Friday, June 19, 2009
Ducks & Masterchef Get Punters Flocking
Who needs a celebrity chef in the kitchen when you’ve got a celebrity duck? And let’s face it, who’d you rather have on your side in a pub quiz?
It seems what with the credit crunch and all, every restaurant needs its own particular blend of niche marketing to survive.
Masterchef winner Mat Follas has just opened his Wild Garlic restaurant in Beaminster, Dorset, with his shiny trophy proudly on display among the bread rolls – and already looks like he’s on to a winner.
Such is the success; he’s got 300 covers booked for the official opening this Saturday night. “I’m bricking it,” he admits.
“We're serving fizz and canapes and really putting my tiny kitchen through its paces (there is no plan B if it rains so please wish for good weather over Dorset!)”
Further up country is The Mill At Gordleton with its own quirky way of getting the customers flocking. Crispie the duck (only a chef could have come up with that name) has proved such a hit with the punters that some of them only book if they know she’s working that day.
She’s been wandering around the bar, lounge, hall and garden ever since restaurant manager Terri Seabright became ‘Mum’ when she was just a day old and abandoned by her mother.
“I bring her to work every day in my car and she travels in a cat basket,” she said.
“She really is a pet. She’s more like a little dog than a duck. She likes little walks and we’ve taken her out across the New Forest for a little wander.”
When she gets to The Mill in the morning, Crispie has a routine which includes checking out the grounds before getting on with the day-to-day matters of spreadsheets, margins and staff rotas.
“We have ladies who phone to book tables and they only book tables if she’s here,” said Terri.
Nothing like a local celebrity to bring out the cheese and quackers. It would be churlish to draw any comparisons...