Thistle's Exeter hotel, The Rougemont, saw Exmouth sisters Tilly and Ellis Jephtha reign supreme and crowned the best bakers as local finalists battled it out to revitalise the classic British pastime and create the ultimate afternoon tea.
In a bid to see their very own afternoon tea recipe on the Nelson's Lounge and Bar menu at The Rougemont Hotel, competition finalists, Tilly and Ellis Jephtha, Phyllis Liles and Charlotte Baker were invited to take part in a bake off at the hotel, where entries were judged on their visual appeal, taste, smell and texture.
The judging panel comprised the lord mayor, councillor Marcel Choules; Mrs Stella Fernyhough, food judge from Chudleigh Women's Institute of Devon; Shane Munro, group development manager, Food and Beverage, Guoman and Thistle Hotels; and Mark Beedell, general manager, The Rougemont Hotel.
The winning entries from Tilly and Ellis saw the judging panel torn between Tilly's scones with thick Devonshire clotted cream and homemade passion fruit and raspberry jam and Ellis' scones with cream, raspberry blackcurrant and rhubarb jam. In the end the panel thought the dynamic duo were equally deserving of first place thanks to the superior taste and texture and taste of their scones, and the overall presentation of the dishes.
The sisters' winning entry will feature as the hotel's specialist, traditional Devonshire afternoon tea when the hotel launches its new menu of teatime treats in mid-April.
Mark Beedell, general manager at The Rougemont Hotel said: "After weeks of collating entries for the competition, we're extremely pleased to award both Tilly and Ellis the title of ultimate afternoon tea champions. Their creations will make fantastic additions to our afternoon tea menu at Drakes Restaurant and we're certain that our guests will be as excited as we were when sampling their afternoon delights."
After impressing the general manager with her passion for cooking, Tilly who is the baker in the family and wants to study Catering at Exeter College next year has also been offered work experience at The Rougemont Hotel. This will assist her college application as well as give her a chance to experience all operations departments in a hotel. In addition to this, and to further build her experience whilst studying, Tilly has been invited to join the team on day release when she starts her college course.
Tilly commented: "The competition has been a wonderful experience which I feel will benefit my future career in catering, and I very much look forward to starting my work placement at The Rougemont Hotel."
The Rougemont Hotel in Exeter is a stylish Victorian building situated near the city centre and Rougemont Gardens. The hotel's Drakes Restaurant is relaxed and welcoming and features home cooked favourites and modern European dishes, perfect after a spot of shopping or sightseeing.
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Thistle Hotels is part of Guoman Hotel Management (UK) Limited which operates hotels throughout the UK. Thistle has 33 hotels across the country, many in superb city centre locations, including eleven in central London. With a selection of restaurants and a choice of excellent health and leisure facilities, Thistle has something to offer everyone.
Thistle Hotels is the first hotel group to achieve Hospitality Assured accreditation, across its entire UK portfolio. Created by the Institute of Hospitality, the Hospitality Assured standard measures the quality within customer facing businesses across the hospitality, tourism and leisure industry.
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