A day in the life at LACA Main Event
Welcome to a day in the life at the LACA Main Event! I better start by introducing myself…my name is Cally and I’m the Customer Marketing Executive for education (if you’ve ever wondered who creates the termly school newsletters or who’s on the team behind Compete with the Street, that’s me!).
Earlier this month I attended the LACA Main Event, the only national event dedicated to the school food sector. Not only did we have a stand dedicated to Retro Love desserts, we also had a guest speaker slot to talk about Global Food and Drink Trends 2023 which Emily (our Customer Marketing Manager) and Wayne Wright (our Education Culinary Development Chef) presented. I saw and learnt so much and it was such a good day, so I thought I’d share with you my day at LACA.
9:30 am – Arrive
I took the train into Birmingham and walked to the show, but not before grabbing a big cup of coffee!
9:45 – Checking out the Bidfood stand
I thought it might be quite difficult to find our stand, but there was no way to miss it! We did a Retro Love themed dessert bar which was a pick n’ mix set up.
Chef Wayne, our resident education chef, created the menu to focus on food waste and cost saving. We had toppings such as caramelised leftover bread and banana skin & curry dusting. We love a good food waste solution.
10:30 – Saying hello to our chefs of the day
We had two of our chefs on the stand: Wayne and Stuart, both experts in education catering
Here’s what Chef Wayne had to say about the day:
“My favourite part of education catering is creating recipe and menu solutions for our customers to support them with cost-saving whilst meeting school food standards.
People were surprised that we made a bold move to showcase desserts, but the cost-saving and innovation side of things went down so well. Especially as the recipes took into consideration nutrition for the children!
My favourite topping on our stand was the Indian banana and katsu dusting. This is one of the trends we’ve seen this year and moving into next year, so I thought why not try it! It’s a bit of a mad mix but everyone enjoyed it”
10:30 – Saying hello to Pat Fellows
We also had a guest visit our stand, our expert consultant (and good friend!) Patricia Fellows MBE. With decades of experience in school catering as well as being a former LACA Chair, she is like school catering royalty and brimming with great insight. It was really nice to catch up with her and get planning on future projects…
10:30 – 11:00 – Practice time
Then it was time for Emily and Wayne to get practicing for their guest speaker slot later in the day. They were a bit nervous but I knew they would smash it out the park (spoiler alert, they did).
11:00 – 11:30 – SCOTY competition
There was so much to see around the exhibition including the annual SCOTY (School Chef of the Year) competition which is always thrilling. You can really feel the tension in the air and it was great to see the latest innovations in school recipes.
11:30 – 12:00 – Live demo
Then it was one of my favourite parts of the day…the live demo of pasta. To be honest, LACA is a dream for any foodie, especially the live demos and taste testing parts. This ravioli was delicious and it was great to see how few ingredients it takes to create dishes suitable for a range of students.
12:00 – 13:30 – Walking around the exhibition
I then took a walk around the exhibition stands to see the new products from some of our suppliers and take a look at new and upcoming food companies. There was a really cool exercise bike which generated energy to blend a smoothie, and (guess what), even more pasta to taste test which Emily and I loved.
13:30 – Quick stop to try out our food waste and cost saving desserts
Before the main event of the day, we headed back to our stand to try out some of our food waste desserts and I have to say, the chefs smashed it.
My personal favourite combo was the soft serve ice cream topped with the strawberry, watermelon and basil salsa as well as the burnt honey and cardamom sauce.
15:45 – 16:15 – Global food and drink trends
Then it was finally time for what we’d been waiting for all day – Wayne and Emily’s talk on Global Food and Drink trends! They covered a range of topics from unusual flavour fusions to retro themed desserts, to pizza evolution and how these trends can be easily applied in schools. So many people turned up to see the talk and it went down so well.
Don’t worry if you missed the session though, we have all you need to know about our 2023 Food and Drink Trends here.
16:30 – Celebration
From Wayne and Emily’s talk to raising over £8,500 for Prostate Cancer UK, there was lots to celebrate this year. Here is all of us back at the stand to celebrate some of the team’s achievements before wrapping up for the day.
16:45 – Going home
Before I knew it, it was time to go home! It was a busy day at the show and I saw so much from new innovation, to recipe inspiration, to learning insights; it was well worth going.
On the train back I edited some of the footage from the day into a Day in the Life video for our social media channels (check out the video below and please give us a follow if you don’t already at @BidfoodUK!)
Thanks for coming along to a Day in the Life with me, and I hope you enjoyed getting some insight into what a day at LACA is like from the POV of a marketing executive at Bidfood.
For information on how we can provide catering for schools cross the UK, click here.
Be sure to check out our previous blogs on supporting your schools too!