There are scary chefs and there are smiley chefs, and Andrew Mackenzie at Lainston House is definitely a smiley chef.
He’s so smiley, in fact, that when the Exclusive Hotels and Venues Group, of which the five-star hotel near Sparsholt is a part, decided to launch a Chefs Academy to nurture rising talent, it was Andrew they asked to lead it.
And so the executive chef who transformed Lainston House’s restaurant into a cracking place for really good locally-sourced food suddenly found himself back in the classroom.
You’ve probably seen our Spring issue cover artist Don Lavelle painting life on High Street, in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral or in a tucked-away corner of the city. That’s because he spends six days a week in Winchester, working in all weathers, and has done for many years, always finding something new to capture on canvas.
“Before I retired I was a chemist,” he says, “and that scientific part of me lends itself well to making sure the paintings are spot-on architecturally and that everything is in proportion. But it’s always the people in them that bring them to life. I regularly ask someone interesting-looking to pose for me for a few minutes so I can add them in.”
Meet Kev. He’s been selling The Big Issue in Hampshire for nearly five years, and rain or shine he has a song, a joke or a friendly word for the people who pass by his regular pitch on High Street, just outside The Body Shop.
Taken into care as a youngster, Kev spent years living homeless on the streets of London before heading south. “I was the guy you see in a doorway,” he says. “I used to hitch just to have somewhere to go. It didn’t really matter where the lorry drivers were heading. I’d go round the motorways and come back to where I started.”
He wowed the judges of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent with a magic show like no other, and is now a household name, enjoying sell-out shows across the UK. But Ben Hart says it’s in Winchester that he’s most looking forward to performing this Spring, with his one-man show gracing the stage in his home city, at Theatre Royal.
In 2002 Theo Mezger immersed himself in an unusual retirement project: creating the finest ice cream using local ingredients, which he lovingly named after his wife.
What started as a hobby in his home just outside Winchester impressed family and friends so much that he began to supply local pubs, starting with The Chestnut Horse.
Word spread and Jude’s won the first of many Great Taste Awards for its vanilla ice cream.
Meet Simon Claridge from Claridge Fine Art on Southgate Street, whose dazzling diamond-dust art works have been snapped up by celebrities the world over.
They’re the sort of thing you can easily imagine hanging in a celebrity pad (Rod Stewart, Claudia Schiffer and Nick Faldo all have ‘a Claridge’). But they’re brilliantly executed too, and would be equally at home on a Winchester wall.