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
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