Team Indian head chef Raj Mandal has been boosting visitor numbers to a long established English country hotel near Bedford.
The first Friday Feast at Woodland Manor, Clapham saw 120 people filling the refurbished restaurant to sample a selection of authentic Thali dishes.
Celebrity chef Raj joined forces with the entrepreneurial Suri family to open the doors of the “hidden secret” hotel for what will be a weekly exotic dining experience.
Formerly head of hospitality at Bedford College, Raj won countless competitions with his staff and students. He led Team Indian in international culinary championships and then launched the highly praised Spice Restaurant awards.
Raj said: “It was a great night with people enjoying the food in a lovely setting – and a glass of Indian beer in the English country garden afterwards.” The Suri family purchased the hotel several years ago and have been upgrading the property.
They said: “We are looking forward to working with Raj who brings a plethora of experience in the catering industry. As he has lived and worked in Bedford for decades we feel that he makes an excellent partner for Woodland Manor Hotel. We are really excited to host these authentic Indian dining evenings for all those in the local community.
“Thanks to the ongoing improvements, the hotel has seen an increase in bookings for rooms, weddings and private functions as well as for dining. New afternoon teas are proving extremely popular. Bookings are well ahead for Christmas events.”
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