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The Business Magazine July 2024
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Cirencester catering and food company is Relishing the future

The Business Magazine article image for: Cirencester catering and food company is Relishing the future
Philippa Sawyer and Rob Goves
3 July 2024
Philippa Sawyer and Rob Goves

The next few months are looking busy for The Relish Group's event catering arm. From the chefs behind the celebrity chef at Yurtel at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, to running the entire hospitality at the Royal International Air Tattoo later this month and then on to managing the Public Café at the Cheltenham Literature Festival later this year.

Cirencester-based Relish, which began as an event catering company in the 90’s running hospitality catering for a handful of Greenfield events, has branched out into operating restaurants, cafes and bars across the Cotswolds, and is now investing in its latest project, Cirencester's former Harry Hare's pub.

Having taken over the pub in 2022, the team set about upgrading the Cirencester venue into a casual, fine dining restaurant. Renovations are now complete and the pub, now called Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grill, is also running an events and promotions throughout summer and beyond. These include Summer Soiree, Sunday sessions featuring live music from local musicians and seasonal menu changes.

Also available for private hire, Henry’s offers celebration catering, led by Head Chef, Warwick Nicholson.

The second Cirencester food establishment taken over by the Relish Group is Jacks Café. After securing new management, a rebrand, internal freshen up, and a menu overhaul, this well-established café is now regularly packed out.

The production kitchen in Cirencester supplies wholesale products for many Cotswold locations including Dunkerton’s Cider Shop and Burford Garden Company

Relish was founded and is still led by Philippa Sawyer.

Philippa joined the new events division of brewing behemoth, Whitbread PLC on the graduate training programme in London. She rapidly shot through the ranks to lead the division, attracting prestigious clients including the Queens Tennis Tournament, Ascot, Goodwood and many high end corporations. Following Lord Youngs 1989 Beer Orders Act, and the forced sell-off of pubs by breweries, Philippa Sawyer purchased Whitbread’s events division from Sam Whitbread in an ‘eventful and entertaining meeting’ for just £1, and established Relish.

The evolution of the corporate, sporting and festival scene and, more specifically, the desire to support the ‘main event’ with an equally involved hospitality feature, focussed Relish on the provision of high end events. Contracts with the likes of Porsche at the UK’s leading testing and proving ground soon progressed to a wide ranging portfolio of partners and preferred supply appointments within the automotive and competitive racing industry both in the UK and beyond. 

Meanwhile co-director Rob Goves, was rising through the ranks in the culinary world turning his passion for cooking into a professional career. After completing his studies at Charterhouse School, Rob took a year out to explore his passion for food in London. He spent the year training at Youngs PLC in Chelsea, London working in Michelin star kitchens, finally returning to Bristol to complete his studies. His love of gastronomy, food photography and the draw of the busy kitchen led him to accept a job as Sous Chef at one of Bristol’s busiest and most popular restaurants on the day he graduated.

A move to The Cotswolds in 2007 and a new non-executive role with Relish saw the start of a new business partnership. During the operation of the largest transient event in Europe, The Country Land Owners Game Fair in 2011, Relish engaged Rob to manage the members food offering and develop the countryside and sustainable themed menu for this event. Rob soon joined Philippa on the board of Directors as a partner in the Relish Group.

The company set up around 25 years ago now has a growing turnover of in excess of £15m a year.


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Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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