My Favorite Restaurants in Manchester

The north west of England has some great hospitality services and has some fantastic places to wine and dine. I have been fortunate enough to travel around the North of England a few times in my life and I have stopped in at a number of different places. However there are only a few eateries that have really stuck in my mind as being restaurant dining experiences that you have to experience.

Manchester Restaurants have a certain special place in my heart. The city of Manchester is one of the busiest cities in the world and there are a lot of people that need some thing to eat. Therefore there are restaurants, bars and other hospitality services aplenty so whatever takes your fancy you will be able to find it in Manchester.

Three of my favourite restaurants in Manchester include:

Stresa is part of the Ramada hotel that can be found in the Salford Quays area. The restaurant has a contemporary feel with light and comfortable surroundings. I remember visiting this restaurant when I was on a business trip in the area. I had arranged the business dinner to meet with a marketing consultant and the impression the restaurant gave was great and then the food arrived. My marketing friend had said that marketing this place to the public would be easy, as we had both been sold by our starters and the selection of fine wines. Stresa is an Italian restaurant that sources a lot of ingredients from the Lancashire area to make sure that the ingredients you get on your plate are fresh and tasty.

Having always been a fan of seafood and sushi I was delighted when I stepped into the New Samsi Manchester restaurant. It is a Japanese restaurant that has been featured on Channel 4 and has been called the best place for Japanese food in the North West. New Samsi is a restaurant that has to be experienced.

A restaurant called Rhubarb, situated in Didsbury, Manchester is another fine restaurant. Having been featured in both the Michelin and Hardens food guides for their contemporary and eclectic menu. The surprising thing about this restaurant is how small and how personal it is. The restaurant is managed and run by husband and wife team Mark & Lisa Ramsden which gives it that homely feel with excellent service.

London Hotels – Staff Training Secrets

Here’s a review of findings from a set of personal interviews conducted with leading London hoteliers:

Rocco Forte Collection (including Brown’s in London). Sir Rocco Forte’s hotels have high staff retention rates but there is “no magic answer” to achieving this. The emphasis is on training and providing clear and direct communication to people about what is expected of them. Rocco Forte Hotels also invest a lot of time and effort in creating an attractive working environment.

Intercontinental Hotels Group. This company has a creative approach to training its staff. For example they use “Learning Maps” to help staff empathise with customers by walking through the hotel from the customer’s perspective. Because staff need to follow the tone and style of each brand, training is brand-driven – it is quite different for Holiday Inn as compared to Intercontinental for example. The company also runs an “Employee Room Benefit Programme” to let staff use any of their hotels worldwide at cheap rates.

Claridge’s (Maybourne Hotel Group). At this company’s ultra-deluxe hotels, they pride themselves on their ability to recognise you when you return to stay there and to offer you extremely personalised service. There is plenty of hard work behind this and the training is usually driven by mystery shopping feedback. They use their most experienced team members as “role models” to act as mentors for new hires.

The Lanesborough. This is an exclusive, ultra-luxurious hotel near Hyde Park with a managing director who is one of the most respected hoteliers in London. He passionately believes in leading by example and has a pragmatic approach to staff training: learning on the job is reinforced by regular meetings in which new ideas are encouraged.

Red Carnation Hotel Collection. All of this group’s hotels are currently at or near the very pinnacle of the London hotel rankings on TripAdvisor. Comments from previous guests highlight the friendly staff and the service philosophy based on “tiny noticeable touches”. The Group’s CEO believes in recruiting people who have lovely personalities who are then given continuous professional training.The management team is stable and this also helps to provide a very solid example to staff.

Malmaison (a 4 star chain of boutique hotels). At Malmaison they like to emphasise a sense of fun in everything they do. As the CEO himself puts it: “If it’s not fun we’ll make it fun!” This results in a company culture where staff are given ways to find enjoyment and fun in their day to day jobs. The company also puts an emphasis on product-based training by partnering with its suppliers: this is quite an unusual approach but reflected in the service that guests receive in Malmaison’s London hotel.

One Aldwych (iconic 5 star hotel). The legendary founder of One Aldwych, Mr Campbell-Gray, told London Hotels Insight that his core belief in managing hotels is: “love your staff”. He wants all One Aldwych staff to provide great service in a natural way “from the heart” and they ban the use of “service scripts” which are sometimes used at other hotels. The hotel has a down-to-earth service style which leads to it being “a snob-free zone” as the management put it.

Hilton. Hilton is famous for being consistent wherever you are in the world and a large part of this is down to its online “Hilton University”. This is the company’s global training resource centre and it emphasises the shared Hilton values, wherever in the world you happen to be working. Do check out the review of the best Hiltons in London at London Hotels Insight.

You’re bound to enjoy staying in one of the above top London hotels even more, now that you know a bit more about the staff who work in them.

Homemade Baby Food: What Equipment Is Required?

Making homemade baby food is really a very simple process and requires very little in terms of kitchen equipment. Additionally, the benefits of preparing food for your baby at home using organic produce are clear. It has been shown that children fed organic foods have one sixth the level of pesticide by-products versus children who eat conventional foods. Add to this the peace of mind that comes with knowing exactly what your baby is eating and the extra effort in preparing homemade baby food seems minimal indeed.

There really are only four items that are needed to prepare and store homemade baby food, namely a good food mill, a steamer, air-tight storage containers, and a microwave oven.

Baby Food Mill

A food mill is a food preparation utensil for mashing soft foods, and a baby food mill is really the only absolutely essential piece of equipment required for making homemade baby food. This can be either a manual device or an electric device.

The hand-operated mills typically have a hand-operated crank and a strainer for separating seeds and skins from the puree for a smooth end product. In reality the manual mills don’t make food really smooth, although they can do a great job of quickly mashing foods provided they are cooked well to begin with. Additionally, the separation of skins from the puree isn’t perfect and it is better to remove the skins first. Otherwise, you will likely have to strain the puree afterwards.

A far better choice is to invest in an electric food mill. These devices consist of a bowl to hold the food, an electric motor, and a blade which purees the food. There is no strainer and so again you will want to remove any skin from the produce beforehand or you will have to strain the puree afterwards. Preparing homemade baby food with an electric food mill is very simple and these devices are highly recommended.


A food steamer is a kitchen appliance used to prepare foods in a sealed vessel that limits the escape of air below a preset pressure. With steaming, fewer nutrients are lost relative to other cooking techniques, where most of the nutrients are discarded after cooking. The steamer is used to soften up vegetables and other foods so that they can be pureed in the food mill.

Air-Tight Storage Containers

When preparing homemade baby food, it may be desirable to make enough food at once for several meals. In this case, it is necessary to store the food in air-tight containers to prevent spoilage. Tupperware or similar containers in appropriate sizes for single baby meals are available and are nice because your baby can be fed directly out of the container. You never want to feed out of a container and then save unused food from that same container because of the contamination risk.

Microwave Oven

A microwave oven cooks or heats food by using microwave radiation to heat polarized molecules within the food. Nowadays they are found in virtually every kitchen. They are useful for heating single portions of food that have been prepared previously and stored in the fridge. It is extremely important to take great care to stir the food after heating and then test the temperature to insure that there is no risk of burns since a microwave oven can heat food very quickly to a very high temperature. It may require no more than 15 seconds to heat a single portion of baby food. Be careful!