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Stir it up magazine October 2014

CUSTOMER PROFILE “The next day he came to pay and used his hotel inspector’s card! I was petrified but found out later he had awarded me a Rosette.” Culinary seal of approval Undercover inspector dines on meal intended for unsuspecting chef Andy’s family supper >> Andy Collier is proud of his AA Rosette and rightly so – he has held it for nearly 20 years. But the manner in which he originally earned it still makes him breathe a sigh of relief even today. Andy, who is now the group executive chef of the Miller’s at the Tors Hotel in Lynmouth, North Devon, and his wife were in the final stages of preparing their new hotel for its launch when there was a knock at the door. “It was when I had my own hotel back in 1996,” explains Andy. “The hotel hadn’t actually opened for business at that point – we were just getting it ready – when a man knocked on the door asking for a room for the night. “We said he could stay and showed him to his room but later he came back down and asked for dinner. All I had was what I’d just cooked for my wife and I – a beef rendang – so I gave him that. “The next day he came to pay and used his hotel inspector’s card! I was petrified but found out later he had awarded me a Rosette.” Andy was sadly forced to close his beloved hotel following the Foot and Mouth Disease scandal in 2001, which caused havoc for the British tourism industry as a whole. For the last nine years he has been at the helm of the Harbour View Restaurant at the Tors, which was taken over by the Miller’s hotel and antique chain in 2011. The premium 20-room hotel holds prime position on the cliffside, and the restaurant enjoys a 60-cover terrace with incredible sea views. “It’s a stunning place to be if the weather is clement,” say Andy. “All of the bedrooms have seaviews too, which is quite unusual.” Andy describes his food as “eclectic – classic modern with a quirky nod”. Seafood is surprisingly not a big part of his offering though considering the location. “Our older clientele tend to be a bit suspicious of seafood and prefer meat and two veg,” laments Andy. “I do find that a bit frustrating but I can still play around. Things are changing now that Miller’s have taken over the hotel and we’re starting to get more young people through the door. Miller’s have completely refurbished it and the décor is really quirky, full of antiques and artefacts. It’s like a crazy explorer’s country retreat.” As well as the restaurant, visitors can enjoy informal, more intimate dining on sofas and in nooks and crannies all over the hotel. Ramblers, yoga enthusiasts (the hotel hosts regular yoga retreats) and car and motorcycle club members are all regular visitors to Tors – and the venue provides a stunning backdrop for weddings. Andy cites his signature dish as belly pork, which he poaches in a secret liquor before pressing, chilling and cooking flat to achieve a “lovely mirror crackling”. The pork is cooked for 24 hours over three different temperature ranges, and served with cider jus and black pudding bon bons. Andy’s kitchen is packed with Country Range products, which he has used for the last 20 years. He says: “All of our larder ingredients are Country Range own label – as are all of our housekeeping products too. They do the job just as well as the branded products but at a much better price.” He adds: “I’m a huge champion of local produce – that’s one of the reasons I have stayed here because there is so much fabulous produce on my doorstep.” OCTOBER 2014 05


Stir it up magazine October 2014
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