Maintaining the high standards Groupe Mandar is known for was a crucial element when creating a new demonstration space.
Groupe Mandar is one of France’s biggest importers of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs, delivering produce of the highest quality to five star hotels and restaurants, wholesalers and leading supermarkets. The company, owned by the Abramczyk family since 1973, prides itself on sharing its passion for produce with its customers, offering them not only the very best produce available, but also insight and expertise in how best to use it to create stunning and delicious dishes.
Translating this vision into reality required a practical presentation space, from which Groupe Mandar could demonstrate how to get the very best from fresh produce. The result was l’Academie Mandar; a purpose built 190sqmfacility at its Parisian headquarters featuring a workroom and a high-spec production gallery.
Marketing director Serge Faruch explains the set up: “Up to 19 people can participate in practical culinary courses, watching world class chefs in a fully equipped, open plan kitchen environment, or we can use the same space to film recipe preparation and share those with customers who are further afield. We also decided to build an adjoining conference room, so that a larger audience can also watch what is taking place in the kitchen. This is perfect for our press and corporate events, for example to launch a new product range, so we can also inspire our guests with freshly prepared dishes made with those products.”
Visors are welcomed to the facility by two LG screens displaying informative messages. Once inside visual displays continue to be a key element of the audiovisual infrastructure in order to deliver the thoroughly immersive culinary experience the Groupe was after. Faruch explains that as there would not be a dedicated technician managing the video output, the equipment chosen had to be intuitive and easy to use, but still offer outstanding quality.
“The training and insight that we work to deliver in the Academie reflect the core values that the family has held since Groupe Mandar was founded, and as such, the quality of our video output must also mirror those high standards. The food on screen must look as appetising as it does in the chef’s pan, so we needed broadcast-grade equipment to form the hub of our audiovisual infrastructure, and this was planned alongside the facility build throughout 2015.”
In the production suite, a Blackmagic Smart Videohub manages all of the SDI signal routing to large screen monitors installed throughout the facility, with all of the consumer grade monitors are connected to the SDI network with Blackmagic Mini Converters. The kitchen screens also include a monitor fixed high above the demonstration kitchen worktop, giving attendees the ability to watch the chef in action, as well as getting a close up ‘pan shot’. The conference room is also fitted with a video projector to allow any large corporate groups to all get an excellent view of what’s going on in the kitchen. “We’ve positioned small action cameras in various positions on the chefs’ station, so that every step of the process is captured,” explains Serge. Currently one camera offers a tight shot on the chef’s workspace and one provides a wide shot from the back of the room. This setup will be extended in the coming months: a camera positioned to give a wide shot from the front of the room and a motorized camera for wide shots and angles are set to be installed.
The live programme mix for the facility is produced on an ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K, with one of the Groupe Mandar team taking the helm in programme direction. Faruch explains that the ATEM��s production features made it the perfect choice for the workshop’s video workflow.
“The built in multiview combined with very intuitive control software makes it very simple for us to keep a track of what’s happening on each of the cameras, and to produce a logical and educational program. The Blackmagic products are extremely intuitive, even for people who may not have a technical background, and yet still allow us to ensure we deliver content that looks professional, ensuring the perfect showcase for our produce ranges.”
The facility has already hosted a range of important events for the Groupe, such as a press conference to launch a campaign to promote French-grown garlic, as well as an event to celebrate the first honey harvest in Rungis.
“There’s nothing better than being able to demonstrate what the very best chefs in the world can produce with the very best ingredients available in France, so the workshop will form the central hub for all of our product marketing,” concludes Serge. “From the moment customers step into the kitchen, they get a sense of our high standards, and the audiovisual infrastructure that we’ve installed ensures that this impression remains strong, long after the events are concluded.”