Meet Linda Paget
Born and raised in West Dorset, Linda has turned what she loves doing most, into a wonderful food experience for all that she works alongside. Here’s the story behind the creator.
“On leaving school, I went to Weymouth Catering College and worked at a local hotel, which has now been redeveloped into housing. After a few years there, I joined the team at Craft Centre, working closely with Ruth and Kate Guilor.
Having been local to the area, my love of horses and being involved in local initiatives meant that I had the wonderful opportunity to meet people, who would, later in life, become important in my own career development. Such was the case with meeting Sarah Williams (the current co-owner of Redlands Yard with her husband Colin), and her late mum Carol, through our love of all things equestrian.
When I joined the Craft Centre team, I was now also working alongside Sarah, who also worked at the Craft Centre. Time continued, Sarah moved on, I got married and I decided to pursue a career at the Bridge House Hotel in Beaminster (now known as The Ollerod), where I worked for Captain Peter Pinkster. Starting off as a Breakfast Chef, the hours slowly increased, the role increased and I decided to return to Weymouth College and work my way through a patisserie course. Eventually, through a lot of hard work and experience, I was appointed as the Head Chef for the Bridge House Hotel in Beaminster, taking my employment there to 14 years.
Our family started to grow, and with the birth of our son Robert, long split shifts and late hours were becoming challenging. It was time to start looking for more flexibility that would suit our new family routine, and that was when Linda Paget Catering was formed.
I set up a small (to start with) outside catering business from home. Slow to start and difficult to get your name out there, business soon picked up and I found myself being asked to cater for all sorts of events, weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties, wakes, corporate lunches, shoot lunches and more. I enjoyed my time providing outside catering options and made some fabulous friends along the way. I’ve seen so many people get married and I have loved being part of their special day. A huge amount of thanks needs to go to my Mum and Dad who were always there with help along the way!
Soon, 9 years passed and my phone rang. It was a familiar voice and a serendipitous moment that would signal the next change in my business. Sarah had called to ask if I would mind helping them out with a few days of work in the Staddle Stones kitchen. And with that, I was back at The Craft Centre, enjoying all the wonderful changes they’d made to the place, working a few shifts here and there.
Soon, a few shifts turned into a couple of days, which turned into months. I realised that I rather liked this new environment; working with lovely people in a lovely place. And that’s when Linda Paget Catering paused, and my life started to focus on The Craft Centre.
After a couple of years of building our reputation even more as a destination for good food and service, we (along with everyone else) were hit by the effects of Covid-19, and more change lay ahead. This time with the Craft Centre itself. Through a new evolution, the Craft Centre became now more, and Redlands Yard was born. Coupled to this, I was given the wonderful chance to start my own business again, but this time, as a restauranteur, taking over the full-time running of a new on-site restaurant, The Stableyard Restaurant, completely.
Looking back, I realise that my life has almost come a full circle. I’m back where I began, but now doing what I love with years of experience under my belt. I have an opportunity to run a successful restaurant where customers can enjoy coffee, a slice of homemade cake, a lovely cooked lunch or a Dorset Creatm tea, and I’m hoping to bring back some of the outside catering to support this initiative too, where I am able to cater for events that may need some good food; whether this is birthday lunches, summer buffets and picnics, or simply a box of cakes to take to the office (or even a pudding that you can pass off to your guests as your own – we don’t mind!).
And being back in Broadwindsor, doing the job I started out on, years ago, I still have a great love of horses, and that love has developed in Robert too as he now rides for the Beaminster School team, Seavington Pony Club and takes part in Eventing.
And with this amazing opportunity been given to me by Colin and Sarah, I now have the chance to continue on with the legacy that Staddle Stones has developed; and build The Stableyard into a wonderful new opportunity, and I hope to do them proud.