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Café’s new owner benefits from food mentoring scheme – she gets five-star rating

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A popular café’s new owner has gained a top food hygiene rating after benefitting from St Albans City and District Council’s mentoring scheme.

Velina Grudeva recently took over Café Roma in St Albans City Centre and became one of the first people to sign up to the food mentoring initiative.

She was given training by the Council’s food, health and safety team about how to comply with food safety regulations.

This included advice on storage, preparation, cleanliness and allergens as well as other issues.

Café Roma was later inspected and given the Food Standard Agency’s five-star hygiene rating, a quality mark that assures customers of “very good” standards.

Delighted Velina received her certificate from Councillor Anthony Rowlands, Vice-Chair of the Public Realm Committee and Lead for Food Safety.

She said: 

I decided to strike out with a café business of my own after ten years working for Costa Coffee.

One of the first challenges that I faced was making sure that I was up to date with the rules on food safety and that the key controls were in place to deal with all the hazards and risks.

The food mentoring scheme was very helpful in ensuring everything was in place and I would recommend it. I was very pleased that afterwards I was able to get the top food hygiene rating.

Cllr Rowlands congratulated Velina on her achievement and said:


Hospitality is one of the cornerstones of our local economy.  Maintaining high standards of food hygiene is essential for all customers be they residents or visitors.


This mentoring scheme allows us to harness the skills and commitment of successful proprietors as a way of raising standards so that everyone feels confident when visiting our hospitality venues.


The Council is the only local authority in Hertfordshire – and one of just a handful nationwide – to run a mentoring scheme for food businesses.


It is tailored to meet the specific requirements of a business whether it is a takeaway van, a restaurant or a pub and help it achieve the highest possible standards.


The Council’s team advises business owners on their responsibilities under complex food safety legislation.


This ranges from the layout and structure of the premises, staff training, avoidance of cross contamination to the need for a documented food safety management system.


Further details about the scheme, including charges, are available from the food, health and safety team at and on the Council’s website here.


Photos: top and bottom, Cllr Anthony Rowlands presents Café Roma’s owner Velina Grudeva with her food hygiene certificate.


Contact for the media: John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer, 01727 819533,