Food and drink news - January 2014

PUBLISHED: 12:40 10 January 2014 | UPDATED: 12:40 10 January 2014

Rachel Barker and Natalie Boyd with the cookbooks

Rachel Barker and Natalie Boyd with the cookbooks


Catch up with the news from our local schools and colleges

Praise from pub group’s peers

When The Beech House opened in Beaconsfield New Town we were quickly impressed, so it’s good to record that owners Oakman Inns & Restaurants – who also have The Cook & Fillet at Kingsood near Grendon Underwood in Bucks – has won a Pub Company of the Year award.

The accolade for Oakman comes from Restaurant magazine, with fellow restaurant group owners, and indeed rivals, voting for the winner. Oakman was chosen for its estate of ‘well-appointed pubs’ that have become ‘super-successful’ all-day dining destinations.

Oakman Inns CEO, Peter Borg-Neal, who founded the company in 2007, said: “This is a huge honour and very unexpected. The fact that it has been voted for by one’s peers – even competitors – means so much to me and all my team. I wish I had 250 copies of the award to give each of them their own trophy to thank them for the time and effort that they put in to creating our unique style of hospitality and the welcome we genuinely give all our guests. We are a relatively young company that is evolving and growing and being voted Pub Company of the Year will spur us on in 2014.”

Oakman opened their eighth pub, the Grade II Listed 17th century Coaching Inn, The Crown & Thistle in Abingdon-on-Thames, in November following a £1.8m refurbishment. They also run The Akeman, Tring; the Red Lion, Water End and the Kings Arms, Berkhamsted. In Oxfordshire they also have The Old Post Office, Wallingford and The Blue Boar, Witney.


Now that tastes ‘Devine’

A team of passionate cooks from local estate and lettings agent, Romans, have worked hard to put together a charity cookbook, with all proceeds from ‘Tastes Devine’ going to the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service, who aim to build Berkshire’s first children’s hospice.

“The cookbook was so much fun to work on and it was great to see so many employees pull together to contribute recipe ideas.” said Rachel Carter, Executive Assistant at Romans. “The book includes Alexander’s favourite recipe amongst other delicious meals.”

Recipes include baked Camembert with apricot and chilli jam, salmon teriyaki, Italian Cajun chicken linguine and Alexander’s favourite; chocolate sponge with chocolate custard. The book is illustrated with beautiful drawings from children at the White Waltham C of E Academy, Maidenhead.

Romans hope to raise £3,500 from the sale of the cookbooks, to be donated straight to Alexander Devine, with each book costing £5.

To order a copy of Tastes Devine email Rachel at


Treats for couples

If you deserve a little treat after Christmas, consider the runnymede-on-thames hotel’s ‘Winter in Windsor’ break to recharge the batteries.

The hotel is offering couples the chance to enjoy a cosy riverside stay, making the most of Windsor in the winter time.

Guests can enjoy brisk winter walks under clear skies along the River Thames, before thawing out in the hotel’s award-winning spa, or indulging in a scrumptious tea in the lounge.

Choose as much – or as little – as post-Christmas tummies dictate from the delicious buffet at leftbank restaurant, brimming with homemade treats.

Emerging from the hotel, venture into picture-perfect Windsor – a complimentary return taxi is laid on by the hotel – armed with an ‘Envy Card’ for ducking in and out of the sales at Windsor Royal Station.

Wave hello to Her Majesty at Windsor Castle before retreating to the hotel – drawn back by the promise of hot tea and freshly baked scones and cream.

Winter in Windsor’ with the runnymede-on-thames - from £275 for two guests. Price includes a two night stay for two in a double room on a B&B basis, dinner on one evening in leftbank, full use of the spa facilities, a return taxi into Windsor, a complimentary ‘Envy’ discount card and tea and scones.

Available until Sunday 5 January inclusive (excluding Tuesday 31 December) and thereafter, every Friday and Saturday until 1 February., tel 01784 220600.

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