About Jon

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“There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.”

Artists Blend

And here and two great new additions to our Digestif List.

First The Great King Street blended scotch whisky. For this whisky Great King Street only use very highest quality single grain. The blend is made up of a Lowland Grain Whisky, Northern Highland Single Malt and a Speyside Single Malt matured mostly in a First Fill American Oak Barrel. Creating a rich fruit and malty taste with lovely hints of vanilla.

Next, we have the Japanese Nikka Whisky “Yoichi”, this 10 year old single malt from Nikka’s beautiful Yoichi distillery in Hokkaido, it is made with the same methods as Scotland by using a particular type of still and matured in the finest wood Nikka whisky can find. It is charmingly peaty and bottle at 45% abv for a bit more strength.

Vodka? Made from Milk?

Black Cow Vodka

West Dorset dairy farmer, Jason Barber, invented Black Cow Vodka after learning about the Tuva, a nomadic Siberian tribe, who for many centuries have been distilling Araka vodka made from fermented mares’ milk. Keen to diversify the produce from his 250 strong dairy herd, he set about the challenge of producing a vodka using the milk from his own cows.

Black Cow is the world’s first pure milk vodka, made entirely from the milk of the grass grazed cows at Barber’s farm, Seaborough Manor, which Jason took over from his father in 2000.  It was launched in May 2012 and is made from the same milk that is used to make Barber’s 1833 cheddar, winner of the World Cheese Awards Cheddar Trophy 2012.  The milk is separated into curds and whey. The curds are used to make the cheese; the whey is fermented into a beer using special yeast that converts the milk sugar into alcohol. The milk beer is then distilled, specially blended, triple filtered and finished.  The vodka is then hand bottled.  Every batch makes around 3,000 bottles.

Crisp and fresh in character with a soft finish and creamy texture, this is our new standard for a pre-prandial Vodka and Tonic.

 

Black Cow Vodka

Food Magazine Reader Awards – VOTE NOW!

sticker-finalist

 

The Food Magazine Reader Awards 2014 shortlist have been announced, and we have been named as one of their finalists in their Best Restaurant Category!

In October and November, over 3,000 votes were cast by food readers for their favourite chefs, restaurants, cafes and products in the South West. The nominations have been counted and a shortlist drawn up. In categories where the voting was extremely close, the shortlist has been extended to a maximum of six nominees.

Shortlist voting is now open and will close on February 2, 2014, at midnight. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at Yeo Valley HQ on February 24.

food editor Jo Rees said: ‘food readers clearly feel strongly about supporting their favourite local chefs and food businesses, and we’ve been blown away by the number of votes cast in the first round. It’s easy to underestimate how important winning an award like this is to the food businesses involved so we urge South West foodies to push their favourite in the shortlist through to the final three.’

I would like to say a BIG thank you to everyone who has voted to get us on to the Shortlist and we would really appreciate your Votes again to get us through to the final.

VOTE HERE!

Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants in Britain

Food List

The Food List is compiled for The Sunday Times by UK restaurants guide publisher Harden’s using the reports of genuine diners, who are asked to rate the places they have visited. The List is now in its fourth year, and is based on 80,000 reviews from 9,000 people, including many Sunday Times readers. The Sunday Times’ rankings are based solely on the food the restaurant serves, though the scores for ambience were used in the event of a tie.

We are thrilled to make it into the list again this year, second year in a row, at a fantastic Number 57.

This year the South West is home to eight of Britain’s best 100 restaurants.

1. Gidleigh Park in Devon, run by Michael Caines (Topped the List in Britain too at 1)

2. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Rock (4)

3. The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow (49)

4. The Harrow at Little Bedwyn (54)

5. The Bath Priory run by Sam Moody (55)

6. Lumiere  (57)

7. Paul Ainsworth in Padstow (59)

8. Le Champignon Sauvage (64)

This year is the first time 2 Cheltenham restaurants have been included in the list as Le Champignon Sauvage re-enters after last appearing in 2010, to join us.

Editor of The Sunday Times Food List, Karen Robinson, said: “The Food List is essential reading for food lovers. It’s a fantastic achievement for chefs to make it into our top 100, because our scores are based on the reviews of thousands of diners, mostly spending their own money. This makes the Food List an unbiased and definitive guide to the finest restaurants in the country.”

 

Big Eat Chef’s Dinner

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At the end of October our team headed up to the star college for the big eat charity fundraising evening, raising money for the college itself. Along with chefs David Kelman from Ellenbrough Park, Matt Black and Rob Rees from the Star Bistro.

StarBistro is a joint venture between The Wiggly Worm and National Star Foundation enabling young people with disabilities to gain real life work experience in a restaurant environment, they use great local and seasonal ingredients and serve their meals from a specially designed kitchen to their customers in a purpose built restaurant.

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Dom & I were in charge of sending out the canapés and starters and Helen and Hannah were helping running front of house. It was a very successful evening raising far more than expected especially with the auction at the end which Lumiere donated a tasting and matched wines prize. All in all the evening raised over £5,000 for the charity.

I would like to thank Flying Fish Seafoods & Creed Food Supplies for donating some of the ingredients and Martyn Dymott and his art group of their kind donation towards the other ingredients!

TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Fine Dining Restaurants in the UK – We’re Number 4!!

Travellers.Choice.2013

Lumiere was listed yesterday in the Top Ten Fine Dining Restaurants in the UK by TripAdvisor at Number 4

The world’s largest travel site, announced the winners of its 2013 Travellers’ Choice™ Restaurants awards. The awards honour travellers’ favourite fine dining establishments worldwide, based on the millions of valuable reviews and opinions on TripAdvisor.

This year’s awards spell great news for famed chef Raymond Blanc, whose celebrated restaurant Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons in Great Milton has been named the UK’s favourite fine dining experience, and is the only UK restaurant to be named among the top ten favourites in the world and top five favourites in Europe. Second in the UK is Devon’s Gidleigh Park in Chagford which also comes ninth in Europe. Gordon Ramsay’s Petrus in London takes the UK’s third spot and Lumiere in Cheltenham fourth.

“This year’s list of Travellers’ Choice Restaurants award winners proves just how diverse fine dining experiences have become across the UK. Whether you’re as far north as Auchterarder or as far south as Jersey, you’ll be able to find a Travellers’ Choice winner close by,” commented TripAdvisor spokesperson, James Kay.

Travellers’ Choice Favourite Fine Dining Restaurants UK:

  1. Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, Great Milton, Oxfordshire, England
  2. Gidleigh Park, Chagford, Devon, England
  3. Petrus, London, England
  4. Lumiere, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
  5. Andrew Fairlie @ Gleneagles, Auchterarder, Scotland
  6. Ocean Restaurant, St. Brelade, Jersey, Great Britain
  7. The Ledbury, London, England
  8. Castle Terrace, Edinburgh, Scotland
  9. Maison Bleue Restaurant, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England
  10. Le Gavroche, London, England

As you can imagine the phone has been ringing off the hook, with both bookings and journalists wanting quotes!!

It’s a little bit surreal to be honest with you; It’s such a great honour to receive this kind of recognition, Chefs like Raymond Blanc, Micheal Caines and Michel Roux Junior are people I have looked up to throughout my whole career so to be named alongside them is amazing but I think what’s most important to us about this award is that they are based on our customers reviews. Of course it’s nice to get recognition from inspectors and reviewers, but if the customers are giving positive feedback then to us that is the most important thing.

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South West Chef of the Year – Young Professional Semi Finals…. Update

Many congratulations to Nathan Cornwell from Lucknam Park, Bath, who was awarded the prestigious title of South West Chef of the Year. Unfortunately Dom didn’t make it through to the finals but he did himself proud and produced a fantastic dish amongst very tough competition.

For the final, the chefs were asked to prepare a main course and dessert for two using the ingredients of a mystery box presented to them just 30 minutes before the competition!  Nathan produced two dishes of roast loin of venison, squash purée, Savoy greens, red wine shallots, blackberries and girolles, followed by milk chocolate panna cotta, poached pears, chocolate powder and caramelised walnuts saw him take the title in an extremely close Young Professional class in which the standard of cooking from all finalists was exceptional

 

 

South West Chef of the Year – Young Professional Semi Finals

The semi-finalists have been announced for the 10th annual South West Chef of the Year competition!

The number of entries received rose again this year and in addition to this, the standard of those entries was exceptional.  As a result, the judges took the decision that they would have to allow more entrants the opportunity to demonstrate their skills for the judges, inviting a higher number than usual to prepare their menus at the semi-finals!

Eight chefs have been selected in both the Professional class (sponsored by Ritter Courivaud) and the Young Professional class (sponsored by Exeter College and Paramount Personnel) to attend the semi-finals at Exeter College on Saturday 12th October.  Three chefs will then be selected from each class to return for the finals on Monday 28th October, again at Exeter College.

Meanwhile, the South West’s Best Dish class, sponsored by Ashburton Cookery School, received a record number of entries from the keen home cooks of the region!  Faced with a wide range of dishes, the judges decided to invite four entrants, rather than the usual three, to the final to be held at Ashburton Cookery School on Saturday 19th October.

The final for the new Junior class, launched this year, will also be held on Saturday 19thOctober at Ashburton Cookery School and our finalists will be announced after the county heats have been completed.

The results of each class will be announced at an awards presentation dinner on the evening of Monday 28th October, sponsored and hosted by Exeter Golf and Country Club.  More details below.

Professional class semi-finalists:

  • Adrian Andrews – Chef de Partie, Ode Restaurant, Shaldon
  • Sam Burfield – Sous Chef, The Castle Hotel,Taunton
  • Andrew Chan – Sous Chef, Thornbury Castle, Thornbury, Bristol
  • James Clark – Route 2, Topsham and Travelling Cookery School
  • Daniel Hutchinson – Senior Chef de Partie, Lucknam Park, Bath
  • Maciek Kijewski – Head Chef, Beales Gourmet Catering
  • Daniel Moon – Head Chef, Ston Easton Park, Bath
  • Brett Sutton – Head Chef, The Eastbury Hotel, Sherborne

Young Professional class semi-finalists:

  • Nathan Cornwell – Chef de Partie, Lucknam Park, Bath
  • Jonah Kellar – The Elephant Restaurant, Torquay
  • Harriet Pecover – Head Pastry Chef, The Jack in the Green, Rockbeare
  • Kristian Press – Gara Rock Restaurant, South Pool
  • Richard Townsend – Junior Sous Chef, The Eastbury Hotel, Sherborne
  • Camilla Waite – Chef de Partie, Paul Ainsworth at Number 6, Padstow
  • Amy Ward – Apprentice Chef, Magdalen Chapter Hotel, Exeter
  • Dominic Weeks – Chef de Partie, Lumière, Cheltenham

 

Well done for getting this far Dom, we can’t wait to see how you get on!

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We Won! Cotswold Life Food and Drink Awards 2013 Restaurant of the Year

CLFDA Winner logo

Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards 2013

500 highly esteemed guests, finalists and sponsors joined Her Royal Highness Princess Anne and Cotswold Life to celebrate the 11th Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards at Cheltenham Racecourse on Monday 1st July. Hosted by Adam Henson and Phil Vickery, the awards celebrated the good and the great from the regions food & drink industry.

Editor, Mike Lowe commented: “We were delighted to welcome as our special guest, HRH The Princess Royal, a Gloucestershire farmer in her own right. I see her decision to fit this event into her hectic schedule as a validation of the food and drink industry in this region, and of the importance of these awards. We are in the fortunate position in this region of exporting more food than we import. Our fantastic, high quality products are in demand all around the world and the Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards will continue to support our local food and drink community.”

The results…

Newcomer of the Year sponsored by New Wave Seafood

Winner: Purslane Restaurant in Cheltenham

Highly Commended: Whole Foods Market in Cheltenham, Prego Restaurant in Broadway

Butcher of the Year sponsored by NFU Mutual Cheltenham and Moreton in Marsh

Winner: Andy Creese Butchers in Newent

Highly Commended: Country Quality Meats in Nailsworth, Bath Road Butchers in Cheltenham

Best Local Tea/Coffee Shop sponsored by Cotteswold Dairy

Winner: The Kitchen in Minchinhampton

Highly Commended: Lavender Bakehouse in Chalford, Pepper Crescent in Cheltenham

Best Independent Retailer sponsored by Leapfrog PR

Winner: Sherborne Village Shop, Sherborne

Highly Commended: Primrose Vale in Shurdington, Cotswold Food Store in Longborough

Best Farm Shop sponsored by Field Fare

Winner: Over Farm Market, Over

Highly Commended: Stancombe Beech Farm Shop in Bisley, Butts Farm Shop in South Cerney

Best Farmers’ Market Stallholder sponsored by Bruton Knowles

Winner: Chedworth Farm Shop from Cirencester Farmers’ Market

Highly Commended: Pippin Doughnuts from Stroud Farmers’ Market,
Native Breeds from Cirencester Farmers’ Market

Food/Drinks Product of the Year sponsored by Frobishers Juices

Winner: Centurion Stout, Corinium Ales, Cirencester

Highly Commended: Malaysian Beef Rendang from The Cotswold Traiteur in Moreton-in-Marsh, Blue Heaven Cheese from Woefuldane Organic Dairy in Minchinhampton

Best Local Supplier/Producer sponsored by The Daffodil

Winner: Pancake Farm in Chedworth

Highly Commended: The Artisan Baker in Stroud, Ross & Ross Foods in Chipping Norton

Best Neighbourhood Pub sponsored by BBC Radio Gloucestershire

Winner: The Prince Albert in Rodborough

Highly Commended: The Old Spot Inn in Dursley, The Keepers Arms in Quenington

Best Pub Restaurant sponsored by Tayabali Tomlin

Winner: The Feathered Nest in Nether Westcote

Highly Commended: The Butchers Arms in Eldersfield, The Five Alls in Filkins

Best Cotswold Menu sponsored by Crest Insurance Consultants

Winner: The Golden Cross Inn in Cirencester

Highly Commended: Star Bistro in Ullenwood, The Priory Inn in Tetbury

Chef of the Year sponsored by Bespoke Kitchens

Winner: David Kelman from Ellenborough Park in Southam

Highly Commended: Gareth Fulford from Purslane in Cheltenham, Emily Watkins from The Kingham Plough in Kingham

Restaurant of the Year sponsored by Peter Hickman Hairdressers

Winner: Lumière, Cheltenham

Highly Commended: Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham, 5 North Street in Winchcombe

Hotel Restaurant of the Year sponsored by Hollies Care Centre

Winner: Tudor Farmhouse Hotel in Forest of Dean

Highly Commended: Ellenborough Park in Southam, Calcot Manor in Tetbury

2013 Cotswold Food Hero sponsored by CJ Hole Sales and Lettings

Winner: Charlie Beldam from Cotswold Gold near Broadway

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Our Wedding!

Helen and I have always said that we brought the restaurant instead of getting married and I think that most of our friends and family had given up on the idea of there ever being a wedding, which is really what lead us to the idea of making it even more of a surprise and keeping the whole thing a secret!

Neither of us wanted a typical wedding, we wanted a day that would celebrate us as a couple and also a day which would celebrate our friendships and families.  From the moment we saw Temple Guiting Manor, we knew it was the venue which we had dreamed of; the beautiful presentation, perfect size and somewhere which we could do the catering ourselves. 

In order to get our guests to our wedding and appropriately dressed, we invited our closest friends and family to a fictitious outside catering event for the restaurant for which we required some willing volunteers, to our surprise everybody was very enthusiastic and willing to play along. We did let our parents in on the secret in the fear of never being forgiven otherwise and there are just somethings which are so special, like choosing a wedding dress (apparently!) which you can’t do without your mum or in Helen’s case both mums!  My mum even took a flower arranging class so that she could make Helen’s bouquet herself.

On the morning of the Wedding, there was no early hairdressers appointments, trip to the pub with the groomsmen or even trying to avoid seeing the bride – we woke up together as we always have done. There was, however, a military operation in moving and setting up all of our props, food, drinks and catering equipment from the restaurant in Cheltenham over to The Manor House, with the help of my parents, Lauren from Lady Amy Wedding Designs and our small team of Staff it ran like clockwork.

All of our guest began to arrive and were shown to their rooms to get ready, with a little afternoon tea box and a request to be dressed and ready for 4.50pm. At just before 5pm our staff ushered our guests over to the beautiful The Peacock Barn Garden without any explanation as to what would happen next. I mingled with the guests, and tried to avoid any awkward questions, as music gently played in the background and as Helen made my way down the path on the arm of her father. Bruno Mars song ‘Marry You’ began to play and she made her entrance into the garden, to screams and tears from our guests as the penny dropped as to what was really happening. We said our vows under the eves of the Peacock Barn with our friends and family gathered around in the garden.

After the ceremony, the party moved to the Terrace garden to be greeted with a Champagne and canape reception. A salamanzar of Pol Roger and a tower of Champagne coupes was a sight to behold, the guests glasses where then kept topped up using Vintage Teapots. Instead of a guest book we had a photograph taken on our engagement shoot, the all of our guests wrote a little message on the mount, which we now have framed and on the wall in our lounge.

As the sun lowered, the music stopped on the Terrace and more music began in The Long Garden, all of the guests were led through to be met with a elaborate garden buffet full of surprises. There was mini stone baked pizza being made to order, BBQ’d skewers, Helen’s mirrored glass dressing table which housed our salad bar, a kitchen table full of my favourite nibbles and instead of a bar we created ‘The Lab’ as a homage to Helen’s former life as a Biomedical Scientist where our guests could create their own cocktails. We disappeared with Adam to have our photographs taken by the lake, the light was fantastic and Adam was just wonderful, neither Jon or I are very photogenic but he made us feel so comfortable in front of the camera and it was lovely to just catch a couple of minutes together. As we walked back into The Long Garden the local church bell ringers began to practice much to our delight.

Just as our guests began to think that they had had all of their surprises for the day, the sun set and it was time to really get the party started. The lights came up and music began at The Barn. As our guests made their way down a candle lit path upto the Barn they discovered Charlie with his liquid nitrogen Ice Cream parlour, a Cheese board picnic, chocolate fountain, glow in the dark cocktails and the fabulous DUKE. Our guests were transformed into children with the wonder of the liquid nitrogen ice cream and then practically stunned into silence when DUKE demonstrated how amazing their beatbox skills really are, to see them perform up close really was an experience not to forget. 

And for those of you who have been asking to see the pictures from our wedding… here they are! They were taken the most wonderful photographer Adam Drake.