Quality food service at The Vox, Birmingham

We talk to Aaron Johnson-Waters, Senior Head Chef at The Vox Conference Venue in Birmingham, on his passion for innovation and how quality food service delivery is vital in maintaining the venue's premium offering.

With previous experience working in London at Maze, a Michelin star restaurant underneath Executive Head Chef Jason Atherton, and at the Vox’s sister venue, the ICC, Aaron and his team push the boundaries of conference hospitality. Creating a unique identity for the venue, through individual menu packs and their bespoke offerings has allowed Aaron’s personality to shine.

The Vox is still one of the new kids on the block, having opened in 2015. It’s a forward thinking and highly creative conference venue, accommodating up to 900 delegates. Situated within the £150 million integrated leisure and entertainment destination, Resorts World Birmingham on the NEC Campus - the first destination of its kind in the UK - its layout provides a fully flexible conference and banqueting space that can be combined or divided to create several multi-functional areas through retractable and soundproof skyfold walls. However, its food and beverage offering is also setting new standards in the conference sector, attracting both new and repeat custom.

"We have been building a reputation since day one and delivering a quality food offer to exceed customer expectations" says Aaron. "We ensure that the food is kept fresh and current and this is enhanced by first class service. The Vox is in many ways the sister venue for the ICC in Birmingham city centre, so when we originally opened we kept the same menus for around six months. It was important to set a solid foundation stone on a proven offer and then start to build its own identity."

Since then, Aaron has developed creativity at the Vox by personalising the menus and developing his own hand picked team. He says that he feels fortunate to be able to craft his own food story, writing all the recipes and placing his spin on dishes.

"We are also fortunate to have an incredible Front of House team at the Vox which is led by General Manager, Mark Charlampowicz. We both love to keep things fresh and he is just as passionate as me when it comes to the customer experience. Front and Back of House can at times be divided but we are always communicating which is essential." This relationship also allows Aaron to bring out further creativity, safe in the knowledge that bespoke menus will be backed by quality service.

"This can be as simple as the display equipment which is at times forgotten about. We hold events which include street food offers and go beyond the traditional dish. For example, one day we’ll be offering a circus themed menu and the next, a feast of sweet treats for event attendees. I work closely with the Front of House team to ensure they know exactly what everything is and why it’s displayed in a certain way. I then place a chef behind the station, so they can inform the guest and bring more theatre to the experience. This is important because often chefs in food service may not see what they have created; It’s passed onto the waiting team and so they never witness the guests delight in the food. If your heart and soul goes into something, you do need that interaction."

The Vox has been designed to stand out from the crowd and has the ‘WOW factor’. Its location, teamed with enviable technical facilities, premium seating and this first-class catering team, makes it a truly super-powered venue and a real must-try if you are heading to the Midlands.

For more information on how Aaron and the Vox team could bring your event to life, visit the venue’s new website.

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