Recipes from the Heart

  • Date: Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Beatrice Tollman, President and Founder of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, a luxury collection of five and four-star family run boutique properties, has recently published a cookbook that is her memoir of "A Life in Food", all proceeds of which will be going to her two favourite UK charities, the Starlight Children's Foundation and The Tick Tock Club.

This book is a celebration of recipes that have either been passed down in the family or discovered while travelling, and all have been perfected from her own personal experience and expertise in the kitchen. The joys of cooking are expressed through a fascinating collection of personal reminiscences that reveal how the hotels and many of their signature dishes were inspired and created.

Her love affair with food began when she married Stanley Tollman, at the tender young age of 18. His family had always been in the hospitality business and, from an early age, he was always passionate about food and wine and dreamed of one day creating a hotel that excelled in fine dining, and a restaurant in South Africa along the lines of legendary supper clubs in New York.

Nothing truly great was ever achieved without passion, and that is what shines out from every page of this remarkable collection of photos, menus and other nostalgic moments of their life together, with delicious and easy to follow recipes that have been perfected by Bea from her years of experience in the kitchen.

In 1954, from humble beginnings, they started their journey together hand in hand, to make this dream come true. Bea had little experience as a chef, but immediately took charge of the kitchen "teaching myself by constantly tasting each dish to see how different methods and techniques worked".

The rest, as they say, is history. The couple built up a legendary reputation, and an international, family-run collection of exceptional hotels and restaurants. Today the Red Carnation Hotel Collection includes thirteen 5 and 4 star hotels on three continents, as well as a popular London restaurant and a country Inn in Dorset. Each is overseen and supervised by Bea Tollman herself, and managed by her outstanding team of loyal and dedicated staff.

The hotels are internationally recognised for their spectacular service, excellent value and attention to detail, which is reflected by the many industry awards and plaudits each hotel receives. This is also largely thanks to the feedback and comments from enthusiastic and satisfied guests who rave about the genuinely warm and attentive personal service and the caring details they enjoy and experience when staying in one of her beautiful individually designed hotels.

When reading this book one immediately realises that the inspiration behind such endearing hospitality is driven by Beatrice Tollman herself. Many of the signature dishes that guests come back for time and again are those she has collected, refined and perfected, and that she personally teaches to each chef in each property. Every dish is presented with a fascinating story of how the recipe came into being.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the recipes, especially for the enthusiastic amateur cook, is the fact that they are relatively quick, simple to prepare with ingredients that are easily sourced. This is explained by her belief that, "Delicious comfort food has always been my speciality , with each dish highlighting the ingredients and none being overpowering. I believe that most people when dining out or staying at hotels want good value, tasty and satisfying food, without too much complication or fuss."

When Mrs. Tollman explains, "My love of fine dining and good food was immediately felt from my heart, and I have never stopped feeling a thrill of pleasure at hearing that a guest has appreciated a good meal and enjoyed a lovely stay," one understands the secret of her success. Her book, her recipes, and her hotels, are inspired by the same belief - a deep, genuine and heartfelt desire to please and satisfy, and ensure whatever she does, she does it with all her heart.

  • For more details or to reserve your copy of Bea Tollman's "A Life in Food", please contact Rob Burns on +44 (0)207 958 6950 at or order online.
  • "A Life in Food" is available at all Red Carnation Hotels, priced £25 (EURO28, $45, ZAR315) . All proceeds of the book will go to Bea Tollman's favourite charities - Starlight Children's Foundation and The Tick Tock Club in the UK. Postage and packaging is additional.
  • Copies can be purchased in person at The Rubens at The Palace in London, Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa in Dorset, The Chesterfield Palm Beach, Florida, The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town.
A Life in Food