Booked up for summer: Chef gets 2,000 requests in hours
One of Norfolk’s top restaurants has been swamped with more than 2,000 enquiries since announcing its plan to reopen.
Celebrity chef Galton Blackiston, who owns and runs Michelin-starred Morston Hall at Morston, near Blakeney, and No 1 fish and chip shop in Cromer said he had been concerned whether people would even venture out again.
But after posting on social media that the restaurant was reopening on July 4, he received more than 2,000 emails for bookings in a couple of hours, as well as constant phone calls.
The demand has been so great that he has had to assign a member of staff simply to deal with it. And not surprisingly, the reopening weekend of July 4 is already booked up – with the rest of the month and August looking the same.
He said: “I was worried about people venturing out but now I have the opposite problem. But where better to come than north Norfolk?
“I want to make sure people, and that includes staff, are comfortable though as things are going to be changing a bit. People used to arrive and sit in luxury, in the lounge or outside for drinks and canapes but now we will have to take them straight to their table.
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“We are lucky because we do have space. We are going to be offering six tables in the restaurant, six in the conservatory and six in the orangery. The menu won’t be changing, though.
“It is lovely to have the support and that goes for No 1 in Cromer too.”
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Mr Blackiston said he, like many restaurateurs, feared for the industry on lockdown although with owning Morston Hall outright he said he did not have a mortgage or rent to pay, just bills.
He said he would had to close all his cookery demonstrations for the rest of the year but was hoping to team up with his friend, TV chef James Martin, soon for some new cookery programmes.
During lockdown, he said he had found a new love of gardening and spent “more time than ever before” at No 1 in Cromer, where they had been opening up for takeways.
He said: “We’ve only been allowing two people in, two people out and people have really supported us.
“If you’d asked me a month or so ago about how I felt things would go, I would have said: ‘I don’t know, we are throwing a lot of balls up in the air’, but now I am very confident that July and August will be bumper. By that I mean Morston will be full.”