Located in The Hub Milton Keynes, Mediterranean restaurant Deroka has entered the semi-finals of the British Kebab Awards. With a chance of being crowned, we look at what Milton Keynes finest has to offer ahead of our #lunchNbloggers visit.
About De Roka
De Roka is a family-owned, independent restaurant that specialises in exquisite, traditional Mediterranean cuisine. Having recently reopened following the lockdown, the entire team have been focused on delivering the best dining experience for diners who have missed restaurant dining for the last year.
De Roka’s founders believe that a memorable dining experience is determined not only by the quality and flavour of the food, but also by the people that you meet. With this in mind De Roka have curated a high-spirited and welcoming atmosphere, giving their customers an experience they will cherish every time they walk through their doors.
How to vote for De Roka in the British Kebab Awards
Now in its 9th year, The British Kebab Awards is currently accepting votes for the semi-finals. De Roka is one of 19 restaurants competing for the ‘Fine Dining Restaurant’ award. You can vote online for De Roka here.
About British Kebab Awards
The British Kebab Awards in association with JUST EAT offers a chance to recognise and champion the efforts of local kebab takeaways and restaurants across the nation. Fans of their friendly neighbourhood kebab takeaways and restaurants can claim they truly do have Britain’s best kebab takeaway and restaurant by voting for them in the British Kebab Awards.
The British Kebab Awards is a true celebration of everything kebab related, which naturally draws key figures from all sections of the takeaway and restaurant sector. As a reflection of the kebab industry’s significant contribution to the UK economy and British culture in general, the awards welcome a host of celebrities, prominent politicians, journalists and most importantly the nation’s hard-working restaurant workers for an evening of celebration.
Kinship Local helps champion local artists after a year of lockdown
Newly opened gift shop Kinship Local in Rowsham has found a positive way to help fellow small creative businesses whose sales may have suffered this last year.
Kinship Local was founded by small business owners Claire Ashton and Jen Burton, who have a passion for championing British made, independently owned, small creatives.
Lovers of good quality, great design, and an eye for the bright and bold, Kinship Local has been working with a range of Pop-Up Makers since opening its doors in June.
Claire explains, “We wanted to offer artists, designers and makers a local space, set amongst our own curated eco-conscious products. We wish to encourage local residents to shop small, shop locally and to support those who make in small batches, who pour their hearts and souls into their products. Step away from the mass made, and embrace the slow made”.
Jen adds, “Choosing to shop and buy from a small independent creative brings so much positivity. The Makers we choose to support in-store have a strong belief and ethic around sustainability and creating less waste, which is so important. Also, with the loss of income last year, it was crucial for us to help drive the local economy by supporting small businesses. We truly believe that you can buy beautiful, buy small and buy local all at once.”
Retail space along the UK highstreets is unattainable for so many smaller retail outlets. So with the support and belief of the team at Wild Raven Farm Shop, Kinship Local has been hugely popular and a happy welcome to local residents.
Since their second week of opening, Kinship Local has offered 3-4 Pop-Up makers every fortnight to showcase a range of products. So far, Bella Bowlicious headbands, Bethan Lily knitted cushions, Tweedles Handmade eco food wraps, Bridie & Bert Towelling Robes, Wild Flora Handmade resin wildflower jewellery, and Sarah McFloof painted pebbles and gnomes have all featured.
This week they welcomed Am & Flo hand-painted peg dolls, Magic Kind clothing, Jennifer Wesley cards and Immy & Boo recycled and repurposed fabric headbands, lavender eye pillows and yoga bags. There is always a mixture of products to inspire and a range of handmade gifts to give.
Pop-Up Partner Beth from Bethan Lily Knitwear says, “Kinship Local has been an excellent opportunity for my business. It’s kept me going and is definitely worth a visit to see all of the other lovely products in the cabin. Jen and Claire have been a pleasure to work with! “
“Since launching my products, both Claire & Jen have updated me daily and share in my excitement of sales and feedback with me….for this, I will always be thankful to them,” says Claire from Bella Bowlicious.
Whilst they are full until the beginning of September, Claire and Jen are looking for more artists and designers to support and champion.
Meet Katie Godfrey… Bedfordshire Beauty and Hair expert
Katie Godfrey is the powerhouse behind the KG brand, single-handedly building her empire from a single salon bought aged 19 as a school leaver with no qualifications, to a chain of salons, a UK-wide beauty training academy, an eyelash product range and a salon coaching business.
Katie left school at 13 after being bullied, but this only made her more determined to succeed in life. Her Bedfordshire beauty salon became a go-to destination and after being named Eyelash Technician of the Year in 2014, Katie started to rack up the awards winning 15 to date, and securing press coverage nationally including the likes of OK and Hello, as well as pampering various celebrities.
Now you’re as likely to find her judging awards as winning them – she’s co-owner of the “World Lash University” conference & awards which is partnered with “The Lash Games” at Olympia Beauty, and has her own podcast, “The Life Of KG”, aimed at those in the hair and beauty space but also relatable to anyone in business.
How Katie Godfrey expanded her brand
Going on to own a chain of franchise salons, Katie then sold these to focus on education, aiming to raise standards across salons and within the industry. She launched KG Professional, a beauty training academy which now has branches in Bedfordshire, Southampton, Gloucestershire, Derbyshire, Milton Keynes, Sussex and Essex, and an eyelash product range.
Within 6 months of launch, the eyelash range was selling into 500 salons and is now sold globally. Katie was one of the first trainers in the UK to teach Russian Volume Lashes, flying to New York to learn and then bring the techniques back.
In addition to maintaining the salon and pro businesses, Katie is a dedicated business mentor and looks after over 35 salons. She started this side business 3 years ago after being inundated by businesses coming to her for help as a result of her success story – she offers 1-2-1 and group mentoring sessions, and aims to launch the first comprehensive online business course for the hair and beauty industry imminently. She talks regularly at colleges and events about her story and is passionate about motivating others to build their careers. She is one of the authors of number 1 best-selling book, ‘Extraordinary Women’, and co-owner of “Salon Franchise,” a consultancy company in the hair & beauty industry.
Katie’s achievements are all the more impressive considering she has done this while single-handedly parenting her daughter. She is testament to the goals that can be reached with determination and hard work and is inspiring and helping many others to do the same.
Awards won by Katie Godfrey
- 3rd “Inspirational Women of the year” 2020.
- Winner “Health & Beauty Franchise of the Year 2020, Livewire Excellence Awards.
- Winner “Best Health & Beauty Clinic Franchise – South East England” 2019
- 2nd & 3rd place “World Lash University Lash awards” 2019
- Winner “Client Experience Award” 2018
- Winner “Best Beauty Salon – Bedfordshire” 2018
- Winner “LUX Salon of The Year” 2017
- Winner “Client Experience Award” 2017
- Winner “Client Experience Award” 2016
- Winner “Most Outstanding Salon of The Year” 2016
- 2nd Place “Eyelash Technician of The Year” 2016
- Winner “LUX Salon of The Year” 2015
- Winner “Fans Choice Awards” 2015
- Winner “Eyelash Technician of The Year” 2014
The Swan Salford recognised as worldclass in Best Companies awards
The owners of one of our favourite Milton Keynes venues has been recognised as a world-class employer in this year’s Best Companies awards.
Milton Keynes pub company Peach has officially been named one of best companies to work for in the country and been singled out as a top employer in its industry in this year’s Best Companies to Work for awards, announced on Friday 21st May 2021. Peach raced up to number 24 in the league of the nation’s best companies, and received a Three Star Accreditation, highlighting it as world-class.
The independent business, which runs The Black Horse in Woburn and The Swan at Salford came away from Friday’s virtual awards ceremony with four fantastic wins under its belt.
As well as officially being one of the UK’s 100 Best Large Companies to Work For, Peach came sixth in the UK’s Top 20 Leisure & Hospitality Companies to Work For and was named the 9th best employer in the East of England, the 13th in the Midlands and the 20th in the South East where it was also the best in hospitality.
Earning a place on a list as one of the UK’s Best Companies to Work For is an accolade like no other. It recognises a business’ commitment to its employees and shows that it sees workplace engagement as a vital part of its success. Participation is partly by a team-wide survey that asks for honest feedback on areas an employer is strong in and those it needs to improve on, such as leadership, commitment to personal growth through training and development, well-being and giving something back.
Peach scored at the top of its class by proving its commitment to its people and how it supported its teams particularly during the pandemic and focussed on the mental wellbeing of its chefs, front of house and support teams who were furloughed. Peach launched Yourhub.pub1, a social enterprise that enabled its furloughed teams to keep busy cooking and delivering food to the NHS and a total of 50 charities and keep connected to their pubs’ communities.
At the same time, it looked after the team, creating new personal development plans for individual and personal development for every team member. It also launched a Peach Hardship Support Fund for those facing financial difficulty and worked with industry charity Hospitality Action to ensure no-one in the team was left behind.
It’s the fifth year running that Peach has won a Best Company to Work For award, and a record year for the company, whose aim is to be the best gastropub company on the planet, as Peach Managing Director Hamish Stoddart explains.
“It’s our vision, we Make Life Peachy. Ever since we started Peach twenty years ago, we’ve genuinely put our people first. We’ve always believed they are the heart of a pub and utterly central to our success. Shared ownership and the longevity of our team prove this. This last year, during the pandemic, we knew it was more important than ever to take good care of the team especially when the pubs were closed and the team furloughed. It was the perfect opportunity to prove it, and we did.
“We worked incredibly hard to look after the physical and mental well-being of our people especially during lockdown. We took the opportunity to reaffirm our support to our team, both financially and through keeping in close contact and volunteering together to support the towns we’re proud to be at the heart of. We have come through together, staying true to our vision of being a great place to work, learn and grow. We are delighted to be recognised as a Three Star, world-class employer,” he said.
Peach took the opportunity to toast this year’s Best Companies success with its teams and guests in the pubs, which are now open for eating and drinking again inside, by raising a glass in celebration after the results were revealed on Friday.
Peach is aiming to grow by three or four pubs in the next year and is hiring right now. Please go to https://careers.makinglifepeachy.com/ to find out more.