North East chef and restaurateur Terry Laybourne has broken his own lockdown to launch a new click and collect food and drink service.
Terry has left his partial self-isolation at his Corbridge home to join some of his chefs working out of the kitchen at his flagship 21 restaurant on Newcastle’s Quayside.
It’s a welcome relief for the multi-award-winning chef who saw his 21 Hospitality Group of six Newcastle restaurants close for business when the lockdown was first introduced in March.
Like many across the hospitality sector and wider population, he’d hoped the coronavirus lockdown might have been shorter and a return to normality a bit quicker. It now seems that Café 21, Saltwater Fish Co, Porterhouse, 21, the Broad Chare and St Vincent will not be able to open until July at the earliest, but that will depend on social distancing restrictions.
Terry explained: “Not many of us envisioned that we would still be living under such challenging conditions. The fine weather and the many messages of goodwill from customers have made things a little more bearable – but it’s been tough. We all miss the work, cooking, serving and looking after our diners.
“Last weekend brought an about-turn in my thinking on all things takeaway. I was adamant I didn’t want to do it, but here we are a week or so later launching 21 at Home. We hope we can all have a bit of fun with it; keep ourselves stimulated, our minds active and customers well fed.”
Initially, Terry and his team are offering a collection service Thursday to Saturday 4pm-7pm, starting with a choice of 21 crowd pleasers. Ordering is simple – visit www.21athome.co.uk – click on the calendar to select a date, choose a collection slot, choose your favourite menu items, then check out and follow the payment instructions.
Terry said: “We’re offering some of our best loved dishes along with detailed cooking instructions allowing people to re-create their own 21 experience with ease.
“We’re already expanding our initial limited menu, offering people some comfort food, celebration cakes and a bit of luxury too, which I’m sure many will be missing.”
He added that as a cook, this is the most exciting time of the year as new fruit and vegetables come into season. “Out in the field we’ve had an abundance of wild garlic and woodruff and as the seasons alter, we’re anticipating the first elderflowers and early English strawberries,” said Terry.