“Healthy food that tastes amazing”: Two Hale entrepreneurs hoping to show that everything in their Garden is rosy

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Two entrepreneurs behind a new organic café in the heart of Hale have promised something “completely different” to anything else on offer in the village.

Kate Donovan and business partner Amy Shepherdson will open The Garden on Ashley Road in early November on the site formally occupied by Lace bridal boutique.

It’s the first business for both, a completely self-funded venture that they hope will educate as well as satisfy customers.

Speaking to Altrincham Today, 27-year-old former Altrincham Girls’ pupil Donovan said it would offer organic, locally sourced and seasonal food that would support local businesses where possible.

“What’s going to be on our menu is just completely different to anywhere in Hale,” she said. “You’ll know you’ve had a really nutritious meal and you’ll be able to ask where everything’s come from.

“We’re hoping to show people that you can have really healthy food that tastes amazing.”

The café, which will act as a takeaway as well as a sit-down eaterie with around 30 covers, is licensed to open between 8am and 8pm but will initially close at 6pm while they “see how it goes”.

On offer will be “earth-friendly food”, everything from a seasonal breakfast menu – including a full English with organic bacon – to snacks, sharing plates, salads, lots of vegetables, speciality teas, coffee and smoothies (the original plan had been to open purely as a juice bar until they heard that Succo would be opening yards away on Broomfield Lane).

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A key inspiration for The Garden’s concept is an intention to educate people about the food they are eating. Donovan added: “We’re just trying to make people more conscious about where they get their food from, because nowadays when you go into a café or a restaurant you have no idea.”

They’ve even worked with a nutritionist on the smoothie menu, with each one coming loaded with a particular type of health benefit. So there’ll be one called I Am Glowing, an apparent skin cleanser, and I Am Happy, which is intended to help the drinker’s mood.

Donovan, also a yoga teacher, has given up her job as a primary school teacher at St Hugh’s in Timperley in order to follow her dream. “It was such an amazing place to work and I loved it, but I’ve always wanted to run my own business,” she said.

Co-owner Shepherdson previously worked as a manager at Players restaurant in Hale Barns before it became San Carlo; subsequently she worked at an events company in Manchester.

The opening will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the 28-year-old’s life after what Donovan said had been a “horrific” year for her friend.

Shepherdson’s 28-year-old brother, Ben, was killed in a car crash near the Lymm roundabout last September, only a month after discovering that her father had a brain tumour; he subsequently passed away in April this year.

The search for alternative medicines and treatments for her dad helped to educate Shepherdson on the nutritional quality – or otherwise – of many common foods, and the merits of an alkaline diet. Such thinking has influenced the menu that she and Donovan have come up with for The Garden.

“The café has been a really positive change for her and something for her to focus on,” added Donovan. “It’s really close to her heart.”

Shepherdson will take a kitchen-based role when the cafe opens, while Donovan will be behind the counter, and they’ll be joined by Danielle, a former schoolfriend of Donovan’s, who’ll look after the tables.

The focus now is on completing the building work required to turn the space from a shop to a café. The main work will involve creating French doors at the back that will lead to a courtyard with decking; they’re also knocking the old kitchen and toilet into one large kitchen. Although there’s still much to do, Donovan is confident that everything is now on track for an early November launch.

“It’s been a massive learning curve,” she added, “but we can’t wait to open.”

Below: Some of the food set to appear on The Garden’s menu, and the boarded-up cafe as it gets ready to open

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