Catering centre of excellence opens in Bristol

Britain’s first catering exhibition centre offering a permanent home for more than 50 top equipment brands has opened its doors in Bristol.

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The National Catering Equipment Centre (NCEC) showcases products from many of the leading equipment brands, offering a one-stop location for anyone interested in the catering world.

Unique venue

The NCEC is being called a centre of excellence within the catering industry and aims to offer a unique venue in which everyone from chefs and consultants to dealers and operators can train, network, discover and learn more about all aspects of the catering equipment sector.

The centre has a fully-operational demonstration and training kitchen. This is the home of the onsite development chef at the NCEC, Dean Starling. He is available to offer advice on every type of equipment, from commercial warewashers to any other item sold by the likes of www.247cateringsupplies.co.uk/. He is also on hand to help with onsite catering enquiries and give tips on menu development.

Some of the leading brands to commit to the NCEC project include Samsung, Olympia, Dynamic, Thor, Hoshizaki, Burco, Winterhalter, Pira, Lincat, LEC, Polar, Waring, Buffalo, Steelite and Churchill.

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Laura Clarkson, the manager of the NCEC, said that the centre was the new home of the hospitality industry in the same way that Twickenham is home to rugby and Wembley is a footballing base. She added that the NCEC look set to quickly become a must-visit location for anyone with an interest in catering equipment, including chefs, consultants, operators, distributors and dealers.

Keith Warren, the director of the Catering Equipment Suppliers’ Association, or CESA, has welcomed the new effort.

He called the project an “exciting initiative”, offering customers the chance to test equipment before buying it and offering a vital service for the supply chain and operators alike.

Official opening

CESA chairman Glenn Roberts officially cut the ribbon at the centre on September 19 before an audience of 200 invited guests.

The centre will now offer visitors an opportunity to view, touch and test out a huge array of equipment, ranging from combi ovens to tableware.

Mr Roberts said that the NCEC could become an extremely valuable educational venue, offering a location in which to gain practical experience to back up the knowledge learned in training schemes like the CFSP and Principles of Foodservice from CESA.

Are on-premise IT solutions really more secure than the cloud?

Cloud sceptics have argued for years that security in the cloud could never match the on-site equivalent; however, as more businesses make the leap, is cloud computing really a security risk in comparison with traditional in-house solutions?

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Cloud ubiquity

The question of cloud security is one that should really be considered more closely by organisations of all sizes, especially as many firms are currently incapable of adopting this type of outsourced IT platform because they do not have skilled staff to handle the migration securely.

A lack of understanding is seemingly to blame for the anxiety levels surrounding the cloud, with even businesses that have embraced it often unwilling to transfer mission-critical apps and data to services hosted by third-party vendors.

Successful breaches have further sullied the cloud’s reputation, with Apple’s iCloud suffering the most widely publicised attack back in 2014. The fact that social engineering techniques and human error were used to make this a success has largely been ignored in many circles.

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Realistic concerns

To get away from the speculation and the false assumptions, it makes sense to compare on-site IT and the cloud directly in terms of the security risks they face.

One key advantage the cloud offers over internal data storage is that because the servers housing the information are remote, they are much harder to access. If employees with malicious intentions are an issue, this is the easiest way to prevent them doing any damage.

Another way in which the cloud can outstrip in-house IT in the security stakes is in terms of regulatory compliance. Cloud vendors and endpoint security management firms such as https://www.promisec.com are held to a higher standard and have the commercial impetus and necessary resources to make sure that protection is up to scratch in the face of emerging threats.

It is in the interest of a cloud provider to make its systems as secure as possible and to dedicate itself to keeping ahead of the curve. For many businesses, it is simply not feasible to achieve similar levels of compliance and scrutiny on house on an ongoing basis.

Opinion is quickly turning in the cloud’s favour, with the myth that on-premise security is tighter being dispelled as more people experience everything that the cloud has to offer.

Food vlogging for beginners

If you’re a keen cook and you want to share your cooking with the masses, you probably want to start vlogging.

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Creating a video blog (or vlog) can help you promote your business, website, books or products. According to The Guardian, vlogging can now be a route into print publishing or television careers.

But where to start? Here is a very basic guide to food vlogging to get you started.

The right equipment

In today’s highly technological age, you no longer need an expensive video camera in order to create a vlog, although your videos will be better if you use good equipment.

A half decent phone will even do the trick – but you’ll also need to be able to edit your videos once they’re done. There are plenty of easy-to-use programmes available, so search online for the ones that suit you.

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Set your camera up in the right place, practice a few times beforehand, and make sure your camera is fully charged and your memory stick empty before you start.

Pick a style

Your vlog should be a reflection of your character and who you are, but you need to decide its style beforehand and then stick to it. It can be like a cookery demonstration, where you talk as you go along, or animated, and a voiceover added afterwards. It’s up to you.

Which recipe?

You should choose recipes you’re comfortable and familiar with. Start with simple ones with few ingredients, but try to make it unique to you.

If you’re struggling for ideas, there are plenty of online food recipe videos to look at, such as those on http://food-tales.com/online-food-videos/.

You can weigh the ingredients as you go along, or have them ready. Again, this is a style decision.

Presentation

How you present is up to you, but the best vloggers come across naturally. This is hard to achieve when alone, so try having a friend filming you. This will also allow you to add interest to your film, with different angles, and so on.

Edit, and edit again

When you’ve finished your film, you need to edit it until it’s perfect. Remove any mistakes, add effects, graphics or captions, as you desire, and a voiceover if necessary.

Then all that remains is to upload it to YouTube and promote it on social media. Congratulations, you’re a vlogger!

Is my child old enough to have a mobile phone?

Ownership of mobile phones by children seems to be getting younger year on year, but the right age should be considered on a case by case basis. Why does your child want a phone? What will they use it for? When is the right age? Read on to find out.

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Do they want or need a phone?

The situation is different for every child. In some cases, a phone is necessary so a child can communicate with a mother or father who they don’t live with. If your child catches the bus home alone or walks to and from school then a phone can be a useful way to check on them. In the absence of any of these situations, there’s no doubt that your child doesn’t need a phone, they simply want one.

How responsible is your child?

Children grow and develop at different rates and in some instances a 9-year-old girl may show more maturity than a 12-year-old boy. Think about your child in particular and to what extent you trust them to act responsibly with the internet at their fingertips.

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The dangers

Some people consider mobile phone ownership in children a greater risk to their safety than allowing them to walk to school alone. Children can be groomed on certain social games or inadvertently give away personal details such as their address. The dangers are high and parental controls can only protect so much; it cannot protect against the grooming which happens to children as young as five. You would not allow your child to be taught by someone without a proper CRB check from a firm such as http://www.carecheck.co.uk/, so why would you allow them to be ‘friends’ with people you have never met? Whatever age you decide to allow your child to have a phone, make sure you go on this unknown journey with them and stay up to date with news about children’s online safety.

In conclusion, there is no ‘right’ age for children to be allowed a mobile phone, although peer pressure and the fact that phones are so cheap to run will mean that the general age is always going to get younger. Responsible adults need to always consider their child in particular and stay abreast of the ever-changing dangers.

Making Windows Warm for Winter

During the colder months it is important to keep the house warm, for your own comfort as well as making sure that it doesn’t develop damp problems. There is that fine balance between making sure the house is well ventilated and shutting out the cold. You also don’t want to be spending more than you have to on your heating bills, so it makes sense to improve your windows so heat does not escape from this source.

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Keeping Windows Warm

You can add an extra layer to your windows by putting clear window insulation film or clingfilm on the inside of the windows. You may need to seal it around the edges but this is an effective way to keep the chill out.

If your radiators are right under the windows, you need to make sure the heat goes into the room. You can put aluminium foil with the shiny side towards the radiator on the wall under the window which allows the heat to bounce back into the room.


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Invest in New Windows

So why would I want to upgrade my window? Because investing in good windows will save money in the long run as well as being more secure. Triple glazing is the best for long-term energy saving, but double-glazing is also much more effective than single panes. You can also get windows with an inert gas sealed between the panes which helps to stop heat flowing out of the building. Panes can also be given a special coating to deflect heat back into the home or a self-cleaning coating which uses ultraviolet light to decompose the dirt and rain to wash it off. For double glazing in Dublin, you can get quotes on different options to see at http://www.keanewindows.ie.

Laying it on Thick

Use extra thick curtains or put in a thermal layer, which is a cheap option to help retain heat. You can line existing curtains which cheap fleece or use PVC shower curtains as a lining. In winter you could put curtains in front of doors or, as interior designer Claire Potter’s gran did, pin up an old rug over the back of the front door to keep it warm.

So there are several options available to make your windows warm for winter, from low-cost options to long-term solutions.

How choosing the right refrigeration may protect your business

Food poisoning can make or break a restaurant. In a study last year, three-quarters of people said they would avoid any establishment which had experienced a food safety incident and there are few restaurants that could survive 75% of customers refusing to come in anymore. It’s not only loss of business of course, food poisoning can leave your business subject to fines or even being sued by a customer who became unwell. All in all, it’s an experience that you want to avoid.

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Contamination

There are several aspects to food safety problems. The first is contamination. In order to avoid cross-contamination of foods you will need to ensure that staff are trained in food hygiene which gives the proper advice for how to prepare and store food items. For example, when cooking meat the internal temperature should be measured. If you are not sure what the current advice is, then consult the Food Standards Agency website for information on best practice in avoiding contamination – https://www.food.gov.uk/search?f%5B0%5D=im_field_site_section%3A33&f%5B1%5D=im_field_topic%3A42.

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Refrigeration

Commercial refrigeration has different requirements to your home. Different foods need to be stored at different temperatures, which means that commercial kitchens often have multiple fridges set to different temperatures.

A reliable seller such as https://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/commercial-refrigeration will be able to advise you on which equipment is best suited to your needs.

One important factor in storing food is that the seal on the unit’s door keeps the food at the ideal temperature. Regular inspections and checking that the unit is operating at the correct temperature is important. Commercial fridges and freezers are able to maintain the internal temperature even when the door is opened and closed frequently in a busy kitchen.

Maintaining your reputation as a safe restaurant is vital, and with the new food hygiene rating scheme in operation, certificates are now displayed for customers to see. Having a good rating becomes a selling point, reassuring customers and potential customers that when they eat with you, they are unlikely to suffer any nasty side effects. One incident, one bad review can set your business back badly. Make sure that your food storage is fit for the job. Investing in good cold storage may protect your business from the disaster of a food safety incident and the associated bad publicity that it may bring.

5 summer car maintenance tips

When the days are long and warm it’s summertime, the months of holidays and trips abroad, to the countryside and to the beach. Some people are aware that it is a good idea to get your vehicle ready for winter, and the same is true for summer as well. Make sure your car is in tip top shape for long drives in high temperatures so a break down won’t get in the way of the fun.

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Wipers and Brakes

The brakes are probably the most critical safety feature on your car. If the brakes are not working properly then you will be danger. If you notice a problem, it generally pays to have it fixed as soon as possible. If you’re going on a long trip, get the brakes checked before you go.

Windscreen wipers may not seem that important, but in a sudden thunderstorm with heavy rain beating down you will be glad that they are working. The rubber on wipers can perish in extreme temperatures, so replace them for the summer season.

Vital Fluids

As people need to up the intake of water in summer to stay hydrated, cars need their fluids too. If you have air conditioning, make sure there is enough refrigerant in its system. If staying cool in summer is a major priority, you could think about driving a pale car. According to this report in The Guardian, silver and white cars are cooler inside than dark vehicles.

Also check the radiator and ensure there is plenty of water and coolant, and that it is not leaking. Another important item to check is the car battery. Heat can make your battery wear out faster, but you can help extend its life by cleaning the terminals and examining all the connections to make sure they are tight and not coated with grease or residue that could interfere with efficient charging.

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When looking around for a new car battery it would be worth speaking to experts in the field such as http://www.grovesbatteries.co.uk/, who can provide helpful advice.

Summer is the time to get out and about and make the most of the warm weather. Give your car some attention and prevent any major problems from occurring. Maintenance will prepare your car for the heat and will ensure it gets you to your destination safely and in comfort.

Top Three Safety Surfacing Options for Playgrounds

As child care providers seek to increase active play, outside play areas have become a focus for many venues. Safety is a priority, and choosing the right surface for your play area is an important choice.

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Although there’s no legal requirement to put in protective surfacing according to ROSPA, recent out of court settlements for playground accidents suggest that courts consider it good practice.

If you are choosing a safety surface for your active play area, you may be confused about which of the different types to use. We’ll discuss the most popular and give you some guidance as to which might work best for your area.

Wet Pour

A versatile solution is wet-pour rubber. Available in a range of colours, wet pour is incredibly versatile as it can be poured in different thicknesses to ensure that whatever equipment you have, the children remain safe. For example, if your play area included wooden climbing frames such as those from http://www.niclimbingframes.com/climbing-frames, you could increase the thickness depending on the fall height.

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Wet pour is created by mixing pellets of EPDM rubber with a binder. This wet mixture is poured onto concrete, macadam or stone base and screeded to a flat surface. Pre-cut inserts in different shapes and colours can be included to create additional play opportunities within the surface.

Wet pour can also be repaired in the case of damage, and self-repair kits are available to help save on costs.

Rubber Mulch

Like wetpour, rubber mulch is created by binding wooden bark in a rubberised solution. It is a great solution for play areas that tend to be muddy, and looks more natural than wet pour.

It can also be laid in different thicknesses and can be laid on most surfaces, keeping the cost of installation low.

Artificial Grass

Artificial Grass helps prevent cut knees and bruises during falls, so it is a helpful solution for play areas where the children are younger and more prone to these kinds of accidents. Shock pads can be installed underneath areas where there is an increased risk of a fall. The benefit of artificial grass is the appearance, which is more natural than the other solutions.

Keeping children safe is a top priority for any play area owner. We hope this guide has given you useful information to make the best choice for you.

Finding the Perfect Formal Wear for any Occasion, Style, or Budget

Sooner or later we all find ourselves in need of formal wear. We receive an invitation to a wedding with the word “formal attire” included or we are suddenly invited to an awards dinner. Unfortunately, we don’t all have a tuxedo, fitted suit, or long ball gown simply hanging in our closet. We also don’t have an unlimited budget for such clothing. Before you panic, use the following information to help you find exactly what you need at a price that is easy on your bank account.

Rent Garments

When a tuxedo is required, renting one can be the best value. For a minimal price you can have an outfit that is stylish and perfectly fitted. Rentals shops are easy to find, and you’ll be able to select a jacket, shirt, and pants in a variety of colors. Renting formal attire used to be an option only the men could take advantage of, but many shops now offer gowns as well.

Thrift Stores

Don’t be afraid to browse your local thrift store for formal attire. Many people by gowns, cocktail dresses, or suits and only wear them once. These pieces eventually find their way into second hand shops. It is easy to find dressy options at an unbelievable price. If you don’t see your size, check back in a few days. Patience and perseverance can really pay off.

Bridal Shops

Bridal shops are the experts when it comes to formal attire. Women can find dresses and gowns to suit any occasion while men will discover tuxedos and suits at a great price. Discounts are often given to large groups such as wedding parties and their families. They can also refer you to a custom tailor such as those at Sabatini of London if you don’t find exactly what you like.

Now that you have a plan in place, you can relax and enjoy looking forward to your formal event. You’ll look terrific, and best of all, you won’t go in debt buying clothing you may only need once in a lifetime. After your special occasion has come to pass, help others by donating your garments to a local charity where they can be put to good use.

Unusual Art Forms

We usually expect art to come in the form of posh portraits or ancient sculptures, we don’t normally expect to see something totally weird and bizarre. The wonderful thing about art though is that it comes in all shapes and sizes and in recent years has taken some pretty ‘out there’ forms. Let’s take a look at some of the more bizarre ways of creating art. For preserving your own masterpieces, think about using an Artwork Reproduction Service.

Dirty Car Art

Recent years have seen art becoming more ‘street’ and part of the fabric of modern urban living. Most people wouldn’t think of great art as being drawn in the dirt on a vehicle but there are now several artists around the globe who have made a name for themselves doing just that. These amazing drawings, made with the thick layers of dust and grime that accumulate on cars, are so good that people don’t want to wash them off. Scott Wade in America has had his work featured in art shows and is hired by advertisers.

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Body Part Art

If you can imagine it, then yes it has been done! As well as some male artists using their appendages to paint with, female artists have been known to paint with their lady bumps too! Some use their tongues or bottoms but the strangest body part has to be the severed hand used by Norwegian artist, Morten Viskum.

Reverse Graffiti

Instead of using spray paint to create art, reverse graffiti aims to create an image by cleaning grime off certain parts of grubby, urban walls. Power washers remove dirt built up from exhaust fumes and in doing so, provide the artist with the opportunity to create a beautiful image instead. It has been a controversial action and people have been arrested, which seems bizarre when they are actually cleaning.

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Anamorphosis

This method involves drawing an image that can only be viewed or understood by looking at it from a specific angle. This is not new, however, as Leonardo da Vinci created such images in the 15th century. These days the technique is seen in 3D images and even in street art. The modern genius in anamorphosis was the Swiss artist, Felice Varini.

Body Fluid Art

Not many people would be too keen to appreciate something drawn in bodily fluids! One controversial artist has created art using urine and animal blood to depict gory reflections of his experiences of World War II. Another infamous Brazilian artist will only create art made from his blood. Definitely not art for the squeamish!

Lipstick Art

Natalie Irish creates her portraits by smothering on lots of lippy and kissing the canvas. Her work is astoundingly good and obviously made with much love!

Bottle Cap Art

Such a simple everyday item is used to stunning effect by artist Mary Ellen Croteau. She takes thousands of bottle caps of all colours and sizes and makes beautiful images in an attempt to highlight the issue that many bottle caps are non-recyclable and a threat to the environment.

 

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