WHILST IN LOCKDOWN
As we entered lockdown, our first concern was everyone’s wellbeing and their ability to support families in such unprecedented times. Peach have been great in helping our team, with access to our hardship fund, zoom quizzes, online DJ sessions and masses of social contact, keeping us all in touch. Some of the pubs helped with Your Hub, a Social Enterprise to support the local community. From feeding homeless, to Youth support centres, NHS call centres, hospitals and care homes. Read more of what the Peach team have been up to here.
As the whole world united to stay strong and get through this pandemic together, so have the team here at The Embankment. We feel incredibly lucky and humble to be part of such a fantastic community and we can not be more thankful to all who have supported us during this time.
So, especially for you, we have put together a little video to let you know what we have been up to and to say thank you. Pour yourself a beverage, sit back relax and enjoy. Watch it here.
Gemma Aylard, General Manager
Gemma’s original plan was to become a graphic designer, a goal she achieved after studying graphics at uni. To keep afloat financially at college, she took on bar work at her local Beefeater in Luton, a job she juggled with office life after graduation. Sitting at a computer all day turned out not to be her thing, though, and Gemma jumped ship to work full time at Beefeater, soon becoming assistant manager. After a stint in hotels in Dubai, Gemma came back to The Black Horse in Ireland, a lovely old inn with rooms in rural Bedfordshire, where she spent a happy couple of years before moving to its sister pub The Birch in Woburn. It was only a matter of time before her path crossed ours; Gemma came to Bedford to join the Embankment team and lost no time in making it her own. After three short years, she’s stepped up to run it. The fun starts here!
Simon Harris, Head Chef
Simon’s inspiration for being a chef was seeing his Dad cook Sunday lunch and the family sitting round the table tucking in. Being able to make people happy through food just seemed right. So he went to Bedford College to get his whites whilst working at The Bedford Swan hotel learning the ropes. Hungry to learn more, Simon cooked at Brasserie Blanc in Milton Keynes, soaking up all he could from Monsieur Blanc’s classically trained brigade. With the move back to The Bedford Swan a year later, Simon’s love affair with two classic Bedfordshire venues began in earnest. He spent the first part rising through the ranks at The Swan, taking the food to Rosette standard in a short time, before getting a new lease of life as sous chef at the fabulous Flitwick Manor Hotel. Simon was at the forefront of a successful team cooking fantastic quality cuisine for every occasion, from bespoke weddings to charity fundraisers and intimate dinners. Back in Bedford a couple of years later, Simon did a stint at The Swan before returning to Flitwick Manor to be their head chef. With all this amazing experience under his belt, our Embankment’s going to fly.
Peach and our Pub
Peach is a collection of really great pubs, mainly in market towns in the heart of England. We serve good quality, fresh, honest food in relaxed, welcoming environments. Always with a kind word and a sense of fun, as you can see from our 10th birthday celebrations.
Today we have nineteen pubs in lovely towns and villages – and an undimmed devotion to Making life Peachy. We’ve always been passionate about giving back and as we’ve developed and grown over the years, our ability and motivation to make the world a little better, a little peachier, has grown with us. The Bigger Peach shows our efforts to improve communities, equality in the workplace and the future sustainability of our world.
The clue to The Embankment’s location in the name! Bedford’s beautifully-landscaped Embankment has wonderful views out over the River Great Ouse, the boathouses and all the hustle and bustle of life on the river.
The Embankment hotel was built in 1891 and we renovated it to reflect its late-Victorian heyday, but with all the modern comforts & facilities of a great pub. The atmosphere is relaxed and hospitable. There is no stuffy hotel lobby or residents’ lounge, just a team of friendly faces to look after you.
It’s one of our most dearly-held values. We only serve what we want to eat and drink ourselves. For 15 years we have sought out the very best food and drink suppliers – ones far more used to supplying Michelin-starred restaurants (and HM The Queen) than market town and village pubs.
We’re not far from local tourist towns like Woburn and just a short drive from Milton Keynes, there’s plenty to do in the local area.
We look forward to seeing you soon,
Gemma & the team