Agata Domarecka food & drink PR

A big cheer for Agy at Rusty Pig

Hurrah for the Rusty Pig

I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Robin Rea for several years now as one of my food & drink PR clients. Robin owns Rusty Pig in Ottery St Mary, a restaurant, butchers shop, specialist charcuterie wholesaler and wedding caterer (if you want a wedding feast, he’s the man to talk to). PR has been good; awards shortlistings, contributing to Devon Life’s Christmas Hamper (three years in a row), brokering reviews plus a whole lot of press releases and feature articles.

Robin, it has to be said, has a unique personality. He goes his own way, not compromising on his beliefs and way of life to make greater profits or jump up a notch or two in the chef stakes. Robin is his own man.

Rusty Pig has been a fixture in Ottery since 2011 but over the past year there have been some really positive changes. The superb Mark Russell joined as resident chef, allowing Robin to develop other aspects of the business. And then, early in 2017, a small explosion occurred when new restaurant manager Agata Domarecka was appointed.

I’ve come across Agy a few times, notably when Devon Life Ed Andy Cooper sent me an email from her suggesting a feature on her partner, leathermaker Matthew Bailey (writing it at the moment, watch this space). I bumped into her at The Source trade show at Westpoint Exeter where we had both gone to support Robin who was exhibiting his charcuterie with business partner Paul Young.

Food & drink PR

Next up, I interviewed Agy for a press release about her appointment. She’s an amazing lady, full of energy, full of ideas. Originally from Poland, Agy has been working in the UK for 10 years, starting as a waitress then being promoted to restaurant manager at Combe House before it became a Pig (not a rusty one).

I distributed the press release last week and had some nice feedback, especially from Devon Life who had popped in for brekkie on her first day and saw exactly what I was talking about!

It’s always been a privilige to work with the Rusty Pig team – they are as friendly as anything and okay, sometimes a bit cheeky (you know who you are). I suspect Agy’s appointment will herald a new chapter in the fortunes of the business – she is taking a firm grip and shaking a few things up a bit. She’ll soon have customers eating out of her hand.

A good time to book dinner – and meet the whirlwind that is Agy!

Exeter Cookery School where I was feature writing

Get baking – Devon style!

I’m fortunate enough to work as a feature writer for a number of regional magazines. I say fortunate because feature writing has brought me into contact with an array of fascinating people over the years.

This year for the first time I have been reviewing restaurants in Devon, the White Hart at Dartington, Dukes in Sidmouth and the Phoenix in Chudleigh (I just can’t say Chudleigh without slipping into a northern accent, don’t ask me why). The experience has been rather enjoyable!

So when I attended the launch of Exeter Cookery School it struck me that here was another, if different, foodie establishment that I could review. I’ve met the founders, Jim and Lucy Fisher, many times over the past year or so while they’ve been setting the business up, a long process which has resulted in a stunning location on Exeter Quay and a beautiful environment in which to learn to cook.

Taste Buds Magazine duly commissioned the review and I found myself signed up for a breadmaking course. Now, I can’t go into too much detail as that would pre-empt the review, due out later in the year. However I will say that as someone who hasn’t baked ‘proper’ bread for some decades, the experience gave me lots of confidence. During the course I and three fellow students (teacher Jo, Nicola from Amos Lighting and Mr Devon Hour himself) made focaccia, brioche Chelsea buns and brioche rolls, as well as a beautiful Couronne au Fines Herbes.

We left the course laden with goodies, not only the breads we had cooked, but a lovely stash of brioche dough to play with at home. The next day I proudly presented my children with a freshly baked chocolate brioche loaf, which stunned them more or less into silence, mainly because their mouths were full of the delicious bread.

Like everyone who has met Jim and Lucy, who are warm, friendly and generous, I wish them every success with the schoool – maybe I can write a feature on another course next year, something with chocolate this time?

In the meantime, feature writing is very much on the agenda for the coming months; next up are two features for Devon Life, one on hand made, Devon-made leather goods, and the other a male voice choir!

Rearching feature writing at Exeter Cookery School on Exeter Quay