Over 100 guests arrived at Divertimenti’s A Taste of Portugal event on Wednesday 8 May, to celebrate the ceramics of Bordallo Pinheiro alongside those of artisan potter Jose Carvalho. Leandro Carreira, London’s leading Portuguese chef, provided delicious local delicacies for the guests – prepared in the Divertimenti Cookery School, which also celebrates setting a new attendance record.
Guests included journalists, bloggers, designers, existing and new customers, along with representatives of local residents associations, the Brompton design district, Portuguese chamber of commerce and a director of the V&A museum.
The Portuguese Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Manuel Lobo Antunes, attended the event and spent over two hours chatting with guests – and invited the Divertimenti team to join him at a reception at the Embassy the following evening – where the efforts of Divertimenti to promote Portugal and Bordallo Pinheiro were mentioned in welcome speeches to those attending.
Many customers took advantage of the fantastic display of ceramics to add to their collections, whilst one guest purchased the stunning centrepiece ‘Banana’ bowl on the day, to take to her home in France.
A highlight of the event was a visit from the original founders of Divertimenti, Mike and Suzi Schneiderman – still “addicted to cooking and kitchenware” – who declared themselves delighted by the progress at the store. Commenting on the day, Divertimenti’s managing Director Ben Phillips said “After a lot of hard work by the team and support from our brands, the day was a great opportunity to showcase not only all things Portuguese, but also what really can make retail special – and relevant – in today’s world. There was a real buzz and enthusiasm in the store and everyone made a lot of new friends!”
Now operating as an independent store, the Cookery School at Divertimenti has also just recorded it’s busiest ever period since being established on the Brompton Road nearly 15 years ago. In the last ten days, nearly two hundred keen foodies have attended one of eleven different Cookery School events, led by ten different chefs.
Highlights have included classes from Ken Hom (his first appearance at Divertimenti); a Supper Club with Sabrina Ghayour to celebrate the launch of her new book ‘Bazaar’; cookery classes and a Supper Club with renowned chef and writer Jane Lovett; Russian, Peruvian, Butchery Skills and Vegetarian classes; and an event with “Cocoa” author Sue Quinn in conversation with Diana Henry.
Divertimenti’s, Ben Phillips, confirmed to HousewaresNews.net: “This has been an amazing team effort by the store. Our Cookery School and Events Manager, Sami, has been incredible in not only making these events happen, but has worked every hour of the day (and night!) to ensure that the clients and the chefs have been really well looked after – and they’ve all really enjoyed the experience. General Manager Jason and the store team have really pitched in – on a number of occasions working late into the night to rebuild the store after a supper club has taken over, then dismantling it all again the next evening to turn it back into an intimate dining venue.”
“Our Miele-equipped kitchen has performed superbly well throughout – coping with the demands both of top chefs and enthusiastic beginners, for up to 30 people at a time, with only a chance to clean it all down before firing up for the next event. The new Miele Range Cooker with its inbuilt rotisserie – Divertimenti has the only live model in use in London – has been a particular success with our visiting chefs!”