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EssentialQ&A - Pavilion Café


HELLO…BRADFORD ON AVON CALLING


Pavilion Café manager Simon Hamedi


Andrew Allen is director of event catering company Abstract Occasions and owner of the Pavilion Café, which is part of the Tourist Information Centre in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire. Andrew went under the spotlight with the Essential Café Q&A.


How did the business begin? I was offered the opportunity to establish the café at the Tourist Information Centre in July 2013. It all happened quite quickly. The team and I had been just worked for eight days on the trot at the Glastonbury Festival – and we were straight back to open Pavilion Café.


How does your business operate today? Both the café and the event catering are very seasonal. We do very well in the summer due to having the best location in Bradford on Avon. We run with a small young cheerful and hardworking team. Abstract Occasions is a


The Pavilion Café is part of Bradford on Avon’s Tourist Information Centre


family business offering a complete catering service to clients from our base in nearby Trowbridge.


How important is tourism to your business? Tourism is crucial to the business. Bradford on Avon has had a lot of media exposure of late, which has boosted tourism greatly – this has had a positive knock-on effect for us.


Who works with you?


Manager Simon Hamedi, who I was introduced to by a catering agency, heads our great café team. Simon is a qualified chef and prior to running the Pavilion Café, he ran a café/bar on Lanzarote. The remaining members of the team are Gemma, Alistair and Laurie. We also work very closely with the staff and volunteers of the Tourist Information Centre.


Tell us about some of your most popular lines Our great Tiki blend coffee from Matthew Algie is extremely popular and receives many compliments. Café latte is without doubt the most popular. On the food side, our delicious home-made cakes and scones are the best sellers.


What is the single biggest advantage independent cafés have over chains?


Personality! Corporate branding is OK as far as it goes, but you could be anywhere. There is much more personal involvement and passion in independent establishments.


What is most challenging and most rewarding about what you do?


The most challenging is finding the time to do everything I want to. The most rewarding – spreading the love!


More information: Abstract Occasions +44 (0)1225 774688 www.abstractoccasions.com


Do you have a favourite café? There is a café in Kimmeridge, Dorset which has the most amazing smoked fish platter. Another favourite establishment of mine is the café opposite the Duomo in Ortigia, Sicily. It’s such a civilised way to spend an afternoon – a coffee, glass of wine or a beer and watching the world go by. That is pretty much perfect.


What’s the next big thing in the coffee house/café/ hospitality sector? Maybe simplicity. Make things sociable again – no mobile phones, no Facebook and no Twitter. Let’s get back to proper conversation and interact with real people!


You can choose three people dead or alive (not including friends and family) to invite out for a coffee, who and why? Cole Porter – I love his songs and his intelligent lyrics are so clever, witty and incredibly insightful, as relevant today as the day they were written; Bette Davis – she’s seen it all, done it all, written the book and got the T-shirt, a great actress, true star and icon; and Graham Norton, who’s genuinely funny and easy company.


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Essential Café


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