The Big Idea

We asked Daniel Smith, chef pa­tron of G&D Ven­tures Restau­rant Group, and busi­ness part­ner Gregory Ad­jemian about their plans for The Wilde­beest in Stoke Holy Cross

EDP Norfolk - - The Wildebeest -

It’s Nor­folk Day this month – any spe­cial plans?

Be­ing both Nor­folk born and bred and mas­sive sup­port­ers of all things Nor­folk, we were among the first to sign up to get in­volved. We’ll be unashamedly pro­mot­ing all that’s great to eat and drink from our county.

At The Wilde­beest I’ll be in the kitchen with head chef Char­lie Wil­son serv­ing up an ex­tra spe­cial five-course Nor­folk menu with an ac­com­pa­ny­ing Nor­folk Wine flight from the award­win­ning Win­birri Vine­yard, plus a sig­na­ture Nor­folk cock­tail.

Over at War­wick St So­cial, we’ll be of­fer­ing three courses ex­clu­sively cre­ated for Nor­folk Day by Nor­folk Chef of the Year, Alex Clare, in­clud­ing a sig­na­ture Nor­folk Swan­ning­ton lamb burger.

Any more in­ter­est­ing events com­ing up?

On Septem­ber 18 we’ve got a very spe­cial night com­ing up with winemakers St Clair Fam­ily Es­tate of New Zealand with in­sights into their wines and a spe­cial menu with, of course, ac­com­pa­ny­ing wine flight. Early next year we’re plan­ning to wel­come some sur­prise guest chefs to our kitchen so watch out for more news!

How does The Wilde­beest go about find­ing the very best lo­cal pro­duce?

We’ve been work­ing with our farm part­ner, The Ta­cons, who farm at Rollesby on land bor­der­ing the Trin­ity Broads, for sev­eral years now.

‘Our Farm’ is in­trin­sic to what we do and is rooted in prove­nance, ed­u­ca­tion and helps sup­port the lo­cal econ­omy too where our kitchen teams have an im­por­tant role in se­lect­ing pro­duce for our menus.

We also work closely with care­fully se­lected lo­cal sup­pli­ers that we know and trust and with whom we’ve built a strong re­la­tion­ship through many years of work­ing in hos­pi­tal­ity.

How im­por­tant is it hav­ing lo­cal tal­ent in the kitchen and at front of house?

Very im­por­tant. The in­vest­ment we make in our peo­ple is at the very core of our suc­cess and build­ing award-win­ning lo­cal hos­pi­tal­ity brands, so re­cruit­ment and team de­vel­op­ment is cen­tral to what we do.

We’re com­mit­ted to of­fer­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to peo­ple at all lev­els for a long-term ca­reer, not just a job. We’re busy work­ing on a chefs’ academy and the G&D Ven­tures Ap­pren­tice­ship Pro­gramme, help­ing to cre­ate the next gen­er­a­tion of ris­ing stars, learn­ing on the job, by pro­vid­ing a clear vi­sion and nur­tur­ing the skills to be suc­cess­ful and ex­ceed cus­tomers’ ex­pec­ta­tions.

Lastly, what’s The Big Idea at The Wilde­beest?

Cer­tainly to keep on de­liv­er­ing a mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence for our din­ers, but also to el­e­vate the over­all cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence into a restau­rant with rooms, which has been so pop­u­lar at The Ingham Swan, by adding rooms. G&D Ven­tures also owns The Ingham Swan, cur­rently un­der­go­ing re­build­ing after a ma­jor fire last Septem­ber, and War­wick St So­cial, a mod­ern-day pub in Nor­wich’s Golden Tri­an­gle.

ABOVE: Daniel Smith and Greg Ad­jemian

BE­LOW: From The Wilde­beest ta­ble

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