Brand News


The Orangery at Kensington Palace wins global award for ambiance and atmosphere

The team at The Orangery, Kensington Palace, is celebrating winning the Best Ambiance & Romantic Atmosphere Award, Northern Europe at the World Luxury Restaurant Awards 2017.

Set within the idyllic grounds of Kensington Palace, The Orangery, which is run by Historic Royal Palaces and its catering partner Ampersand, CH&Co Group's specialist commercial division, is a stunning and memorable dining destination. The spectacular example of baroque architecture houses an elegant a la carte restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. It attracts over 100,000 visitors a year who enjoy an indulgent and historic regal dining experience. With soaring vaulted ceilings, imposing colonnades and a spacious terrace, the restaurant is light and airy, creating a luxurious and relaxing atmosphere. Its terrace also offers enviable views of the palace's well-manicured formal gardens, cared for by Historic Royal palaces.

Commissioned by Queen Anne and built in 1704-5, the magnificent structure, which is thought to have been designed by architect Nicolas Hawksmoor, was created in the style of the grand palace to serve as a greenhouse to protect Queen Anne's citrus trees from the harsh frosts of winter, and also as a sophisticated venue for fashionable alfresco court entertaining away from the hubbub of Whitehall.

Ricky Anthony, catering liaison manager for HRP, comments: "We are thrilled to have won this award. Dining at The Orangery is a unique experience that can't be found anywhere else in London. We're very proud of the distinct ambiance that the breath-taking setting, architecture, delicious food, fine service and history create."

Andrew Gittins, General Manager at The Orangery for Ampersand, said: "We work very closely with our partners at Historic Royal Palaces to create a unique dining experience at The Orangery, so we're thrilled to win this award. It's the only royal palace in London where afternoon tea can be enjoyed all year round and our tables, dressed with crisp white linen and bespoke Kensington Palace china, add to the splendour of this special dining occasion. It really is so easy for guests to become absorbed in the venue's historic atmosphere and forget that the hustle and bustle of central London is only a stone's throw away."

Diners at The Orangery can choose from a selection of delicious breakfasts or lunches from a menu featuring British food, locally sourced wherever possible. The venue is also famous for its Afternoon Tea, which has been specially designed to reflect its heritage. As well as a delicious selection of sandwiches, scones and pastries, the afternoon tea orange-scented fruit scone is a showstopper. The recipe, which can be found in the book called 'Tea fit for a Queen' that was published in association with Historic Royal Palaces, pays homage to Queen Anne and the collection of citrus trees she housed in the building.

The World Luxury Restaurant Awards recognise culinary excellence and memorable experiences, from outstanding atmosphere to service. It is open to luxury restaurants operating within any luxury or niche market and offering high quality food and service. The awards aim to highlight special features of restaurants, thereby increasing competition globally and ultimately raising the level of food quality and the standards of service in the luxury restaurant industry.


CH&Co Group's commercial division ups the ante with key appointments and promotions

CH&Co Group's commercial division has strengthened its commitment to providing the best innovative food and service to its clients through key operational and culinary appointments and promotions. This is part of the strategy to drive strong growth for the division, which includes the brands Ampersand, Ampersand Events, and Chester Boyd, and make it the catering partner of choice for the UK's venues, visitor attractions and events market.

Sean Ritson has joined the team as Operational Director - Commercial. In this pivotal role, Sean is responsible for generating organic growth with the existing customer base, retaining all current contracts and driving future growth opportunities. He brings to the team 15 years of experience in the competitive field of commercial retail businesses, having previously worked for some of Compass' largest commercial B&I contracts and most recently as business director for bartlett mitchell, responsible for the Central London Business and Inn or Out Events. Sean's skills in successfully motivating teams and delivering for both company and clients in high-volume environments, niche contracts and premium city contracts are perfect for CH&Co Group's diverse commercial division.

Meanwhile, the commercial culinary team has also been strengthened with promotions that recognise the achievements of chefs from within the Group. The talented, Craft Guild of Chefs award-winning, Karen Poynter, has been promoted to Executive Chef – Commercial. Owen Hurley has also been promoted to Day Visitor Catering Development Chef and Luke Smith is now Executive Support Chef for Ampersand. As executive chef, Karen will support Owen and Luke to develop menus that meet and exceed the expectations of today's demanding consumer. Their focus will be on ensuring the culinary teams continue producing innovative, seasonal dishes using fresh, quality ingredients with provenance that reflects the latest culinary trends and capture the individuality of each venue - from visitor attractions and historic royal palaces to London’s esteemed livery halls and unique event venues. Karen is celebrated for her dedication and enthusiasm to mentoring and nurturing culinary talent within CH&Co Group and the wider industry. In her new role, she will continue to develop rising stars and encourage more female chefs to embrace an exciting career in hospitality.

Robin Bidgood, managing director of CH&Co Group's commercial division describes the changes as excellent news for the business and its clients: "We cater for a diverse range of commercial clients, from well-known visitor attractions and heritage sites to prestigious livery halls and venues, and have a strong reputation for creativity and high standards that capture the individuality of each one. The changes within the team will enhance our ability to deliver innovative food and service and meet our goal of being the caterer of choice in the commercial catering market. They will also help us attract new employees to our team and develop talent. The commercial division is stronger than ever and our clients, new and existing, will benefit from our expertise and innovation, whilst we continue to maximise growth opportunities for the business."

CH&Co Group's commercial business provides exceptional catering and service to a diverse portfolio of clients including: visitor attractions catering, such as ZSL London Zoo, Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; London's revered livery halls; Historic Royal Palaces such as Kensington Palace and Hampton Court; and bespoke event catering at some of London’s most unique venues.


CH&Co Group is shortlisted for five Foodservice Cateys

CH&Co Group is celebrating the achievements of its teams and individuals from across the business that have been shortlisted in five categories of the Foodservice Cateys 2017.

The Foodservice Cateys recognise those making a stand-out contribution to contract catering and positively shaping the foodservice industry. CH&Co Group's specialist city caterer, Lusso, is a finalists for this year's Business & Industry Caterer of the Year and the HR Team's achievements over the last 12 months have been recognised in the HR Award category. In addition, the Regional Manager of the Year shortlist includes, Rachel Dargie, Operations Manager for the group's state school caterer, ABsolutely Catering, and two chefs from Harbour & Jones are in the running - Darren Archer for Chef of the Year and Hanke Fischer for Chef Manager of the Year.

Bill Toner, group CEO for CH&Co Group, comments: "Once again so many of our brilliant teams and individuals are finalists in this year’s Foodservice Cateys. Making the shortlist and being recognised by the industry is testament to the daily dedication and hardwork of all our teams. Good luck to everyone on awards night!"

The Foodservice Cateys winners will be announced on the evening of 13 October at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.