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Rodean Celebrates

Matthew and Lizzie Tilt are celebrating their 20th year at Rodean Restaurant in Kenton. Taste Buds reflects on their success

A dish served at Rodean Restaurant in Kenton

Matthew Tilt, Chef Proprietor, and Elizabeth Tilt, Front of House, have now been running Rodean Restaurant for two decades.

Matthew began his culinary journey at Farnborough College, where he completed his City & Guilds Levels 1 and 2. He worked his way up in various kitchens from pubs to restaurants and then gained experience in country house hotels. Matthew also spent time in Paris to enhance his skills and broaden his knowledge. Eventually, he went on to open his own restaurant.

Rodean opened in August 1999. Lizzie explains: “The attraction of opening a restaurant was to enable us to spend time together with our sons Josh and Charlie, while doing what Matthew loves best. We set up our business in beautiful Devon, as at the time, we couldn’t afford the prices in the New Forest where we were based.”

Diversity has been key to Rodean’s success. “Over the years, we have had to diversify to keep the business thriving. This has included providing primary school lunches and catering for corporate events and weddings,” continues Lizzie.

“The restaurant has always been our main focus and we have a strong following of regular customers. We refresh our menus every season and endeavour to keep up with the constant fashion changes in the food world. We enjoy working with Exeter College and take pride in seeing our past students flourish,” she adds.

Lizzie’s advice to anyone wanting to open a restaurant comes from the wise words of her father: “location, location, location!”

As far as the future goes, the couple hopes to continue what they have been doing for the past 20 years. “Why would we change something that’s worked so well for so long?” she smiles.

Rodean’s summer tasting menu with matching wine flight is running from the beginning of July. Come along to experience the excellent food and friendly staff firsthand. Lizzie says: “We will also be holding an event to celebrate our 20th anniversary on Sunday 18 August and hope to see all our regulars there, as well as welcoming new customers.”

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