WHILST IN LOCKDOWN
As we entered lockdown, our first concern was everyone’s wellbeing and their ability to support families in such unprecedented times. Peach have been great in helping our team, with access to our hardship fund, zoom quizzes, online DJ sessions and masses of social contact, keeping us all in touch. Some of the pubs helped with Your Hub, a Social Enterprise to support the local community. From feeding homeless, to Youth support centres, NHS call centres, hospitals and care homes. Read more of what the Peach team have been up to here.
The Star & Garter team certainly keep themselves busy during lockdown so I thought we’d share our lockdown stories.
Myself, Stefan and the team have been keeping as busy as possible during the lockdown, which like most of society, has been a massive culture shock! I’ve been exercising and trying to eating healthily with one of our chefs, Sarah – so we can both return fit and fighting when we open. Stefan has been making meals for Helping Hands and going on daily bike rides with his wife, I think all in all the lockdown as resulted in us being healthier humans!
The rest of the team have been doing lots of baking, touching up homes, a house move and building bird feeders. Dylan has been learning Italian and most of us have been binge-watching Netflix; from Michael Jordan documentaries to all of the Harry Potter’s from start to finish!
All in all, I think we have all embraced the time to spend with our loved ones. Coronavirus has had a devastating impact on many families, including one of our team’s losing a parent. Our thoughts are with anyone who has suffered at the hands of this deadly virus, and to those who have recovered, or avoiding the virus, stay safe, and we look forward to welcoming you all again soon.
Hollie Hawkins, General Manager
Hollie grew up in Cheltenham, with aspirations of becoming a doctor. She started her studies in biomedical science at Cardiff University, but after working in hospitality during term breaks, it soon became clear where her real passion lay.
She took the reigns of her first pub at just 21, embarking on a Management Development Programme and working hard, running a successful wet-led pub. Wanting to move into a more food-driven role, she moved across to Peach in December 2017, and was promoted to General Manager of The Star & Garter in September 2019.
Growing up, she had the privilege of travelling to many great places, and her travels span Malaysia, Australia, Turkey and Italy to name just a few. She loves bringing her adventures to the specials board in the pub, giving guests the joy of trying new food they may not have tried before. Apart from taking her days off to relax and visit family in Cheltenham, she also enjoys spending time with friends, often with a glass of red wine. Hollie loves working with people, and enjoys coaching her team. Regulars will always be met with a friendly smile, and she’s proud to now call Leamington home.
It hasn’t taken Stefan Elliot long to make an impact since joining The Star in 2019. Born and raised in Devon, before moving to Bedworth, Stefan went straight into catering from school. He’d always imagined himself as a Chef, and his opportunity came when he was working at a farmers market at just 16. “A Welsh Chef asked me to man his bread stall whilst he did a demo. To both our astonishment, I sold out of his bread by the time he came back. He was so impressed, he invited me to learn in his restaurant in the town of Llangollen, North Wales. I took it”.
Before Cheffing, Stefan considered becoming a pilot, or perhaps, like many youngsters, a rockstar. Although both ideas were quickly quashed when he admitted to himself he was scared of flying, and couldn’t sing.
Starting his career at the young age of 14, Stefan worked at Mrs Kirkham’s Farm in the school holidays, he soon found his love for artisan ingredients, and enjoyed nothing more than tasting local food at the farmers market. Working alongside Michelin-starred Chef, Warrick Dodds of Northcote Manor, he then moved to Madrid working under the watchful eye of Sergi Arola. In Marbella, Stefan spent time in a restaurant whose owner was close friends of the late Paul Bocuse, working with quality local produce from wild fish to Caviar from the region, and home-grown vegetables. Having spent eight years in Spain, Stefan remains in love with the social eating culture, and using local produce.
Now in Leamington, he is excited to be with a business with the same ethics as his own, using the best ingredients and always serving the good stuff. And when he’s not at home cooking for the family, you’ll find Stefan taking his two dogs out for a walk, or watching his team Coventry “play”.
David used to start his day serving breakfast at the small hotel his parents owned in Banbury, though a hotelier’s life certainly wasn’t for him. Leaving school at 17, he packed his bags for Barcelona and spent a year working at The Palace and McCarthy’s Irish bars in the city then headed for Ireland. Hotel Kilkenny was his next home for a year and David went back to school to earn his bartender stripes, before making for Newbury to help out a mate. Landing a job at The Yew Tree Inn at Highclere marked the start of an amazing journey with Marco Pierre White, and David worked shoulder to shoulder with the great man opening hotels and new pubs alike. As the empire grew, so did David’s talents and after five short years he was overseeing operations and running Marco’s Wheeler’s of St James’s group which included his gorgeous country pub collection. After eight years with Marco the decision was made to put all his talents to great use here in our pubs and the little Peach outpost he plans to create one day in Wiltshire.
PEACH & OUR PUB
Peach is a collection of really great pubs, mainly in market towns in the heart of England. We serve good quality, fresh, honest food in relaxed, welcoming environments. Always with a kind word and a sense of fun. We’ve always been passionate about giving back and as we’ve developed and grown over the years, our ability and motivation to make the world a little better, a little peachier, has grown with us. The Bigger Peach shows our efforts to improve communities, equality in the workplace and the future sustainability of our world.
The Star & Garter is just a few moments away from the shopping heart of Leamington Spa, and only a short distance from the beautiful town of Warwick. Our fantastic pub is a relaxed environment where you can eat, drink & relax wherever you want. Our kitchen creates top quality fresh food all day from Brunch to Dinner, with locally sourced ingredients. We can also help you host your party in our Private Dining room with French windows leading onto a private terrace. If you really have to work there’s free Wi-Fi & plenty of sockets throughout the pub. Find us here.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Hollie & the team