It began with a bet…
In 1996 Tismere’s founder, Kathryn McGill, had a bet with a local medical representative, David Chubb.
David was sponsoring lunch for some local GPs at the time. Kathryn bet she could cook a two course hot meal for less than he would spend buying cold, pre-packaged food at the supermarket.
Kathryn won that bet, and has never looked back.
We still cook for those GPs every week.
From teaching to doing
At the time, Kathryn was working as a home economics and catering teacher at a local secondary school. She had been teaching for over 20 years, helping countless young people learn how to prepare and enjoy healthy, home cooked food. Inspired by her recent experience catering for the doctors, Kathryn decided it was time to put what she had been teaching into practice, so Tilsmere was born. Initially, she only operated part time, whilst continuing to teach. We didn’t advertise: all of our business came via word-of-mouth. We quickly reached the point where there was so much demand for catering that Kathryn could no longer do both, so she gave up her teaching career to embark upon this new adventure full time.
A member of the family
Since then, Tilsmere has become a member of the family. Kathryn’s husband Ross and her three daughters were involved as the business grew. The eldest and youngest – Kirsty and Charlotte – are still involved with the company, and Tilsmere recently provided the catering at Kirsty’s wedding so that the guests could enjoy her favourite salad: curried chickpea salad.
Tilsmere is very much a family firm. We are a family of foodies, so we enjoy developing and testing new recipes, experimenting with new flavour combinations and entertaining. All of the food for Tilsmere’s events is prepared in our home kitchen, so we are constantly surrounded by the smell of something delicious cooking!
Kathryn and Ross have been running Tilsmere for 15 years now. Some of our highlights have included catering for 200 people at a garden party to celebrate the Queen’s golden jubilee and serving a formal dinner in the historic rooms at Sandhurst Royal Military academy.
In 2004 we released the first edition of the Tilsmere Recipe Book, following a huge number of requests from our customers for their favourite recipes. In 2009, Kathryn had the opportunity to take a break from the business and accompany Ross on a business trip around Australia, New Zealand and South Asia, collecting new recipe ideas along the way, which lead to the second edition of the Tilsmere Recipe Book in 2010.
We are still committed to producing great food and helping other people to enjoy great food. 2011 will see the launch of the Tilsmere Recipe Book as an iPhone app, developed by our new son-in-law, Rich. We remain a family-orientated company, but we are also looking to give something back to our local community. We will be helping to improve the local environment by sponsoring the Blackwater/Hawley roundabout, and we will be taking a regular column in the Yateley Town Crier to help share our passion for food with busy people in our area.