The annual Association of Catering Excellence (ACE) wine dinner took place on Friday 16th February at the wonderful Langham Hotel, just off Oxford Street in central London.

The great and the good from the catering industry came to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of ACE and to enjoy some fabulous conversation, food and wonderful wine.

ACE Chair, Gaye Bullard, greeted us as we arrived and we were all given our first taste of the evening, Laurent Perrier Brut NV Champagne. It’s an elegant traditional champagne with fresh citrus notes. The Laurent Perrier complimented the canapes very well, in particular the chicken liver and foie gras parfait and the Vietnamese spring rolls. As is usual with these events, not all the canapes made it to me, but I have been assured by everyone that they were all excellent.

Once seated in the main dining room, the usual introductions were made. Michelle Roux Jnr offered us further insight into the evening and the real reason we were there, to raise money for a great charity. The Wiggly Worm charity creates opportunities for life with food, helping vulnerable people. The usual request to deface a note from your wallet or purse took place. In the end over £10,000 was raised, a tremendous effort.

The Chilean Tacora Chardonnay Reserva white went well with the amuse bouche of salmon and the scallops starter. It was a clean, crisp white with a raft of aromas including honey, melon, peaches and apples. After a little wait, we received a cannon of lamb and sweet potato. Now this is where I struggled a little. The Merlot Reserva red was also a Chilean and also a Tacora. As the lamb was very pink, I felt it needed something a little more supportive. At 13.5% alcohol it was quite strong in flavour. The gentleman to my right differed, which proves that personal preference will often be the winner with wine.

Then the part of the evening that I was particularly looking forward to. Not that I have a sweet tooth for pudding. But when a Sauternes is offered I usually jump head first into a sweet treat. This was a real winner to end the night on, a 2012 Chateau Petit Vedrines Sauternes. It was the perfect accompaniment to the caramelised confit apple with ice cream and salted caramel. Clean crisp and not too sweet like some other dessert wines.

It was a wonderful end to an evening of fun with colleagues from bartlett mitchell. It demonstrated friendship and support from every aspect of our business. Colleagues from other businesses often comment on how impressive it is to see bartlett mitchell in full force supporting the catering industry. I feel it’s important to play our part to attend these events and remind ourselves what a great industry we work in. Roll on the quiz night…..