Margaret Lehany has worked at The Grand Hotel, Brighton for over thirty years as Head Waitress in the King’s Restaurant. We reckon she must be the longest serving hospitality employee in town!
Why did you choose to work for the Grand Hotel rather than one of the other many large hotels in Brighton?
I first joined The Grand Hotel in 1979, it was and still is the best hotel in the South of England.
Tell us about your role in the restaurant and why you have chosen to stay.
Unfortunately the bombing at the hotel in 1985 meant that I was made redundant and I worked on a casual basis at a few of the other hotels in Brighton. The Grand was still the best hotel I had worked at though so I was very happy when The Grand re-opened in 1986. I was then lucky enough to get my job back and I have worked at the Grand since then, for over 25 years.
What has been the most memorable or comical event that has happened to you whilst on duty?
When The Grand Hotel re-opened in 1986 Margaret Thatcher came to see us and Concorde flew past on her request. It was such as happy occasion and Concorde was beautiful, it looked just like a seagull swooping over the hotel.
Tell us about the new menu at The King’s Restaurant.
The menu at The King’s Restaurant has changed so much over the years. We are still serving Classic British dishes, but Alan White (Executive Head Chef), adds his own contemporary touches and ideas from around the world. Such as the East Sussex rabbit Spring rolls with apple, carrot and chives, sticky ginger sauce, which is delicious! These days the emphasis is on using local produce and in Sussex there is so much on offer. We’re proud of how fresh our produce is, and we always have a ‘Catch of the Day’ from Brighton’s boats on our menu.
Can you see yourself here in another 30 years?!
I would love to! I have so many happy memories and The King’s Restaurant at The Grand is such a great place to work.
The King’s Restaurant at The Grand is open to residents and non-residents. To book call 01273 224 300.
This is a great way to use the bits you don’t want to eat in your crumbles and pies.
You will need:
Windfall apples, Crab Apples, foraged apples, home grown apples, or shop bought apples.
A small Cinnamon stick 2 tablespoons of raisins
A stash of decent quality Vodka (use something you would like to drink)
Coffee Filter Papers Funnel
Make crumble/pie/strudel as preferred but instead of composting/binning the apple peelings/cores, simply throw them into a jar of Vodka with a handful of raisins, add sugar and spice and shake occasionally. After 3 months strain and reseal and repeat the process until no more sediment collects. Different apple varieties will take different amounts of time to taste good. Keep on sipping...
Winter Warmers & Autumn Aperitifs
With the hedgerows bursting with fruit, the faint nagging at the back of your mind that you really ought to start thinking about Christmas, and September’s Food Festival all converging at once, conditions are again perfect for rustling up some home made booze says Johnny Others...
Attentive readers will remember that in April we made Parsnip “Sherry” from scratch and cunningly eliminated the waste usually associated with winemaking by using the same parsnips to make a special bread/cake.
Tis time, we will use up the autumn glut in full, literally bottle our own Xmas, take full advantage of seasonal price
Apple Strudel Schnapps reductions and let someone else take care of the brewing.
Leave your newly acquired demijohns on the shelf, just for a few weeks, (humour me) and we will explore the culinary/ alcohol-enhancing prospects of the things that the everyday folk scatter upon their compost heap...
Following Johnny’s musings on Twitter @johnnyothers (Darling) Clementine Schnapps
Clementines, Tangerines and Satsumas are as traditional as Xmas trees, each segment a sweet, sharp explosion of flavour reminding us of a world outside the winter blues. But we can get even more enjoyment out of these by using the bits we throw away.
You will need:
All your Xmas Clementines, Tangerines or Satsumas; unwaxed would be amazing (although, at present such a thing may not exist)
A good quality grater/zester
A stash of decent quality Vodka
Sugar (Fairtrade would certainly be more in keeping with Xmas spirit)
Coffee Filters Funnel A Kettle
A glass bowl
Grab a Clementine, pour boiling water over it, leave for 30 seconds to a minute then dry vigorously with a rough but clean tea towel. This will remove the wax.
Grate the zest of your Clementine into a sealed jar of Vodka and add a few tablespoons of sugar. Reseal jar. Peel and consume Clementine.
Repeat process with each Clementine you and your family consume over the festive period. Shake the jar vigorously every few days. Leave in a dark cupboard for 3 months. Strain through paper coffee filter, reseal and leave for 3 more months. Re- strain every time sediment collects on the bottom of the bottle. Taste and add more sugar if required. You can judge when the flavour transformation has taken place. It will eventually.
Photos courtesy Harley Rose, www.harleyrose.tumblr.com
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