Monday, 9 January 2017

Dry January - not likely!


Evening all and Happy New Year to you!

I hope you had a good one - we had an absolutely fantastic NYE as usual. The food from our new Head Chef Tom and his team was outstanding and in the first 2 days of 2017 we took five - yes 5 - bookings for NYE 2017!! We also sold both of the bedrooms for that period - amazing! 

Alongside that we had our busiest New Years Day ever as well - so thank you to everyone for liking us so much and thank you to our incredible team for working so hard and making the New Years period the huge success it was. 

No pics this year though as I seemed to be busier than ever this year - I think it was because I was trying to raise money for the Salcombe First Responders and even I (yes, I know - hard to believe!) can only usually do one thing at a time! 

On that note thank you to each and everyone of you who donated of your own free will (I did NOT chain anyone to their seat until they paid!) to this amazing service that is provided completely free of charge with no money coming from anywhere but the donations of very kind people like YOU! To those of you who had one ticket, half a dozen or a £100 like one incredibly generous gentleman.  Through you all we raised a little over £1500!!! 

The winner was a local lady called Jennifer Cooper who called in with her family at the weekend to collect her prize.

So all the chocolates have been eaten (i'm guessing in most houses - not in ours as I've still not had a chocolate since August!) the great Cheese mountain has almost been demolished and surely there can't be a mince pie left in the land.  Although I did see HOT CROSS BUNS in Sainsburys last week!! Really Sainsburys............??? 

Who's on dry January then??? Please don't - goodness knows there aren't enough pubs left as it is...... 😀
But seriously, if you are 'drying'out why not see what great soft drinks your pub has rather than stay home?

The sign above I shamelessly pinched off the internet - great isn't it! 

Well then Salcombe - the tree is down, lights are too, sales are in full swing and some shops have quite amazing bargains! I've done my bit to keep Salcombe economy buoyant! 

It looks like Lloyds bank is definitely going to close this year leaving Salcombe without a bank in it's town. The nearest being Kingsbridge and I can tell you that not only is that pretty poor for the older people left in Salcombe but it's going to be real hassle for business's like ours!  We do offer cash back on purchases if you get stuck, but it's a poor show from a bank that last year were celebrating their centenary presence in Salcombe! Hypocrites!!!! Utter hypocrites! 

Ok - I'm not getting on my soap box quite so soon in the New Year - I'm going to try to be nice, polite and totally non ranty in my blogs.................👌👌👌

Well perhaps until March! 

Till later my lovely readers, 

Liz x




Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year All


So as I sit here Saturday afternoon 321st January 2017 thinking about getting ready for  one of the most special evenings in our calendar - I want this blog to be all about the team! The guys in the photo and some that sadly weren't there for the photo shoot! 

SOH and I are firmly of the opinion that this incredible bunch of people make up the most amazing team we've been fortunate to work with. Actually when this bunch are in full swing - then the 'magic' really does happen, because they all really do love what they do at the Vic!

Each and everyone of them; from the 15 year olds who do the 'running' and clearing and tidying to the Managers who keep a watchful eye on things, to the Chefs who cook and clean and feed so many thousands and thousands of you every year -  they all work so very, very hard and Tim & I consider ourselves to be incredibly fortunate to have them working with us! 

Every single one of them brings something special to the business and collectively they work together as a really great team.  They all socialise with each other as well - so that says a lot about how they get on.  If someones ill, it doesn't take them long to volunteer to cover a shift - usually without asking and often expecting nothing in return. 

This year we've worked extra hard on education and training and it was a joy to see Jessie and Philly (21 tomorrow) achieve NVQ's in Hospitality.  They are now supervisors and undertaking the next level of NVQ.  Next year we hope to have to young ladies join us as Hospitality Apprentices. Front of House next year will be looking to raise their game even further with more training and a bit of fun along the way. 

In our kitchen - the machine room - Tom Huggett joined us as our new Head Chef, Sous Chef Sarah also joined us as well as Chef de Partie Aaron and in January we have a trained Pastry Chef joining us. That brings our team in the kitchen up to 9 and 2 part timers.  We're investing a lot of money into the kitchen, buying a water bath and some other better equipment.  It will all help give you the customer a better experience when you visit, as well as make our Chefs lives a bit easier.  I am excited about the food coming out of our kitchen and even more excited about developments in our kitchen for 2017. 

Now I've had a break from entering awards for a year, I shall be back on the paper trail in 2017.  I feel this will be our year to shine again! 

So from Tim, myself and all our amazing team - we wish you all a very Peaceful, Happy, Prosperous and loving 2017. 





Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Happy Christmas my lovelies!

Ok - this is actually my third attempt tonight at writing this as for some reason the Gods that are gremlins in wi-fi are insistent that I should just watch Masterchef the Professionals! But no I have shut down and re-booted several times to enable me to deliver my wonderful Christmas words of joy, peace and light to you............. yea right!! 

Now I refuse to bow to cynicism and commercialism I WILL believe in the joy of Christmas......... I will not be bought down by the fact that I could not find my Grandsons preferred toy. I refuse to be hacked off that I had to join a waiting list for said toy!!! 

I cannot allow my hatred of big stores expecting me to shove a quid in to use their trollies - particularly when it's hissing down with rain - and their trollies are not under cover! M & S Dartmouth!! Yes - YOU!!! 

Dartmouth of all places......... what in Gods name do they think will happen to them in Dartmouth?? Will all the genteel folk start having wheelie races in them up and down the prom!?! Will they be pinched and exported as a national treasure??

I will not let the red mist descend because there just might be a shortage of Sprouts this year. WHAT!?? No sprouts they say......... the masses will riot! No - they just won't fart as much when they're sleeping off the effects of a meal that most third world countries can only imagine. 

I will not be forced into buying 3 extra boxes of chocolates and 6 packets of mince pies just in case we have starving people ringing our doorbell on the off chance of an After Eight or 3! I will not buy nuts that will languish in the dish until they've gone soft and require the dustbin as a kind ending.......... I will not buy a mound of cheese that requires me to eat every bit as I cannot bare to waste it!! Oh no I won't! Will I?????

Oh dear.......... I do sound a bit cross don't I?? I'm not, but when you're in a business that's been thinking about and talking about Christmas for a very long time it's hard not to be world weary about it.  I adore Michael Buble but when you've heard 'It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas' for the one millionth time it's hard not to want to commit hari kari!!! 

Anyway my lovelies - how are YOU all doing?? I know a lot of you are planning on coming down as soon as reasonably possible after the Christmas Day deed is done and we will be ready to welcome you with open arms. Salcombe has been fairly quiet the last week or 2 but we have still been remarkably buoyant trade wise, still achieving good numbers (particularly at the weekends) and this year we have a record amount of bookings for NY day and the couple of days following it! So PLEASE ring us and book won't you, can't be doing with tantrums because you can't get a seat! We are shut Christmas Day but open the rest of the time. 

 Right, moving on, the second photo in this blog is a painting SOH and I had commissioned by Caroline Appleyard - an incredibly gifted artist! I had a great photo lined up of her and I in the pub Sunday night, but no ....... my Mac has other ideas! It's getting above it's station if you ask me!!!

Now where was I?? Oh yes, Caroline http://www.appleyard-art.co.uk and the picture.  I just love it and she has very kindly given me 2 prints as well.  One has gone to our friend Mark who does all the story writing and reading in the school holidays (also available for festivals, weddings and bar mitzvahs) and the other one we are raffling over the festive period to try to raise funds for the Salcombe First Responder Charity.  This service (of which of course SOH Tim is one) is run entirely by donations, so I'm hoping we'll make a good few bob from doing this. You can donate by post!  £5 a ticket! Please make cheques payable to Salcombe First Responders sent to the Vic. Cough Cough Jim /Adam et al...........

On the subject of being here with the family can I just put a plug here for a great local business that will actually come and babysit your children.  Not just at home but at functions - you know the ones where they're great for a while but then they'd rather do anything than sit quiet and enjoy an hours worth of speeches (who can blame them!)  Her name is Caroline Utin and her business is S.E.B.S - Salcombe Elite Babysitting Services.  She and her team are all CRB blahdy blahdy blah checked etc and she's a lovely lady who actually likes babies and children......... not saying I don't (you know I do really!) but I wouldn't get paid to glare at them although parents have suggested I could earn a crust! Here's the link to her website http://www.s-e-b-s.com

Well then, the fire is lit and roaring away a treat (the cost of those logs 😄😄!!) mulled wine is on the go on the Bar at the Vic, the Champagne is chilling and the team are ready to welcome you back and ensure you really, truly do have a super Christmas and New Year with us. 

Tim, myself and all our amazing team would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for continuing to support us, whether just once a year or every week. 

We all hope you have a fab Christmas and that 2017 brings you joy, peace, great health and true happiness. 

Merry Christmas everyone and much love from both of us too,  



Liz (she writes this drivel on an occasional basis ) and Tim (He's the clever one!) X X X 


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Namaste

My Princess Di pose on my Birthday at the Taj Mahal
Namaste to you all................. we're back and pleased to say we survived the delights of India! 

Wow what an adventure it was as well. Delhi had the worst smog it has had in 20 years, some of the currency got withdrawn overnight and Trump won the USA elections!! 

There are no words
It really can't be called a holiday - no holiday has you setting your alarm clock at 5a.m and not once but several times. No holiday has you regularly travelling for 12 hours to get from one place to another! But I wouldn't have missed one single minute of our journey for anything. 

We saw great extremes - poverty and opulence on one hand and dirt yet beauty on the other. 

Sleeping Tiger! 
We saw not one but 2 Tigers, the clouds cleared for us to see the beautiful Himalayas range, I had 3 birthday cakes - 4 if you include the fantastic one our team did for me, we also saw;  queues of people at banks and ATM's when the currency was removed overnight, a dead body being taken for cremation (along the street on a stretcher type thing with the face open to the world!!), more than 5 people on scooters, a container truck held together with inner tubes, Cows and Goats walking across highways, dogs dying, children amused (and curious) at seeing white faces, Gandhi's resting place, huge birds of prey, crocodiles and much, much more. 

We also encountered great kindnesses with massive smiles from everyone - that is when weren't being stared at as many people have never seen white europeans.  We got asked loads of times for photos with them to show their friends and relatives back home.......... I felt like the Queen or a pop star! 

The Himalayas
If you fancy this sort of trip then I highly recommend www.rivieratravel.co.uk
 and try to make sure that Tony Russo is the guide - he kept us safe and well ensuring that we knew what to buy where, use the hand sanitiser at all times and had a fiery Italian personality that seemed to work well with laid back Indians. The whole trip was really well organised and we covered a lot of ground and saw a lot of India in a short time - the hotels were also exceptionally good! Many people were on their 3rd or 4th trip so they must be doing something right! 

Along sideTony we had fantastic local guides Parol and Sanjay - amazing people who made the trip completely come alive. Particularly Sanjay who when the altitude affected my asthma ensured I missed nothing - particularly the Himalayas. 

We ate great food - not just curries but a wide assortment of cuisines from across the globe and there were no places where cooking something different from was a chore. 

We had a group of great people, Annie, Dawn, Phil, Debs, Mary and the 'Baron' amongst many will live on in my memory for a long time!!! For all the right reasons too..........

BUT, it has taken the best part of a 4 days to recover from all the travel - so if you decide to do this amazing journey get into training for it at an early stage!!

Back then to the UK in the throws of some dreadful rain and storms and a team who thought it fun to give me a Skydiving birthday present - thankfully it was a send up and instead I have a gift of Dinner at Gordon Ramseys 3 star Michelin restaurant in Chelsea, London.

So, it's now heads down and on to Christmas with decorations soon to be let out of their boxes, trees to be erected, the inevitable Christmas shopping (next week - Exeter) and the joy (!) of Christmas card writing!! 

The Vic is actually quite busy for this time of year and the team did an amazing job of looking after her in our absence - Thank you all, you can do it all again in January!! 

Till the next instalment,  

Much love, 

Liz xxx


Sunday, 30 October 2016

Last Blog for a little while!

Fear not, I'm not giving up on you darlings but I have a celebratory milestone birthday coming up and after much deliberation (party, slap up meal, hibernation, face lift!) we have decided to take ourselves off to India and see sights and hear sounds I've only every dreamt of!

Very excited I am too............the jabs have been had (flip me no one said the Typhoid jab would be SOOOO painful!)

Boots the Chemist have been emptied of hand wipes, bum wipes, immodium, rehydrate, paracetamol, savlon, packets of tissues, rennies, anti bite etc etc!! Every time I go over to Boots in Fore Street Salcombe I'm sure they think I've turned into some sort of paranoid neurotic with a very bad stomach!

The camera is fired up with a spare battery, visas have been sought and granted, the spare room slightly resembles a small section of a department store! Paperwork has been checked, re-checked and checked just once more for good luck!

In the meantime the team at the Vic will be ever so slightly (!) received when we finally go as there is a limit to how many times they will patiently listen to me checking with them the 'things to do', 'where to find.........', who to 'phone if..........', 'what to do if...............'!!

SOH has even been seen to be writing his own 'things to do' list - but thats a list no where near as big as my what to pack list! It seems like it's going to be between 32 in Delhi to 19 in the hills of Shimla - so a mix of clothes and shoes and oh my, what shall I be able to leave out so that I'm not over the weight limit??

I'll be back in a few weeks (Older!) with a whole load of photo's, memories and stories, in the meantime our lovely girls and boys at the Vic will be there to look after you and probably give you an update if t'internet is readily available over there.......................

Lots of love


Liz xxx 






Sunday, 16 October 2016

All things team...........

Head Chef Tom
 My life is all things Chef / Kitchen at the moment!! Firstly, please say a huge hello to my new Head Chef Tom Huggett. Tom joins us as a relatively young Head Chef but my goodness what he may not have in years he has in passion for the food he cooks. He is immensely talented and has a great palate, a real understanding of how flavours works together and we are SO excited to have him as our new Head Chef.  

A good background in pubs and hotels, and as you can see he's rather handsome, he has a great sense of humour and he's made himself very much at home in his new role quite quickly. A nice quiet approach to getting things done - I can't be doing with shouty Chefs! We prefer to have Raymond Blancs in our kitchen to Gordon Ramseys............but he's no pushover. 

You may remember me introducing him as a senior Sous back in the summer, and from his very first day we knew we had been lucky enough to have someone very special and talented join our team - who could have thought that he'd actually be leading it so soon! 

We were left in a bit of a pickle for the NYE menu as of course a change of Head Chef meant we had to have a change of menu, but oh my, I am so excited at what he has produced. I think due to a cancellation we have 1 table of 4 now available - so if you're interested I would call us NOW! Because otherwise we are fully booked!!!!

Aaron stirring his Custard
So we look forward to a long and happy relationship with Tom as he takes us on the next step of our journey at the Vic. 

The next Chef I want to talk about is Aaron. 

Aaron joined us about 4 years ago as a general assistant / KP in our kitchen. 

Another quiet soul, he was incredibly shy but very hard working. He showed a desire to want to get on in catering and took our opportunity of a Chef Apprenticeship. 

Part way through his apprenticeship we thought we might part company as he wasn't really displaying the qualities we expected him to show. But a little gentle coaching from his tutors at South Devon College and a lot of support from us got him through whatever it was that was holding him back and he went on to win the Chef Apprentice Cup for most Improved Student. 
Aaron's Fish dish - 


He has continued to work incredibly hard and at 20 is now a FT Junior Sous Chef within our team - he has a lot of responsibility and is an integral part of our kitchen team. Not quite so shy now and with a wicked sense of humour, he's a very much loved member of our team. I'm so proud of him - he never complains (well not in my hearing anyway) he's always a cheery smile, and his cooking has developed amazingly as you can see from this photo of his Mackerel dish -  Grilled Mackerel fillets served with butternut squash stuffed with herbs and panic breadcrumbs, orange infused carrots, a chilli salsa and a sweet mango and coriander puree! 

I'd really like to find another Chef Apprentice to train and bring on just as we have young Aaron.  We pay well over and above the recommended apprentice amounts and it gives a young person a real opportunity of a career.   So if you're a local parent or even a young person reading this - why not contact me. 

Lovely Philly and Jessie
Talking of young people we have had 2 of our team achieve their NVQ in Hospitality this Autumn - Jessie and Philly who are now recognised as 2 fully trained senior team members.  They will be responsible for mentoring and helping to train any new team members.  Both girls have great customer service skills and we are immensely proud of both of them. 

Next one training for Hospitality level 4 (phew) is Asst Manager Jess - so watch this space for her achievements over the next few months. 

We are having some new professional photographs taken in half term so be sure to look on here to see what we are all looking like. The team are starting to go into their winter uniforms of black for the girls (their choice- they like it!!) and smart shirts with smart jeans for the boys. 

The chimney has been swept and the fire is lit...........so why don't you come and pay us a visit?? 

Till later my lovely readers, 

Liz x

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Goodbye to Summer and our Head Chef

Head Chef James is next to Chef Tanya

It certainly seems to be goodbye to summer tonight as I sit typing this blog and it's pouring with rain outside!! There's also a distinct Autumnal nip in the air - which is fine with me because it's my absolute favourite time of the year.  Soon be time to light a fire at the Vic then........

But it's also goodbye to our Head Chef James who has been us from the first day we walked through the doors of the Vic.  

James had actually been at the Vic long before us (well I think at least 3 years before us) and he has been the steady hand on the tiller as we've grown from a really quite small business to one today that is thriving and still growing. 

From a kitchen that had 3 people and SOH cooking on a Sunday to one that now has 8 full timers and a couple of part timers, all year round! From a kitchen that sent out a couple of hundred meals a day in the summer to one that is open all day from 12 - 9 and sends out well in excess of triple that amount in the summer.  

Whatever has happened James has been there consistently, even working with a broken foot! Him and I have been a lot like a married couple sometimes - we've squabbled, really rowed and yet we've laughed a lot together! Never mention the word Sherry Trifle to him...........or me for that matter!  

We've been out socially and the image of James very drunk hiding behind a curtain in a posh London Hotel then coming out from behind it and giggling like a child will stay with me forever  - as will his slightly ashen face on the train home the next day!!

So it's been a challenging few weeks since that day nearly a month ago when he asked for 'a quick word'! £1500 of advertising attracted very little in the way of people I would even want to walk over my threshold let alone lead my important team in the kitchen. I'm NEVER using formal advertising again, it has to be social media and free online advertising all the way for me.  Not that we need to advertise often - thankfully!!

However, to James we say THANK YOU! 

Thank you for all the hours you worked so hard, the blood sweat and tears, the amazing wedding reception you did for us and the Wedding Cake that was SO beautiful! Thank you for always looking out for the younger team members who needed a bit of loving support, thank you for all the times I phoned from home asking 'How do I............'???? Thank you for always making sure food went out quickly regardless of the numbers of times we all thought we were going drown in tickets! 

Thank you to your wife who must have hated the Vic at times (it's not easy being a Chef's partner and to your kids who sometimes missed you at events because work came first! 

We all wish you well as you go onto your next job James and Tim, I and all the team will miss you. 

But fear not dear readers and visitors to our pub, next blog I will tell you all about our new Head Chef.......... Tom! Fabulously talented (rather gorgeous too - always a bonus!)full of passion for food and bouncing with inspiration and incredibly excited about the challenge of being our new Head Chef - I know our beloved Vic is in great hands and I'm sooooooooo excited about the next stage of our pubs future. 

Till next time my lovelies

Liz x