It is 15 years today since we first opened the restaurant, yet I still remember our trial night and first service vividly: a mixture of nerves (having never done this before), pride and amazement that we actually opened so soon after taking over, what was then, Michel’s Restaurant, from the lovely Dot and Michel.
This was it; the culmination of an amazing amount of blood, sweat, tears, and patient negotiation by my father lasting several months. Those early days wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my parents - and the rest of the family - helping in so many ways, and still doing so. Our restaurant ‘family’ has grown over the years, without these folk the success of the restaurant wouldn’t have been possible. You are too many to name, but you all know who you are!! One very special person who is still with me today is Miguel, our much-loved kitchen porter. He is the cog that keeps the clock ticking, and having been at the restaurant with two sets of previous owners, there’s not much that Miguel doesn’t know about the restaurant!
From that very first moment stopping in Ripley, looking through the front window, and viewing the beautiful garden that lay beyond the arched window, I knew this place was special to me and a place where our journey would start. To this day the building fills me with wonder: there’s always something requiring attention (it’s the labour of love that comes with a Grade II listed building!) or something to make me smile, like the blooming of the first daffodils or the swaying gaura in the summer; the aromas as I arrive in the morning, of freshly baked bread or a stock on the stove; the gorgeous art adorning the walls from very talented artists, and of course, the laughter and chatter of our guests enjoying their time with us.
As I said earlier, this is a journey that I thank you all for sharing with us and being part of.
I am excited for what the future holds and look forward to welcoming you to The Clock House soon.