The biggest and best news ever – my son Tom has joined me at Merrow Savouries! I am thrilled to have him beside me as he is a hugely talented chef and event manager and brings a wealth of hospitality experience to our family business. Here is a little about us..
Ever since I was a little girl I have loved to cook. (I still have and use a much thumbed and food- splattered Hamlyn cookbook given to me as a Christmas present when I was only 10). My other passion is travelling all over the world. Always has been. I spent 20 years working in Guildford travel agencies, offering as good a service to the discerning client, as possible. Advising people where to go on that trip of a lifetime is quite a responsibility. I loved that job. And that travelling- bug never wore off.
The other thing I always aspired to was to set up my own business. Then to hopefully one day be able to say it ‘was our family business’. So in January 2000 I combined all I knew and had learnt over the years including how to cook and how to offer a great service (learnt from those travel days) and Merrow Savouries was born.
17 years later and I have cooked for farmer’s markets who told me ‘we will sell as many of those quiches as you can make’. Spent 10 years managing and cooking for a busy vegetarian restaurant. Cooked for wine bars and bistros. And to name just a few events- fed and entertained film and popstars, fully managed and catered fabulous weddings, family christenings, book launches, posh photo shoots, glamorous cocktail parties, anniversaries and birthday parties and simple family get-togethers. With guests from just 7 to 700. Be it in a church hall or a fabulous venue. Literally 1000s of functions and events. I can honestly say I love every one of them. Whether it is devising the menu, the cooking itself or the planning and management of the occasion. And my favourite? Possibly rather unusually it is funeral receptions. At a time when someone who has lost a loved one and is at their very lowest, they entrust me to cook for their guests and completely rely on me to do what needs doing. Allowing them to concentrate on what really matters. Which, hopefully, is a huge weight off their shoulders and of course – an honour to be asked.
In some ways I admit to having a few (just a few!) of the same passions as Mum. I too have loved cooking since I was young, and recall standing on a stool helping my Gran make date slices (now one of my specialties). I also love travelling all over the world. I also like to keep fit, and am very interested in healthy eating. Although trying to put into practice what I have learnt is not always easy especially when I make a lemon drizzle cake 6 times in 2 days to per-fect the recipe! I originally planned on pursuing a career in the sports industry but realised that it was being a chef and hospitality that was my real forte……
Beginning at just 18 helping to manage a farm shop and a delicatessen learning about the precious oils, olives and truffles whilst assisting with the cooking and managing the adjacent restaurant run by a well known TV chef. His triple chocolate brownie recipe is definitely on our menus now. Then I joined the popular Italian restaurant chain of Carluccio’s , another TV chef, on their trainee management scheme, absorbing all the important skills and disciplines of being a part of such a successful company and popular brand, and helping them to set up some new branches.
With more travelling under my belt I worked with several local catering companies and venues; managing their functions and events. Hard work and long hours but very rewarding when you know you played a major part in the success of the occasion. 2 years followed as manager of a very busy, smart boutique restaurant and hotel. Continuing to listen, observe and learn from the experts – this time from the hugely experienced owners and the talented chefs. And now? I am so very pleased to be able to amalgamate all my experiences and bring them to our family business. And my favourite? It has to be managing that hot, busy kitchen. Proper cooking. Working to a timetable. Preparing delicious food, beautiful canapés and baking my trademark cakes.
SIMPLY CALL SUE or TOM
Guildford (01483) 850186