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South West Michelin stars announced
The Michelin Great Britain & Ireland Stars for 2020 include a Wiltshire restaurant earning its second star. In the latest edition of the fine dining guide, The Dining Rooms in Whatley Manor, Malmesbury was one of only three restaurants to be promoted from one to two stars, while Sketch in Mayfair, London was the only new three-star restaurant this year.
Restaurants retaining their stars in the region included the two-star Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Port Isaac, Cornwall. Staying on one star in the South West were Paul Ainsworth at No. 6 Padstow, Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen Port Isaac, Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam in Bath; Bulrush, Casamia, Paco Tapas and Wilk’s, in Bristol; Pony & Trap in Chew Magna; Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham, Red Lion Freehouse in Wiltshire; Thomas Carr @ The Olive Room, Masons Arms Knowstone, Lympstone Manor and Elephant, Torquay, in Devon.
Gidleigh Park in Devon lost its remaining star having lost its two-star status in last year’s edition, while Driftwood in Portscatho lost its one star.
Rebecca Burr, director of the Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland, said: “Running a successful restaurant is tough, and we know that. It takes long hours, dedication, teamwork and the support of those people closest to you. I congratulate all the teams and chefs who have won and retained Michelin Stars in the 2020 guide.”
Bristol hoteliers have high hopes for new attraction
Hoteliers in Bristol believe the first eye-in-the-sky visitor attraction of its kind in the UK could take the city’s tourism offering to new heights.
Plans for The Arc Bristol observation wheel on the harbourside could bring around 250,000 visitors to the city every year. The attraction would see a glass cabin carry up to 42 passengers at a time on a 20-minute panoramic climb some 69 metres above the city.
Raphael Herzog, acting chair of the Bristol Hoteliers Association, said: “We were excited to hear about these innovative proposals, which clearly have the potential to bring a welcome boost in business to hotels and hospitality providers in the city.
“Since the London Eye opened in 2000, we have seen many other cities install similar large observation wheels, so it is very exciting to see that Bristol could potentially be leading the way with something different that no other city in the UK has.
“That has to be good for business, as there is an almost insatiable demand for there to be something new that people have not seen or experienced before.
“So rather than following the crowd and having something that so many other destinations already have, these proposals present Bristol with the chance to be a pioneering leader, offering an attraction that people cannot find anywhere else.
“If Arc Bristol attracts anything like the number of visitors being predicted, we will, of course, hope that those people will want to stay in the city for longer, enjoy the hospitality of our many hotels and the many other attractions Bristol has to offer.”
If planning consent is granted, Arc Bristol could be in position in Millennium Square, next to the We The Curious science centre, from Spring 2022.
The UK’s first inland surfing lake is also due to open on the outskirts of the city in the next month. The Wave – the centrepiece of which is a purpose-built 200m lake – will deliver up to 1,000 surfing waves an hour, with those waves peaking at 1.9 metres.
Mr Herzog added: “Having two new attractions, the likes of which no other UK city has, will put Bristol well and truly on the tourist map. They will encourage people to travel from all over the country, Ireland and Europe, which is welcome news for Bristol’s accommodation providers. Last week, PwC’s Hotels Forecast for 2019-2020 predicted weaker growth in the UK hotel sector over the next 12 months. Major events such as big-name music concerts can provide a brief boost to business, but innovative attractions like Arc Bristol and The Wave, which cannot be found elsewhere, offer opportunities for a more sustained increase in demand for beds.”
Fragrance Group’s £20m Torquay hotel approved
Singapore-based property firm Fragrance Group has been given the green light by planners to demolish the Corbyn Head Hotel in Torquay, Devon and replace it with a new £20m hotel with three times the number of bedrooms
The plans are for the construction of a four-star hotel up to six storeys high with 152 bedrooms, compared to 45 in the current building. The new hotel will also have a spa and a rooftop bar.
The original plans were rejected by councillors in June who cited the lack of parking spaces and the building’s visual impact. Local opposition included 506 objections.
The hotel is expected to generate an extra £2.7m of leisure spend per year in Torbay, as well as 101 new full-time jobs, based on a 75% occupancy rate. The application was supported by the Torbay Development Agency. They argued that the English Riviera’s destination management plan 2017-2, which aims to bring in new visitors, improve the quality of accommodation, and improve hotel occupancy throughout the year was aligned with the project.
The Fragrance Group has three other venues in Devon which it is investing a total of £100m in. It plans to demolish the Palace hotel in Torquay and build a 248-bedroom, five-star hotel. It has also demolished the 46-bedroom Park hotel in Paignton and has planning permission to build a three-star, 161-bedroom hotel. It is redrawing plans to redevelop the adjacent former Lighthouse bar and nightclub into a 115-bedroom hotel.
The company also plans to transform the Grade II-listed Royal Mineral Water Hospital in central Bath into a luxury hotel.
Martin Rogers, of Global Hotels Leisure & Consultancy, on behalf of the Fragrance Group, said: “We are naturally very pleased that councillors have supported the proposals for the Corbyn Head which are part of the largest programme of private sector investment in Torbay in living memory.
“The Fragrance Group is preparing to invest around £100m in Torbay, which will provide a major boost to the local economy and create hundreds of meaningful full-time jobs. The planning committee’s decision is a vote in favour of investment for future generations.”
Food Drink Devon awards announced
Devon’s food and drink producers, hospitality and catering businesses were celebrated at the annual Food Drink Devon Awards, held on October 7th at the Imperial Hotel in Torquay.
The Best Producer accolade went to Eversfield Organic, with judges praising the quality of their Organic Beef Rump Steak stating “there was no room for improvement”. Salcombe Distilling Company also triumphed, winning the title of Best Brand.
From 250 product entries, all blind-tasted by independent judges, five achieved a faultless score of 100% and a Platinum Award. These included Eversfield Organic’s Organic Beef Rump Steak, Granny Gothards’ Dairy Free Chocolate Ice Cream, Ruth’s Real Food’s Devon Braised Beef, Stokeley Butchers’ Faggots and Tideford Organics’ Lentil & Spinach Dhal Soup. Products in the Taste of Devon Product Awards achieving a score of 90-99% were awarded Gold Awards of which there were 49, with a further 43 obtaining Silver Awards after scoring 85-89%.
In the hospitality awards, the Best Fine Dining Restaurant was shared by two establishments; The Angel in Dartmouth and The Coach House by Michael Caines in Kentisbury. Commenting on The Angel judges said “excellent all round – I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t love this place”, high praise received for The Coach House by Michael Caines included “a very high quality, well-run restaurant located at a beautiful hotel”.
Other formal dining awards went to The NoBody Inn, Doddiscombsleigh which won the Best Restaurant Award, with Orestone Manor, Maidencombe victorious in the Best Hotel Restaurant category. The Bear & Blacksmith, Kingsbridge were the proud winner of the Best Pub category with judges commending them for growing a lot of the produce they use themselves, on their own farm.
In the casual dining section of the Hospitality Awards, Best Bar went to The Cove Café Bar in Hope Cove with the Best Café title awarded to Bayards Cove Inn, Dartmouth. Tambapanni in Barnstaple claimed the Best Street Food Award with judges praising their certified plastic-free status and “fantastic, authentic food”.
In the Retail Awards, the Best Retailer title went to the magnificent Ashburton Delicatessen, who has previously won the accolade twice in the Awards’ history. Best Online Retailer went to Eversfield Organic, Exeter Cookery School proudly won Best Training School and Crediton Farmers’ Market was named Best Farmers Market.
Barbara King, chair of Food Drink Devon, commented: “Each year we’re increasingly impressed with the quality of entries. This year was certainly no exception, a fantastic reflection of the excellence of what Devon’s inspiring food and drink producers and dedicated hospitality and retail establishments offer. We’re proud to celebrate our Awards’ ninth anniversary this year, to receive over 250 product entries and over 95 entries into our Retail and Hospitality Awards demonstrates the amazing innovation, vitality and strength in our food and drink industry.”
Bristol young guns unite for fundraising dinner
The award-winning Josh Eggleton, Elliott Lidstone and Jan Ostle are joining forces to cook an exclusive dinner to raise funds for industry charity Hospitality Action. To be held on November 11th, at Clevedon Hall near Bristol, the three chefs are planning to cook a dinner that celebrates the South West food scene.
Elliott Lidstone, chef owner of BOX-E will prepare the evening’s starter of crispy polenta, wild mushrooms and pickled cauliflower. Elliot’s career includes six years at L’Ortolan where he helped to retain the restaurant’s Michelin star before moving on to take the lead at the Empress in London where he was awarded 2 AA Rosettes and a Michelin Bib Gourmand.
Jan Ostle, head chef and owner of Wilsons will cook a main course of pheasant. Jan has worked as a chef since the age of 18, working in some of the country’s most competitive kitchens including The Square, The Hand & Flowers and Royal Hospital Road.
Josh Eggleton, owner and chef patron of The Pony & Trap will close the evening with a mouth-watering bread and butter sharing pudding, glazed with honey and served with a salad of orchard seasonal fruit and cultured cream. For three consecutive years, Josh has appeared on the BBC’s Great British Menu where he won the regional stages while The Pony & Trap has been named as the sixth-best gastropub on the Estrella Top 50 Gastropubs list.
Josh said: “I’m delighted to be part of an exciting team putting Bristol on the map and raising the profile of Hospitality Action in the area. The three of us have differing culinary styles but are all united in our commitment to elevating seasonal and local ingredients to the highest level. We’re also proud of our industry and our city as an amazing place to work. I’m honoured to help promote Hospitality Action in the South West.”
The funds raised will go towards helping those most in need across the UK hospitality industry this autumn. Tickets are priced at £95 per person or £900 for a table of 10 and guests will enjoy welcome drinks and canapé reception followed by the three-course meal, half a bottle of wine per person donated by VinoSA and the chance to win some fabulous prizes in the auction and prize draw.
To learn more about the event visit: www.hospitalityaction.org.uk/events, call 0203 004 5504 or email email@example.com.
Salcombe Gin all at sea with P&O
The Salcombe Distilling Company (SDCo) is partnering with P&O Cruises to develop the world’s first distillery at sea.
The plan is to install it on board P&O Cruises’ new flagship vessel Iona, launching in May 2020. As part of the contract, SDCo will also develop a unique gin that will be distilled, bottled and labelled on board Iona.
Angus Lugsdin, co-founder of Salcombe Distilling Co, said: “We’re extremely excited to partner on this exciting project with P&O Cruises… Both brands are kindred spirits, born of the sea with a history of breaking new ground and exploring new horizons. To be responsible for creating a unique gin and distilling it on board the first distillery at sea is a very romantic notion and brings us closer to the intrepid adventurers who travelled the world’s oceans seeking out the finest fruits, spices and herbs.”
Following the gin’s launch on Iona, SDCo will also distil the recipe at their waterside distillery in Salcombe. It will be shared and served across the P&O Cruises fleet as the official premium gin where it will be available in the bars and restaurants onboard and to purchase at duty-free retailers alongside their multi-award winning gin portfolio. SDCo will also run gin masterclasses on board for P&O Cruises’ guests.
President of P&O Cruises, Paul Ludlow, comments: “Salcombe Gin is the perfect partner for us as they share our zest for adventure and discovery. They have an unrivalled passion and attention to detail, not only in the award-winning gins they create but also in the unique gin experiences they offer. We’re incredibly excited by the bespoke gin they are creating for us, the maiden production run of which will be distilled on board the first-ever distillery at sea.”
St Austell acquire new West Somerset inn
St Austell Brewery has announced that The Windmill Inn, near Staple in West Somerset, is being added to its tenanted estate. Including its managed houses, St Austell Brewery owns over 175 pubs, inns and hotels across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Bristol and the Isles of Scilly.
The Windmill Inn is located within the Quantock Hills – an Area of Natural Beauty – and has a function room, range of accommodation, bar and restaurant.
Steve Worrall, retail director for St Austell Brewery, said: “This is a really exciting acquisition for the company and a great opportunity for Craig and Karen to drive this wonderful inn forward.
“As a business, we have an ongoing strategy to strengthen our award-winning estate of pubs and hotels across the South West and beyond.”
Apprentice opportunities in fish and chips
Seafish, the public body which supports the £10bn UK seafood industry, has announced two new training providers for fish frying apprenticeships in England and North Wales. It says now is the time for fish and chip shop owners to find out how taking on an apprentice could benefit their bottom line.
As well as equipping people with the knowledge and skills to become fish friers, apprenticeships are also available for other roles within a business, such as front of house and management.
National Fish & Chip Awards 2018 winner, Harbourside, in Plymouth has already taken advantage of the scheme.
Owner of the Harbourside, Sarah Lock, said: “We’ve found apprenticeships to be extremely beneficial to our business, producing highly-skilled, motivated individuals looking to carve out a career in the fish and chip industry. In addition to fish friers, we’ve also had apprentices undertake front-of-house and management training.
“Currently, we have two former apprentices working across our shops. We always try and keep them once they finish their training as we know just how strong a skillset they develop.
“We really could not recommend apprenticeships enough when it comes to providing quality food and a top tier customer experience.”
Lee Cooper, Seafish national learning and standards manager, said: “Those in the fish and chip industry know that behind every perfect serving is a team of dedicated, motivated individuals who have worked hard to develop the skills they need. This makes having a well-trained and knowledgeable workforce vital to a business’ success.
FOOD AND DRINK NEWS
Gail’s and Quicke’s collaborate on sourdough bread
A new sustainable sourdough loaf from GAIL’s bakery in London uses leftover whey from Quicke’s clothbound cheddar.
The Einkorn & Whey Sourdough uses the oldest wheat known to man, Einkorn, which has been grown by farmers since around 6000 BC, along with the acclaimed Devon cheesemaker’s whey from the cheesemaking process.
GAIL’s created a recipe featuring traditional British wheat flour, dark rye, whey and their 20-year-old sourdough, folding in red quinoa, whole soya beans, chia and millet, with a scattering of seeds across the top to achieve a crust with a crunch.
The bread is available to purchase on Ocado, priced at £4.20 for a 525g loaf, alongside a range of other GAIL’s and Quicke’s products. Quicke’s Cheddar can be purchased from www.quickes.co.uk and all of GAIL’s products are available to buy from its 48 bakeries across London, as well as online at gailsbread.co.uk.
Somerset country pub on the market
The Queens Arms, a West Country inn located in Corton Denham, North Sherborne in Somerset has been brought to market by Christie & Co.
Situated in idyllic countryside close to Cadbury Castle, the award-winning pub has, according to the agents, “Three income streams from its boutique rooms, 2AA Rosette food, local ales and cider and an extensive range of gins and whiskeys.”
The inn dates from the 18th Century and has a rustic bar with an open fire as well as two dining rooms, one traditional, one more contemporary for private functions. The garden has interrupted views across farmland.
Current owners, Jeanette and Gordon Reid are planning to retire after ten years. They said: “Our philosophy has always been to measure our food in meters, and we are passionate about our foods provenance and sustainability of produce. The awards presented to us over the past ten years have demonstrated the drive and efforts of the whole team to give customers a truly unique experience.”
Nicholas Calfe, director – licensed, at Christie & Co is handling the sale and comments, “The Queens Arms is a quintessentially English pub that will appeal to a wide buyer pool from overseas buyers to regional group or someone looking to enter the market. There is plenty of scope to increase revenue and for the new owner to really put their stamp on the business. These types of pubs rarely come to the market because they offer a consistent steady income throughout the year. The only reason the Queens Arms is on the market is due to the owners looking to retire from the trade after 10 years. Surrounded by beautiful countryside yet within easy reach of London.”
INDUSTRY EVENTS 2019
Independent Hotel Show
15th – 16th October 2019
“The Independent Hotel Show is dedicated to delivering an experience fit to serve the needs of the modern hotelier; delivering innovation, education and networking.”
Dorset Tourism Awards Ceremony 2019
17th October 2019
The Tank Museum, Wareham, Dorset
“The prestigious Dorset tourism awards dinner hosted by BBC Dorset’s Steve Harris, with guest Speaker Simon Cripps, chief executive of Dorset Wildlife Trust.”
For more information & to book tickets, please visit
Welcome Italia 2019
18th – 20th October 2019
Royal Horticultural Halls, 80 Vincent Square, London
“Organised by The Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the UK to discover and explore the best of Italian food and beverage. Thursday 18th is trade-only day with a special program of seminars.”
2019 Tourism Management Institute Annual Convention
23rd – 24th October 2019
University of Chester
“This is the event for anyone working, studying or interested in tourism destination management who want to find out about current issues affecting tourism.”
For further information & to book tickets, please visit https://www.tmi.org.uk/event/22/tmi-annual-convention-2019.htm
Three Counties Food & Drink Co Ltd – Digital Marketing Workshop
31st October 2019
UK Digital Retail Innovation Centre, Gloucester
“Small & medium-sized food and drink producers are invited to up their digital reach through a workshop on Digital Marketing, with guest speaker Wayne Standley, manager at award-winning beef and lamb producer Todenham Manor Farm.”
For further information & to book, please visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/developing-your-digital-strategy-the-way-forward-for-food-drink-producer-smes-tickets-72495408719