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.
Along with the Williams-Hawkes family, Tom and Amelis have been owning and running the Salutation since 2012. 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 Ramsay at Hospital Road, Chelsea then to Petrus under Marcus Wareing 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. 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, before joining Tom running the Salutation in 2014.
You will now find Tom running SALT the onsite Fish shop, which was born during the pandemic, when they wanted to continue to provide for the community and to help support our local fisherman. Amelia can be found all over the place, from making beds, serving breakfast and to selling you that extra glass of fizz you didn’t think you needed. Tom and Amelia also have a daughter now... Delphi who is often toddling around and entertaining guests.
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 Head Chef for us. Luke says "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 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.'
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!