July 2022

University restaurant best for business networking in Midlands hospitality awards

By Melanie Hall

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Our award-winning Restaurant at Birmingham College of Food is officially the best place in the Midlands for businesses to network over great food, drink and service. 

University College Birmingham’s restaurant, where students get to cook for and serve real customers to boost their confidence and industry skills, won Networking Venue of the Year at the 2022 Midlands Food, Drink & Hospitality Awards. 

The event was attended by hundreds of movers and shakers from the food, drink and hospitality sector at the Eastside Rooms conference facility in Birmingham. 

"The food was of a much higher standard than the many meals I’ve been served in restaurants over the years"

Karyl Iles National Vice-president, Arbonne International

Lewis Walker, Deputy Head at Birmingham College of Food, collected the award on behalf of the department and commercial teams at the University. 

He said: “It’s real kudos winning this award, we are all incredibly happy after all the challenges of the last few years and the impact they’ve had on the sector. 

“We are an educational training restaurant, but are also very much woven into the fabric of the city. We support regional business events of all types and nature, including corporate hospitality and venue hire, which is great exposure for students and the chance to cook for and serve prestigious clients. It’s exciting for them.” 

Based at the University’s Summer Row campus, the restaurant was up for the award after being nominated alongside a shortlist of other top regional venues by award sponsor the Phoenix Business Club. 

As one of Birmingham’s largest, longest established business networking event organisers, the club hosted its annual members’ lunch at the venue in May. 

Over 90 business guests were wined and dined at the three-course meal, delivered by a team of 20 Culinary Arts ManagementProfessional Cookery and Mixology, Advanced Wine, Supervision and Events students under guidance of lecturing staff. 

Guest Andrew Jones, partner at Haines Watts chartered accountants, said: “My experience was fantastic. The food was great, the service was really, really good and the staff were very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. I actually didn’t realise that the university had a restaurant but I will now definitely be back.” 

Guest Karyl Iles, National Vice-president of Arbonne International, said: “The food was of a much higher standard than the many meals I’ve been served in restaurants over the years. Loved the attention to detail, like the mini ‘logs’ of butter. 

“The service was also seamless and the students coped incredibly well with nearly 100 guests. I wish I ran a restaurant, I’d know where to come for future staff! Can’t wait to make a return visit.” 

In pictures: Restaurant at Birmingham College of Food

The last time the Midlands Food, Drink & Hospitality Awards were able to take place was in 2019, with lockdowns effectively shutting down the hospitality sector. 

Sponsored by Alberts Schloss, Bootcamp Media, Elonex, Flying Buffalo, Hollywood Monster, Lets Sanify, Too Good To Go, Touchwood, Stephenson’s and Swallow Drinks, #MFDHA22 was hosted by awards founders and organisers Anita Chumber and Ifraz Ahmed, with support from food consultant and author Nitisha Patel and Conrad Brunton from Tonic Talent – both University College Birmingham alumni. 

Organisers said: “This sector has had the most challenging time over the past couple of years, but it continues to fight on with passion and commitment. We want to recognise and celebrate this. 

“The food, drink and hospitality sector is the backbone of cities and regions up and down the country, generating jobs, revenue and communities that support the cities' overall infrastructure.” 

Find out more about hiring Restaurant at Birmingham College of Food for a business or networking event, as well as the University’s other commercial hire venues.

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