Can you imagine catering for over 700 people on Christmas Day and cooking thousands of roasts in the lead up to the big day?
That’s the reality for our hard-working kitchen team who, from mid-November, are busy cooking up a festive feast for guests.
We caught up with our head chef, James Etherington, to find out what it is like in the kitchen…
How many roasts do you cook over the festive period?
Thousands and on Christmas Day alone we hand tie 1,200 pigs in blankets. We serve turkey with all the trimmings and have so much food on offer. A lot of people don’t like Christmas pudding, but just want to have a mouthful of it to say they have had it! Cheesecakes and anything with chocolate are also really popular choices.
Of course, we also cater for special dietary requirements, such as gluten and dairy free, as well as having a vegetarian and fish option available.
What is the atmosphere like over Christmas?
It is really special as everyone is happy and in good spirits. In the kitchen we have the radio on and sing Christmas songs, and everyone works so hard. It is worthwhile when you see how happy everyone is and last year we had great feedback, which is a testament to the team. We have someone whose job is just to top up the gravy jugs during service over Christmas!
What is Christmas Day like?
It starts at 4am and finishes for me around 4pm. There is a lot of pressure because it is Christmas Day and you want everything to be perfect! As well as serving families on Christmas Day, we also feed the team working on the day and living on site.
Obviously there is a lot of work involved and after the food has been served and eaten, John Potter will walk round the tables to talk to everyone and so do I. Guests want to have a drink with us after service and I know a lot of them now and they treat us like part of their family.
Guests get really spoiled and even after having a delicious lunch and desserts, they still enjoy their Christmas cake in the afternoon.
I have worked at Potters Resort for 23 years and when I get home I have a shower, spend time with my three boys and my wife, and enjoy a cold beer. I have some food about 10pm, normally just a sandwich as I have seen too much turkey, and then go to bed!
Do you have any advice for anyone preparing the Christmas lunch this year?
Make sure you cook it right! It would be great to see people be more adventurous and maybe try an exotic fish. Gammon is my favourite though as it has so much flavour!
Thanks to James and all the kitchen team who really help to make our Christmas breaks so special.