Hotel of the week: The Vineyard Hotel & Spa, nr Newbury in Berkshire
Robby Jenks was appointed Head Chef at The Vineyard and Spa in Berkshire at the start of the year. He has since gone on to win an Acorn Award recognising him as one of the industries rising stars. Known as the ’30 under 30′, the Acorn Awards celebrated their 30th Anniversary this June and have sought to recognise the brightest prospects in the hospitality industry.
Guests arriving at the luxurious five-star hotel will be impressed by the striking two-storey glass cellar holding over 30,000 bottles from both the New and Old Worlds as well as the award-winning wines from owner Sir Peter Michael’s estate in Sonoma County, California. The award-winning 3 AA Rosette restaurant has been a destination for many years. Robby’s recent win coincided with the launch of several new Modern British menus, all designed to complement the vast selection of wines available. The 49-room Vineyard, with each suite and bedroom named after an iconic international wine, also offers WSET wine qualifications and monthly wine schools and ladies lunches. The hotel is also home to an award winning five-bubble rated spa.
Robby’s style and approach is classical cooking using modern techniques and at The Vineyard he has access to the best local, sustainable and seasonal produce. His experience includes working at some of the UK’s most gastronomic hotels including Gidleigh Park under Michael Caines MBE and Whatley Manor working with Martin Burge. Robby started at Gidleigh Park as a Commis Chef and rose through the ranks with Michael’s support to return at a later stage as Senior Sous Chef.
Robby works with The Vineyard’s Head Sommelier, Romain Bourger, to achieve the perfect balance between wines on offer to guests across all menus. Romain recently won UK Young Sommelier of the Year for 2016. Now in their 37th year, these awards are run by the Academy of the Food and Wine Service (AFWS).
The Vineyard’s menus include the Discovery Tasting Menu (5 dishes £75.00), the Judgement of Paris Tasting Menu (7 dishes £89.00), a Vegetarian Tasting Menu, a lunch menu (3 courses £29.00), a dinner menu (3 courses £65.00) and a more relaxed California Bar Menu. Afternoon tea is also available daily and Pastry Chef Anthony Millon works directly with Robby to deliver this simple, light and fresh menu.
The spacious dining room with its 80 covers and its unique collection of art is the perfect stage for a rising talent like Head Chef Robby Jenks.
Wine, wine and wine
Where better to get a WSET wine qualification? Level one and two courses are available at the hotel throughout the year. Founded in 1969 to help educate wine and spirit professionals, the WSET specialise in courses for wine enthusiasts. For Level 1, no prior wine knowledge is required making it ideal for anyone with an interest in wine seeking a deeper level of understanding.
Overnight courses cost from £322.50 per person, to include; a full day of WSET Level 1 Award professional tuition by a WSET-certified tutor in wine training, the exam, wines, a three-course lunch, tour of the vast cellars, one nights (Sunday) accommodation with breakfast and use of the Vineyard Spa facilities including a swimming pool. Aspects of wine covered at this level include storage and service, grape varieties, food and wine matching.
Day courses cost from £199 per person including a full day of WSET Level 1 Award in wine training with exam, wines, three-course lunch and tour of the cellars. In addition to wine qualifications, The Vineyard Hotel also host regular Wine Schools with different themes.
Address: Stockcross, Newbury RG20 8JU / 01635 528770