ASL Catering Agency Blog

ASL Catering Agency Blog

Lemongrass Group opens 13th branch

Seeks equity partner for continued growth


The award-winning group Lemongrass Group of Thai restaurants has announced it is seeking a business partner, following the successful opening of its 13th branch, this time in Hove in Sussex.


Led by Minhaz Nasir, who opened his first Lemon Grass restaurant in Worthing in Sussex in 2005, Lemongrass now has branches in Chichester, Petersfield, Cranleigh, Compton near Guildford, Crawley, Rustington (Littlehampton), Horsham, Burgess Hill, Lewes, Brentwood, two in Worthing and now Hove.


With a focus on fine Thai cuisine, each restaurant has between 55 and 100 covers and generates a profit of around £15,000 a month per site. The restaurants also operate a separately branded in-house Japanese concept, Issa Sushi, in Worthing and Lewes.  The company has a 140 full-time staff on its payroll.


Expansion until now has largely been funded through reinvesting profits and a bank facility. 


Adopting a low key to the company’s expansion, remaining largely under the radar, Lemongrass restaurants (which have no group website) has built loyal following for its brand of Thai and Japanese. The approach was to void alienating potential custom from the growing segment of the market avoiding large chains.  The trend has been confirmed by falling profits and closures among several large-scale operators.


The fast-growing concept has opened 7 sites in the last year, and Nasir (who management team consists of himself and 3 close family members, feels the company is nearing the limit of their operational capabilities.


“The business had proven that it is a scalable concept and it’s time to put in a new management team, update out systems and reengineer the business,” said Nasir.  “The best way forward is to partner with an organisation experienced larger operational matters, whilst I focus on our core values and the food, acting as executive chef.”


Lemongrass has been a repeated winner in the prestigious Asian Curry Awards, organised by the Asian Catering Federation. Its Crawley venue was declared Best Thai Restaurant in 2015 and 2016.  In 2017 Lemongrass was named Best Asian Restaurant Chain.


Nasir, 44, who was born in Bangladesh where he began cooking at the age of 7, honed his culinary skills in Dubai before moving to London to work in Bangkok restaurant in South Kensington.


The company will listen to offers for up to 50 percent of the company from the right partner.



Lemongrass Fine Thai Cuisine

55 Church Road Hove, East Sussex BN3 2BN

T:  01273 328888 E:


Issa Sushi Japanese Cuisine

25/26 High Street. Temple House, Lower Ground Floor, Lewes, BN7 2LU

T: 01273 486696



Masterchef winner, Simon Wood, has today announced that he will open his second restaurant in Chester.

The North’s only Masterchef winner opened his first site, Wood Manchester, in September 2017 and has now signed a deal with Castlebridge Group who are developing a Hotel Indigo in Chester.

Simon’s first restaurant, which is located on First Street in the city centre, brings Simon’s passion and creativity for food to life with powerful flavours alongside a touch of playfulness.  It offers a stylish yet relaxed dining experience with high end food and has received rave reviews in the Guardian and Telegraph since opening six months ago.

The chef, famed for his octopus and squab pigeon in the 2015 series of the show, was described by Greg Wallace – a regular visitor to Wood Manchester – as an incredible talent and John Torode said that he took something ordinary and made it special!

Simon comments; “Wood Chester will offer the same ethos as the restaurant in Manchester.  We serve modern interpretations of traditional flavours with a focus on simple, seasonal dishes with the odd surprise along the way. It’s unfussy, high end dining with approachable staff, comfortable chairs and dishes guests want to order again and again.

“I have been delighted by how well we have been received in Manchester and can’t wait to take the restaurant to Chester with Hotel Indigo. They are a great brand that really fits with ours and we know there are plenty of foodies in Chester to enjoy my food.”

Wood Chester will open seven days a week serving breakfast, cocktails, room service and a full service lunch and dinner menu, including special lunch and early evening offerings. A massive favourite in Manchester is the Tomahawk steak which on Tuesdays is a steal at £50 for two to share with two sides and a sauce!

A blind tasting menu will also feature, offering seasonal produce and newly developed dishes.

The restaurant will be dominated by the open theatre kitchen, which includes a Josper oven, and will feature a chef’s table in addition to a 10 seater private dining room.

Castlebridge Group commercial director Jenna Dienn, who brokered the deal, commented; “This is a really exciting partnership for both brands and we are delighted to have been able to bring them together in Chester. It is important to us that we create the right food and beverage propositions within in the sites that we manage and we feel that Simon and Wood Chester will offer something perfect both for the hotel guests and local diners who will be excited to see some Masterchef magic on their doorstep.”

Since winning Masterchef Simon has worked with Marcus Wareing, Theo Randal and Simon Rimmer before opening his own restaurant.  Since 2015 he has also been executive chef at Oldham Athletic FC and Oldham Event Centre, including the hugely successful ‘The Boardroom by Simon Wood’.

His areas of passion include fine dining, the art of plating, and teaching. His debut cookbook At Home with Simon Wood – Fine Dining Made Simple launched in 2017.

For more information about WOOD Chester visit or follow the restaurant on social media.

Hotel Indigo® has 85 hotels in culturally diverse locations all over the world, no two properties are the same. Each is part of the pulse and the rhythm of a place, drawing on the story of its local area to inspire every aspect of the hotel, from intriguing design to distinctive local ingredients in our menus.

Castlebridge Hotels Management Group Ltd operates high quality hotels in the UK & Spain. Its corporate objective is to be a recognised as a multi brand hotel management company of branded hotels.

For Corporate and Private apearences / Bookings. Please Contact Andy Richards – Director
ASL Celebrity Chefs
Tel: 01925 759356 E-Mail:
For More about Simon Wood


MasterChefUK Winner 2015, Simon Wood Signs with ASL Celebrity Chefs

ASL Celebrity Chef are very pleased to sign up MasterChef 2015 winner, Simon Wood.

Simon Wood is MasterChef Champion 2015, crowned the winner when he wowed judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace with his menu inspired by classic flavour combinations, Octopus and Chorizo, Pigeon and Blackberry and Lemon and Lime. Former Data Manager, Simon started cooking when he could ‘reach the top of an oven’. His passion began when, at eight years old, he won a competition to be anything for a day and he chose to be a chef.

Thirty years later Simon’s MasterChef win saw him fulfilling a dream he has had since he was young.

Since winning MasterChef, Simon has been appointed executive chef of Oldham Event Centre part of Oldham Athletic Football Club where he works across fine dining events in the club and masterclasses. His areas of passion include fine dining and the art of plating, and teaching.

His love is to create delicious food that makes people smile and is shown in his debut cookbook At Home With Simon Wood – Fine Dining Made Simple launched in 2017

WOOD Restaurant Manchester
Jack Rosenthal Street, Manchester.

Simon is on-site daily working with his team to create incredible food for everyone who visits WOOD, from Manchester and Beyond…

His areas of passion include fine dining, the art of plating, and teaching.

2017 saw Simon open his first restaurant WOOD Manchester in the First Street development bringing his unique culinary style along with his handpicked team to the heart of Manchester.

The concept of WOOD – Manchester is unintimidating high end dining.  We will bring together passion and creativity with powerful flavours – delivered with playful authenticity.

WOOD – Manchester is somewhere you can enjoy a stylish yet relaxed dining experience.

Simon and his team offer modern interpretations on traditional flavours focusing on simplicity & purity, seasonal inspiration can be found throughout his menu.

Fore More Info – Please visit:


Bertram’s Restaurant wins at the World Luxury Restaurant Awards!

Global acclaim for Burnleys Luxury Brasserie!

Bertram’s Restaurant in Burnley, part of Crow Wood Leisure has received international recognition after being crowned Best Luxury Brasserie at the 2017 World Luxury Restaurant Awards.

The lavish award ceremony took place on the red carpet at the exquisite 5-star JW Marriott Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam where Bertram’s succeeded in seeing off competition from more than 1000 entrants from spectacular destinations as far afield as the Maldives and the United Arab Emirates. Setting the basis for industry standards worldwide, the World Luxury Restaurant Awards pride themselves on providing true recognition of luxury destinations around the globe.

Crow Wood Leisure Director Andrew Brown, said: “The event was truly fantastic and the level of competition was incredible, so we’re extremely proud to be flying the flag for Burnley and the North West and challenging people’s perceptions”.

“We have been working hard to deliver a genuinely world class experience and in doing so, we’re demonstrating that our area offers quality and sophistication”.

“When we opened Bertram’s & The Woodland Spa four years ago, it represented a big investment and a big risk, but we felt that we had the location, the staff and the experience to make it happen. We feel that confidence has been vindicated as Bertram’s has been recognised nationally and internationally.”

Chef Director Spencer Burge, said “It’s a tremendous achievement to win such an award after 4 years of trading and a true testimony to all the staff who have worked so hard. We pride ourselves on going above and beyond expectations, whilst listening to customer feedback and constantly trying to improve the diners experience. We are so very proud of the reputation gained along the way and would like to thank each and every customer who has visited and supported us over the past 4 years. We realise it is very important not to become complacent and remain committed to keep improving the business and making sure all our customers continue to enjoy Bertram’s Restaurant seven days a week”.

Since the £4.5 million investment in Bertram’s & The Woodland Spa in 2013, Crow Wood has doubled its number of staff to over 200, the business serves 7,000 covers per month and sales of £6.2 million last year.  The expansion of the Spa’s outdoor facilities was officially opened in 2016 following a further £750,000 investment. This has seen the opening of Bertram’s Terrace Bar including a fabulous outdoor fire pit, which is surrounded by comfortable sofas – perfect when relaxing with a cocktail!

The future sees Crow Wood venture into the world of Hotel and Conference facilities. The luxurious facility will have 78 additional rooms including sumptuous suites and inter-connecting rooms for flexibility. The hotel will also have a 300 seat function suite, bar, Italian restaurant and will be licensed to conduct wedding ceremonies. This £12 million investment is due for completion in 2018 and will allow spa guests further options to extend their stay overnight.

Crow Wood is a fitness and leisure concept set in 100 acres of unspoilt woodland in Burnley, Lancashire.  Crow Wood includes gymnasium, leisure pool, racquets and the Soccer Burnley complex. The private members fitness centre was established in 2001 with an investment of £10 million. Crow Wood employs over 200 people. The complex also includes the recent £4.5million development, The Woodland Spa and Bertram’s Restaurant.


TV’s “Come Dine With Me” Star – Polly Guy – Joins ASL Celebrity Chefs

Polly Guy grew up deep in the Norfolk countryside on a smallholding farm which was self-sufficient. Polly’s parents were both full time doctors in their own practice so at an early age Polly picked fresh fruit from the trees & vegetables from the garden and prepared supper learning how to make lovely apple jacks and pies. This hobby turned into a necessity given how busy her parents were but it soon became a passion.

Polly grows her own herbs & vegetables on her allotment (she’s even got her own tractor like she used to use as a child). She understands and promotes the health benefits of fruit & veg for healthy body and skin. Her daughter is a perfect example of how children will eat vegetables if they’re presented as part of an attractive meal using her own jazzy culinary ideas.

Polly studied cookery for 2 years at Norwich City College. Whilst studying she cooked for outside catering functions such as the Queens Jubilee, Newmarket Racecourse & the Princes trust.

Subsequently she worked in several restaurants including working with Michelin Star chef Aaron Patterson at Hambleton Hall, Rutland.

Polly had some time out of the industry & became a very successful glamour model.

See More Here!


The Most Expensive Chips In The World – With GoldSal 24 Kt. Gold flakes

Fleur de Sel & Gold

Atlantic Salt Flower with edible Gold flakes 24 Kt.

100% Natural sea salt, obtained through traditional methods, handcrafted from the Natural Parks of the Bay of Cádiz and mixed with Gold flakes 24 Kt. This Salt is the Most Luxurious in the World, becoming the gourmet salt par excellence full of flavour and elegance.

Our History

Hnos Úbeda is the 3rd generation of a family company with more than 100 years of experience and dedication in the salt mines sector. Nuestro conocimiento en la minería a pasado de padre a hijos. Our knowledge in the salt mining passed from father to sons. Don Juan Úbeda was the beginner in 1905, he started to work for the Union Salinera de España SA in the Salinas de Cabo de Gata.

Living within the salt mines and raising her children in the salt mining environment, this make his son Don Juan Úbeda López continue the family tradition and passed on to the next generation with Don Manuel Úbeda Cantón, who continued the same tradition in the Salinas de la Tapa y Marivélez en el Puerto de Santa Maria as head of exploitation for 47 years.

Don Manuel Úbeda Cantón with his great experience and for his native roots was a great connoisseur of this type of salt. Two of his children were dedicated to this business Juan José Úbeda Rodriguez and Manuel Jesus Úbeda Rodriguez. Taking the reins of the company Don Manuel Jesus Úbeda decides to create an exclusive and innovative product that breaks the market roles. Mix Flor de Sal, which is the Gourmet Salt par excellence with edible Gold of more than 22K creating a culinary jewel Goldsal.


Read More & Contact.

– New Website:

– Facebook:

– Twitter:  

– LinkedIn:úbeda-goldsal-s.l.

– Instagram:



Celebrity Food Historian, Seren Hollins is toasting her success having received a prestigious food award at the 12th World’s Original Marmalade Awards celebrations at Dalemain.  With record entries from around the globe, this Award proves that their marmalade really is world class.

Seren Hollins just scooped Silver and bronze awards in the 12th World’s Original Marmalade Awards. Seren’s company Seren’s Kitchen won seven of the marmalade world’s most prestigious accolades for its entries which included Gin and Lime Marmalade and Lemon and Limoncello, which impressed judges with its appearance, colour, consistency, aroma and flavour.

The results of this year’s Marmalade Awards in Cumbria prove that far from going out of fashion, quality marmalade is loved not only in Britain but around the world, where is fast becoming an international obsession. Cumbria was delighted to welcome marmalade makers from as far afield as Lebanon and Columbia for the Marmalade Awards & Festival on 18th & 19th March. Family marmalade makers and key sponsors Mackays themselves export to over 80 countries across Asia, Australasia, Europe, America and the Middle East, proving that the championing of marmalade abroad has clearly been a huge success.

Martin Grant, MD of Mackays said: “Well done to all the winners of this year’s World Marmalade Awards 2017. It’s been another successful year of marmalade making which Mackays is so proud to be a part of yet again.”

Owner Seren said they were delighted to win the award: “This is a golden award for us in more ways than one! We are so pleased to have won this award against such strong competition from all over the world. We’ve got our preserve pans at the ready to make lots more jars. ‘’

The Artisan judges for 2017 were a prestigious panel of food industry experts, including Sam Rosen-Nash from Fortnum & Mason and Dan Lepard, food writer and baking guru. The guest of honour at the festival was the Japanese Ambassador, who was delighted to attend and taste the many Japanese entries ahead of plans for a Dalemain sister festival of Marmalade in Japan.

Jane Hasell-McCosh, founder of the Awards, said: “It has been wonderful to see how people’s love of marmalade has created a passionate community all around the world. It has been a great honour and joy to welcome so many marmalade makers to my home in Cumbria in celebration of such a well loved preserve, and great fun to see the team at ‘Penrith Goes Orange’ taking the festival to another level with such an innovative and exciting family day out.”

The Awards are sponsored by Mackays of Dundee, Tate & Lyle and Fortnum & Mason, and are proud to raise money for palliative care around the world. This year’s key beneficiaries include Hospice at Home Carlisle & North Lakes and Marie Curie Scotland, and to date the Awards have raised well over £200,000 for charity.