The historic Southall Manor House is undergoing a delicious change, which is being described as ‘lighting a beacon’ for the hospitality industry
A £1.5million project will transform the Grade II manor house into a centre of excellence for training people wanting to work in hospitality. It will also become a high quality restaurant in its own right, guided by a business partner of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
It is being carried out by Ealing Council in partnership with Ealing, Hammersmith and West London’s
College; and is supported by the Mayor of London. Construction work has already started.
‘SOMETHING COMPLETELY ORIGINAL’
Jamie Grainger-Smith from consultancy Think Eat Drink is helping the council and the college to bring the project to life by offering a creative and commercial focus.
He was founding business partner of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Restaurant project in east London and also founded eco-friendly training restaurant, Acorn House.
He said: “This project is something completely original, with enormous potential and great ambition; it’s such a beautiful building and setting. The challenge is huge and that’s why I couldn’t resist getting involved, we are going to try and create something extremely special here in west London.
“It’s an exciting project which can set a benchmark and light a beacon of excellence for the food and drink industry. It’s what more colleges should be trying to achieve, because there is a huge shortage of high quality staff within the hospitality industry.”
When work is finished next summer, the revitalised manor house will host a restaurant, bar, kiosk café and spaces for events. Underpinning all of this will be a range of employment and training opportunities where people can experience working in a top restaurant and events venue. The project also aims to build a network of relationships with other hotels, restaurants and companies, broadening the range of training opportunities in venues across the capital.
Mr Grainger-Smith added: “We want local people to be proud of what we’re trying to achieve here at the Manor House. No one else in London is quite doing this at this capacity. As proud and passionate as I am about Fifteen Restaurant, this is taking things a whole step further because we are going to be offering all areas of training here. It is not just about the chef training, but also front of house, events management, reception, business guidance and general start-up support. We can make something just as important as Fifteen Restaurant here in Southall, if not even more so. It will be accessible and welcoming. And, to top it all off, we’ll have a top quality restaurant and events offer.”
WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW?
The building is being completely refurbished and extended. A new purpose-built kitchen will be constructed, as well as a large glazed extension at the rear for event hire. And the east wing of the building will be turned into an education and business hub, including conference facilities, meeting spaces and seminar rooms.
‘THE OLD WITH THE NEW’
Council leader Julian Bell is excited by the plans. He said: “Southall Manor House is an historic local landmark and the project is going to build on that status and bring the building back to life. This is part of our wider programme to improve Southall and our plans combine the old with the new, bringing this beautiful building into the modern era and ensuring that it is protected and cherished for years to come.
“We want our investment to attract more people into Southall and to benefit as many local people as possible; whether that’s through providing a beautiful venue to hire for a family party, creating a place to enjoy a delicious dinner or as a training centre where people can learn marketable skills to secure them a job. That is why we have partnered with Ealing, Hammersmith and West London’s College on this project and we are also working with local job centres.”
‘HELPING TO BRIDGE SKILL GAPS’
Garry Phillips is the chief executive of Ealing, Hammersmith and West London’s College and is fully supportive of the project. He said: “I am proud that the college is a partner in this project. It will bring an important local learning resource to the community and help to bridge a number of skills gaps in the hospitality and catering industry. I firmly believe we will be supporting the locality with the skills and education to enable them to access employment within this growth sector. We are forging strong links with local employers in order that we ensure that industry standards are maintained and exceeded.”
For more information go to www.southallmanorhouse.co.uk
OH, AND SPEND A PENNY IN THE NEW CAFÉ…
The disused toilet block in front of the manor house will be reborn as a vibrant kiosk café. Serving fresh, simple and seasonal food, locals will be able to stop by for their morning cuppa, lunch or to sample some of the food on offer in the main restaurant. It should be up and running by early spring.