The Team

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 & Amelia Williams-Hawkes

Tom – Chef Director

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 – Hotel Manager

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.

Introducing...

Caspar Niblett – Sous chef

Caspar began his culinary career at Dartington Hall, Devon in 2006, whilst studying Professional Cookery at Plymouth College. He later moved to Bristol where he worked under Andrew Clatworthy at The Rummer. It was here that Caspar expanded his knowledge and cookery skills, helping to gain The Rummer a top 50 entry in The Good Food Guide as well as an award for the “Best Sunday Roast” in The Bristol Good Food Awards.

Caspar next went on to work briefly with Josh Eggleton at The Pony and Trap, Bristol, where he got to experience working in the kitchen of a one Michelin Star restaurant. He then decided to take on the role of Head Chef at The Malago in Bristol. His passion for fine dining and creative flair eventually drove him to apply for the Sous Chef position at The Salutation Inn in the summer of 2017, where he has been enjoying life in the kitchen ever since.

Martin Facey – Restaurant Manager

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.

Nikoletta Patkos Hancock – Head Pastry Chef

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.

Charley Griffin – Chef de Rang

Being born and bred in Topsham, I’ve got so much pride to work in one of my home town’s oldest establishments, steeped in local history.

I joined the team four years ago and undertook my Level 2 hospitality qualification while working my around all areas of the hotel, so having such a varied role as Chef de Rang suits me perfectly. I’m the link between our kitchen and front of house team, ensuring that service runs as efficiently and slick as possible. This means checking all dietary requirements are met, crockery is all in place before service and even training up front of house staff so they are confident for service. There’s a great team here – we’re more like family than colleagues!

Customers are at the heart of everything we do, and the best part of my role is chatting with regulars who pop in for their daily caffeine fix, as well as watching little ones decide which cake takes their fancy in the cabinet.

What’s next? I’m going to do my Level 3 hospitality qualification, as well as embarking on wine training with Ben here, starting out at Level 1. Wine is a real interest of mine and I look forward to learning more.


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