The Kitchen Suite at Stephensons

The Kitchen Suite at Stephensons

Purpose built to replicate a commercial kitchen, The Kitchen Suite at Stephensons hosts interactive equipment demonstrations from industry leading brands.

With limited seating and an informal, friendly atmosphere, this bespoke kitchen holds up to 15 guests.

Product demonstrations at The Kitchen Suite include Rational and Robot Coupe among other renowned equipment manufacturers.

To book your place on one of our demonstrations, please fill in the form below. Demonstrations start at 11:30am.

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5 Things We Learnt At NRB 2018

5 Things We Learnt At NRB 2018

On March 20th and 21st, the beautiful arched roof space of the Manchester Central Convention Complex once again played host to the North’s premier hospitality show — Northern Restaurant & Bar 2018.

Stephensons are one of the longest running exhibitors at NRB, and we were delighted to be able to kick off our 150th anniversary celebrations during a show that’s renowned for its buoyant atmosphere and engaging events.

Throughout the two days we had a lot of fun showing off brand new products on our custom-built, open plan wooden stand. Along the way we launched our most extensive catalogue ever, as well as our limited edition celebratory newspaper — all the while meeting friendly faces from all facets of the hospitality industry and giving advice and inspiration.

Here are some of the things we learnt from our wooden vantage point on stand D37, as well as through a few explorative trips across the convention hall…

1. Plastic straws may soon be a thing of the past

Here at Stephensons, we’ve been pushing alternatives to plastic straws for quite some time, but even our experienced team were shocked at how often the topic came into conversation. It seems that so many operators have decided or are looking to make a responsible change and as such our sustainable straw section went down an absolute treat. People were constantly enquiring about styles, prices, disposal methods and availability. What a difference a few months can make for the whole industry.

To view our range of eco-friendly straws, click here.

2. Technology is a touchy subject

In the fascinating Bruntwood debate on the embracement and efficiency of technology in hospitality, an expert panel consisting of Jamie Cambell; Gavin Adair; Nadia el Hadery; Laurence McCarthy and Johnny Smith discussed change and challenges for the industry. As is often the case with such mass and rapid transformation, opinions were mixed.

Some traditionalist views floated around expressed how technology, such as mobile ordering, could impact negatively on customer satisfaction as it removes some integral aspects of interaction and communication. One thing Johnny Smith said sums this up saliently — “ultimately your job is in hospitality. You should want to spend one on one time with the customers”. There were also interesting points raised about the effectiveness of technology though, with Johnny equally remaking on how the booking system ‘Tock’ has helped with organisation and reducing the number of no-shows. Another advocating voice for the embracement of new tech came from Nadia, who raised a strong point on how technology can be used to aid sustainability by measuring, amongst other things, wastage. This type of information will be crucial for if (most likely when) government sanctions on sustainability are introduced for businesses.

Regardless of your stance, technology will play a key role in the future of the hospitality industry. What’s important to remember is the CGA fact displayed at the beginning of the debate — 81% of people say the experience of eating out is the most important factor. So, if you are trying out some newfangled approach, make sure any use of technology will help, not hinder guest experience.

3. Presentation can’t be overlooked

We were once again honoured to be headline sponsors of the fantastic Food Porn Awards, who had their awards presentation on the Wednesday afternoon of NRB. Back in February, our MD Henry had the difficult task of helping judge the winners of these awards, and if you’re wondering exacly what all the fuss is about, here’s a quick explanation… The Food Porn Awards is a unique competition that seeks to celebrate the aesthetics of food, with dishes judged by their appearance. Simple as that.

It was great to be at the NRB Hub on Wednesday to see the eventual winners unveiled and thanks to everyone involved for a great ceremony. We want to wish a huge congratulations to L20, Peace & Loaf and Wood Manchester for their wins and also well done to all the entrants involved. As mentioned earlier, dining out is an experience and the Food Porn Awards helps celebrate a crucial part of that experience — HOW IT LOOKS!

4. Champagne and cake make for great break

Despite the buzz at NRB, working on the stand showing off new products and speaking to a million different people can be a tiny bit tiring. So, how pleased and grateful must we have been when out of nowhere the Stephensons stand was surprised by NRB CEO Thom Hethrington and Matty White who came bearing gifts of cake and champagne.

It turns out that the lovely lot at NRB were there to share some well wishes for our 150th anniversary, and we were very happy indeed for the unscheduled visit. Who knew how well champagne and cake combine for a balanced lunchtime meal?

5. It certainly isn’t grim up North

One stat that NRB posted just before the show detailed how the restaurant and bar scenes in Liverpool, Manchester & Leeds are growing at rates more than double those of London. Accordingly, all aspects of hospitality will have to keep up with this rapid development and walking around the Manchester Central exhibition hall, it was evident and enlightening to see that this is really happening.

From the booming craft beer quarter that showed off how much beer is lovingly being brewed in the North, to the big names in attendance, all the way to the grand stands from thriving global and local businesses looking to make waves in Manchester and beyond, NRB 18 has proven that the old adage “it’s grim up North” couldn’t be more wrong.

With beginnings in Manchester’s Barton Arcade, to our current Stockport home, Stephensons have now been supporters of the Northern hospitality industry for 150 years. After launching our new catalogue at NRB 18 and seeing how much interest and activity there was, we can honestly say that we’ve never been more excited for the future of the hospitality industry in the North.

Stephenson’s Win Big at the FPA Awards

Stephenson’s Win Big at the FPA Awards

Stockport based catering equipment supplier Stephensons have managed to overcome some fierce competition to be named 2018’s FPA Regional Distributor of the Year at the annual Foodservice Packaging Association’s Awards show in Brighton. 

Thursday 8th March saw the industry-renowned event take place, with the beautiful Grand Hotel Brighton playing host to a night of celebration and recognition for excellence in the food packaging industry. As stated by FPA chairman Howard Collier in his introductory speech, it’s been a year of immense analysis and adjustment for the industry. This was reflected by the FPA’s decision to consider sustainability and the environment as a fundamental part of their judging stipulations.

The annual event was hosted by comedian Rod Woodward and attended by over 400 people from throughout the food packaging industry. The awards were preceded by the FPA Exhibition in the afternoon, which showcased some of the innovative packaging and products that are helping to shape the industry. The main attraction of the event though was of course the awards show, and Stephensons were up for a big one — Regional Distributor of the Year!

The Regional Distributor of the Year award commends excellence in food packaging distribution, taking into account quality, variety, price and sustainability. Notably, the award is voted for by actual customers who are asked to give a detailed account of their supplier. So, all in all, it’s quite the prize.

Despite some very worthy entries, it was Stephensons who picked up the trophy on the night — much to the surprise and delight of attendees Henry Stephenson and Julian Lewis Booth.

Commenting on the win, managing director Henry Stephenson said, “Disposables and food packaging have become an integral aspect of our service over the last few years, so it’s an honour be recognised by an organisation like the FPA. With the whole of our industry currently looking towards sustainability and the environment, it really feels like a significant year to win. What makes it even more special is the fact that it’s our own customers who’ve had their say and I’d like to personally thank them for choosing Stephensons.”

2018 marks 150 years in business for Stephensons and this award adds to a year of celebration that will include the launch of a new website and the release of their most extensive catalogue ever at Northern Restaurant and Bar 18 in Manchester.

2017 Stephensons Christmas & New Year Opening Times

2017 Stephensons Christmas & New Year Opening Times

Christmas is the most frantic time of year for the catering and hospitality industry as families, friends and colleagues get together to celebrate the festive period.

To help you through these busy weeks, here are our 2017 Christmas & New Year opening times. All Stephensons departments will be open during theses hours to ensure we offer excellent service and products when you need them the most!

We are open till the 23rd December, which will then be followed by 3 days of closure from Christmas Eve to Tuesday 26th December. After this, we’ll open for 4 days between Christmas and New Year (27th, 28th, 29th, 30th).

We are then closed on New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day before reopening our doors for regular hours on Tuesday 2nd January 2018.

As usual, we will dispatch all deliveries as complete as possible before Christmas (or your requested date). For delivery before Christmas, final orders need to be made before 3pm on Thursday 21st December (for Fri 22nd arrival). If you’re still in need of items after this date, the cash & carry will be open till the 23rd December and should be able to meet your requirements. In the unlikely event that any delivery proves infeasible, we will make contact at the earliest opportunity to make alternative arrangements.

If you are based in the North West, our Cash & Carry in Stockport will also be open during these times. If you are in a rush and cannot wait for delivery, please visit us at Kennerley Works (SK2 6EQ).

For any further Christmas enquiries, please contact Customer Services on 0161 4836256.

Lastly, all the staff at Stephensons would like to wish you a fantastic Christmas and thank you for your custom over the past 12 months. We look forward to continued success with you in 2018!

Victorinox: The Cutting Edge of Kitchen Knives

Victorinox: The Cutting Edge of Kitchen Knives

Victorinox is renowned the world over for its craftsmanship. The companies’ quartet tagline of ‘Quality’, ‘Functionality’, ‘Innovation’ and ‘Design’ has spurred their business ethic for the past 130 years and with such a committed focus to fashioning perfect blades, it’s no wonder that the original Swiss army knife was a Victorinox invention.

Today, Victorinox are still known for their nifty multi-tool, but they’ve also gained a significant reputation for professional and commercial knives that has made them a favourite of expert chefs and home kitchen cooks alike.

Recently here at Stephensons, we were given a demonstration and talk by Victorinox employee & fourth generation butcher, Martin Schnellmann, who travelled all the way from Switzerland to Stockport to impart his knife-based knowledge and let us know why Victorinox is a cut above the rest… Sorry.

Why Do The Pros Choose Victorinox?

One of the first things Martin chose to emphasise was the continued use of Victorinox products by professional chefs. According to Martin, it’s the combination of “unique by-hand sharpening, hardening and polishing” as well as “the laser tested cutting angles” that make these Victorinox knives firm favourites. One major way that Victorinox ensures superior quality over competitors is through an on-site laboratory that tests products for durability, endurance and quality. Martin highlighted some key statistics from the lab that reflect this superiority:


Sharper than competitors


Longer lifespan

Competitors knives need sharpening more often


Cost-per-cut reduced by

Some other interesting facts:
  • Victorinox produces 160,000 knives every day
  • Because the knives stay sharper for longer, there is reduced risk of hand and wrist fatigue
  • 26 million knives a year come from Ibach HQ in Switzerland
  • Founded 133 years ago, Victorinox is still run today by the Elsner family

Top Tips
As a fourth generation butcher and a representative for Victorinox, Martin Schnellmann knows his knives. We asked him for some advice to give you the cutting edge in the kitchen. Click through the tabs below to read what he said: 
“A knife is a helper, not a weapon. A sharp knife won’t require too much strain to use, meaning you can handle it with calmness and precision. Choosing a good handle will help too. A fibrox handle has the benefits of non-slip safety, whereas a rosewood handle will over time adapt and form to fit the hand”
“If you’re using your knives a lot, obviously they need to be a sharp. As a butcher, we sharpen as often as once an hour during heavy usage times. If using a sharpening rod, a few swipes at a 20° angle will work to hone the blade.”
“If you want to be know how to really use a blade to its maximum potential, practice really does make perfect. Test different knives on different products and find out what works for you. You may find that something like a pastry knife is actually great for large fruits such as watermelon.”

“If you’re looking for an all-rounder in the kitchen, stick to the smaller knives such as the Santoku or chef variations. These are made to handle a wide range of tasks and are probably the easiest to master quickly.”

“If you’re going to be using a knife frequently and every day, getting to grips with a large knife is recommended. Make this knife your best friend and learn its intricacies. You will be rewarded.”

We couldn’t let Martin go without asking him what his favourite knife to use was, and his answer may surprise some…

“For me, it’s the pastry knife. I find it stays sharper longer, has a nice weight and the wavy edge always gives a satisfying cut. I’ve had my pastry knife for 20 years now and it’s still as good as it was the day I got it!”

Martin Schnellmann

4th Generation Butcher & Commercial Cutlery Sales Manager, Victorinox

Victorinox Pastry Knife

  • No-slip fibrox handle
  • Tempered steel
  • Retains sharpness for longer
  • Versatile and trustworthy
  • Serrated edge
  • 10″ / 26cm
Buy Martin's Favourite Knife Now
Serve Your Coffee With a Conscience

Serve Your Coffee With a Conscience

Coffee is officially the most popular drink on the planet. With over two billion cups consumed worldwide every single day, and an estimated 55 million drank daily in the UK alone, it’s official – we love coffee. And what’s not to love about a piping hot, flavourful caffeine kick? For many of us the day doesn’t start, or at least we don’t function, till we’ve been snapped into consciousness by a good old warming coffee. 

This love affair with coffee has resulted in a café-culture boom. Every single high street now seems to be pandering to our coffee addiction with new cafes and stores seemingly popping up everywhere. In fact, the UK coffee shop market is currently enjoying its biggest period of growth since 2008. And this widespread popularity is evident – just look at the tube, public transport or any city street during the hours of 7am – 10am and you’ll be drowned in a sea of coffee cups. Again at lunch, swarms will wander to the nearest caffeine-touting counter, grab a cup of coffee and leave. For many it’s a daily routine. Unfortunately, it’s a harmful one. These cups have to go somewhere, and that somewhere happens to often be a landfill.

Figures from a 2015 study by Cardiff University claim that 2.5 billion disposable cups a year are discarded. Of that massive number, it is estimated that only one in 400 is actually recycled, the rest are destined for our already brimming landfills. Some bigger companies such as Starbucks and Costa have made some efforts to reduce the effect on the environment by offering to recycle their customer’s cups, unfortunately due to a polyethylene coating, these cups are very difficult to recycle.

Fortunately, there is a solution. A solution that has all the benefits of a regular disposable coffee cup, yet is entirely environmentally friendly. This sustainable solution is the Vegware cup.

This award-winning cup is made from two layers of sustainably sourced board and instead of nasty plastic, they are insulated by plant based PLA. Here is a 100% recyclable and 100% compostable cup that doesn’t pail in comparison to a disposable. In a world where eco-consciousness is rapidly becoming one of the most important aspects for consumers, one simple change to compostable cups can do a world of good for your business and, more importantly, the environment. Click the link below to see our range of compostable cups AND entirely compostable lids, to help you save the environment one cup at a time.