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Foodies For Thought : What are you doing when lockdown eases?

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TrendLife talks with local Three Counties foodies about life after lockdown

With a number of our favourite eateries across Beds, Bucks & Herts getting ready to open their doors (and gardens) next week, TrendLife have spoken with six of our favourite foodies to find out where they plan to visit and what they plan to do as lockdown eases across the Three Counties.

In our first of two features, we speak to local foodies Chris of @meat_with_beer, Rachel of @bucksfood and Nadia of @MyRudeFood.

@meat_with_beer

Meet With Beer - Foodies For Thought :: What are you doing when lockdown eases?

How has lockdown been for you?

Honestly I can’t complain. No one has had it easy, but I’ve got a job, I’ve not been furloughed, work’s been pretty busy, and family and friends are all safe and well.

Food and drink are social activities for me though and I love nothing more than going out with friends for drinks or to try somewhere new to eat. It’s my passion and before COVID it is what I would be doing most weekends. Obviously lockdown changed that, so instead I’ve cooked more, used some of the money saved by not commuting to upgrade my BBQ, and tried some of the great meal kits that are around now. Those really helped bring a flavour normality home.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the same but it can be fun. I’ve also tried to check out more local businesses, meaning I have come across some great places across Herts I didn’t know about before. That’s as well as supporting local places I love and want to still be there after lockdown. So generally I’ve tried to make the most of it.

Hertfordshire lockdown highlights for me have included: cheese from the Little Deli (Hitchin), beers from Beer Shop (Hitchin & St Albans), wine from Wee Vinoteca and Hedley Wright (both Hitchin), breakfast baps from The Bull (at Gosmore) and The Groundworks (Hitchin), meat from Chapman’s butchers (Baldock), plant based delights from Chia (Hitchin) and Vutie Beets (Letchworth) and desserts from Pudding Stop (St Albans) and Neighbourhood Bakes (Hitchin).

Hitchin has had some awesome hot food places open during lockdown too, like Cawsburger, Chicken George Jr and Major Crusts.

What is going to be the first drink you order at the bar?

First will be a draft beer at the Kite in April, but I’m also looking forward to sangrias at Los Reyes, wine flights at Wee Vinoteca and some IPAs at Beer Shop in May.

Where have you missed visiting the most during the lockdown?

Los Reyes and Beer Shop in Hitchin both get my top vote.

Where is the first place you plan to visit when the restrictions are lifted?

Not everywhere is opening in April, but if those that are I am looking forward to having a few beers and some food at the Kite at the Red Hart in Hitchin. I’ve got a table booked at Los Reyes in May too.


TrendLife talks with local Three Counties foodies about life after lockdown
myrudefood

How has lockdown been for you?

It’s a weird one for me, I have been living with chronic illness (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome & Adenomyosis) since 2001. Lessons of acceptance and gratitude that had already become part of my tool kit, have helped so much during lockdown. I have also improved my Skype skills, texted more and generally communicated more regularly with friends old and new.

I also attended a few distance learning courses & a couple of online seminars, which on all likely-hood I wouldn’t have done in ‘normal’ circumstances. Like many others home cooks I also grew and nurtured a “Mother” (sour dough starter) I lovingly called Birtha. Using Birtha I mastered sourdough bread making fairly successfully.

I made more banana bread and cookies than was strictly necessary. I don’t want to make light of the situation, but I am aware I was better prepared than a lot of people. The general sense of appreciating the little things, the joys that can be found in nature and music was already part of my general outlook.

Where have you missed visiting the most during the lockdown?

It’s been a mixed bag, obviously I have missed my loved ones enormously. I’ve missed going out to restaurants , pubs, shopping, just the feeling of freedom that we used to take for granted. But truly, I just feel incredibly lucky that I wasn’t directly impacted by Covid-19 and was merely inconvenienced by Lockdown.

Where is the first place you plan to visit when the restrictions are lifted?

Really looking forward to a meal at the Alford Arms in Frithsden and my sister has already got us a table booked at Prime in Chandlers Cross

What is going to be the first drink you order at the bar?

Hoping that I’ll have a fruity Pimms in a pub garden on a sunny spring afternoon.


@bucksfoodie

BucksFoodie : TrendLife talks with local Three Counties foodies about life after lockdown

How has lockdown been for you?

This latest lockdown has been hard, I think with the cold weather and the shorter days it’s been difficult for a lot of people.

I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to work full-time ( & not just working from home) as it’s meant I’m out and about & can actually finance my #TakeawayTuesday that I started at the beginning of this year! I’ve tried to spend the money that I would’ve done at restaurants on food stalls & takeaways – supporting small, local businesses where I can.

I have enjoyed the odd day working from home – it’s meant I’ve had additional time to create content & experiment. I’ve LOVED the TikTok trends that have hit the foodie community. What better way to get people into cooking! I’ve definitely tried my hand at a few – the baked feta pasta is eaten at least twice a month in our house!

I think I’ve also found a lot more time to talk to fellow bloggers & businesses. I’ve made some truly wonderful friends like the lovely Fliss from @berkshirecollective_ but it’s all been virtual! I can’t wait to meet her & others in person! It’s a funny old thing Instagram, but I’m so grateful for the people it’s brought into my life & the relationships I’ve been able to establish with businesses, even if we’ve not seen each other face to face… yet! I won’t lie though – I’ll be glad to see the end of zoom!

What is going to be the first drink you order at the bar?

Well – definitely a STRONG cosmopolitan! I’ve missed cocktails, I just cannot seem to make good enough one’s at home. Or a G & T, hopefully with a local Gin, Bucks is bursting with amazing Gin distillers!

Where have you missed visiting the most during the lockdown?

I’ve definitely missed bars! Especially places like The Snug & Bar Botanic in High Wycombe. As well as some of my local coffee shops that haven’t been able to open at all for takeaways. That being said, I love a coffee shop in general and it’s been hard to get that ‘experience’ when you’re just picking up a takeaway coffee.

I kept my love for some restaurants alive by ordering takeaways from them – I loved the Lata Lata at Home takeaway, it was a delight to experience the brilliance of their food at home – but I’m very excited to get back to their gorgeous location. I can’t wait to sit in a restaurant, and get that buzz & excitement of reading a menu, placing your order and eagerly waiting for its arrival.

Where is the first place you plan to visit when the restrictions are lifted?

Probably my local pub – The George & Dragon in West Wycombe they’re a fantastic team and they deserve all the support possible. I’m also hoping to go to The Full Moon Pub in Little Kingshill, Lata Lata in High Wycombe and Pluma in Amersham. I’m going to stick to independents as much as I can. Besides actual venues I’d love to go to more food markets, and visit more food stalls.

Foodies For Thought : What are you doing when lockdown eases?

If you are a foodie from Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire or Hertfordshire, get in touch as we would like to hear from you. We will be working with eateries in the Three Counties this summer and have a number of opportunities for foodies and food bloggers.

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Ware Food Festival returns in 2021 for 7th annual event

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WARE FOOD FESTIVAL RETURNS FOR 2021

As big foodies, we are excited to share the news that Ware Food Festival is returning for it’s 7th annual event.

Popular with traders, local residents and visitors from further afield, Ware’s 7th Annual Food Festival makes a welcome return to Tudor Square on Sunday, 13th June between 11am and 3pm.

Come hungry – there will be delicious street food on offer; from the Smok’n Greek, Maud’s Ice Cream, tacos from Healey’s Kitchen, Jamie’s Cakes & Coffee, Sweetlove Burgers and The Chef’s Table will be serving their famous sausage rolls & fried chicken. Tudor Square restaurant Manolya will be open and joining us outdoors serving their delicious Turkish food.

You can carry on later by taking a picnic for home with lovely produce from Hertfordshire Honey, Azahar Spanish food, Italian cheese & charcuterie and then top it all off with pudding from local chocolatier Kate Ashman or Ell Churros. Not forgetting a tipple from local artisan gin producer, Copper in the Clouds.

To complement this mellow, family day there will be some fishy goings on from The Fairly Fresh Fish Company and great music from Lip Service Brass Band.

Members from the TrendLife #lunchNbloggers team will be in attendance sampling the best of

All traders will be Covid secure, and visitors are asked to please be mindful of social distancing regulations in place at the time.

Ware Food Festival

Tudor Square
Ware
Sunday 13th June 11am – 3pm

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The Swan Salford recognised as worldclass in Best Companies awards

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The Swan Salford celebrates success in this year's 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.

The Swan playing host to #lunchNbloggers

Out #lunchNbloggers team at The Swan Salford

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.

The Swan Salford celebrates success in this year's Best Companies Awards

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.

A fresh start at The Swan, Salford

The amazing interior at The Swan Salford

“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.

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Milton Keynes De Roka enters semi-finals of Kebab Awards

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Milton Keynes De Roka enters semi-finals of Kebab Awards

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.

Milton Keynes De Roka enters semi-finals of 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.

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