They all want Chef Tony’s figgy pudding!

CHEF Tony Shepard retired from Bournemouth’s Marsham Court Hotel last year after 30 years in the job. But the 65-year-old was happy to pop back in this month and cook up a batch of his ‘secret recipe’ Christmas puddings.

Tony (pictured) joined the Marsham Court in Russell-Cotes Road as Head Chef, 31 years ago, when it was owned by the De Vere hotel group.

Shortly afterwards the hotel was bought by Jennie Deavin and her family – for whom Tony worked for the rest of his career, until finally hanging up his apron last December.

Rosie Wallace, daughter of the late Jennie Deavin and now MD of the Marsham Court, said: “I’ve watched Tony make the Christmas puddings since I was about 10 years old and it was like losing a member of the family when he retired, so it’s great to see him back in the kitchen working his magic.

“Our Christmas puddings are a key part of our festive celebrations here at the Marsham Court, with guests taking turns to stir Tony’s mixture and then a grand lighting and serving ceremony on Christmas Day itself.

“The recipe is also a closely kept secret which Tony cannily took with him – so he has guaranteed himself an invitation back every year!”

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