Smoked & stoked - Stoke House bring back the British carvery inploi Team | 15.09.2017
Newly opened in May 2017, Stoke House is the latest opening from restaurateur extraordinaire, Will Ricker. We caught up with his newly-formed team at Stoke House, located in the outstanding Victoria Nova Complex to find out more about this modern, sophisticated British carvery and what it’s like to work behind the scenes.
We met with Daniel, the youngest Waiter in the team, who exudes confidence beyond his years. He reflects on his progress since he left school, working as a timid teenager in retail and then as an intern with City Hall: “Looking back, I’m very different to how I was then. Now I’m more talkative, more brave, and have more self-confidence.” He credits much of this progress to Stoke House, seeing it as a place where he has really been able to grow. “I’ve learnt a lot,” Daniel comments, “I know we haven’t been around long, but we’ve changed a lot, and I’m growing with them.”
The team are firmly involved with the success of the company and are already looking forward to its forthcoming expansion, with Ricker exploring the idea of rolling out the concept for Stoke House within the next year. There’s undoubtedly plenty of exciting opportunities to look forward to. That said, Daniel and the team are aware that they need to their feet on the ground and most importantly keep in touch with their guests. “We don’t call them customers here, we call them guests”, Daniel explains. “Some places are very formal. But we want to have a connection with you. We want your experience to be memorable. We want you to say, ‘Wow, being at Stoke House is just like being at home.’ I think that’s what’s unique about us. Even though we’re growing as a company, we don’t want to lose that casual touch with guests. And I respect that.” It’s busy work, but Daniel’s energy to learn and grow can only be an indication of Stoke House’s great potential.
Stoke House is a beautiful and unashamedly modern British carvery. The restaurant is spacious, furnished with quirky neon art pieces, bookcases, mixology bottles and cabinets of wood logs that they use to create their unique menu of smoked meat, sourced from across the UK. The inspiration for the decor food and cocktails came directly from the restaurant's founder: “He has great vision, having developed different unique brands, from Mexican to Pan-Asian and now English restaurants”, Daniel explains. “He wanted to bring the idea of a British carvery and English cooking back into the 21st century. You’ve got the chefs carving the meat up all in front of you, if you wish to see. It’s a modern touch. But we have a very nice selection of wine and cocktails to liven up the ambiance. And we get people coming in and they love it.”
It’s not just the guests that get to enjoy the food and cocktails available, with staff food being a definite perk of the job. In addition, all staff are given wine and cocktail training and can put forward ideas for areas where they feel their knowledge could be improved. Their Manager, Luis takes care of them, making sure they get the training they need without adding pressure to their working day. “He wants us to be on top of everything,” Daniel explains, “but he doesn’t do it in a stressful way. He’s a very understanding manager, and he’s someone I love working with.”
It’s clear that the staff are treated on a level at Stoke House, creating a comfortable environment for younger team members to approach their managers for advice if something needs to be done differently or improved, and what’s more, they really care about each other and want to see their staff progress. “For the waiters, we’re all under 30, and there’s already two receiving training for Assistant Manager - like cashing up, writing reports. They’re showing them how to do that every time we close”. Daniel is equally eager to learn the ropes of the restaurant business and some day dreams of setting up his own cocktail bar (with a secret twist!). As a result, he takes a very mature approach to his role, wanting to gain as much knowledge as he can about all aspects of the business - from cocktail making, through to staff relationship management and a host of other skills he has yet to learn, “seeing how the restaurant industry works from the very bottom to the top”.
What’s more, there’s never a dull day working at Stoke House with guests visiting the restaurant from all over the world: “You always get something new every day - we’ve met people from Hawaii, the Philippines, a small island I’d never heard of before - Guap? You get to help people find that new thing. That’s what I look forward to every day.” For Daniel, one of the best things about his job is being able to bring joy to guests, to help them discover something different and have a memorable dining experience. From what we can see, the team at Stoke House is delivering this to its guests by the bucketful, and we are excited to see the company’s success continue to grow into the future.
If you're interested in joining the team, check out the Stoke House company page here for more information on their available jobs!