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Cleverchefs Group takes over Cantley Park Café

Cleverchefs’ Blueberry Frangipane

Award-winning Cardiff-based contract caterer Cleverchefs has added another café to its growing portfolio and will take over Cantley Park Café in Wokingham from June 1.

Cleverchefs Group already runs three locations in the area with Dinton Pastures Cafes (The Coffee House, The Coffee Deck and The Coffee Pod) and the newly-acquired café, at the popular recreation ground in Wokingham, will serve a selection of ethically-sourced food and drink.

Founded in 2016 by Nick Collins, Cleverchefs is an innovative catering company, providing high-quality, nutritious food for the education, workplace and leisure sectors. It has grown from £2.7m in 2019 to £11.9m in 2023 and £16m sales this year, with a growing portfolio of 82 schools, three workplaces and two leisure sites.

Nick, a chef for over 20 years who also appeared on BBC’s Masterchef the Professionals in 2008, is hugely passionate about food and service. He has created a vibrant menu, focused on flavour and impeccable presentation. The public can expect delectable cakes and exciting flavour combinations to their everyday sandwiches, hot snacks and barista-style coffees.

The café will serve its own brand ethically sourced fairtrade coffee called Ground Control, which is roasted in the UK and was created by Nick and an expert team of coffee makers.

He said: “We are delighted to be adding to our growing portfolio in Wokingham and look forward to offering the locals a huge variety of flavoursome and exciting treats. We know how much people enjoy going out for a good cup of a coffee and we’re proud to offer our very own Ground Coffee and a selection of cakes and sweet treats produced by our own team of creative chefs.

“Our cafes in nearby Dinton Pastures Country Park have been given a huge Wokingham welcome by the locals. We are passionate about each and every dish we produce and firmly believe food should be the highlight of everyone’s day. With that in mind, we look forward to feeding those visiting Cantley Park, where a variety of freshly made, locally-sourced food and drinks await you.”

The Cleverchefs team is 100% focused on sustainability, recycling at every opportunity and using eco-friendly packaging and food sourcing methods. It uses local suppliers where possible to cut down food miles and support the local economy.

Cantley Park café caters to visitors who frequently use the huge range of sports facilities including an Astro Turf pitch, a 3G pitch, and nine tennis courts. The venue also holds multiple sporting events throughout the year.

Cllr Imogen Shepherd-DuBey, executive member for finance, said: “I am delighted to see Cleverchefs will be taking on responsibility for the café at Cantley Park.

“With a fantastic reputation for the work they have done at Dinton Pastures Country Park, we have every confidence that they will bring a high-quality service to residents and build on their already strong track record. We look forward to working with Cleverchefs to establish a longer-term approach that works best for our community.

“We had to ensure we explored all options and found a solution that worked for our residents and provided a practical way forward. We have got to make the most of our assets and protect frontline services, but we also want to ensure residents are heard in a process such as this. I am sure many families and users of the park will be pleased to see a café provision will continue here and wish Cleverchefs the very best.”

As well as partnerships with Dinton Pastures Country Park, Cleverchefs has also established partnerships with visitor attractions including the National Lido at Ynysangharad War Memorial Park in Pontypridd.

Cleverchefs recently won “Contract Caterer of the Year” at this year’s Public Sector Catering Awards and has been nominated for a prestigious Catey Award 2024. The “Public Sector Caterer” Award will be awarded to the individual or organisation who has made an outstanding contribution to the cost sector.

It also earned a place at the most recent Wales Fast Growth 50 Awards, claiming the Fastest Growing Business-to-Business Services Firm and the Fastest Growing Cardiff Firm accolades there too.