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Frans Mortengren - Academician 2019 Nominated at 2022 Cateys

Its not every day one of our very own academicians is nominated for a Catey!

The Cateys are a UK award ceremony for the hospitality industry, first held in 1984.

They have been described as the hospitality industry's equivalent of the Oscars. Recipients are nominated, selected and awarded by the industry through The Caterer magazine

Frans started working in hospitality when he was 16, working for Vegetarian Restaurant Krassi as front of house team member in Finland (where he grew up) in 1993. In 1999, he worked in a Michelin-starred restaurant alongside sommelier Heidi Lagstrom, who inspired Frans with her passion for wine and passing on her expertise. Frans worked for a business which owned 20 high-end restaurants in Helsinki and progressed from a sommelier to a sales role and, eventually, events. Throughout working for the Royal Restaurants Ltd, Frans was always involved in the wine industry - creating and curating wine lists for restaurants, events and bistros. He led on staff training and participating in ongoing personal training. Due to a historically different approach to alcohol supply, Finland has unique access to some of the rarest wines in the world, and equal access to all contemporary and innovative new producers around the world. Alongside his day job, Frans worked with event catering company Kati & Filles Catering, providing sommelier service for private clients. One of the highlights was working on a 50th birthday party for them in 2006. All the wines for the seven-course lunch were from the birth year of 1956. Frans assisted the host in sourcing the wines from around the world for two years. In 2007, Frans moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, and has worked with award-winning/renowned wine lists at Prestonfield House hotel and The Witchery by the Castle. He also worked for a privately-owned castle, looking after the owner’s private wine cellar and purchases. In 2014, Frans joined Heritage Portfolio, an award-winning catering company which creates, caters for and delivers weddings, and exclusive events and parties at in Edinburgh. Frans has also been instrumental in the growing the business in Royal Palaces and exclusive private venues. Heritage Portfolio was acquired by Sodexo in 2017 and Frans remains with Heritage Portfolio to this day, as the company wine ambassador. The role was newly created when Frans joined, and he has been able to adapt the role with changing times. As wine ambassador, Frans curates and creates the wine lists for the events and retail arm of the business, racecourses, and conducts sales and staff training as well as working closely with clients.

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Frans takes work students and event designers from Heritage Portfolio on a wine training course to Rioja

Frans’ role as wine ambassador has contributed to building Heritage Portfolio with a fantastic reputation as an event caterer with a dedicated and highly qualified wine ambassador providing exquisite wine service and training. Working closely with Heritage Portfolio partner Giles Cooke, of Alliance Wines, Frans creates their wine lists, devising a choice of wines from all over the world, from affordable and very drinkable to unusual and covetable – so there is a bottle to suit everyone including the fussiest wine buff. This has helped bring in new business and deliver client tasting events. Having a wine ambassador in Heritage Portfolio enhances their reputation and Frans is always visible in any of their marketing/PR and in attendance. New business and events have been brought in as a result of having a wine ambassador. Frans has also played a key part in planning and delivering an annual Christmas showcase event for Heritage Portfolio clients, where wine and wine service have always played a major role in the offer.

The Covid-19 pandemic and its challenges to the hospitality industry have provided Frans with several issues to overcome. BREXIT and COVID-19 have hugely impacted supply chain so Frans, working closely with Heritage Portfolio’s wine supplier, has ensured that, from the planning stage onwards, the whole process has been smooth and the team have been able to provide wines from the tasting to the actual event. This has been possible by ensuring the wines listed are wines which will be available throughout the year. Work for this started in early 2020, as soon as the pandemic started. In recent years, several main wine growing regions have had relatively bad harvests which have resulted in reduced availability in certain wines. Frans has worked closely with Heritage Portfolio’s wine supplier to ensure they have listed the correct wines based on client demand, the wines which have the required availability and ensured there is no compromise on quality. Alongside this, following BREXIT, the change in both delivery costs and custom costs has been significant. Frans started work on this year’s in advance, curating the wine list so that pricing would ensure profitable results. Frans chose the correct wines for the list from the right producers and regions, trying to avoid unnecessary challenges. Heritage Portfolio have been able to operate with an excellent wine list and for the past 12 months, without any major challenges in either quality or supply. They have delivered financial results, as expected, and in parts exceeded on the expectations. Operations have also been maintained smoothly during difficult times.

Sustainability has also been a key part for the last 12months: sourcing more wines that are produced organically. Working closely with our Champagne House Pommery, and their Louis Pommery brand in Kent.

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