a user-contributed guide to the best of suffolkA user-contributed guide to the best of Suffolka user-contributed guide to the best of suffolk Login

Suffolk People: Talking to David Wicks from 745pm

Moat Farm Middle Green

07775 836029

David Wicks is a busy man with many passions and his career has been perhaps more varied than most. The list of jobs he’s had is long and includes: working for the NHS; setting up a furniture design company (and designing the famous ‘Suffolk Recliner’); setting up a software company (and inventing the world’s first ”wysiwyg” word processor software); opening a furniture shop in Woodbridge; setting up a graphic design company; running a Suffolk council’s design and printing department  and finally, turning one of his main passions in life into his new business by setting up his quirky restaurant  745pm in a converted barn, on his farm near Stowmarket.

You’ve had an interesting career to say the least, how do you describe your current ‘job’?

I jokingly call myself “Stockman/Gardener/Chef”. I look after the pigs and hens (I gave up my flock of sheep a year ago after 25 lambing seasons – 65 is too old for the heavy work involved with sheep). I do have a bit of help with the garden these days. An acre of ornamental garden, a sizeable kitchen garden and an acre of orchard is practically a full time job on its own. And Chef is of course a joke. No training whatsoever!

Which bit of your career have you found most enjoyable?

I get an enormous buzz from dreaming of things that have never been conceived before and then creating them. The Suffolk Recliner armchair, which sold about 10,000 worldwide and was held to together with bits of rope, probably gave me the most satisfaction. I had no experience of designing and making furniture, but I had the desire to make the most comfortable chair in the world and I made the dream come true… at least many people who bought it believed it was the most comfortable chair in the world, and it was certainly different.

 How would you describe your current business?

745 has been described on TripAdvisor as a “quirky little restaurant” and I would not disagree. It is small; just 20 covers and it only opens on Friday and Saturday evenings. I set out to create the restaurant that I would like to eat in and that meant overcoming my four big ‘dislikes’ which you often find in restaurants these days: 1) Extensive menus that mean nothing is freshly cooked  2) Overpriced wine  3) The whole business of tipping  4) Being hurried because the table is needed for another booking.

So I have a fixed menu with all five courses freshly cooked; wine is sold at retail price; tipping is forbidden…the price of the meal is the price of the meal – and dining at 745 is not a quick in-and-out affair. 745 is about a whole evening’s experience, not just good food – we don’t do ‘hurried’!

   

What new developments have you got planned?

A tiny wine shop is just about to happen, selling the wine that we serve in the restaurant, plus others. It will have just 50 wines selected from the thousands that I have tasted over the last few years.

Have you got a ‘most memorable moment’ relating to your business?

The most memorable moment was the first evening, 1st April, all fools day. People came and paid good money for the food I had cooked…… that was pretty memorable. I had only ever cooked a few dinner parties before that!

What three things do you like most about living/working in Suffolk?

  1. I love Moat Farm, our home.  I love the sense of history living in one of Suffolk’s moated sites that has probably been occupied for over 800 years.
  2. I adore the spring in Suffolk, particularly the verges smothered in cow parsley. There is nowhere else in the world that I would rather be in late April and May.
  3. Having been brought up in the lonely terraced streets of postwar London, I really enjoy village life. Earl Stonham has to be the best village in the county: Cricket on the playing field on a summer’s afternoon, barn dances in the village hall and a real sense of community…. Can I have a 4th? I love being close to the sea and the coastal heathlands.

   

What is your favourite type of food and do you have a favourite “Suffolk food”?

Italian. I love travelling in deepest rural southern Italy and ending up each evening sitting round a remote farmhouse table eating course after course of simple home made food. My favourite Suffolk food is without doubt Redpoll beef, the traditional Suffolk breed.  Having kept sheep and pigs for most of our married life, beef is a real treat for my wife and me. If we have a special occasion, we always try to buy a huge joint of Redpoll.

Favourite place to go for a walk in Suffolk?

My favourite walk is starting and finishing at the Eels Foot at Eastbridge. Through the woods around the RSPB reserve at Minsmere, stopping for a cup of coffee at the coastguard cottages, along the beach and then back inland across the marshes for a late lunch at the pub.

What is your favourite Suffolk event of the year and why?

The Christmas Eve carol service in Earl Stonham church. The whole village pile into our candle lit, Grade One listed, mediaeval masterpiece to take part in the traditional service of 10 lessons and carols. There is the most wonderful sense of occasion and community.

Favourite Suffolk tipple?

A difficult decision. Is it Victoria or is it Albert? The wonderful ales that started life being brewed behind the Victoria in Earl Soham. We often have sunday lunch there in the winter. Roaring log fire, decent homemade pub grub, and exquisite ales. I usually give up trying to decide which is best and have a pint of each.

Most fun/interesting fact about yourself?

I cut off the end of two fingers on my left hand in a circular saw when I was a furniture maker. They were sewn back on but I lost the feeling in the tips. Recently I severed a nerve in my left thumb with a very sharp knife whilst prepping in the restaurant . I struggle to tie shoe laces, but I can pick up very hot plates!

Thought for the day/philosophy on life?

There is more pleasure to be had in this life from making people happy, than there is from making money.

745pm is in Moat Farm, Middlewood Green near Stowmarket. For more information and to book a table at 745pm, please visit the website. You can also read an article about the restaurant here and feel free to leave your feedback on this or any of our articles, we would love to hear from you.  You can also’like’ us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Share Button