frontline services.

Encore has achieved the award for the 50,500 meals they serve every year at the Emirates Arena Café. The Emirates Arena is the first leisure facility in the UK to hold the Gold Catering Mark.

The award was presented by Laura Stewart, Director, Soil Association Scotland, at the AGM and Annual Conference of Scotland Food and Drink, fittingly held at the Emirates Arena.

The Food for Life Catering Mark is a unique, UK-wide scheme which rewards public and private sector caterers who serve fresh food that is free from controversial additives and better for animal welfare.

The Bronze, Silver and Gold levels offer a step-by-step route to using more local, free range, fair trade and organic ingredients to produce healthier menus. Caterers who achieve Gold are awarded points for offering a wide range of organic, free range and locally sourced ingredients, and their credentials are subsequently put under the microscope by Soil Association inspectors.

The Emirates Arena Café serves an average of 140 meals daily, which equates to more than 50,500 every year. The menu, which is prepared entirely on site, is based on a seasonal rotation and includes:

• Fresh meat, fish and free range eggs sourced from Scotland
• Salmon that is Freedom Food certified
• Organic milk and dried goods

Ross McKenzie, Encore’s commercial operations manager at the Emirates Arena, said: “It’s marvellous that our commitment to serving fresh, local and organic food has been recognised like this. We are proud of the work of our catering manager Brian Martin, head chef Ross Welch and their team, who have taken on the Soil Association’s Food for Life challenge with a determination that wouldn’t let them stop until they’d reached the Gold level.

“I know our customers will enjoy their meals all the more, knowing that our meals are freshly prepared using a range of organic and locally sourced ingredients. The Emirates is a Commonwealth Games venue that should showcase the best that Glasgow and Scotland has to offer, and the standard of food is an important part of that.”

Soil Association Scotland Director Laura Stewart said: “Encore is leading the way at the Emirates Arena as the only leisure facility in the UK to hold the Gold Food for Life Catering Mark. It is testament to the Encore team’s hard work and commitment to providing more fresh, local and organic food and to driving excellence in catering in Scotland’s tourism and leisure industry.

“Our Food for Life Catering Mark is the UK’s only independent certification scheme setting and auditing standards of traceability, quality and provenance for meals. It is a unique award which addresses many of the issues consumers are most concerned about, especially in these highly unsettling times when trust in our food system is strongly and publicly questioned. 
“In the run up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games, we hope Encore’s achievement at one of Scotland’s flagship arenas will pave the way for more leisure and tourism venues to work towards the Catering Mark standards, celebrating local and organic produce and paving the way for a healthy, sustainable food legacy for Scotland.”

Find out more about the Food for Life Catering Mark and the Food for Life Scotland programme.


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