World-renowned operator to take over catering at The Alnwick Garden

Mark Brassell CEO (The Alnwick Garden) and Matt Thomas MD of Searcys.
Mark Brassell CEO (The Alnwick Garden) and Matt Thomas MD of Searcys.

Searcys, which was set up by the former pastry chef to the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland in the 1800s, has been appointed as official caterer for The Alnwick Garden and The Treehouse.

Founded by John Searcy in 1847, the confectioner and pastry chef to the Duke and Duchess from 1837 to 1847, Searcys’ iconic restaurants, Champagne bars and events have a world-renowned, long-standing reputation for quality and innovation. The first ever event caterers in the UK, they’ve carved out a name as brave market-leaders, launching bold, forward-thinking concepts.

Mark Brassell CEO (The Alnwick Garden) and Matt Thomas MD of Searcys.

Mark Brassell CEO (The Alnwick Garden) and Matt Thomas MD of Searcys.

It was thanks to the Duke of Northumberland at the time that John Searcy was able to set up the company. After ten years working at Alnwick, he realised how sought after he was. John spoke to the Duke and Duchess about starting up his very own catering company, he wanted his skills and confections to be enjoyed by others outside of Alnwick Castle. The Duke and Duchess both agreed, and even loaned him money to help start him off. And John Searcy & Sons, the company, was founded in 1847.

And now, 170 years later, the company is returning to where it started.

The Duchess of Northumberland said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Searcys at The Alnwick Garden. They have a world-renowned reputation for quality, sustainability, and innovation, using locally-sourced produce to create a delightful food and beverage offering that fits our vision of The Alnwick Garden and The Treehouse.”

Mark Brassell, CEO of The Alnwick Garden, said, “We have become one of the busiest visitor attractions in the UK and it is now time to take our hospitality to the next level, whilst retaining high quality, good value, locally-sourced produce where possible.

Mark Brassell CEO (The Alnwick Garden) and Matt Thomas MD of Searcys.

Mark Brassell CEO (The Alnwick Garden) and Matt Thomas MD of Searcys.

“Searcys has an impeccable reputation, with clients that include The Orangery at Blenheim Palace, the award-winning Design Museum in Kensington, and the restaurants and bars at the iconic Gherkin and St Pancras International. The new partnership will create a spectacular and innovative food and drink offering at both The Treehouse and The Alnwick Garden with new concepts going live in the spring of 2019. We are also delighted that all our staff will be retained and we look forward to this exciting next stage together.”

Matt Thomas, MD of Searcys said: “We are incredibly honoured to become the official caterer to The Alnwick Garden. We will continue to support the values important to this landmark British location and first home of Searcys.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to make a positive contribution to the local community whilst sharing our commitment to provenance and sustainability. Together, we are committed to sourcing sustainable ingredients, working with British farmers to ensure that up to 90% of all seasonal fruit and vegetables are grown in the UK.

“We guarantee that only UK-reared fresh meat, flour milled in England, free-range eggs and milk from Red Tractor-certified farms and sustainable tuna (line and pole caught) will be used on the menus and we are looking forward to providing the highest level of service and showcase the best of local produce in the months to come.”