Monday, 14 January 2013

Wow 2012 - What a Year !

Wow what a year we have had here at the Highcliff Grill ! I arrived as the executive chef in the June and we have hit the ground running straight into a crazy summer season which didn’t seem to be affected by the distinct lack of sun down here in ‘sunny’ Bournemouth. Within the first month of arriving we were involved with the local Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival which was a huge success for us we ran a festival menu for the 10 day festival offering dishes that were appearing on our new upcoming menus, then over the main festival weekend we ran a Lyme Bay Scallop with Bloody Mary Shooters and Champagne stall in the market area of the town square searing over 35kg of hand dived scallops in 3 days. I also participated in 3 demos over the 3 festival days to show case the Highcliff Grill and the 3 dishes we were running at the hotel for the festival period. The festival was a great success and we are already busy planning this year’s involvement.

Just in case that didn’t keep us busy enough we were invited to be involved in 2 other festivals last year the ‘The Wessex Food Festival’ which was held in Weymouth in aid of the Purbeck Isle Memorial Fund. This is to raise money for the children of the local fishermen who lost their lives when their crabbing boat sunk off our coast in May. Where we also held a couple of demos with Local Scallops and raised a considerable sum for an important local charity and met some real local food heroes.

The last festival of the season for us was the  Best of Festival at the stunning Kingston Lacy House near Wimborne where somehow the weather held off and we supported a fantastic foodie event based in the grounds of a stunning national trust property.

In-between all of these we have been relaunching our restaurant a la carte menus we are now into our 2nd round of changes keeping the food fresh, local, simply presented and most importantly tasting fantastic. We have received great reviews for the new direction for the food and are busy planning more changes, exciting new dishes and a little theatre for all of our guests

Sustainable sourcing of all of our suppliers and ingredients is of paramount of importance to us so when we heard we had been awarded a prestigious Fish2Fork award for our seafood we were understandably over the moon especially when we discovered we had been given 4 blue fish out of a possible maximum of 5 placing as the highest rated restaurant in Bournemouth and the 2nd highest in Dorset – a remarkable achievement for us and Fish2Fork

The amazing year just kept getting better when it was announced that we had been shortlisted for the Bournemouth Tourism Awards Restaurant of the Year we were up against some strong local competition but would not find out the final result until the night of the awards themselves, which of course we would have to attend! And to our surprise we were announced as the WINNERS! This was a great achievement to all involved at the Highcliff Grill it signified a great accomplishment by both the kitchen brigade and the front of house rounding off an awesome year for us all but we now have to try and top all of this in 2013 !