Last year the People’s Favourite Award received over 800 nominations for restaurants, cafés, pubs, hotels and caterers up and down the country. After much sifting and sorting our judging panel finally settled on their five favourite nominations. 10,000 votes were cast by you, the diners, and after fierce competition, StarBistro were crowned as the People’s Favourite 2015.
A joint project between the Wiggly Worm charity and National Star College, StarBistro offers young adults with disabilities the chance to gain real work experience in a bustling bistro environment. Helping learners to flourish in what is arguably one of the most stressful working environments, they gain oodles of confidence and valuable life skills that can be put to use in, and out of the kitchen.
We caught up with Abby Guilding, Managing Director of Wiggly Worm charity, to find out about StarBistro’s year since winning the award.
“StarBistro winning the People’s Favourite Award in 2015 has been a truly amazing experience for us at the Wiggly Worm charity. We were up against an extraordinary selection of restaurants, all doing wonderful work within their local areas and communities to push the boundaries of what an eating experience should be. We were humbled by the response.”
Running two sites, one in Ullenwood and another in the Royal Crescent, Cheltenham, the added publicity of the award has ensured that there’s never a dull moment…
“Since winning the award, we’ve seen a busy year at both StarBistro sites, with many new learners working alongside our team to gain skills in all aspects of work. The award has helped us engage with more customers, sparked lots of local interest, and proven that we really are ‘no ordinary bistro!’
It’s fantastic to be recognised as making a difference, and especially that our customers enjoy helping others as much as they enjoy the food!”
When Michel Roux Jr. pitched ‘Kitchen Impossible’ a TV series where young adults with disabilities would be trained in his kitchen, StarBistro were the obvious choice to lend a hand.
“We’ve also had the exciting opportunity to work with Michel Roux Jnr. on Channel 4’s ‘Kitchen Impossible’ programme. We helped Michel train a group of young people with a range of disabilities to get jobs in the catering industry.”
Looking beyond the not-inconsiderable needs of their own kitchens, StarBistro have been working with numerous suppliers, schools and communities in Gloucestershire to manage food surplus and get it to those who need it the most.
“We hope 2016 will be just as exciting for us, using food to help create opportunities for even more people.”
Nominations for the People’s Favourite Award 2016 are now open! To be in with a chance of winning dinner, bed AND breakfast at one of eight Red Carnation Hotels, nominate your favourite restaurant here!