Alexandra Buildings, Windermere, LA23 1BQ
A trip to our flagship Windermere store just wouldn't be complete without a visit to the 'First Floor' Café.
We've taken a creative, contemporary approach to food and drink... and our Windermere eatery offering restaurant-calibre dishes in a relaxed atmosphere is the result.
For those who like a tipple with their meal, the First Floor is licensed, and if you're looking for something a little lighter, unwind after all that shopping with a well-deserved coffee and a slice of something nice... whilst enjoying the sweeping panoramic views of the Lakeland fells.
Steven's cookery career started as an 18 year old apprentice at the Savoy in 1976, where he spent his first two years in the kitchen learning his craft. In 1978 he began working in the tiny basement kitchen of Le Gavroche in its original site in Lower Sloane Street, Chelsea. He started off as a Commis Chef in the pastry section and gradually worked his way around, finally ending up as Chef de Partie Tournant, capable of being responsible for all sections.
In the early 80s, while Le Gavroche was being relocated to its current address in Upper Brook Street, Mayfair, Steven was sent on a 2-year stage to the kitchens of the late Alain Chapel's restaurant in Mionnay, just outside Lyon. This brilliant man was considered to be the Three-Michelin Star's chefs chef. Steven honed his skills there to become Albert's sous chef at Le Gavroche on his return to London in 1982.
Le Gavroche finally won its Three-Michelin Star status in 1981 and in 1985 Steven became the first ever British person to become Head Chef of a Three-Michelin Star establishment. For the next 5 years, until he left in 1990, Le Gavroche won every major European food accolade and maintained its three-star status.
By 1990, Albert's son Michel (junior) was ready to take Le Gavroche over, so Steven relinquished the reins and became Group Executive Chef for Roux Restaurants Limited. This meant he was responsible for the existing food operations in 3 restaurants and 10 food and beverage contracts, which included the likes of Bafta, Kleinwort Benson, Rothschilds, Bank Paribas and Credit Lyonnais. Serving approximately 3,000 meals each day, they ranged from Director's Dining and Bafta Receptions to Staff Restaurants and a Sandwich Wheelbarrow in the forecourt of one of the City sites! The Roux Patisserie at Wandsworth also came under Steven's wing and he opened several other contracts during his tenure.
In 1991, Steven became part of Albert Roux's consultancy team that opened The Grand Hotel in Amsterdam, and for the next 2 years he acted as Executive Chef. At the end of this contract, not wishing to return to London, Steven and Marjorie moved up to the Lake District and ran The Brown Horse at Winster for the next 18 months. During their tenure, they were voted to be the best pub in the country by Jonathan Meades of The Times and Emily Green of The Independent.
1995 saw them move along the Lyth Valley to The Punch Bowl Inn at Crosthwaite. Within 12 months of its opening, the pub was voted Lake District Pub of the Year and ranked as one of the nation's top ten country pubs by 'Which' magazine. It was also applauded by the judges in the annual 'Caterer and Hotelkeeper' Catey awards and Steven and Marjorie were the winners of the inaugural 'Pub Operator of the Year' in 1997. The Punch Bowl was voted 'Cumbria Dining Pub of the Year' by the Good Pub Guide three times and Steven was awarded 'North West Chef of the Year' by Life Magazine in 2002. It was featured in most of the influential pub and restaurant guides in the country.
In April 2003, Steven and Marjorie were awarded the contract to set up and run the new café within the Lakeland store in Windermere. The First Floor Café has been a great success and is so busy that Steven and Marjorie decided to sell The Punch Bowl Inn in January 2005 so that they could concentrate their energies into the Café. Steven continues to develop his consultancy business and is called upon throughout the year to judge in various competitions and to speak at chefs' conferences - he is the Chairman of Judges for the Gordon Ramsay scholarship, a duty he has performed for the last 4 years. He finds time to be on the committee for the Slow Food movement and is on the management committee for the Academy of Culinary Arts. In 1991 Steven became only the 5th chef to achieve the Master of Culinary Arts award, of which there are only 15 in the country to date.
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