The next chapter 6 December 2019 Lexington managing director Julia Edmonds on taking the helm at the boutique caterer and her people plans for the future
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A Good life with us happy bunnies

01 January 2000
A Good life with us happy bunnies

There were no major upsets this month. Nobody wrote to tell me that the food was rubbish or that the restaurant's decor and flower arrangements were bizarre.

Quite the reverse, in fact; most, including ourselves, have been rather cheerful. And yet it has not been dull.

At this time of year, the restaurant fills about a fortnight ahead, longer for weekends, and there have been a couple of favourable reviews printed to stimulate trade even further.

One of these implied that we were a sort of "good life" operation and described us all as "happy bunnies", which caused a lot of merriment among the troops.

Of course, there is an element of truth. We aren't particularly beholden to the bank or to some dark group of shareholders looking for us to maximise profits when we would all rather be doing something sillier.

No exception

However, each and every successful establishment where I have worked has had a lot of tension in the background, and this place is no exception. The struggle to reach some standard which is difficult to achieve tends to lead towards stress.

So when some bright spark asks for melon balls because there is nothing he likes on the menu, or a vegetarian for whom you have prepared a special meal decides to have chicken instead, or when the dishwasher ceases to function properly when you are at your busiest, the reactions are not always as moderate and reasoned as one might wish.

But, just as the horrors of the job are inextricably linked to the paying punters, so are the pleasures. Those who have enjoyed the work you do make an evening genuinely satisfying. And in either case, it is very rarely boring.

Of course, on our days off we transform into punters ourselves. Ludlow's restaurant scene continues to blossom in a remarkable way for such a small town. As well as ourselves and Oaks restaurant along the road, there is the relocated and excellent restaurant Mr Underhill's, and Roger Wren's Cookhouse Café.

Top class

Interestingly, Overton Grange, which is a smallish hotel on the outskirts of town, now has a top-class Frenchman, Claude Bosi, working in the kitchen, turning out food that should earn the hotel a star in somebody's guide book before too long.

Not bad for a population of 9,000. I hope they continue to nurture an affluent hunger for years to come.

Next diary from Shaun Hill: 3 September

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