Tom's Table Coronavirus Pandemic
The Salutation Inn is owned by the South Western Hotel & Catering Company Ltd and was purchased on New Year’s Eve 2010 from Punch Taverns.
The property had been empty for two years and was in need of care. The Grade 2 * listed building was granted planning permission in late 2011 when the rebuilding project commenced, creating a 45 cover glazed atrium, we call the GlassHouse Cafe, a 30 cover restaurant, and a function room suitable for conference and banqueting up to 35 covers. Also four lovingly restored en-suite guest rooms and two additional suites.
Tom started his cooking journey during a school work experience at Gidleigh Park, Chagford under the guidance of Michael Caines. Michael, himself started his professional career at The Imperial Hotel in Exeter run by Tom’s forefathers. His great-grandfather ran Deller’s of Exeter for 17 years between the First and Second World War. It was an amazing cafe renowned for its quality and architecturally a leading Art Nouveau building.
Tom attended Exeter College as a chef trainee for three years graduating as Top Student, then on to Gordon Ramsey at Hospital Road, Chelsea then to Petrus under Marcus Waring before returning to Devon and working his way up to Sous Chef at Gidleigh for Michael, a spell in France followed for the Rothschilds during Gidleigh refurbishment and then on to the Abode in Exeter as Executive Chef for three years.
Amelia was born into the hospitality trade and worked in various establishments across Devon and New Zealand. Local faces will know Amelia from her time at The Turf Locks managing the bar team, running a tight ship. Amelia has been fortunate to work in New Zealand for a few seasons including working at boutique hotel Awaroa Lodge in the Abel Tasman. Amelia’s love of travel landed her as Cabin Crew at Exeter’s own airline FlyBe for two years. As chef Tom’s wife, Amelia lives on site and has been involved behind the scenes from the beginning of the journey.
I began my hospitality career under the guidance of the Hajiyianni family in Plymouth 8 years ago. I worked in their flagship hotel, The New Continental, becoming trained in restaurant service, bar and cellar management, and reception duties. This is where I found my love for front-of-house hospitality.
After two years I was offered a position as restaurant supervisor at Olga Polizzi’s beautiful Hotel Endsleigh, where I was taught by Alex Polizzi’s front of house team, and restaurant manager Stephane Joumard, formerly of the Savoy and now Service Instructor at Glion Institute of Higher Education, hospitality school, Switzerland. Six months on I was promoted to deputy restaurant manager, where I found my real passion of staff training and their future development.
My passion for pastry began in my hometown, Budapest. I started learning about pastries and cakes at the age of 15. One year later I become an apprentice in one of the best and oldest Fine Dine Experience in Hungary: Gundel Restaurant.
In 2013 I moved to the UK, and worked at The Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire. Stephen Tarling the head pastry chef back then, gave me opportunity to learn the British pastry way, starting with scones and a Victoria sponge.
In 2015 I moved to Devon, and worked for the Abode group lead by Michael Caines, in the heart of Exeter at The Royal Clarence Hotel. Tom then offered me the huge opportunity to work in the Salutation Inn and learn from Sylvain Peltier. This was the first time I really experienced to make very fine, beautiful and delicious French style patisserie, and now they are my favourite things to do.
Given the opportunity by Tom and Amelia to lead pastry in the Salutation Inn is the best opportunity I have had in UK, this gives me the chance to improve my knowledge, to make customers smile and in the future to share the knowledge with others.
I grew up in Rotorua, New Zealand. With a vast lake on our doorstep, I used to go out fishing with my dad, so there always plenty of fresh seafood on the table. After exploring as much of the world as I could from a young age, I finally settled in Exmouth taking on the role of Assistant Manager in my aunt and uncle’s seafood restaurant, The Waterfront.
With hospitality in my blood, I’ve got a real passion for this industry. I strive to give customers the best experience possible. I enjoy the mix of guests coming in, from those treating themselves to afternoon tea for a special occasion, to fine dining in the evenings. Our chefs encourage me to taste all the food on our menu, which has broadened my palate no end.
The team here aim to improve our service each day, so training plays a key part of my job. I’ve just completed my scas barista intermediate training at speciality coffee house, Clifton Coffee, under the competent eye of Jimmy Dimitrov, who is currently rated second in the World Barista Championships!
As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a chef. Grandad had a butcher’s shop and I thought the whole process was fascinating. My family saw my passion and always encouraged me to cook. I got through school with my path set firmly on the kitchen, so I knew the grades I needed to get to become a chef.
The first opportunity I could get into a professional kitchen was during my school work experience. I spent a week at The Salutation and Tom let me try my hand in every area, which just blew my mind.
This led me to Exeter College, where I wanted my apprenticeship to be with Tom at The Salutation. My assessors awarded me Apprentice of the Year two years in a row, and Student of the Year in Hospitality in 2018. I won Student South West Chef of the Year in 2016, after impressing the judging panel. I’ve since staged at some of the UK’s most acclaimed restaurants, at Ballyfin and with Clare Smyth, which galvanised my passion for cooking impeccable food.
Tom has been instrumental in helping me develop as a chef. If I mess up, he won’t yell at me – no one shouts here. He’ll just explain how to do it right instead, so there’s a positive learning environment. There’s quite a free rein on the menu – all that matters is that our food tastes fantastic and looks good.When I’m not in the kitchen, you’ll find me out foraging: wild garlic, ceps, elderflower and coastal herbs like samphire. Can’t tell you where though.
Tom says, "Ethan is a key member of the kitchen – he’s knuckled down and worked his way through every area of the kitchen from apprentice to junior sous chef. Amelia and I are proud to have him on-board the team."
Exeter born Luke Heaver has always gravitated towards the kitchen. From a young age, he loved cooking for his family and particularly enjoyed baking. As soon as Luke finished school, he started his career at Exeter’s prestigious Royal Clarence Hotel as an apprentice. Under Tom’s guidance, Luke developed both cookery and life skills in the busy kitchen.
After a couple of intense years in Exeter, Luke went to France to hone his craft at Evian Resorts – a 4-star hotel complex, cooking luxury food around the clock. He then travelled to Switzerland to do a ski season, before returning to Topsham, where he now works as Sous Chef for us. Luke says, ‘It’s great working alongside Tom in the kitchen again. The best part about working at The Salutation Inn is the high quality of ingredients we use – we literally find the best we possibly can use. I’m thrilled to have some of my dishes on the menu here. When I’m not in the kitchen, I’m out foraging for ingredients around Devon – at the moment, there are ceps all around if you know where to look for them.’