A Recipe for Growth

Bookings are now open for the HTA Catering Conference 2018, ‘A Recipe for Growth’, which takes place on Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 June at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. This successful two-day event and dinner is aimed at all those in garden centre catering from business owners and managers to chefs and front of house staff.

The conference this year moves to a new apt venue – Birmingham Botanical Gardens, which provides a great in-keeping back drop to the event. Alongside the conference and dinner there will be an exhibition showcasing garden centre catering suppliers with plenty
of opportunity for networking with peers across the industry.


Amongst the first speakers to be confirmed for the conference are Jim Cregan, Founder of Jimmy’s Iced Coffee’s. After getting incredibly frustrated with working as a labourer, shifting bricks in the winter and hosting major UK festival stages dressed as a mermaid in the summer, Jim realised enough was enough and decided to head to Oz, it was there he fell in love with iced coffee and returned home to start his own company. Jimmy’s Iced Coffee was formed in 2011 and with his sister as his business partner, a great deal of hard work and enthusiasm, they’ve built a successful business in the UK.

Jim will be the keynote speaker on Tuesday 5 June where the focus for the day is on strategy and operations.


Caroline Cooper from Naturally Loyal

Employee engagement ideas (Naturally Loyal)

Caroline Cooper will provide tips and guidance on catering staffing issues including recruitment and retention. A poor choice of recruitment can cost you dearly - hear Caroline's advice on how to get it right. She will be speaking on Tuesday 5 June.

Josh Brown, Head of Commercial Development at Harris + Hoole will be talking about starting up, running and selling an independant coffee shop before joining Harris + Hoole. Since joining Harris + Hoole there has been a rapid growth and a sake to Caffe Nero group in 2016.

At the dinner on Tuesday 5 June, we will be joined by the TV chef Rosemary Shrager. Rosemary endeared herself to the nation when she took part in 'I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here' where she proved she could cook just about anything, anywhere.   Her latest programmes include The Big Family Cooking Showdown which aired on BBC 2 in 2017.  Rosemary was also a part of the very successful The Real Marigold Hotel which aired in early 2016 on BBC to great acclaim and was nominated for and won a string of awards. 

The second day of the conference, Wednesday 6 June, focusses on food. We will be joined by Paul Hargreaves, Founder and Chief Exec of Cotswold Fayre, a speciality & fine food wholesaler. Paul will be focusing his session on food trends to watch out for throughout 2018 and into 2019.

Jane Land, Founder of Veganuary, a charity that has encouraged over 200,000 people to try vegan for the month of January, will also be joining us on day two. With millennials moving towards meat free and free from foods, Jane will be talking about how you can make sure you are catering for all diets and why this shift in attitude towards plant based diet is gaining momentum.

Eco Chef, Food Waste Activist and Author , Tom Hunt , is also founder of Forgotten Feast, a Social Enterprise working on projects throughout the UK to revive our cooking heritage and help reduce food waste and will give an inspiring talk on his learnings on day two. 


James Debbage from the award winning Green Pastures Garden Centre in Norfolk will provide an update on their innovative approach to catering including their colourful home-grown salads, afternoon tea served in a trug and ice cream sundaes served in a ceramic welly boot!

Watch a summary video of James in action (see right)


HTA Communications Manager Gill Ormrod comments, “The HTA Catering Conference provides an unrivalled opportunity for all those involved in garden centre catering to get the latest ideas and inspiration about trends, issues and views from the industry and the wider hospitality sector. With the new venue of Birmingham Botanic Gardens this year’s events promises to be better than ever!”

Exhibitors booked to attend so far include BIRA, Citation, Frobishers Juices Ltd, The Handmade Cake Company, Vision Commercial Kitchens, Beanworks Coffee, Matthew Algie & Co, Tea from the Manor, Dawn Foods, Eden Furniture, Funnybones Foodservice, Jestic Foodservice, Pleydell Smithyman Limited, Quorn Foods, Review Systems, SL Kids, Space Group, Glee, Cake Brands, Organix , Aramark, and Country Choice.

For details about sponsorship opportunities at the event please contact the HTA Commercial team:  Tim Bell on 07808 775177 /  tim.bell@hta.org.uk or Phil Swainston on01235 776181 / phil.swainston@hta.org.uk



Deborah Gould, Catering Manager, Ferndale Garden Centre...
“The HTA Catering Conference makes you think about ways to improve"

​​​​Melanie Sewell, Catering Director and Co-owner, Fron Goch Garden Centre...
“Discussing with others about specific issues and getting ideas on how to improve was most useful. I also found the wage versus food costs helpful and interesting”

Claire Martinsen, Founder & Owner, Breckland Orchard...
“A perfect opportunity to network with key contacts from the sector"

Caroline Long, Personnel and Training Manager, Associated Independent Stores Ltd...
“I found this event a fantastic source of information, really insightful and inspirational”

Take a look at our review from last year's HTA Catering Conference 


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