It's not often I post Press Releases, preferring to sniff out and write my own stories, but I think when they are as exciting and possibly as important as this I felt it needed a place here.
Inside the Corn Exchange.
If there is one thing the Corn Exchange needs it is people through the doors, and not only that but people then staying put inside. If any of you have been inside, and I'm sure most of you have, you'll know that it really struggles to achieve this and generally looks like the photograph above. So, the following great piece of news is just the shot in the arm the place needs.
PRESS RELEASE: Over the past couple of years, the historic heart of Tunbridge Wells has attracted gourmets from Kent, Sussex and beyond, with its fortnightly farmers markets and annual Pantiles Food Festival. Soon there will be greater reason still for foodies to visit...
TV chef Rosemary Shrager has announced plans to open a Cookery School in The Corn Exchange on the Lower Pantiles. The school, created to Rosemary’s own specifications, will be accepting students on one and two-day courses from Spring 2013. Gift vouchers are already available. In addition to a range of courses for home cooks (plus chef's tables, corporate events and private hire), apprenticeships will also be offered to provide professional qualifications and work experience.
The scheme was created in collaboration with the Marquess of Abergavenny - who bought the Lower Pantiles earlier this year and is keen to revive its fortunes.
A spokesperson for Rosemary Shrager said, "Rosemary has fallen in love with The Pantiles - and looks forward to working with the local business community to put it on the map as a tourist destination for gourmets. There are already many elements that will attract food fans to the area - regular farmers markets, The Pantiles Food Festival, one of the South-East's biggest cookware shops and numerous bars and restaurants."
Ahead of the Cookery School launch, the newly refurbished Tunbridge Wells Hotel, formerly The Swan, will be opening this month (November). Owned by Julian Leefe-Griffiths – known for his local gastro-pubs The Black Pig (in Tunbridge Wells) and George and Dragon (in Speldhurst) – the hotel will incorporate two eateries - La Boucherie and Brasserie des Sources. Both will have a strong leaning towards local and seasonal produce. Rosemary and Julian have already cooked up a deal to offer discount accommodation rates at the hotel to students booking her courses.
Rosemary says, “I absolutely love Tunbridge Wells, so it's all very exciting. There's so much potential here, and because The Pantiles is already a destination it's the ideal venue for the school and all the more reason for people to come for a cookery course and stay a few days more. With the many excellent local food producers and suppliers, great farmer's markets and even a food festival held on my doorstep, I can't wait to be a part of the vibrant food community here.”
Owner of the Lower Pantiles, The Marquess of Abergavenny has known Rosemary for many years and was keen to encourage her move to The Pantiles. “Rosemary’s Cookery School is key to our development plans for the future of the Lower Pantiles,” says the Marquess. “Most of our energies over the past nine months (since acquisition) have been focussed on restoring the buildings and giving the Lower Pantiles a much needed fresh coat of paint.
“Now, with Rosemary on board, we can look toward filling the space with more people and businesses that are likely to be a draw,” he says.
We'll have more soon when we can get you an exclusive chat with Rosemary when she's all finished in the Australian jungle, including a great competition. Stay tuned!