For anyone that has enjoyed the delicious food and excellent service on offer at The Cakehole in Barrowby, it will come as no surprise that they won the Great Taste Award at the Grantham Journal Business Awards.
It was only last year that former RAF chef Kirk Stubbs bought the Main Street café, deli and bistro, but it has continued to go from strength to strength, constantly expanding both the produce and events on offer to customers. After their deserving win, we spoke to Kirk to find out more.
* How did it feel to win the Great Taste Award?
We were, and still are, overwhelmed to have won the award, particularly when up against such quality opponents. It is a huge honour and most of all a lovely recognition of our hardworking and dedicated staff.
Tell us about The Cakehole, and the produce you serve and sell.
The Cakehole is a very food orientated business, which has a deli side that sells many of the components we use in our dishes. We serve between 10 to 13 freshly made cakes daily, all made on site by myself. Our café menu carries favorites from local suppliers such as Grassmere, Hambletons and Colston Bassett, to name a few. Our bistro evenings, which are held every Friday, offer a little more sophistication to our diners, serving a six-course set menu which changes monthly and uses locally sourced seasonal ingredients. This element of the business has been a great success since its launch, generally holding a five to eight month waiting list for tables.
* I believe you were an RAF chef before – tell us a bit about that experience.
I served with the RAF for 23 years after joining in 1990 aged 17. I learnt my trade as a chef within the RAF and went on to serve at over nine UK airbases, as well operational detachments including three tours of the Falklands lasting four months, and two four-month tours of Afghanistan, as well as tours in Iraq, Kuwait, Oman and numerous other smaller detachments across the globe. As well as operational roles, I was lucky enough to serve VIPs, as personal chef to Air Chief Marshal Sir John Cheshire during his tenure as Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces Northwest (NATO). This was a fantastic opportunity to produce food at the highest levels, including to both our own and foreign Royalty.
* What made you decide to take over The Cakehole?
As a chef my drive was always to have my own kitchen and we set our sights on this when my service with the RAF finished. The Cakehole presented a superb opportunity for us to carry on the excellent work of the original owners, whilst applying our own slant on things.
* Tell us about your team at The Cakehole.
Before we purchased The Cakehole we visited numerous times at differing points in the day, and the overwhelming impression we got, regardless of how busy the café was, was the warm and friendly nature of the staff. We firmly believe it is this ambience which is the key to success, and so were very keen for the staff to remain after our purchase, which happily they all have. We have just started opening on Sundays and Bank Holidays due to numerous requests, which has meant us taking on four more part-time staff who have fitted in well with the existing team.
* What do you think makes your food and drink taste so good?
We believe in quality ingredients put together with care, which applies to both the bistro and café.
* This is a family-owned business – tell us more about your family.
My wife Angela is a specialist nurse, and we have been married for 22 years. We met when Angela served in the RAF as a systems analyst. We have two children, Sophie, who is 18 and is about to go to York St John University to study media. Our son, Joshua, is 14, and is currently studying at Priory Ruskin Academy and would like to become an engineer. We have been amazed by the warm welcome of both our customers and the local community since arriving here. It is now impossible to imagine not being here, doing what we are. To have achieved a lifetime ambition, in owning my own food business is a truly lucky and privileged position to be in.