Meet The Maker: With Adele, Gayle And Michele Of Below Decks

Hi ladies! When did you all start cooking?

You could say hospitality is in our blood. Adele and Gayle have spent a whole lifetime living, running, and owning hotels and restaurants.

Following a stay in some holiday flats when aged 11 and 16, they moved into the Norcliffe Hotel, Babbacombe. There, they welcomed Michele (their sister-in-law, and the last third of Below Decks trio) into the family.

We all started working together in the kitchen at Oddicombe Beach cafe in 2004. It was quick and easy takeaway food, but our customers loved it! This gave us something to build on when we took over Below Decks in 2009.

Having been in hospitality all our lives, we’ve been helping out for as long as we can remember. As children, we assisted the chefs with their prep when we were allowed.

Below Decks was the first kitchen that we ran ourselves as chefs, having picked up an abundance of knowledge and tips over the previous years.

Our Head Chef, Marie, joined us 2 years ago. Marie has been cooking since she was 23, starting in a pub kitchen, then moving on to bistros and restaurants before finally settling at Below Decks.

What can you tell us about your restaurant, and how have you approached the menu?

Below Decks is a family-run business, so the restaurant itself had to be family-friendly. We try to cater to everyone, at every time of the day, and we think we’ve managed to achieve that!

We have always wanted a little ‘al fresco’ influence, bringing the outside in. We designed our menu based on what we like to eat, making the most of our local fishing port at Brixham. With great mussels right on our doorstep, they just had to go on the menu!

Below Decks’ menu has evolved a fair bit since Marie joined us two years ago. She’s brought her own style to the mix, which complements ours; she loves to take a simple piece of fish and make it into something special.

Do you have any favourite dishes on the menu?

Scallops and bacon is a firm favourite for Gayle, while Michele and Marie love the Eggs Benedict. Adele, on the other hand, loves a good old bacon bap; plain and simple but a great breakfast on the go!

A favourite of everyone’s is our Moules Frites. Not only is it quick and easy to cook, but it’s a massive hit with our customers too.

Where do you get inspiration from?

We get many of our ideas by visiting other restaurants in the local area, and when on holiday.

We also draw a lot of inspiration from cooking shows on television, and from social media, where food bloggers are huge. Basically, anywhere there may be food, we are taking it all in, and seeing how we can use it in our cooking!

What are you passionate about?

We are passionate about serving good, home-cooked food and giving people a great all-round experience to go with it. With the casual, fine-dining vibe of our restaurant, we want to give you the feeling of a ‘holiday from home’.

Which other local restaurants do you like to eat at?

Torbay has so many great chefs, and we love to try them all! On The Rocks, No7, Hamilton’s, Me & Mrs. Jones, Cantina, and The Elephant to name a few. They all have their own special ways of using the great local produce we’re blessed with here in Devon.

When you are not at your restaurant, how do you like to spend your time?

We love spending time with our families, visiting local beaches… sometimes even camping! Plus we all love to eat out and socialise with our friends.

These are uneasy and uncertain times. How have you as a business responded to COVID-19?

Back in March 2020, we closed our doors before we were forced to. We didn’t want to play a part in the ever-rising cases of COVID-19. However, we certainly didn’t realise that we would still be in the same situation nearly 12 months on.

We miss our customers and look forward to welcoming them back as soon as we’re allowed.

How can we as a community support you as a local business?

Please support us by following us on social media, interacting with our posts, and maybe even sharing some of your memories of Below Decks with people.

Written By: Kelly Widley

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