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 Local pub company scores a hat-trick in people awards 


Peach, the company which runs a number of pubs across Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire has been named one of the best companies to work for in its industry by winning a Best Employers in Hospitality award, the third time on the trot it has been awarded this sought-after national accolade. 

The independent pub company behind The Old Mill, Berkhamsted; The White Horse, Harpenden; Brookmans in Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire, and The Embankment, Bedford; The Black Horse Woburn and The Swan, Salford near Milton Keynes, lined up against employers of all sizes and from all areas of the hospitality industry to take part in the awards.  Uniquely, the awards rely solely on the views of the people who work for them to determine if they’re a top employer or not. 

Peach came away with the title of Best Large Pub / Bar Employer at the awards ceremony in London on Monday 30th September. It also came in 25th out of the top 50 employers in the overall award ranking.

“This is a fantastic result for us and great recognition of everything we do to look after our people,” says Hamish Stoddart, co-founder of Peach. “We work really hard to make our people feel happy, motivated and achieving their dreams and enjoying what they’re doing.  We genuinely put them first as we know they’re critical to our success – you can’t run a good pub without great people to look after our guests and cook the food that goes onto their plates. 

“We are different in that we genuinely want our chefs and managers to create their own version of the best gastro pub in the UK,” he continues.  “We share ownership, we ensure the best of our team become partners in our business or go out and invest in their own.  We also invest in their development, giving them industry-leading training, opportunities to grow and get promoted and a real say in how their pub is run, as well as a share of the profits their pub has made, which we couldn’t have made without them.”

Run by the, these annual awards highlight hospitality companies who do the most to attract, train, retain and motivate their employees and give them the skills to offer the highest standards of customer service.  By asking for the views of the people who work there, not the employers themselves, they get a true picture of which are the best companies in the industry to work for. Director Ian Burke explained, “I believe that if you really want to know what an employer is like, you should ask not the employer, but the people that work for them. For the Best Employers in Hospitality Awards, that’s exactly the way it works.”

More companies than ever before entered this year, with almost 6,000 people from across the country taking part in the 2013 survey. 

“We were very pleased to win this award a first time, and then a second, but to win it three years running is really the best news,” adds Hamish. “Getting a hat-trick is a real shot in the arm for all of us, and we’ll be celebrating with all the people who’ve made it possible.”

Openings exist to join the team at the award-winning pub company.  If you’d like to benefit from the great training and career opportunities available at any of Peach’s pubs across Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, where you can learn and be part of an enthusiastic team, work hard and share in the rewards, come and talk to Peach today.  For more information or to send in a CV, please go to

More information about the awards can be found at     

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 Bedford pub manager wins national hospitality award


  Jonathan Taylor, manager of The Embankment in Bedford, has joined the group of hospitality’s rising stars by winning a coveted Acorn Award. These highly prized awards, only thirty of which are given out each year, recognise and reward the brightest and best young talent in the hospitality industry. 

Jonathan, aged 27, who heads up a team of 25 at one of the town’s busiest locals, received his award alongside 29 other young achievers at the annual Acorn winners’ weekend, which this year took place at the five-star Rockliffe Hall, County Durham. He and his co-winners took part in team building and creative activities, before sitting down to the formal awards presentation and lunch on Monday 9th June, at which the general manager of Claridge’s in London, Thomas Kochs, gave an inspirational speech.

Organised by Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, and now in their 27th year, the Acorns recognise people under 30 working in all walks of hospitality life – from pubs and restaurants to contract caterers and hotels – who are nominated by their peers and colleagues for having made an impression in their field.  

Acorn winners are singled out for their commitment and ability to excel at what they do, and who every day go the ‘extra mile’.   Past winners often go onto become well-known names in the food and drink world; Gary Rhodes, Marcus Wareing and Jason Atherton have all earned the accolade. An Acorn is also a life-long privilege only a very elite band of high achievers in the industry get to hold. 

“I feel very lucky to have won an Acorn – it’s truly blown me away,” says Jonathan. “I have always been a hard worker and have dedicated the last ten years of my life to working in an industry I really love.  It’s all I’ve ever done, right from the days when I did the washing up as a teenager at Spooners Restaurant in Woburn Sands and then got a job at The Birch at Woburn when I was just 17. I made it to assistant manager inside a year and just loved it – I never imagined working in any other industry.  

“I’ve always tried to improve and learn from those around me and I think that achieving this week in, week out has got me to where I am today.  To be recognised for this by winning an Acorn is a real honour.  It makes all the hard work more than worthwhile and is something I am very proud of.  It’s also given me a huge amount of motivation to move further ahead with my career and makes me realise what I have achieved so far.   I’d like to say a big thank-you to Andrew Coath for nominating me and for being a great boss and inspiration for the last four years.”

Jonathan has run The Embankment as manager since February of this year, though he joined the pub in 2009 as deputy manager when the building was refurbished. He was one of the team behind the successful relaunch of the pub that year before moving to its sister pub The Swan at Salford.  

“Jonathan was instrumental in helping me and my team reverse the fortunes of The Embankment Hotel, as it was then, and he built a fantastic relationship as one of the hosts of the pub through excellence and managing a really consistent gastropub bar, restaurant and hotel,” says Andrew Coath from The Embankment. “He was promoted to run The Swan at Salford, increasing its trade and recruiting and training one of the best teams we have in the company. So it was only natural that we gave him the chance to run our biggest pub, something he’s done with considerable aplomb.  Jonathan’s strengths are his boundless energy, professional service and training of his team, three things that mean he will succeed wherever his career takes him,” adds Andrew. 

The Embankment is on Bedford’s beautiful riverside at number 6 The Embankment, Bedford, MK40 3PD. For reservations and to find out about the pub’s forthcoming events, please go to, call 01234 261332 or email



Ibis Stevenage Centre earns 2013 Tripadvisor Certificate of excellence 


Honoured as a Top Performing Hotel  as Reviewed by Travellers on the World’s Largest Travel Site

Ibis Stevenage Centre Hotel today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honours hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Only the top-performing 10 per cent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.

To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travellers on TripAdvisor, and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months. 

“Ibis Stevenage Centre is pleased to receive a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence,” said Ruslana Yarmolyuk General Manager  at Ibis Stevenage. “We strive to offer our customers a memorable experience, and this accolade is evidence that our hard work is translating into positive reviews on TripAdvisor.”

“TripAdvisor is delighted to celebrate the success of businesses around the globe, from Sydney to Chicago, Sao Paulo to Rome, which are consistently offering TripAdvisor travellers a great customer experience,” said Alison Copus, Vice President of Marketing for TripAdvisor for Business. “The Certificate of Excellence award provides top performing establishments around the world the recognition they deserve, based on feedback from those who matter most – their customers.”


 Restaurant Review




The former Hillside restaurant has been recently transformed into Kippings Bistro and Wine bar with a completely refurbished interior, a new chef and dynamic new menu. Kippings is situated in the heart of the picturesque village of Wheathampstead close to Welwyn and St Albans. 


The Sticks dropped in for Lunch the other week to see what Kippings had to offer. 

Kippings has a good ala carte menu with a wide selection of dishes both for starter/main course and desert. 

For starters I chose pan seared sea scallops, sweet potato purée, cumin, coriander –the scallops were amazing not over cooked like I have had at some restaurants and the accompanying potato puree went so well with it. 


For main course I selected char grilled ribeye, fried duck egg, triple cooked chips, blue cheese butter-the ribeye was the tastiest I had had in a long while and perfectly cook Medium rare as requested and the blue cheese butter and fried duck egg is a different twist on the norm,but extremely good.


And for dessert cheesecake topped with fresh fruit – a wonderful smooth cheesecake topped with fresh fruit a great way to finish a meal.

This is one restaurant you should visit soon, great food, great service,and great menu ideas. Kippings should be commended on what they have achieved since opening in September.



Kippings is open daily from Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner and Sunday for breakfast and lunch.

Telephone - 01582 833122

Email -

 1 Church Street, Wheathampstead, Herts AL4 8AR


Owner Patricia Kandrácová explains all about Kippings and her vision :-  

“Despite the seemingly never ending news of corporate failures and house repossessions, we plan to buck the by opening a new restaurant in an iconic Wheathampstead landmark.
11th September 2012 we relaunched Kippings Bistro and wine bar on the Wheathampstead High Street.” 

 “The 42 cover Bistro provides a new use for the Grade II listed dwelling that forms part of the site, as a wine bar and lounge ' It is an important that the building provides flexibility to suit customer moods and the wine bar provides the opportunity for them to enjoy the building without necessarily having a sit down meal.
 It is all about listening customers and giving them what they want.
 It is always hard to compete with the large chains, but we have unique offering for the area from Jack and his kitchen team and with the combination of a unique location and a committed professional team, we are very optimistic that Kippings will become permanent local landmark"



Have you ever wished you could create those wonderful,

 authentic Indian curries,

but don’t think you have the time or know how?



Well the Sticks may have the answer ……..

We tried out this amazing product

Bipin's Curry Fusion Masala Range

The fresh curry paste creations are a delicate blend of 20+ pure unadulterated fresh green Indian herbs and whole ground authentic spices based on 4 generations of authentic Indian cooking.

Simply add Bipins fresh masala curry paste to freshly prepared meat, fish or vegetables. For a slightly milder experience use more of the core ingredient. Additionally, add vegetables to the meat such bell peppers or sweet potato. This will serve 4+ people as a main dish. Or simply use half the amount to serve 2 people and save the rest of the masala paste for later. Cook on low heat in a heavy pan keeping the lid on to prevent loss of moisture. Cook for about 20 minutes mixing occasionally. An option is to finish off by folding in about 2-3 tbsp of single cream, yoghurt or coconut milk. This will add a new dimension to the dish and make it saucy. Warm through and rest for 5 minutes and garnish with coarsely chopped coriander. Serve with plain boiled rice and green leaf salad with thinly sliced onions. There is no need to add any oil, salt or water or brown the meat. Keep it simple and natural, you'll be amazed how the flavours infuse into the meat/vegetables/fish. You'll be surprised as to the amount of moisture released from the meat/fish/vegetables, a truly tasty experience that makes you think it was made in a restaurant.

Bipin's masala is made from pure unadulterated fresh Indian herbs and spices to traditional authentic Gujarati recipes handed down through generations with a little sprinkle of innovation added through a scientific background to put the authentic experience in your hands. The result has been a unique highly aromatic deeply flavoursome blend of masala that everyone can use. There are just 100% fresh ingredients, no additives, no preservatives, no colourings and no flavourings. There are 6 main varieties of fresh Curry Sauces; Surti Masala, Jeera Masala, Methi Masala, Machi Masala, Grama Masala and Sheek Masala. In addition there are the Royal Korma Masala Chilli-heat-free and special limited addition hot masala. 

Bipins of Hitchin

Make Authentic All-Natural Curry At Home

Bipin's are a local producer in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, of a unique range of All-Fresh, All-Natural Gujarati Masala (a distant relative of the curry paste!). Bipin's masala is a very convenient way of making a real authentic Indian cuisine without all the fuss; simply "add & cook" to create a truly authentic, fantastic tasting aromatic curry. On this website you will find lots of new dishes and recipe ideas to try out. Over 12,300 people have enjoyed the masala with 100% resounding success.