New website

It has taken longer than we thought to get it right but we are really pleased with the new design which went live last week. I have been busy removing some ancient posts today and will try to keep up to date with this blog.

Ron Kill
February 2016


John Irish

Sad to read of the death at 84 of John Irish who I remember well from my early days of working with SPAR UK Ltd. With my partner Michael Ranken I started working as a consultant and auditor with SPAR in 1988. John Irish was always a huge figure there and an amazing speaker at events.


Catering around the world

I have travelled quite a lot over the years in order to audit food factories. This includes all of Europe, Scandinavia, the USA, Canada, Turkey and China. In doing so, I have sampled catering in all those places. You can now find the same chains in all countries and I am familiar with the Chinese versions of Starbucks, KFC and Pizza Hut.

However you can still also find locally characteristic foods in most places. It is in China that I have eaten the most (to me) bizarre foods including steamed doughballs (challenging) starfish (surprisingly tasty) and jellyfish (very challenging). This last I really struggled with! I have not so far brought myself to try the fried cicadas although my Chinese colleagues crunch away happily. With fast food I found that their attempts to mimic western versions are not very successful. On the other hand the noodles were superb and I have found nothing to compare in the west.

The other thing that I couldn’t help notice was that in three trips to China I have never had a stomach bug. I put this down to the sheer freshness of the raw materials (much animal food is still alive when you arrive at the restaurant – including cicadas) and that it is cooked to order.

While I would not suggest keeping a menagerie in your storeroom in the UK, maybe there is a lesson for us in the west.