Norwich chefs’ passion for food - and each other...

PUBLISHED: 06:49 11 June 2012

Steven Kelly and Georgia Pond at White Lion café in Norwich.  Photo: Bill Smith

Steven Kelly and Georgia Pond at White Lion café in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2012

Two young chefs have combined their passion for food with their love for each other – and discovered a recipe for success.

Former Norwich City College catering students Georgia Pond, 23, and Steven Kelly, 22, spotted a gap in the market and decided to open their own city centre café in the former Ladbroke’s betting shop in White Lion Street serving home-made dishes using free-range, local ingredients.

Miss Pond said:“When we left college, we did various temporary jobs, but we reached a crossroads and couldn’t decide what to do next. Most of my family are self-employed, so when this building came up for sale last August, it just seemed right to think about starting a business.

“When we first went in, It was really dark and gloomy, and all the windows were boarded up, but we spotted its potential and set to work with the help of friends and family.”

After a busy few months the interior was transformed.

All the free-range meat and vegetables come from suppliers in Norfolk and Suffolk. The cakes, bread and sausage rolls are made on the premises, and Georgia can be found loading up the oven every morning at around at around 7.40. The words “gluten-free” also feature quite highly on the menu. “Quite a few members of my family are coeliacs,” said Miss Pond, “so I’m used to baking gluten-free cakes.”

One of the best-selling items is Steve’s Amazing Sausage Rolls, made using free-range pork. They were such a hit, that he set about developing a vegetarian version. “When people see the sausage rolls on the counter, their faces light up. They’re one of our best sellers,” he said.

“Lots of lovely people come in and, however busy we are, I make time to talk,” said Miss Pond. “They’re our friends now.”

Meanwhile, they’re busy planning their wedding in mid-July, with the help of Georgia’s mum, April, former Lib Dem Norwich City councillor.

“The most important thing for us is the food,” said Georgia, “but we won’t be doing it ourselves. We want to relax on the day, so we’ve chosen a catering company to take care of all that.

Things have moved very quickly for the young couple, who didn’t even speak to each other until their third year at college. “We were doing the same course, but in separate classes for the first two years,” explained Steven. “But once we did get talking, everything fell into place. We decided to get engaged because, once you know, you know.”

Now they have a thriving business, a wedding to look forward to and a rosy future. The words above the counter in the café sum it up: “All because two people fell in love.”

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