The Bell's Bonfire & Fireworks Featuring The Shakespeare Hospice Firewalk Drew in The Crowds

The Bell's third annual Bonfire and Fireworks Display took place at the village pub on Friday 3rd November 2017, and proved a huge success with the crowds! 

This year the proceedings began with The Shakespeare Hospice Firewalk where over 40 brave individuals walked over hot coals raising approximately £12,315.61 for the charity. 

The crowd congregated by the enormous bonfire, with a rather flamboyant looking guy (made by The Shakespeare Hospice Diversional Therapy patients and work experience team in the Young Peoples Services department) perched on top , to watch it set a blaze. A spectacular 18 minute firework display followed which was said to be "the best yet" by those that have attended annually.

Local duo Dos Gatos entertained the revellers with live music whilst The Bell provided BBQ food and mulled wine from one of two outdoor bars. Volunteers from The Shakespeare Hospice  kept the children happy with glowing memorabilia, toffee apples and face painting.

The event was free to attend with all voluntary donations to The Shakespeare Hospice.

Participants from companies in and around Stratford, including Xtreme Gyms, CCL Solutions Group, The Bard’s Cricketers, BDR Voice & Data Solutions Ltd, and Alscot Estate, walked over 20 feet of 1236 degrees Fahrenheit red hot wood embers. Emma Holman-West, CEO of Alscot Estate and owner of The Bell, took part in the Firewalk and has so far raised over £4K in her sponsorship campaign “Conquering the Coals!”

View the gallery of photographs. 

Head Chef's South African Influenced Ten Course Tasting Dinner

On Friday 3rd Nov 2017 Karol made the 8,361 mile journey to La Colombe; one of South Africa’s most iconic and internationally acclaimed fine dining establishments in Cape Town, to join Chef Proprietor, Scott Kirton.

Upon his arrival Karol found his feet sightseeing the magnificent coastal city of Cape Town; the capital and primate city of the Western Cape province.

Eager to start work under Scott's wing in the renowned restaurant, recently voted 7th Best Restaurant in The World, Karol started work in the kitchen on Monday 6th November.

On Friday 26th January Karol created and presented an exclusive ten course tasting menu, including a glass of fizz on arrival and delicious wines recommended and presented personally by Chris Plimmer of Enotria & Co, to an intimate group of diners in the beautiful balcony restaurant at The Bell. 

Read our blog about Karol's work experience in South Africa and his inspirations for the special tasting menu on his return. 

Day One ; Scott introduced Karol to his team and he worked on the starter/appetiser section. 

Day Two; Karol progressed to mains and felt the heat in the busy kitchen

Day Three; Today has been all about working in Scott's sister restaurant the Foxcroft and charcuterie

Day Four; The food looks and tastes amazing but it takes 15 minutes to plate just five dishes! It's all in the detail..

Day Five; The final day with Scott and the teams at La Colombe and Foxcroft and Karol enjoys the theatre in creating a sensory experience which is a palette cleanser for the delighted diners.

Head Chef Karol To Embark On a Work Experience Trip Of A Lifetime To South Africa

As a committed company with an excellent Head Chef, who has a continual enthusiasm for his culinary art and is constantly striving to improve and create, Karol Szmigiel is about to embark on a work experience trip of a life-time.

With Emma’s credence Karol will be making the 8,361 mile journey to La Colombe; one of South Africa’s most iconic and internationally acclaimed fine dining establishments in Cape Town, to join Chef Proprietor, Scott Kirton.

Karol and Scott met earlier this year in Thailand and discovered that they share a mutual passion in food excellence and taste. 

2015 Eat Out San Pellegrino Chef of the Year, Scot entered the kitchen at Haute Cabriere restaurant in Franschhoek in 2001 with no training and quickly worked his way up to sous chef over a period of 4 years. During this time he embarked on a stint at the acclaimed Savoy Grill in London, one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants and when he returned to South Africa he joined another top chef, Luke Dale Roberts, at La Colombe. In 2009 Scott was appointed as Head Chef of South Africa’s iconic River Café and in 2010 he followed in the rather large footsteps of esteemed chefs Franck Dangereux and Luke Dale Roberts by becoming Head Chef of La Colombe.

Scott Kirton’s philosophy and approach lies in the fusion of Asian and French cuisine and the pursuit of excellence and perfection on each plate, resulting in numerous local and international awards.  The freshest seasonal produce, uncomplicated clean flavours and classical elegance are the essence of his inspiration and passion for food. Scot’s delivery of classic signature dishes and his endless array of sublime new inspirations form the mainstay of La Colombe’s Tasting Menu. 

It’s said that La Colombe; a frequent contender in the San Pelligro World’s Top 50 Best Restaurants, is a truly unforgettable experience. Located on the picturesque Silvermist organic wine estate at the top of Constantia Nek, with breath-taking views overlooking the Constantia wine valley, False Bay and Hout Bay. Accolades come by on a regular basis and are impressive; Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants, Trip Advisor Top 20 Restaurants in the World, Trip Advisor Best Restaurant in Africa, World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards.

Karol starts his work in the kitchen, with Scott’s accomplished team, at La Colombe on 5th November with an energetic eagerness and willingness to learn. Whilst away he will share his experience with us via his Twitter feed @ChefKarolontour and via our website blog. On his return Karol will create and deliver, on 23rd Nov, a very special tasting menu to reflect the influences of this truly awe-inspiring trip.

 

Charity Fashion Show Raises over £4,000 for The Shakespeare Hospice and Stratford Bards Cricket Club

The Fashion Show by Gemini Woman and dinner at The Bell held on Thursday 21st September was a huge hit with guests. Tickets for the fashion show to support The Shakespeare Hospice and Stratford Bards Cricket Club sold out within days and the place was buzzing during the course of the evening. Guests enjoyed fizz and canapes on arrival, a two course dinner, an auction, raffle and a fashion show and pop up shop by Gemini. The evening event raised £4014 for the respective organisations.

Many local individuals and companies supported the event with prizes and services including; Sally Crane Photography, Robert Hunt (compere), Gorgeous Obsession, Richard Paul Hire, Taittinger UK, Motus Training, Jane Scrivner, The Retreat Leamington Spa, Cotswold Distillery, Design HD, Elan Spa Mallory Court, Lister JLR, Monsoon Estates Coffee Co, The Straw Kitchen and The Garden Café. 

 

Alan Pugsley, Master Brewer

The team were lucky enough to receive training from a true brewing legend, Mr Alan Pugsley, Master Brewer, President of Pugsley's Brewing Projects International and one of the most influential players in the revival of craft brewing. After finishing at Warwick School he achieved a degree in biochemistry at Manchester University and joined the Ringwood Brewery. In 1986 he arrived in the US to set up the DL Geary Brewing Co and went onto set up over 80 more breweries in North America. In 1994 Pugsley became a partner in Portland's Shipyard Brewing Company, who are now the 16th largest craft brewer in the US and produce Shipyard American Pale Ale. 

The Journey of The Baby Bell!

It has been transformed from being an ugly duckling into a bright pink flamingo - literally! The old huntsman's cabin was re-modeled in-house by the Alscot build team with the help of a few contractors to assist with graphics, electrics and the all important lines for the cold beer! The Baby Bell, which is now in situ in the meadow, will service the garden throughout the summer and also outdoor functions. 

Finalist in LABC Building Excellence Awards 2017

Our new two storey contemporary extension, designed by MRT Architects and constructed by Cotswold Oak, was nominated in the category for Best Small Commercial Building.

These awards highlight builders and developers who have achieved outstanding quality in their construction work.

So far the nominations have been assessed by an independent judging panel and we are pleased to announce that our project has made it through to the final!  Winners will be announced on 22nd June 2017.  

Announcing Our Chosen Charity for 2017..... The Shakespeare Hospice

 The Shakespeare Hospice, based in Stratford upon Avon, is a charity registered with the Charity Commission (registered charity no. 1064091) and is a day hospice providing support for patients, living with a diagnosis of life limiting illness, and their carers and families.

The dedicated nurses, counsellors and therapists provide physical, emotional and practical support to adults, children and young people. Services include transitional support for those that are living with a life limiting illness, those suffering bereavement or for people who are caring for seriously ill family members.

As a company, Alscot and The Bell, choose to support one or two local charities per year in order to help make a significant difference.

We are proud to be a member of Businesses Supporting Stratford; a group of local businesses crowdfunding local company initiatives by committing a total of £110,000 per year to the community in cash or services. Visit our page here.   

If you would like your charity to be considered for support please contact us.