Celebrating 11 years of ODE
In 2006 Clare and I returned to the UK from working overseas for more than 12 years. I held Executive Chef and Food & Beverage posts at boutique hotels in Asia (Como Shambhala Estate-Bali), North America, Africa (Westcliff Hotel-South Africa, Saxon-South Africa, OberoiSahlHasheesh-Red Sea Egypt) and the Caribbean (Sandy Lane-Barbados). I had previously worked at The Waterside Inn at Bray under Michel Roux and various hotels and restaurants in London.
Clare had management experience in various sectors of the hospitality industry also so we both felt it was time to start our own restaurant business using all the experience and knowledge we had gained over the years.
Being born in Devon it felt natural to return and after many months of searching in the South West Clare and I decided on the estuary village of Shaldon, South Devon mainly due to its great railway access to London for Clare to visit home and see family and friends, its close proximity to the River Teign and nearby beaches, Dartmoor National Park, the Teign valley and Torbay just around the corner…being a chef in Devon gives unrivalled access to the finest of fresh fish, shellfish, organic dairy, meat and wild game plus some of the best organic producers who farm in the region made Shaldon the perfect location.
Late 2006 we found a 3 storey property which had previously been a ground floor restaurant and tea room for many years but at the time was not trading and in need of some serious TLC
We set about the renovating the grade 2 Georgian town house and bringing it up to date whilst respecting its heritage. We always had a very clear eco ethos for the renovation and for the restaurant concept. ODE restaurant (which later became ODE dining) opened in December 2006 and named after our postcode, we dropped the TQ14!. Our motto was refined dining, locally inspired and thoughtful hospitality.
The intimate dining room had just seven tables, it was almost like welcoming you into our home! I worked in the kitchen with an apprentice and Clare worked front of house…as they say the rest is history…
During our time operating ODE dining we were fortunate to have won or been shortlisted for numerous regional and national awards, Including winning “Taste of the West” South West Restaurant of the year 2008 and 2009, Listed in the National Restaurant Awards top 100 restaurants and Sustainable Restaurant Association highest award of 3 stars and SRA National Restaurants of the Year 2012. ODE was also consistently listed in all UK’s major food guides attaining 2 AA rosettes for culinary excellence, Waitrose Good Food Guide every year of opening scoring a 6/10 and Michelin Guide red knife and fork, Hardens and many more.
We have had numerous reviews in local and national publications, some of which can be viewed on our awards web page at WWW.ODETRUEFOOD.COM, We have been fortunate to have championed our regions amazing produce appearing on BBC Country file cooking River Teign sand eels and BBC Good Food promoting South Devon Brown crab.
In 2009 when our daughter Thula was born it made us think about where we could eat out as a family and that had the same or similar principles. Many of our customers at ODE had young families faced the same challenges. We noticed a gap in the market locally to provide quality, ethically sourced food served in a family friendly environment.
On our many walks to Ness Cove we often passed the two derelict stable buildings on the edge of the Ness car park and always thought what a great location for a cafe… firstly lots of parking and imagine….. a sustainable building, quality regional seasonal produce, prepared to order by chefs, affordable, family friendly and add to all that great views and close to the beach …..
In 2011 our local council decided to sell the two buildings, we put in a tender with our sustainable vision to give the former stables a new lease of life….
The very year ODE dining was awarded the inaugural Sustainable Restaurant of the Year 2012 our offer to purchase the stables was accepted by our local council and the cafe-ODE concept was born.
With the help from friends and family and ethical bank Triodos we embarked on the 3 month part new build, renovation and conversion aiming to be eco conscious in every aspect …. A timber frame new build, Solar thermal, sedum roof, renewable energy, induction cooking suite, recycling and up cycling and much more..
We planned to open for the Olympic Torch procession through the village, Matt Bellamy and MUSE would be our first guests after running the torch across Shaldon Bridge …….we succeeded…just! .
cafe-ODE in its first year became the highest rated sustainable restaurant in the UK scoring a whopping 94% scoring even higher than ODE dining. cafe-ODE went on to win the award for an unprecedented two successive years in 2013 and 2014 beating the likes of River Cottage, A hat trick for ODE- true food and something we are extremely proud of!.
In 2014the ODE true food group of businesses won a “CATEY”for Sustainable business widely regarded as the industry Oscars. This award stands pride of place in the cafe open kitchen area with all our awards for customers to see..
With the success of the cafe-ODE concept 2015 saw our first partnership with the stunning Gara Rock Resort in the South Hams…after being approached by the owners cafe-ODE at Gara Rock was created…We spent two successful years trading during which time the spectacular cafe achieved SRA 3 star rating which introduced many customers, local suppliers and the area to our sustainable principles and initiatives. The resort today continues to follow many of our policies and procedures although recently been sold.
Our most recent partnership was in 2016 after being approached by Coast View Holiday Park to design a restaurant and bar facility to complement the multi-million pound re development and refurbishment of the luxury lodge park also in Shaldon.
The ODE&Co, true pizza culinary experience was created, a wonderful open kitchen with a centerpiece wood fired oven cooking sour dough pizza and grills, spectacular terrace and bar that offers unrivalled views across Lyme Bay…
Today ODE&Co is the only restaurant in a holiday park listed in the Waitrose Good Food Guide 2018 and 2019.
Over the years since we began our journey in 2007 ODE has risen to the very forefront of the sustainable food movement in the UK… I was invited to 10 Downing street and met with Prime Minister David Cameron with other top chefs including Gordon Ramsay as part of the “Britain is Great” Campaign. Our profile has given us opportunity to spread the sustainable word, giving talks and demonstrations to schools and learning institutes such as Ashburton Cookery School, River Cottage … I have been fortunate over the years to have spoken about ODE as far afield as Oslo, most recently I sat on an expert panel discussing single use plastics in London and also honored to be a judge for a number of national sustainable awards. We will continue this work and more with the aim of promoting sustainability not only in our industry but also to our younger generations.
Yes the common thread between our businesses is “sustainability” but above all it’s about working in tune with nature providing fantastic hospitality utilizing the finest regional and seasonal ingredients prepared with care, a wonderful combination YUM!
When we opened the doors at ODE dining we had 10 year trading goal, the industry and especially operating small restaurants is notoriously difficult… so after trading for 11 successful years we decided to call time and have not re opened since the dining rooms winter break 2017. We felt we wanted to focus our ideas and energy on our other outlets within the village. We now plan to turn our three storey property into a family home so we can live in the village where our daughter attends the primary school and where we have over years made many friends…
Although many customers recognize me as the face of ODE true food we operate very much as a team with Clare being the back bone of the business working tirelessly behind the scenes, looking after our design and decor, sourcing new products, reviewing policies, procedures and procurement, developing menus with the chefs, proof reading and printing menus to ensure all our standards are met throughout our businesses, looking after day to day running of the businesses and all our staff.
Fortunately we continue to grow and be busier than ever, planning events such as dining pop ups and private event catering. cafe-ODE and ODE&Co also continue to grow with our fantastic team in the outlets and I continue with my sustainable consultancy work. However that said rest assured you will always find me somewhere near one of our kitchens.
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We hope to see you soon, thank you
Tim, Clare, Thula and team ODE
cafe-ODE at Ness Cove
Ness Drive, Shaldon, Devon
ODE & CO true pizza
Torquay Road, Coast View Holiday Park, Shaldon, Devon
We hope to see you soon
Tim, Clare, Thula and team ODE