The Yellow Door in Portadown, a leading Northern Ireland catering business, is to provide on-site catering at Hillsborough Castle as part of the major project to open the castle up to the public by Easter 2019.
The prestigious contract win will result in the creation of 35 new jobs at The Yellow Door and is worth in the region of £6 million to the company, which continues to expand its reach in this competitive market sector.
Work at the castle is in the final stages of a five-year £20 million investment by Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that cares for the Castle, to re-open the doors of Hillsborough castle and grounds to the public on April 10.
Yellow Door, headed by Simon Dougan and business partner Barry Smyth, a Michelin star chef, beat off stiff competition to win the five-year contract, which will see The Yellow Door providing all catering services at the newly built Hillsborough Castle Café and the Stable Yard Tea Room.
“In keeping with the historic nature of Hillsborough Castle we also aim to use varieties of heirloom vegetables such as purple carrots, and some of the more uncommon herbs like lovage and blue hyssop, as well as Chilean guavas, which were reported to be Queen Victoria’s favourite fruit,” said Mr Dougan.
While The Yellow Door already grows a lot of these vegetables and herbs, the company will liaise with the castle’s head gardener at the reinstated four-acre walled garden on the choice of seasonal produce to be grown specifically for use in the new kitchens.
Gina George, retail director at Historic Royal Palaces, which is now responsible for the castle, added: “We are pleased to have awarded The Yellow Door the contract for our new catering outlets at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens.
“Following a five-year cross site £20 million investment by Historic Royal Palaces, our new café and tea-room will open to the public when the Castle re-opens on April 10, 2019.
“The Yellow Door perfectly matched our brief to ensure there is a strong emphasis on quality local and seasonal produce with a menu that will be inspired by the history of the estate.
“We look forward to working with them in this new chapter for the castle.”