There are so many old cliches about starting something new: one door closes, another opens; turning over a new leaf; laying the foundations for the new home.
We’ve all heard these many times before, but it doesn’t take away the excitement, magnitude or uncertainty of leaving behind that which was familiar in favour of the new and unknown.
Another great cliche currently brewing is that which depicts the year 2020 as one of change, unprecedented change. How many times have we all heard and used that word in recent months?
For us too at Inspires Dining, 2020 will be remembered as a year of huge turmoil – after a number of years working happily and very successfully at The Brasserie at Milton Keynes College, that particular chapter of life has now come to an end. Over the years we’ve delivered many functions, been through seemingly endless changes and served countless hot meals, but most importantly we’ve played a part in changing the lives of dozens of young people. Working in an education environment is an enlightening experience, but that’s even more the case when it’s an industry you care so deeply about and which provides opportunities that were never thought possible.
Many of the students who came to the College’s catering courses arrived with no idea of what they wanted from life – a surprisingly high number of them had little or no interest in catering and there were even some who had no clue where to start. Helping them build their skills, discover their passion and, more often than not, discover their own true identity, is what made all the long hours, stressful meetings and sticky situations worthwhile.
There were many, many good times at The Brasserie – multiple recognitions from industry experts including being named College Restaurant of the Year, winning Milton Keynes’ Restaurant of the Year, mentoring a student to win Young Master Chef of the Year, working with household names and hipster heroes – we packed in a lot of incredible experiences, all of which were for the benefit of the students, but many of which gave us unforgettable memories and unique insights of our own.
We’ve been really lucky to work with some incredibly talented and experienced people in our time at The Brasserie – there’s too many to name them all here and we’d run the risk of leaving some out, but just know that if we’ve worked with you, we loved it, we learned from it and we can’t wait to do it again.
Which kind of brings us to the next stage – the next layer on the cake, if you will. Maybe that cliche won’t stick like the rest.
Life in lockdown was a strange time. The leisure and hospitality industries took a beating and established names in catering were forced to re-think how they run their business in order to survive.
As a burgeoning local business, it was no different for Inspires Dining; we took our passion for locally produced, sustainable products and two new concepts were created: IDIY (we do some of the cooking, you finish it at home and make it look awesome) and IDELI (you did try one of our pies, didn’t you?). Working on getting these two product ranges off the ground gave us something to concentrate on and lit a fire inside – how could we do this every day alongside the intimate fine dining concept that lies at the heart of Inspires Dining?
So we set about finding a way of making the every-now-and-then into every day. We worked on finding a home for Inspires Dining – somewhere we could call our own that would give us the room to think, create and feel, well, inspired.
After looking at a few options, including some serious home renovation projects, we found a place. Cornwall Place. Some of you might know it, others can look forward to getting to know it. Just off the high street in Buckingham, down a little alley way, is where you’ll soon be able to find our place.
We’re currently working on making it just how we want it, with space for George’s intimate fine dining experience upstairs and Sarah’s homely coffee shop down below, so there’s plenty of work to be getting on with at the moment.
You might have seen some of our updates on social media – if not, make sure you follow us to keep up to date with what’s happening and when. We’re hoping to soon be opening our doors to offer perfect, handmade barista coffee in the morning, locally sourced snacks and lunches during the day and contemporary fine dining with the feeling of home in the evening – all underpinned by our passion for inspiring others to become the best they can and our commitment to sustainability and the environment.
There’s a lot to do and we can’t wait to get started for real, but hopefully you’ll join us on the journey and we’ll see you soon at Cornwall Place Kitchen.
George & Sarah, Inspires Dining.