“Heartfelt hospitality” and an overwhelming desire to offer quality food and drink have been the ongoing mission for a family which is celebrating a landmark anniversary as the owners of a popular hotel.
It is now 30 years since Ken and Deidre Buchanan took over The White Swan Inn, Pickering, quickly proving they were well ahead of the curve by offering diners locally produced food.
The couple took pains to ensure the menu was changed on a daily basis, that dishes were freshly cooked, and food sourced from as close to home as possible. They enlisted local butchers for meat and poultry, bought mushrooms and watercress from a Pickering farmer, and hired a “marmalade lady” from the town, who continues to supply the inn to this day.
“This was in 1984, when nobody knew ‘locally sourced’ was a marketing buzzword, it was just the right thing to do. It still is,” says Deirdre’s son Victor Buchanan.
“My parents were real food pioneers in the day, they insisted on provenance, before anyone really knew what it meant in food terms.
“In 1984 most people were enthralled with Babybel processed cheese and chicken in a basket. Not my mother, she scoured the Yorkshire countryside for great producers, and insisted in good cooking with superb ingredients. It’s a deceptively simple formula.”
“It takes lots of integrity not to cut corners on quality, and it’s the reason we’re still in business 30 years later.”
The testament of a well-run hotel is return guests - and the White Swan can boast one particularly loyal customer - Graham Simmons, from Gloucester.
“It’s a friendly place in a manner that is true, genuine and un-commercial,” he said. “A good family run hotel is a rare gem these days. After 27 years I’ve never tired of visiting it.”
Even though it was originally built as a four-room cottage in 1532, The White Swan has, for the majority of its life, served as an inn for the weary traveller. Extensions were added by Ken and Deidre, and further improvements have come from Victor and his wife, Marion, after they took over the inn following Ken’s death in 1990 and Deidre’s retirement seven years later. There is even hope that a third generation will take on The White Swan with Victor and Marion’s children - Hugh, Charlie and Zander - all learning the ropes.