Staffordshires Food and Drink Scene.

Category: What’s New

Gift ideas for a foodie Father’s Day

Just because the pubs are closed this Father’s Day doesn’t mean you can’t treat your dad to his favourite food and drink. We’ve been busy scouting out the best Father’s…

Just because the pubs are closed this Father’s Day doesn’t mean you can’t treat your dad to his favourite food and drink. We’ve been busy scouting out the best Father’s Day ideas across the Staffordshire food and drink scene so you can sit back, relax and simply enjoy some time with dad over a good meal (at an appropriate distance, of course)… without worrying about which pair of novelty slippers he’d like best.

Denstone Hall Farm Shop Father's Day Hamper

Denstone Hall Farm Shop & Cafe
If your dad is a lover of local Staffordshire produce, then this is the gift for him. The team at Denstone Hall Farm & Shop have released their ‘Staffordshire Father’s Day’ hamper, packed with local, homemade and artisan produce all sourced from Staffordshire. Expect Staffordshire Cheese Co., homemade pork pies and Cottage Delight treats. Order here: or email


Candid Beer gift set

Candid Beer
Is it even Father’s Day without beer? Candid Beer, Stafford, have constructed the perfect gift this Father’s Day for craft beer lovers. Treat dad to a canister of four 440ml beers and a special Candid Beer glass. Choose from pale, dark, lager or mixed beers. Shop here:

Misco's box of chocolates

Misco’s Chocolate and Truffles
If your dad has a sweet tooth, he would love some delicious chocolatey treats from Misco’s Chocolates and Truffles, Leek. Their shop is now open (yessss!), so call in on Thursday, Friday or Saturday to pick up your dad’s favourite homemade chocolates and earn some brownie points this Father’s Day.

Dunwood Farm meat box

Dunwood Farm
Treat the King of the BBQ to a quality meat box from Dunwood Farm. Whether your dad is the chef or if you’re treating him to a day off and cooking for him, he will love the incredible quality of Dunwood’s high welfare meat. Head over to the online shop here: or pop into The Village Butchers, Ipstones, to pick up your meat box.

Three Horseshoes Inn
Al fresco steak night, a bottle of wine and breathtaking views of the Peak District? Yes please! Although The Three Horseshoes Inn isn’t quite open yet, you can still treat your dad to their quality steak at a future date. The Three Horseshoes are offering a Steak Night for Two with a Bottle of Wine gift voucher, so you can treat dad a little later in the year. Head over to their online shop to purchase:

Bank Coffeehouse Alrewas afternoon tea

The Bank Coffeehouse
Nothing is better than a quintessential Afternoon Tea in the sun, especially with the ones you love. The Bank Coffeehouse are offering a Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea this Father’s Day. Enjoy a selection of sandwiches with salad, a fruit scone with homemade jam and clotted cream, a selection of cakes and a bottle of Spilsbury & Jones craft beer. You can also have the choice to swap out the sandwiches, scone or cake for a Peter Coates pork pie on request. Delivery in Alrewas or you can collect. Call or text 07722 891696 or email to order.

Clive’s Wines
The lovely team at Clive’s Wines have crafted the perfect hampers for Father’s Day this year! Choose from five different hampers, including the Cider Curry Set and the Personalised Wine Gift Set set to name a couple. Head over to their website to find the perfect gift for your dad:

World of Wedgwood cheese scones, chilli jam, Dovedale blue butter

World of Wedgwood
Head Chef Richard has been busy behind the scenes at World of Wedgwood, cooking up the ultimate treat for dad this Father’s Day… savoury scones with homemade chilli jam and Dovedale blue butter. If you want to flex your culinary skills and impress dad with a homemade treat, this is the recipe for you:

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What’s in season?

By now you will have felt that change in the air that means warmer weather is on the way. The days are getting longer and you’re finding yourself craving lighter…

By now you will have felt that change in the air that means warmer weather is on the way. The days are getting longer and you’re finding yourself craving lighter foods and fresher flavours.

From spring, as the first new shoots of wild garlic appear, through the long bright days of summer, our hedgerows, valleys, fields and farms are at their most productive and there are rich pickings for the keen foodie. In this issue, we’re highlighting one of the most versatile harbingers of the English summer and a statuesque Mediterranean native.


The elder is a large deciduous shrub which prefers to grow in untended hedgerows, sheltered from the wind and bathed by the sun. Its masses of frothy white, fragrant flowers are hard to miss in late spring and early summer if you’re walking, riding or driving around the English countryside. By late August their juicy, black-purple berries are ripe, and the birds will happily tuck in.

One of the classic wild foods of late May and early June, the sweetly scented flower heads are best picked on a bright, sunny morning when they first open. Once picked, elderflowers must be used or preserved quickly before they turn brown. Although uncooked elderberries are mildly poisonous, both the flowers and the berries have long been put to use in the kitchen. First and foremost, the flowers have been used for cordial and the berries for wine, but traditional medicine uses extracts of both as a remedy for coughs, colds and fever.

The flower heads are delightful simply dipped in a light batter and fried until crisp. Elderflower’s delicate flavour is perfectly suited to light desserts like fools or jellies, pairing particularly well with tart gooseberries, lemon or rhubarb. It also works well in summery cakes, tarts and trifles. Making your own cordial is easy enough to do, by infusing freshly gathered elderflowers with lemons, sugar, water and citric acid. Ideal for summer entertaining, it makes a sophisticated alternative to alcohol or, indeed, a refreshing addition to cocktails. To really get the party started, you can also infuse spirits like gin or vodka with elderflower.

Get yours from…

Forage for it
Because they have such a short shelf-life once picked, you’ll be hard pressed to find elderflowers for sale anywhere. If you’re happy to follow the countryside code and use your common sense, you can forage for your own on a sunny morning in late May or early June. Elder can often be found thriving alongside canal tow paths and old railway lines, of which there are many across the county. Make sure you get the landowners’ permission if you’re picking from fields or woodland edges and corners and only use foraged ingredients if you’re certain you’ve identified them correctly.

Elderflower - Sambucus nigra

Globe artichoke

The globe artichoke is one of the largest members of the thistle family and, somewhat confusingly, no relation of the potato-like Jerusalem artichoke. Introduced to England by the Dutch, artichokes were said to have been grown in Henry VIII’s garden at New Hall – also known as Beaulieu – in the 16th century. With one of the highest levels of antioxidant capacity of any vegetable, glboe artichokes are at their best from June all the way through to November.

The part of the plant you can eat is the flower bud before the flower comes into bloom. It’s the tender ends of the leaves and the fleshy base – the ‘heart’ – that are edible, unlike the tough outer leaves and furry choke. In smaller artichokes the leaves are more tender, but larger specimens tend to have bigger hearts. It’s best to choose those with tightly packed leaves showing a slight bloom. Some varieties have beautiful purple leaves, while others are a crisp green.

Eating globe artichoke has to be one of the simple pleasures of summer. All you need to do is boil or steam the whole flower head before pulling off the leaves and dipping them – they’re delicious with vinaigrette, hollandaise, garlic butter, mayonnaise or aioli. Draw the leaf through your teeth to remove the tender flesh and discard anything that’s tough. They can also be barbecued or grilled. Just slice in half lengthways, remove the fluffy choke, brush with olive oil and grill until tender.

Stuffed artichoke recipes are really popular, too. Start by boiling and then pulling out the central leaves and choke. In Italy, its common to stuff them with a mixture of bread crumbs, garlic, oregano, parsley, grated cheese, and prosciutto or sausage. Throughout North Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, and Armenia, ground lamb is a favourite filling. Then it’s simply a case of drizzling with olive oil and baking in the oven.

Get yours from…

Gerald Harrison Greengrocer
8 Market Place, Leek, ST13 8HH

A family run greengrocer for the past 45 years and counting, you’ll find Gerald Harrison’s right next door to the Market Place entrance to Leek’s historic Buttermarket. This traditional grocers is open from 7:30 every morning with the exception of Sundays (unless the Totally Locally Sunday Supplement is on), offering a huge range of fresh seasonal fruit and veg from across the UK and Europe. That includes globe artichoke when the timing’s right. Plus using your local greengrocer is one way to avoid all that unnecessary plastic you end up taking home from the supermarket – just make sure you’re prepared with your bag or basket.

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COVID-19: Local food banks need our help

This article is a little different from our usual content, but we feel that during these uncertain and difficult times it’s absolutely vital that we all pull together and help…

This article is a little different from our usual content, but we feel that during these uncertain and difficult times it’s absolutely vital that we all pull together and help each other as much as we possibly can.

If you haven’t seen it firsthand, you’ve probably seen media reports on the supermarket frenzies happening across the country as people panic-buy food and other goods. Unfortunately, not everybody has the luxury of being able to stockpile food. In fact, many are unable to purchase food full stop, because they simply cannot afford everyday essentials. Thousands of people locally rely on food banks and kind donations from members of the public to keep their heads above water.

Across Staffordshire, we have numerous food bank services which people rely on every day, and it’s important to keep those donations flowing. Below are the details of each food bank and specific supplies that are presently running low. If you can help in any way possible, get in touch with the relevant food bank.

Stone Community Hub
Food is donated by the Stone Community Hub via several donation boxes around town. These boxes are located in Morrisons, Barclays Bank, Co-op Food in Walton and St. Dominic’s RC Church. In addition, you are also welcome to drop off any donations directly to The Hub. For more information, please visit their website.

  • Tinned meat
  • UHT milk
  • Small jars of coffee
  • Jam
  • Potatoes
  • Custard
  • Rice pudding
  • Fruit
  • Biscuits

Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Food Bank
Donations can be made at Tesco stores in Trent Vale and Kidsgrove, Sainsbury’s in Newcastle, Morrisons in Milehouse, and Co-op Food along Butt Lane. Donations can also be made at any of The Trussell Trust food bank centres across the county. For more information about how you can help, visit the Newcastle food bank website.

  • Long life juice
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorants – both ladies and gentlemen
  • Shaving foam/gel and razors
  • Washing powder/gel
  • Washing up liquid
  • Sugar
  • Sponge puddings

Lichfield Food Bank
Lichfield Food Bank have numerous drop off points located throughout Lichfield, Wall, Shenstone, Kings Bromley, Fradley and Alrewas which can be found here.

  • Long life milk
  • Long life fruit juice
  • Coffee
  • Tinned fruit
  • Tinned rice pudding
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Tinned tuna
  • Dry packet rice
  • Tinned peas and carrots
  • Instant mash

Stoke-on-Trent Food Bank
Your donations can be made to the Blurton Methodist Church on Magdalen Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST3 3HS from Monday to Thursday between 9:30 and 15:30.

  • Rice pudding
  • Small packs of tea bags (40)
  • Large packs tea bags (160)
  • Instant mash
  • Tinned fruit
  • UHT milk
  • Tinned steam pudding
  • Squash

Ashbourne Food Bank
Ashbourne have recently experienced an influx of new referrals as we all enter this period of uncertainty, so it is vitally important to help them out with any donations you can, no matter how big or small. Donations can be dropped off at Sainsbury’s, Boots, Ashbourne Library and both Co-op Food stores. For up to date information, visit Ashbourne Food Bank’s Facebook page.

  • Squash
  • Sandwich fillings (eg jam)
  • Hot dogs
  • Tinned meatballs
  • Dry pasta
  • Snacks
  • Breakfast bars
  • Tinned vegetables
  • Tinned meals (pie, curry, chilli)
  • Tinned fruit
  • Desserts
  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • UHT milk

If you are struggling during this period of uncertainty, get in touch with the Alice Charity on 01782 627017 or visit

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Canalside declared Small Farm Shop of the Year

Canalside Farm Shop at Great Haywood has been named Small Farm Shop of the Year at a prestigious awards ceremony at the Nottingham Belfry. The national awards, which celebrate the…

Canalside Farm Shop at Great Haywood has been named Small Farm Shop of the Year at a prestigious awards ceremony at the Nottingham Belfry.

The national awards, which celebrate the best of the farm retail industry, are organised by the Farm Retail Association (FRA). The ceremony took place on 3 March.

This family-run Staffordshire business has been growing produce for over 35 years, with owner Chris Barton at the helm.

“To say that we are absolutely thrilled and delighted to win this award is an understatement,” said Chris. “When you consider the standard and number of farm shops across the UK, it really is an honour just to have been shortlisted. We cannot thank our staff and customers enough for their continued loyalty and support over the last 35 years. Our farm shop has grown and changed a lot in that time, and it is only with the continued support of our customers, that we have been able to achieve what we have.”

Canalside has been transformed in the last 8 years, as Sauce found when we spoke to the family for our autumn/winter 2018 issue. This has included building a brand new café and complete renovation of the farm shop, with the introduction of an on-site butchery, bakery and delicatessen. Since then, both have gone from strength to strength, creating 40 new jobs and selling more than 100,000 punnets of strawberries, 20,000 home-made sausage rolls and over 110,000 cups of coffee.

“The Farm’s aim has always been to source high quality, local food and drink, from farms and producers within a 30 mile radius, whilst continuing to produce our own fruit, vegetables and bedding plants, here on the Farm,” Chris added. “The expansion of our farm shop has also enabled us to make even more of our own produce here on the Farm and the introduction of our butchery has made a big difference. Our team of qualified butchers now make all of our meat products here on the premises, supplying both our farm shop and café, meaning our customers know exactly where their food is coming from.”

The Farm Retail Awards are the only awards to be judged by fellow farm retailers and celebrate the best farm shops, farm cafés and restaurants, farmers’ markets and trade suppliers in the country. Canalside were finalists in the Farm Café/Restaurant of the Year category as well as Small Farm Shop of the Year. If you would like to pay them a visit, Canalside Farm Shop and Café are open every day from 9:00 until 17:00.

Canalside Farm Shop and Café
Mill Lane, Great Haywood, Stafford, ST18 0RQ 

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All the world’s a pub

Theatre reviews might not be obvious subject matter for Sauce, but food and drink and culture are inextricably linked, perhaps nowhere more so – at least in an English context…

Theatre reviews might not be obvious subject matter for Sauce, but food and drink and culture are inextricably linked, perhaps nowhere more so – at least in an English context – than in the pub. So when we were invited to see Two at the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle we jumped at the chance.

In terms of hospitality, the theatre is welcoming and homely. Downstairs you’ll find a gin and bottle lounge, open since August 2019, which offers a relaxed environment to gather pre-show. Every gin and beer is sourced from within a 30 mile radius, from the hyperlocal Weal Ales, Titanic and Staffordshire Gin to Papermill Gin and Thornbridge beers from slightly further afield.

The restaurant at the New Vic has played host to themed evenings including a Bavarian night, wine and cheese night and Latin American night. Their recent French night featuring accordion music from Sophia Hatfield went down especially well.

This summer, with the auditorium undergoing a major refurbishment project, the team are keen to let people know that the bar and restaurant are very much open for business with plenty of events in the pipeline. Keep your eyes peeled for more on that in the coming months.

In review: Two

Written by Jim Cartwright, Two is a dark comic drama set in a northern town. For her directorial debut at her home theatre, director Ruth Carney decided that a typical Potteries pub would be a natural setting for the intimate and poignant production.

The audience are drawn into the action from the moment they enter, as the Landlord serves pre-performance tasters of beer from the working bar. Set up with the help of Burslem’s Titanic Brewery, the cast are able to pull (and knock back) real pints of Steerage from the central island.

Designer Lis Evans was inspired by the nearby Hop Inn, The Victoria, The Greyhound, The Marquis of Granby and the Staff of Life in Stoke. Mock Minton tiles, heavily patterned carpet and tired wooden chairs complete the transformation to traditional local boozer.

All the dramas of life are played out in the microcosm of the pub, where the Landlord and Landlady are constantly at each others’ throats whilst warmly welcoming patrons of all ages and circumstances. Originally scripted in 1989, there are times when the play feels slightly dated as well as times when it is difficult to watch, but the language is poetic and the dissection of human relationships is as relevant as ever.

Two actors – Samantha Robinson and Jimmy Fairhurst – play all 14 characters in Two. Their mastery of pace as they dart between costumes and accents, charting the emotional highs and lows of each storyline, is truly impressive. We’re spectators to arguments, affairs, loving friendships and abusive relationships as they veer from comic karaoke to chronic loneliness, and finally to the tragedy that has split the couple’s marriage apart.

The dark joke at the heart of the play is that, while the pub is where punters come to relieve their worries and cares, the Landlady and Landlord at the literal centre of it have lost their ability to talk to each other. The destructiveness of this lack of communication feels important to talk about at a time when the suicide rate in the UK is on the rise and mental health in hospitality is under the spotlight.

Two opened at the New Vic Theatre on Friday 31 January and runs until Saturday 22 February. Tickets are on sale now, priced from £15.50, from the Box Office and can be booked online or by calling 01782 717962.

New Vic Theatre
Etruria Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 0JG

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Celebrating Burns Night around Staffordshire

Burns Night is on the horizon, and that means it’s time to dig out the tartan and raise a wee dram to the iconic Scottish poet that was Robert Burns….

Burns Night is on the horizon, and that means it’s time to dig out the tartan and raise a wee dram to the iconic Scottish poet that was Robert Burns.

As The Bard of Ayrshire’s 261st birthday fast approaches, we’ve scouted out the best places to get your fix of haggis, neeps and tatties – as well as plenty more dishes inspired by traditional Scottish fare – across Staffordshire this January. Slàinte Mhath!

Little Seeds, Stone
Thursday 23 January, 18:00-20:30

Little Seeds are offering a delectable five course tasting menu to honour the legendary Bard. Expect dishes such as warming cock-a-leekie broth with Scottish soda bread and whisky cured salmon, pickled cucumber & lemon creme fraiche to get you in the Scottish spirit. And we couldn’t forget the star of the show: the ‘Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race’ (also known as haggis) will also be on the menu!

Priced at £35 per person, £10pp deposit required. Add drinks pairing for £25pp. Booking essential.

Denstone Hall Farm Shop & Cafe, Denstone
Saturday 25 January, 18:30 onwards

You’re in for a real treat at Denstone Hall Farm Shop & Cafe on Burns Night. With four starters, four mains and four desserts on the menu, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting your perfect Burns Supper. We’re especially excited for the starter of Gamekeeper’s bon bons, carrot & cardamom purée and pink peppercorn cream sauce, and of course, haggis, neeps and tatties with whisky cream sauce.

Must book in advance.

Darwin’s Restaurant at The George Hotel, Lichfield
Saturday 25 January, 19:00-23:00

Burns Night is coming to Lichfield! Visit Darwin’s Restaurant at the George Hotel and enjoy a traditional Scottish four course dinner with a tot of whiskey. Expect dishes such as cullen skink to start, Scottish salmon, chateaux neeps & tatties with creamed leeks for the main, and to end the evening, Scottish oat biscuit apple crumble and custard.

Priced at £35 per person. Menu options are required at the time of booking.

No. 26 Bar & Dining at Aston Marina, Stone
Saturday 25 January, 17:00-21:00

No. 26 at Aston Marina are also honouring ol’ Rabbie Burns, serving a mouthwatering three course meal of all our Scottish favourites. To start, Oak smoked Scottish salmon fillet with cucumber jelly, crayfish & capers, followed by Haggis-stuffed chicken breast, oxtail croquette, neeps & tatties and rich Balmoral sauce. And what’s Burns Night without a whiskey-soaked raspberry and Scottish oat cranachan to finish?

Three courses: £25. Three courses with whiskies: £35.

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Where to eat out this Veganuary

Now that we’ve said farewell to mounds of turkey and pigs-in-blankets and the cheese boards have been put away, lots of us are trying to forge habits for 2020 that…

Now that we’ve said farewell to mounds of turkey and pigs-in-blankets and the cheese boards have been put away, lots of us are trying to forge habits for 2020 that will be kinder on the environment and our bodies…

Yes, Veganuary is back, and we’ve been scouring Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire for the most delicious vegan meals to give you the kind of meat-free indulgence you need this January. Hopefully you’ll agree this is proof that vegan food isn’t all about bland salads and nut roast.

There’s a different spot to try for each week in January to keep you motivated – tag #staffordshiresauce on social media to let us know how you get on!

Week 1: The Roebuck, Leek

Now the warm fuzzy feeling of Christmas has disappeared, we’ve been left with a cold January chill. Enjoy some heat with the Spicy Bean Burger at The Roebuck in Leek. Served in a Live Love Loaf bun, the spicy bean burger comes with iceberg lettuce, tomato & red onion and is served with skin on fries and relish. Who knew vegan food could be so flavoursome, eh?

Week 2: An Apple a Day, Stone

If you’re looking for a clean, light lunch, head over to An Apple a Day on Stone High Street. Everything on the menu has vegan alternatives and a selection of breads so you can personalise your perfect sandwich. Our favourite is We’ve Got the Beet!, which features beetroot, carrot, hummus and avocado. And if you want to give your body a little extra lovin’ after all those Christmas choccies, try one of their delicious homemade juices. We’re obsessed with the Russet Reboot – a blend of beetroot, red cabbage, carrot, lime and apple.

Week 3: The Slamwich Club, Hanley

If you’re a fan of pork and are missing the pigs-in-blankets already, you’ll love The Slamwich Club’s Not-So-Porkie-Pig Slamwich. Enjoy BBQ jackfruit, vegan cheese, potato and onion rosti, vegan sausage and rawslaw between two pieces of locally sourced artisan bread. Plus, you can get 3 for 2 on sides! We adore the Rings of Fire (crispy peri-peri battered onion rings), Polenta-ee of Fries (herby polenta bites with truffle mayo) and Caulipower (tempura cauliflower bites served with jalapeño mayo – pictured). Free onion rings, you say?! Yes please.

Week 4: UVC, Lichfield

If you’re looking for a great restaurant which serves only vegan food look no further than Lichfield’s Ultimate Vegan Cafe. We love the Nofish cakes, made with smoked tofu, potatoes and seaweed, carefully wrapped in breadcrumbs and served with salad. If you’re particularly hungry, we would recommend the Ultimate Moving Mountain Burger, served with chips, slaw, salad and topped with onion rings… it’s a beast! Plus they’re offering 10% off all main dishes during January.

Week 5: The Orange Tree, Newcastle-under-Lyme

Craving a curry to get you through thee longest month of the year? Say no more. Head to The Orange Tree and enjoy sweet potato fritters with katsu curry sauce, baby gem & radish salad and steamed coconut rice. The oriental flavours will have you dreaming about warmer days and will definitely have you cruising through the final week of Veganuary.

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Michelin unites local businesses for a good cause

Sauce caught up with Mike Lawton, Head of Global Marketing and Communications – Brand Licensing, at Michelin to find out more about the company’s 2019 charity dinner in aid of…

Sauce caught up with Mike Lawton, Head of Global Marketing and Communications – Brand Licensing, at Michelin to find out more about the company’s 2019 charity dinner in aid of Dougie Mac. Click here to watch our behind-the-scenes video.

The sell-out event took place on Monday 21 October at World of Wedgwood in Barlaston, following on from the success of the first dinner back in October 2018. You can read more about the origins of the Michelin charity dinner in the Autumn 2019 edition of Sauce magazine, but we chatted with Mike to find out more about the success of the most recent event.

Rob Palmer smoked eel dish

Through ticket sales, along with the auction and raffle on the night, the event raised more than £60,000 to support Dougie Mac’s work providing end of life care across Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire. It was made possible by Michelin (whose employees chose Dougie Mac as the Stoke site’s charity of the year and volunteered to provide table service on the evening), World of Wedgwood (who provided the venue), J&J Wines (who supplied the wine pairing), and the two visiting chefs and their teams.

In the kitchen at World of Wedgwood this year were John Williams MBE, executive chef at The Ritz London, and Rob Palmer, head chef of Peel’s Restaurant at Hampton Manor – both Michelin starred chefs.

“It was a fantastic honour to bring such names up to Stoke-on-Trent in support of the charity,” says Mike. “Frankly, the two chefs and their teams were amazing. Of course I was expecting to see Rob Palmer and John Williams when I arrived, but I wasn’t expecting that John would have brought Spencer Metzger along too.”

Chef John Williams MBE

Spencer won the prestigious and highly competitive Roux Scholarship this year. Past winners in the scholarship’s 35 year history have included Andrew Fairlie, Sat Bains and Simon Hulstone, along with many others who have gone on to create starred restaurants in their own right. Also in the kitchen from Peel’s was Monty Stonehewer, a contestant on the current series of MasterChef: The Professionals. As Mike explains, the amazing level of talent working in unison in the kitchen was a key factor contributing to a fantastic evening of food and fundraising.

“I believe Dougie Mac were truly thrilled with the evening,” he expands. “The people that I spoke to said it was one of the best fundraising events they’ve attended and the results would suggest that as well. We’ve not had one single negative comment. There’s nothing more pleasing than seeing lots of happy, smiling faces at the end of the night and having achieved a fantastic objective for the hospice.”

Beef tournedos by John Williams MBE

Having proved such a success last year, this year’s dinner had sold out a month beforehand. The lucky guests enjoyed snacks and canapés, followed by five mouthwatering courses including a lobster, carrot and lemon verbena starter from John and a smoked eel, kohlrabi and sea herb dish by Rob.

“The feedback from the chefs was tremendous,” says Mike. “I’ve had some lovely emails from John, Rob and their teams. Their experience and skills made it a really successful and unique event. World of Wedgwood were delighted to be a part of it too. Their involvement in donating the use of the dining room, kitchen and all the beautiful tabletop items is pivotal in putting on the event. It depends on a lot of factors, but if everything lines up correctly, there’s no reason we couldn’t do it again next year. And yes, I have already been asked about next year!”

Michelin UK employees

Mike’s colleagues at the Michelin Guide have also been delighted with the positive outcome of the event. So delighted, in fact, that the model is set to be shared so it can be rolled out across the world in the 38 countries where the Michelin Guide currently exists.

“It’s hard work because there are 150 people to serve, but the Michelin and World of Wedgwood employees who took part really enjoyed it. It was great to see Craig and the front of house team from Hampton Manor training them and giving them the confidence to deliver the food in such a great way. You’ve only got to look at some of the pictures to see how engaged everyone was.

“Last year we had around 20 volunteers; this year we had 37. That tells you the kind of reputation the event has got after such a short time. We had some employees from World of Wedgwood volunteer to take part too, so it was a great coming-together.”

For Mike, that’s what the event is all about.

“Once again we’ve proved what local businesses coming together can achieve,” he concludes. “The collective activity of Michelin, World of Wedgwood and all of the other businesses that were involved is much, much greater than any of us individually could achieve on our own.

“I’d just like to say thank you to everyone for believing in the concept and for supporting us and Dougie Mac. For them, the fact that almost £60,000 could be raised in a single night is really very meaningful.”

Watch our video for a glimpse behind-the-scenes of the dinner.

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Michelin Dinner: John Williams & Rob Palmer at World of Wedgwood

Chefs John Williams MBE and Rob Palmer will be in Stoke-on-Trent this autumn for the Michelin Dinner 2019, raising money for the Douglas Macmillan Hospice. Two fantastic Michelin starred chefs…

Chefs John Williams MBE and Rob Palmer will be in Stoke-on-Trent this autumn for the Michelin Dinner 2019, raising money for the Douglas Macmillan Hospice.

Two fantastic Michelin starred chefs will prepare a 5 course tasting menu for 150 lucky guests in the stunning World of Wedgwood Tea Room at Barlaston on Monday 21 October. Coordinated by Michelin, whose UK headquarters are nearby on Campbell Road, the dinner is a fundraiser on behalf of Michelin employees’ chosen charity of the year.

Every pound raised will help Dougie Mac to continue providing priceless end of life care, free of charge, to people across North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

Starting at 6.30pm, this special event gives Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire foodies the chance to enjoy a night celebrating exceptional food as well as the power of local businesses to work together to do good.

In the kitchen on 21 October will be two Michelin-starred chefs and their brigades. John Williams MBE has been executive chef at The Ritz London for the last 15 years, winning numerous industry accolades, and readers may recognise him from the TV documentary Inside the Ritz Hotel. Also soon to be seen on Channel 4’s Great Hotel Escape is Hampton Manor, where head chef Rob Palmer won his first Michelin star in 2016 at Peel’s Restaurant.

There will be some phenomenal prizes up for grabs in a charity auction on the evening too, including some practically priceless foodie experiences.

Last year, the first dinner raised £50,000 for the Donna Louise Trust. Stoke-on-Trent born chefs Niall Keating and Simon Hulstone treated diners to dishes including duck liver parfait, smoked duck and pickled cauliflower with windfall apple purée, and beef fillet with fermented lettuces, horseradish and dill.

Stoke-on-Trent foodies won’t want to miss out on this unique event. A few tickets are still available at the time of writing. At £175 per person they include a welcome drink on arrival, 5 course tasting menu and accompanying wine flight.

Go to the Dougie Mac website to book.

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Meynell Ingram Arms welcomes new executive chef

Matthew McKinley has joined the team at The Meynell Ingram Arms at Hoar Cross as Executive Chef. The rural Staffordshire pub and restaurant reopened after extensive refurbishment in May –…

Matthew McKinley has joined the team at The Meynell Ingram Arms at Hoar Cross as Executive Chef. The rural Staffordshire pub and restaurant reopened after extensive refurbishment in May – read our review here if you haven’t already.   

Matthew began his career in some of Northern Ireland’s finest restaurants, cutting his teeth with Northern Ireland’s first Michelin starred chef, Paul Rankin, at Paul’s signature restaurant Roscoff.  He later continued to develop his skills at Mourne Seafood Bar in Belfast.

After spending time cooking in Thailand, Matthew lived in Australia for four years, developing his own style and refining his technique. He returned to Northern Ireland in 2016, where he worked as Head Chef at The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn, which was awarded Northern Ireland’s AA Hotel of the Year 2017 during his time there. He recently moved to the Midlands to be with his fiancé.

“I’m delighted to have Matthew joining us; his wealth of experience in leading culinary environments will be a fabulous asset for The Meynell,” said Berkeley Inns’ Managing Director Howard Thacker.

“Customers are becoming constantly more discerning and demanding of authenticity. ‘World’ food is increasingly popular, and our menus feature dishes originating from all points of the globe.

“Matthew’s worldwide experience will facilitate our ability to deliver the authenticity required within these dishes.

“I’m really excited to see Matthew developing The Meynell menu over the coming months and hope and expect our customers will be delighted with the results.”

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