At the age of 18, I spent the summer working as a waitress in the beautiful ski resort of St Anton in Austria. A leading Austrian businessman descended upon the Pension, to stay for a while, complete with secretary, private chef and bodyguard.
Through him, I made the acquaintance of another private chef called Herr Stocker who enrolled me in an intensive cookery training regime, delegating as much of his day-to-day duties as he could.
My tasks, under the watchful eye of my mentor, soon involved collecting freshly smoked fish from the local smoker, butchering local lamb and venison, preparing fresh asparagus, filleting magnificent freshwater fish and generally working with the finest ingredients any chef could imagine, sourced both locally and from all over the globe, including Scottish salmon and Scottish beef which were flown in to order!
This experience from the age of 19 became the foundation of my deep and on-going passion for quality ingredients and food of an exceptional standard.
Now Tony and I are delighted to able to devote our time towards following our ambition to create a countryside retreat offering superb quality, locally sourced organic food and excellent accommodation in a tranquil setting.
On May 18th 1988, we opened Percy’s, a Wine Bar and Restaurant in North Harrow. We opened to a full house of 80 customers.
It was the start of a steep but steady learning curve but thankfully I had a great grounding and I was a fast learner.
Percy’s Wine Bar & Restaurant was very popular from the beginning, so we decided to invest in a property in the country to retire to in a few years’ time. The following Easter, Tony & I ventured West for a few days in search of such a property and found what is now the Coombeshead Estate.
When initially viewing the property, the then owners convinced us that the Devon longhouse would make a fine restaurant. The seed had been sown. The deal was sealed and planning was obtained for conversion of the old granary to 8 spacious rooms.
During the intervening years, Percy’s reputation swiftly gained momentum. In 1996, Percy’s Devon was opened as a Restaurant with Rooms. In 1998, Percy’s in London was sold and all efforts were re-directed to Percy’s in Devon.
Tony and I have created an idyllic rural bolthole, ideally suited to those who want a sumptuous chill-out break in warm, spacious comfortable surroundings, with the opportunity to enjoy the walks and wildlife ponds together with the magnificent views over the moors from the Coombeshead Estate.
My daily menu is freshly prepared with ingredients largely sourced from the surrounding land. For animal lovers, the sheep are relaxed and friendly, as are the Large Black pigs, which love a tummy scratch.
In the summer you can enjoy looking down the valley at the medieval castle in Launceston and in the winter, kick off your wellies and curl up next to one of the wood burning stoves to read a book or play cards. In the spring, April – May time, lambing takes place and for those who wish to get involved, the opportunity is there.
For those who wish to brush up on their own cookery and food management/preparation skills, courses are available all year round. Click on the link for more information on Tina’s Cookery Workshops
For those who wish to bring their own hounds, dogs are accepted in some of the rooms and children over 10 are also very welcome.