Local foodies in a pickle as top town chef is poached

Stephen Bulmer as the Mad Hatter at Winslow's summer fayre last year

Stephen Bulmer as the Mad Hatter at Winslow's summer fayre last year

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WINSLOW will say goodbye to two key members of its chamber of trade, as well as its successful cookery school, when Brook Hall closes its doors at the end of December.

Owners Stephen and Joanna Bulmer are moving to Devon, to take up new positions with the 10 in 8 Group, which operates several Michelin-starred restaurants and related businesses, including Paris House at Woburn.

Stephen will become head chef at a restaurant and cookery school in Dartmouth, at what was the famous Carved Angel restaurant, now called Restaurant Angelique.

He will also teach cookery classes several days a month for 10 in 8’s cookery school, The Fine Dining Academy, at Yattendon near Newbury.

His wife, Joanna, will become the group’s marketing director, initially helping Stephen with the development of the business in Dartmouth, then working across the whole group.

Joanna said: “Of course we are sad to be leaving Brook Hall and all the friends we have made during the five years, but we’re also very excited to be moving to Devon. We have found a house 500 yards from the beach, much to the delight of our children, Oliver, aged nine, and Emily, seven.

“The current economic climate is making running a small business ever more challenging, so we felt it was the right time to take this step.”

Stephen Bulmer is widely acknowledged to be one of the UK’s leading cookery school teachers, with his combination of top-level expertise and relaxed, light-hearted teaching style. Before opening Brook Hall, he ran the Raymond Blanc Cookery School at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons.

Joanna Bulmer has a blue-chip advertising and direct marketing background and top-level hospitality management experience, also gained at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons.

Brook Hall is owned by a shareholder and will be put up for sale in due course.