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Brunning Host

Taste Buds talks to Sam Colton, Operations Manager at Brunning Host, the family business that owns Turtley Corn Mill and The Bridge at Mount Batten

Sam Colton, Operations Manager at Brunning Host, the family business that owns Turtley Corn Mill and The Bridge at Mount Batten

How did you become the Operations Manager for your family business?

In 2005, I was working for a bank in a graduate job in the South East, while daydreaming of being closer to the sea! In August of that year, my parents bought the Turtley Corn Mill. My partner (now husband) and I decided that was a great opportunity to move back to Devon and for me to take on the day-to-day management of the business.

As a company, we own both Turtley Corn Mill and The Bridge at Mount Batten in Plymouth, which we took on in 2010. I work front of house between the two and I’m also responsible for a lot of the operational and behind-the-scenes aspects of the business.

Is there a typical day?

There is no such thing as a typical day in my job, which is absolutely one of the reasons I love it. I usually head to Turtley first thing in the morning. I tend to get there by 8:30am at the latest and more often than not, I will serve breakfast to the residents we have staying with us.

This is when I get the opportunity to see food deliveries coming into the kitchen, keep an eye on the invoices (and prices) and chat to the kitchen team about the menu for the coming day.

Before lunch, I make any changes to our daily menu, taking into account any fish specials that may have come in from the fish market, or any alterations we need to make once all the deliveries have come in.

Turtley and The Bridge are similar but also so different, and I’m very lucky to be able to work in both places on any given day. I go from Turtley’s gorgeous gardens and lakes one day, to the busy Yacht Haven Marina the next!

There are always new food and drink products available and suppliers coming up with innovative ways to use ingredients, so it’s important we keep looking out for those to ensure our menus and drinks lists are interesting for our customers.

What are your main responsibilities at the restaurants?

One of my favourite parts of the job is building strong relationships with our suppliers. We use the same suppliers at both Turtley and The Bridge, many of whom we have known and worked with for ten years or more. For example, our meat comes from Gibbins Quality Meats, which we can trace back to the farm on which the animal was reared. Our fish is supplied by Moby Nicks in Plymouth, who sources directly from Plymouth Fish Market – we even know the boat the fish came from.

Can you tell us about your company ethos?

Our philosophy is to provide good simple food, local beers and a great wine list. Nothing too complicated but everything is done well, taking advantage of local produce, great suppliers and the talent on our doorstep. We hope to create the kind of environment where you can feel comfortable meeting family and friends, celebrating special occasions, or simply popping in for a night without cooking! Nothing too fussy, but perhaps the kind of meals you might not necessarily cook at home, so you feel like you are getting a treat when you come to us.

Are there any offers or events we can look forward to?

During the winter, we run dinner B&B offers at Turtley Corn Mill for a special rate, which includes an overnight stay, an allowance towards your meal of £60 (£30 per person) and breakfast the following morning.

We have a fab coffee loyalty card at The Bridge using the Magic Stamp app (and with a traditional loyalty card for those who prefer). We hope to extend this loyalty card to include pizzas and takeaways in the future. We sometimes have 20% off happy hours at The Bridge during quieter months. And we always encourage customers to follow our social media accounts, as that is where we post our latest offers.



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