The Yellow Door’s Simon Dougan has secured the on-site catering contract for Hillsborough Castle, as the estate prepares to open to the public this coming Easter.
The contract is estimated to be worth around £6m to The Yellow Door, and will result in the creation of 35 new jobs.
The castle is currently undergoing a five year, £20m renovation project overseen by Historic Royal Palaces, an independent charity that manages the castle as well as icons such as the Tower of London and Kensington Palace.
The five year contract won by Simon and his business partner, Michelin starred chef Barry Smyth, will see The Yellow Door providing all catering services at the newly built Hillsborough Castle Café and the Stable Yard Tea Room.
The Yellow Door places an emphasis on local, fresh and seasonal produce, along with on-site composting. The company is working towards zero waste to landfill and will be liaising with the castle's head gardener at the reinstated four acre walled garden to grow seasonal produce specifically for use in the new kitchens.
“In keeping with the historic nature of Hillsborough Castle we also aim to use varieties of heirloom vegetables such as purple carrots, and some of the more uncommon herbs like lovage and blue hyssop, as well as Chilean guavas, which were reported to be Queen Victoria’s favourite fruit,” explained Simon Dougan.
Already one of the official caterers at Hillsborough Castle, where he has cooked for numerous VIP guests, Simon is equally passionate about his latest venture. “We have catered for many VIP guests during their visits at Hillsborough, as well as weddings and high-end corporate events. Adding the new public café and tea room to our offering is the icing on the cake,” he explained.
Gina George, Retail Director at Historic Royal Palaces, said: “The Yellow Door perfectly matched our brief to ensure there is a strong emphasis on quality local and seasonal produce with a menu that will be inspired by the history of the estate. We look forward to working with them in this new chapter for the Castle.”