The wait is over and at last accomplished chef Curtis Stewart has been named as the Head Chef at Manchester's fine dining restaurant and bar Quill.
Mystery has surrounded the identity of the newly appointed Head Chef since the King Street venue hit the headlines this week, as news of… its official opening on Friday October 30th was unveiled.
Since then people have been asking who would be in the kitchen of Quill and today the exclusive venue revealed that Curtis would be taking on the role of Head Chef and offering an A La Carte and 8-course-tasting menu.
Expectations are high and the food is set to be of an exceptional quality with the 27-year-old having worked in fine dining establishments, multiple 4 AA Rosette and 3 AA Rosette restaurants and a number of venues with 2 Michelin Stars.
It is also somewhat of a homecoming for Curtis, who first discovered his love of cooking in his hometown of Bury, Greater Manchester. He also attended Wigan and Leigh catering college and founded his ethos and style, which is based on using simple but high quality ingredients, cooked in an uncomplicated way.
This has developed over his years as a chef and Curtis says he is now confident in being able to express who is and his own distinctive style on a plate, using not so familiar flavour combinations and enhancing the diners experience with modern techniques.
Curtis said: 'I'm delighted and honoured to have been appointed Head Chef at Quill. It's a beautiful venue in the heart of Manchester, a city with a great foodie reputation. We are here to change the scene and will be serving top quality dishes and contemporary cuisine.
'It's exciting for me also to return to my roots at this stage of my career, when I feel I have truly discovered my own style and what I bring to the table.
'It's also fantastic to be part of the launch of Quill and share my vision with the venue and the guests coming through the doors.'
More has also been revealed about the cuisine at Quill, with guests set to enjoy modern British food, with European influences from both the A La Carte and 8-course-tasting menu.
The dining concept promises fine dining and high levels of gastronomy in a comfortable and relaxed environment, without the restrictions formal restaurants once had, and food that plays on perception and touches on nostalgic memories.
Curtis added: 'Quill is a fine dining restaurant and we will be competing with some of the biggest names in the industry, which are right on our doorstep. I want to create a vibe and venue where people come to experience great food and exciting cocktails, but without traditional formality. We are confident our food will surpass expectation and set the standard for the King Street food scene.
'Manchester has made a real mark on the culinary map in recent years, and it finally feels like this city is ready to except refined food.
'Over the last two years I have created a food concept enabling the modern customer to fully submerge themselves in a gastronomic experience. The food we serve will touch something in our guests, whether that is through a not so familiar flavour combination or transforming something ordinary into the extraordinary.'
The venue itself in King Street is also going to be extraordinary and more than £1 million has been invested into Quill, which will offer private dining areas and intimate seating.
Chris Longmate, CEO of On The Wall Group, the restaurant company behind Quill, said: 'The official opening is just around the corner and we cannot wait to see Quill full of guests.
'We are offering a beautiful place where our guests can enjoy excellent food, drink and cocktails in intimate settings.
'Curtis is a great addition to our team and he promises to deliver the highest standard of food every time. The extensive knowledge that Curtis will bring is such an exciting prospect for Quill.'
To book your table visit www.quillmcr.co.uk and get involved with #QUILLISCOMING
Gerard Crowley, co-director of one of the UK's leading corporate team building businesses, Team Challenge Company, reflects on the growing trend of digital gamification in the corporate and events market.
Many of us have been to a conference, company away day or training session and left feeling uninspired, unmotivated,… and, frankly, bored. Games used for team building have always been popular and now digital gamification is crossing the pond with the aim of engaging delegates, increasing learning and boosting teamwork.
Already seen at TEDx events around the world and at the international internet society forum InterCommunity 2015, interactive challenges and team building activities have been bringing colleagues closer while turning corporate events into adult playgrounds.
Gamification is the art of applying elements of a game to routine tasks, to encourage and motivate people to increased productivity, teamwork and engagement. Since 2010, 350 companies have launched gamification projects and Gartner, the world's leading information technology research and advisory company, predicted that 70 per cent of Forbes Global 2000 companies would introduce gamification to boost engagement, retention and revenues by the end of last year.
This trend is now making its way into the team building and conferencing industry in the UK; with groups of corporate professionals seen juggling, singing, contorting and ultimately working together to complete fun challenges, encouraged and lead by gamification software.
The days of flipcharts and awkward conversations with the stranger next to you appear to be numbered. The industry is increasingly moving towards advanced digital technology which encompasses the best team building activities of the past, such as role play and tug of war, and brings it into the digital age.
We have found that by introducing mobile and tablet-based team building apps at conferences, corporate events or company away days, not only provides a welcome respite from heavy content, it puts the delegates first and adds purpose.
Team Challenge Company has recently introduced the most advanced treasure hunt app, Go Team, to the Scottish market and it has proved a hit in the corporate market. The app allows us to create bespoke real-time team building activities which can be developed to foster role allocation, co-ordination and planning between colleagues.
Our purpose is what drives us, and when you present teams of people with a common goal, it promotes camaraderie, competition, and a sense of accomplishment. The perfect outcome for both organiser and delegate.
To find out more about Team Challenge Company's Go Team events, visit www.teamchallenge-company.co.uk.
The Venue Expo, the premier exhibition in the North for the UK events industry, has reported strong statistics for its 2015 show. Organisers, UKFE confirm that the event is tantamount to the absolute need for this leading event in the North and are pleased to have shown growth year on… year with visitor attendance and are excited to grow and develop the proposition furthermore.
The 2015 edition held at the brand new Exhibition Centre Liverpool, on 8-9th September had over 3400 visitors across the two show days and had over 800 qualified hosted buyer meetings which was a new element for the event.
The focus this year for the event surrounded increasing the quality of the buyer for the Venue Expo participants.
Joseph Davies Show Manager said "The introduction of Hosted Buyer meetings this year underpinned our intentions to target a high quality qualified buyer for the show. Our partnership with procurement agency Helms Briscoe proved to be a great success bringing both UK based and international buyers to the event."
One of the Hosted Buyers, Rob Harrison - Associate Regional Vice President from HelmsBriscoe was quoted as saying:
"Being a hosted buyer is a great way to visit a show like this. The travel and accommodation at Jurys Inn were fantastically organised and the whole process was extremely smooth. The exhibitors were high quality and a great representation from the UK and specifically the North West. The venue is great and I look forward to seeing the show grow and thrive'.
Also, one of our exhibitors and sponsors Colm Graham from Eikon Exhibition Centre had the following to say:
'The Venue Expo surpassed our expectations, allowing us to interact on a personal level to well over 200 Hosted Buyer's and VIP's from all aspects of the events industry. We have numerous quality leads which we are progressing and ultimately we aim to bring a large number of new exhibitions and events to our venue. We would highly recommend The Venue Expo as a market leading event in the MICE industry and we look forward to sponsoring again in the same capacity in 2016.'
The show floor doubled year on year to over 5000sq metres and the number of exhibiting brands exceeded 150.
New features area; PA Hub sponsored by The PA Hub was a highlight of the event. Over 500 PAs attended the event and seminars in this respect were very well received. This element of the show has provided a great platform for opportunity to develop this element further. Jon Lawrence, Director at The PA Hub had this to say:
'It was great to be part of this year's Venue Expo in Liverpool giving us the opportunity to bring PAs to the exhibition, join our networking events to learn and develop at The PA Hub Stage. With a variety of relevant topics, The PA Hub were responsible for running the PA seminar programme where top speakers could deliver high quality related sessions within the show. With a fantastic variety of exhibitors, The PA Hub were delighted to bring top PAs to the event from various regions. We are all about collaboration, networking and bringing PAs together to share good practice and develop. The show gave further opportunity to introduce the assistants to some of the best venues and suppliers that are relevant to help them in their roles and the quality of the exhibitors was second to none.'
The hard work for the 2016 show has already commenced and our focus is to constantly develop and improve the proposition in all regards. The Venue Team are introducing focus and steering groups with influential experts across the different streams of the event to underpin the strategy and have some fantastic news on the precipice of being announced which will add great strength, positioning the show's improvements to ensure that the visitor experience is strong and exhibitors maximise their investment.
Brett Bienias Head of Events and Marketing at UKFE commented; "We have learned a number of critical lessons this year on what aspects of the show worked and which not so well and we are very enthusiastic to working with the industry to further evolve the Venue Expo for next year and beyond. The new plans due to be announced later on this week will be an indication of the great things to come for our industry in the North."
Echo Arena Liverpool has appointed a concert sales co-ordinator.
Robbie Owen has been recruited to the newly created role from his previous position as a client account manager in the venue's ticketing department. He will be responsible for liaising with concert promoters as well as booking and managing the programme of… events.
He joined The ACC Liverpool Group, also home to BT Convention Centre and Exhibition Centre Liverpool, prior to opening in 2008.
Owen said: 'I have worked for The ACC Liverpool Group since the venue opened more than seven years ago and have built up a strong network of contacts in that time.
'I am looking forward to working with promoters to ensure we maintain a diverse range of events - not just in the arena but across all our venues including EchoTwo and The Auditorium Liverpool.
'Exhibition Centre Liverpool, opening in September, has capacity for 6,000 for standing concerts and we are currently developing an exciting entertainment programme in our new facility which we hope to announce soon.'
Echo Arena Liverpool has hosted artists such as Sir Paul McCartney, Beyonce and Katy Perry. Forthcoming highlights include Michael McIntyre, Duran Duran and Dynamo.
Sun 29th November 2015
Rendezvous 1, Manchester
Wed 2nd December 2015
Westminster Cathedral, SW1P 1QW
Thu 3rd December 2015
O2 Arena, London
Fri 4th December 2015
Beamish Museum, Beamish, County Durham DH9 0RG