LYMPSTONE MANOR DIARY Mum’s the word on Christmas pud!
The festive season, for me, is about the build-up to spending time with family and friends, and reflecting back on another year as it draws to a close. This will be Lympstone Manor’s second Christmas - following our first full year of operation - and, I have to say, the house is looking fabulously festive.
We don’t put on the big group Christmas parties many other hotels offer, so the run-up is a quieter time for me and my staff. We offer a weekly changing lunch menu with traditional turkey as one of the choices and my mother’s recipe for Christmas pudding as a dessert option (more on that in the panel on this page).
This year, December is like a game of two halves. The first fortnight is taken up with a number of events I’m looking forward to attending. These include two major fundraising lunches at Sandy Park through my involvement with the Lord’s Taverners and the Exeter Chiefs Foundation, which both raise fantastic sums of money for local charities.
I’ll be heading to Cornwall to do a demonstration at the Padstow Food Festival, and to North Devon to host a Christmas evening at Kentisbury Grange. I’m also looking forward to cooking for a big charity fundraiser for the NSPCC in London.
Closer to home, we’re holding our Christmas with Caines celebration at Lympstone on the 18th. The evening will have a festive twist but there won’t be any turkey on the six-course taster menu! I’ll be introducing each dish, while Steve Edwards will present a carefully-curated selection of wines.
This year, Christmas falls kindly on the hospitality industry, right between two weekends. On Christmas Day itself, you’ll find me in the kitchen cooking Christmas lunch and dinner for guests on our festive residential package. The hotel will be buzzing with people enjoying the day and real festive fare.
I have my own time with my family on Boxing Day. The morning is spent quietly, then 30- 40 relatives join us for a buffet. Everybody brings along a contribution, but I do the big food shop, which I actually enjoy, and I love putting on a spread for them all. We don’t buy Christmas presents for us grown-ups anymore - my gift to my family is to host them. In my downtime, I’ll be heading to watch some rugby at Sandy Park. I’m a big fan: it’s one of my favourite pastimes, alongside motorsports.
On New Year’s Eve, we have a wonderful celebration planned at the Manor with fireworks over the estuary. Then it’s time to reflect on the year and what’s been achieved. Overall, it’s been amazing. There’s still progress to be made in some areas, but my team has done a stellar job, for which I’d like to say a massive thank you.
Looking ahead, 2019 is going to be a year of challenges, particularly with Brexit, yet also one of opportunities. I have an exciting new venture coming to fruition in Exmouth, which I look forward to telling you more about next year. In the meantime, have a fantastic festive season, whatever you’re planning, and a very happy 2019. For special recipes created by Michael to make the most of your Christmas leftovers, turn to pages 110-111.