Education caterer Chartwells has joined forces with Brighton chef Ben McKellar, aka The Ginger Chef from the renowned Gingerman Restaurant Group, to bring a local flavour to the University of Sussex’s campus, hospitality and event dining under a new 10-year contract.
The university has selected Chartwells to run its cafes and restaurants, and provide hospitality and conferencing at its campus on the edge of Brighton under a new £43m deal.
As part of the contract, Chartwells has partnered with Ben McKellar, who is known for his uncomplicated, full-flavoured food using the highest quality seasonal products to produce new menus to enhance the university’s food offering.
Chartwells, which has successfully operated the cafe at the University’s Innovation Centre for nine years, has also committed to investing £1 million over five years in campus facilities at the University. This substantial contribution will see campus cafes refreshed and refurbished. It also plans to strengthen the campus’ community culture by supporting student forum groups and providing extended opening hours. In addition, it will provide fun and informative sessions to improve health, wellbeing and life skills with student survival and cookery master classes, nutritional advice and support.
In addition to the team transferring from the University, Chartwells is recruiting for 35 jobs on campus, helping to provide work opportunities for students and further improving the skills of existing employees with training and development.
Robin Mills, managing director of Chartwells, commented:
“We are delighted to have been selected to deliver services to the University of Sussex. We have great plans to really enhance the dining experience for students and staff; this starts with the menus and we are really excited to be working with Ben McKellar on these.”
Ben McKellar owns The Gingerman Restaurant, the highest rated restaurant in Brighton. With his wife and business partner Pamela McKellar he also owns pub venues The Ginger Pig (which has been awarded a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide), The Ginger Fox (also awarded a Bib Gourmand) and The Ginger Dog. McKellar, said:
“I am hugely passionate about creating great food using fresh, local produce and this relationship with the University of Sussex and Chartwells is a brilliant opportunity to educate people about all the fantastic produce we have available in Sussex. It will also give the University a real taste and flair for Brighton’s local food scene, keeping it up-to-date with the highly-creative food movement which we enjoy here in the city.”
John Duffy, registrar and secretary of the University of Sussex, said:
“We are confident that we have found the right choice of partner for Sussex. Chartwells is an innovative, world-class organisation with extensive experience in higher education. They have demonstrated that they have the right approach, systems, processes, technology, training and management to make a real difference to the services at Sussex.”