Operator draws on industry expertise for new training academy

Lucky Onion cocktail

A group of hotels, pubs and restaurants in the Cotswolds has launched its own academy for training staff, drawing on the expertise of suppliers and brand ambassadors.

The Lucky Onion, headed by husband and wife team Sam and Georgie Pearman, will use its Drinks Academy to offer personalised training schemes covering spirits, wines, ales and coffee.

It is aimed at its own employees who work at sites such as boutique hotels No 131 and No 38 The Park in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, as well as the critically acclaimed Wheatsheaf Inn in Northleach, Gloucestershire, and restaurants The Tavern in Cheltenham and The Chequers in Churchill, Oxfordshire.

They will be developing training programmes in collaboration with respected professionals from suppliers in the UK and overseas such as Coe Vintners, Diageo Reserve Brands, Nyetimber, Cave de Pyrenée, Chase, Cheltenham’s Bobby Beer and Somerset restaurant The Ethicurean which produces its own vermouth.

The Lucky Onion Drinks Academy has also brought on board Alex Turner, who started his career at leading London bars such as Dick’s Bar at Atlantic Bar & Grill and Lab. Formerly head of the training team at Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands, he is now head of advocacy at Coe Vintners.

Staff will go through a year-long course, leading to industry qualifications, and can choose to specialise onwards from diploma to master stages.

The business expanded in February with the addition of The Lucky Onion Club which runs pop-up events and residences. It has collaborated with top chefs such as Mark Hix, Valentine Warner and Fergus Henderson and musician Gregory Porter with more planned with the likes of chefs Sabrina Ghayour, Richard Turner of Hawksmoor and Jack Bevan from the Ethicurean.

Upcoming events include The Ketel One Kitchen where Ketel One vodka’s UK brand ambassador David Beatty will put together inventive cocktails for pairing with a visiting chef’s menu.

David’s work on the project will provide The Lucky Onion Drinks Academy’s participants with insights into developing creative recipes and planning menus “for a heightened drinking experience”.

In a statement, Sam and Georgie said: “It’s been a great year of growth for The Lucky Onion, and we are hugely excited for this next stage. With all that we do, we always strive to create a wonderful experience for our guests and believe that The Lucky Onion Drinks Academy will bring an extra dimension to the service we already provide.”

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