First anniversary marks professional – and personal – milestone

First anniversary marks professional – and personal – milestone

It is with both pride and relief that husband and wife team Richard and Claudia Bramble celebrate the first anniversary of their new business – at the culmination of a year that has brought closure for many others.

The entrepreneurial Leamington couple had to quickly adapt after launching their new private chef and catering service just weeks before the first Covid lockdown.

Photo by David Fawbert Photography.

It’s a particularly personal milestone for fine dining chef Richard, who, after 18 years, vowed to leave restaurant kitchens behind to establish Bramble Dining so he could spend more time with his family. It’s also the result of a childhood promise he made to himself following a sad chapter that he now looks back on as life-defining.

“When I was eight years old I was put into foster care with my nine-year-old brother. My mum had suddenly left the family home,” explains Richard, 35.

“We were supposed to go into foster care for two weeks to give my dad a bit of a break and get work sorted out so he could be at home more because he worked long hours in the busy restaurant industry. But we ended up staying there for nine years.

“I have a lot to thank my foster parents for. They welcomed me and my brother into the family and taught us a lot of values.

“It’s pushed me to want to succeed in life. In that environment I’ve seen a lot of children who have really struggled and ended up going down the wrong route. But I have always had that drive to work and have a family and prove to myself that things can be done the right way.”

The self-taught chef’s love affair with food began aged just 16 when he took on a part-time job as a kitchen porter. He went on to learn new skills while working with chefs at independent Leamington restaurants where he also perfected his favourite English modern and classical French styles.

Bramble Dining, fine dining, catering, COVID-19, lockdown
Bramble Dining works with local holiday accommodation businesses, including, as pictured here, Winchcombe Farm in Upper Tysoe. Photo by David Fawbert Photography.

But, more recently, with the prospect ahead of increasingly long hours and missed time with his sons, now aged four and two, Richard knew it was time to make a change – unaware of the pandemic in waiting.

He said: “I know the strains that working in a professional kitchen can put on a family and the time you end up spending away from them. I really wanted to do something where I could be a success and also have time at home.

“COVID came as a big shock to us just as were getting up and running. We knew we weren’t going to be able to offer private dining. We also had to effectively freeze all the business plans we had, including a search for premises.”

In between lockdowns, the couple collaborated with four holiday accommodation businesses to offer private chef services to guests, including at Winchcombe Farm Holidays in Upper Tysoe.

“Guests can enjoy a great restaurant experience by staying where they are and no one has to drive. It’s been incredibly popular,” he said.

Bramble Dining, fine dining, catering, COVID-19, lockdown
Photo by David Fawbert Photography.

Since the Prime Minister’s recent roadmap announcement for easing restrictions, the couple are now looking forward to finally being able to showcase their full range of services to customers, including a full private chef and waiter service. There are three menu options catering for meat and fish lovers, vegans and vegetarians as well as younger diners.

“We’re really passionate about everything we do and believe in the food and service we offer. Hours and hours of work goes into the end products. We understand our clientele and their needs. If a customer comes to us with a request for something obscure we try and make sure we can deliver it.

“We have experience of working in the restaurant trade and know how to successfully bring that across, in both kitchen and front of house.”

He added: “Anyone can follow a recipe but what separates chefs from cooks at home is realising what happens in the cooking processes and the chemistry involved. Not every chef has that eye.

“I’ve got dishes I’ve been cooking for six years that I still tweak all the time. Every dish is a work in progress. So much passion and time and effort goes into every one of them.”

Longer term, there is a shared vision for the Bramble Dining brand becoming established nationwide. At the same the couple’s pursuit for perfection means they are keen not to rush their journey.

Claudia, 34, said: “The last year has been a worry and there have been a lot of sleepless nights but we’ve taken it step by step. Knowing there is now light at the end of the tunnel and we can start serving people again from next month, is fantastic.”

And, for the proud chef especially, it’s a challenge to be relished.

He said: “I haven’t come from a privileged background with investment behind me. I’ve had to work extremely hard for everything I’ve achieved and my main drive is my own children. I look at them and am proud that things are better for them and they have more of a head start than I did.

“I look at the circles I mix in now and the clientele and it’s a big personal step, particularly because a lot of people don’t realise how much I’ve had to go through to get here.”

Visit Bramble Dining at: https://brambledining.com/

Favourite dishes?

Richard’s favourite: Beef fillet medallions pan-fried and served with rocket, grated parmesan and truffle oil.

Customers’ favourite: Pan-fried scallops with butternut squash puree and crispy pancetta, popped broad beans and chilli and chorizo oil.

Bramble Dining is offering outdoor private chef dining experience from April 12th and indoor private chef dining experience from May 17th, assuming the lockdown roadmap is confirmed.

Fine dining delivered to your door!

Fine dining delivered to your door!

By the time we reached lockdown part III we had become more accustomed to takeaways as the go-to alternative for those special occasions.

But for those of us who still occasionally hanker after something that cut above – and whose mastery in the kitchen falls seriously short – it’s refreshing to see a rise in the trend of fine dining deliveries.

Bramble Dining, fine dining, Richard Bramble, chef
Richard Bramble. Photo by Dave Fawbert Photography.

One such business on hand to step in and salvage my birthday and Valentine’s Day plans (same weekend!) was Bramble Dining, based in Radford Semele.

Chef Richard Bramble, who has over 19 years’ experience of working in professional kitchens and the catering industry, launched the business with his wife Claudia just one year ago.

They offer a bespoke menu, catering for all tastes as well as a personal chef service where you can be waited on in your own home.

Bramble Dining, fine dining, Richard Bramble, chef
Photo by Dave Fawbert Photography.

But while the business never really had the chance to get going – and we find ourselves still waiting for the COVID restrictions to ease up, Bramble has been innovative in its approach, by offering banquet boxes for home delivery.

My husband and I pre-selected from a Valentine’s menu which arrived at the advised time with every ingredient clearly labelled.

Accompanied by simple-to-follow instructions for final food prep and plating up, it proved even simpler than I had imagined to complete the culinary process to the required standards. Brushing the Beef Wellington with egg and warming it in the oven and heating some jus on the hob. Even I couldn’t come unstuck with that!

The biggest challenge I found – and I’ll never underestimate the artistic skills of a top chef ever again – is the final presentation of the dishes.

With a desire to do the food justice, I thought I’d done a decent job – only to later see the photos Richard sent me of how he plates up the food! My slight failings in the finesse department, happily did not, detract from the overall dining experience.

The stunning flavours and textures in Richard’s menu made this, far from a forgettable lockdown Valentine’s celebration. In fact it is one of the most delicious meals we’ve enjoyed a in a very long time.

Our banquet box (you have to choose the same meals for ease) contained four courses consisting of. . .

Appetiser: Roasted figs wrapped in prosciutto and finished with Warwick honey, crumbled feta cheese and red amaranth micro herb. (Warmed up for just a few minutes in the oven)

 No alternative.

Starter: Smoked duck breast with celeriac puree, cubed beetroot, pickled radish and popped broad beans, finished with pea shoots. (Slice and serve cold)

Alternatives were: Roasted scallops with roe velouté and Provencal breadcrumbs finished with dill oil and pea shoots or Roasted beetroot with goat’s curd, apple jelly and roasted walnuts, finished with red wine vinaigrette and red aramanth micro herb.

Classic Beef Wellington

Main: Classic Beef Wellington with parsnip puree, purple sprouting broccoli and crispy parsnips, finished with red wine jus. (Heat the beef in the oven for 15 minutes, warm the broccoli and parsnip puree in the microwave and heat the jus on the stove.)

Alternatives were: Classic half lobster with garlic herb butter, mussels Provencal, watercress salad and buttered new potatoes finished with a side of light truffle mayonnaise or Tomato consume and popped broad bean risotto with tomato salsa infused with garlic and basil finished with rocket salad.

Dessert: Chilli and chocolate tray bake with fresh raspberries and cardamon Chantilly cream. (Just serve!)

Alternatives were: Lemon drizzle sponge with crème Anglaise finished with pistachio crumb and rose petals or Vanilla-infused baked yoghurt with rhubarb, confit orange, caramelised crushed pecan nuts and rose petals.

Then chocolate truffles to share.

These are just some mouthwatering examples and three more menu options – at varying price points – can be found on their website at: https://brambledining.com/

We are all looking forward to a return to the restaurants, hopefully soon – but in the meantime, Richard’s fine dining brought to our doorstep is doing a great job in filling that void, especially on birthdays and anniversaries.

Even afterwards, Bramble’s services also extend to events and weddings.

And for the summer there are plans to provide BBQ packs too.

So, if you have a special occasion coming up – or you’re a foodie just looking to lift your spirits in lockdown, you won’t go wrong here.

Fine food, Bramble Dining, Richard Bramble

A fine dining experience in almost every sense. – I say ‘almost’ because unfortunately I still had to do the washing up!

But make a booking post-pandemic and the team will even do that for you too! – For a small extra fee, the waiter service is also provided – the promise is they will leave the dining area and kitchen exactly as they had found it – maybe even better!

So if, like me, your love of good food does not match up to your own culinary ambition – or you’re just yearning for a bit of luxury at home – give Bramble a call.

You’ll quickly remember what it is you’ve been missing! A genuinely ‘fine’ dining experience.

  • Bramble Dining also last year teamed up with Winchcombe Farm in Upper Tysoe to offer the additional service of a private chef for guests staying in any of their lodges.