"As a long-standing and well-respected butler, I am not at liberty to discuss my day-to-day life. (If I did, Her Ladyship’s thoroughbred Spaniels would be set upon me at once.)
Instead, let me talk to you for a moment about Dormen. And how they became the only nibbles you’ll find hiding under my cloche."
In 1985, when No. 10’s walls were red, and mushroom vol-au-vents were the height of elegance, a burgeoning Dormen Food Company earned its very first appointment. Unlike many far less scrupulous snack suppliers, only London’s best hotels would do. Putting smiles on even the most po-faced patrons of The Dorchester, Claridges and The Sheraton on Park Lane.
More than a decade later in 1996, Dormen made another leap. Bringing a delectable array of bouche amusement to the masses. (But not any old masses, you understand.) First, through fine wine merchants Berry Bros & Rudd. Then onwards to Fortnum & Mason, Paxton & Whitfield, and a small number of carefully chosen stockists.
If, for whatever reason, you’re yet to be served a bowl (or bag, if you must) may I swiftly draw your attention to the Dormen online shop? I trust you won’t be disappointed."
"I rather feared His Lordship’s habit had gone too far when a thousand kilos of nuts arrived at the manor. And as it turned out, it rather had. So reliant on his Dormen fix, His Lordship instructed that the kitchens prepare nothing but the finest-flavoured nuts.
The Dormen process
baked & golden
"I’ll spare you the details, but with merely one cook, an AGA and a butler, the Dormen-prescribed shaking, stirring, sieving, baking and rotating of each nut was a trifle trying.
"Where Dormen boast nuts served evenly baked and golden, Cook’s creations were altogether…not. Perhaps, I suggested, His Lordship could repurpose them as shotgun pellets?
fried & tested
“Frying the nuts was equally fruitful. In the pantry’s absence of the ‘subtle and naturally nutty’ rapeseed oil favoured by Dormen, sunflower oil would have to do. Happily, the Dormen taste testers were also absent.
"Unsurprisingly, Dormen’s contraption for removing excess oil was not part of Cook’s wares. (And his Lordship’s arteries were never the same again.)
"Regretfully, the nuts were wholly too much for Cook. Mid peanut-pandemonium, she hung up her apron and left her post, posthaste.
"Less regretfully, normality has since resumed. His Lordship is once again regularly supplied with Dormen’s evenly baked, taste-tested, quality-assured nuts and snacks. Thank goodness for that."
"His Lordship was always tremendously judicious in giving his recommendation. And of course, His Lordship knows best…"
Leighton, national account manager
"Though well-travelled, I have only ever met one person more dedicated than Leighton: an 82-year-old one-legged Sri Lankan window cleaner."
Ines, customer services and regional accounts
"Ines is so thoroughly trustworthy, I can rely on her never to pass on the story I told her about the Archbishop and the bassoon."
Steve, brand marketing manager
"Steve has many admirable qualities. And I have sworn to that while under oath in court on countless occasions."
head of site
"Richard is the sort of chap one would wish to have beside one in the trenches. Serving salted cashews to the troops."
Elaine, technical manager
"There’s a rumour that at one Christmas party, Elaine indulged so immoderately in baked nuts & raisins, she was put to bed before dinner. But I trust it is only rumour."
June, Telesales Executive
"Talking to June on the telephone is much like enjoying a glass of fine red wine: complex, intoxicating and wonderful with a slice of ripe French Brie."
Susan, Telesales Executive
"So passionate is Susan about customer service, she once sifted through 20 bags of jelly beans for one patriotic customer, leaving behind only the red, the white and the blue."