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About Me

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After growing up in a not-so-picturesque part of the West Midlands, I started working in a little pub just after my sixteenth birthday. And, it's fair to say that I didn't have a clue what I was doing. But, I do still remember the day, some months in (sorry to that pub!), that it all fell into place, and I finally stopped being a thorn in the side of my colleagues! As soon as this happened, my falling for the industry and the buzz of service, was instant... And it seemed that my vocation had been found!

Fast-forward quite a lot of years to 2022, when I was included as one of the 100 most influential women in hospitality, in a list by Code Hospitality. This was in the category of beverage and specifically referred to the quality of my drinks list. I have managed either restaurants or their lists, in various venues and parts of the world for a decade or so, and have worked in hospitality over the last twenty years in everything from branded pubs, to retail, to very fine-dining. Most of you will know me from the pub/ restaurant I most recently co-owned, The Moorcock Inn, Norland, which I’m proud to say, did achieve a fair bit of acclaim in its time. We decided to close at the start of 2023, while the place was still very much in its peak.

Somewhere between these two, a few years in, I discovered wine. I mean, drinking it was already a hobby, but a desire grew to understand the labels, the contents of the bottles, and what this seemingly infinite range and their various prices all meant. I went along to WSET Level II back in 2011 and this was the first toe officially dipped. I began to work in better restaurants around this time, motivated by a desire to have access to better bottles! Work enabled me to travel a little and I have worked in various parts of Australia and in Belgium, before returning to the UK to start my own business with my former business partner Alisdair Brooke-Taylor.

I became certified as a sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers in January 2015, and have also been a certified sake sommelier (Sake Sommelier Association) since 2016. I also have a thorough knowledge of beverages in all categories, with a particular soft spot for Belgian beers. 

A few nice press things... 

100 Most Influential Women in Hospitality: 'Aimee Turford- Co-owner and sommelier, The Moorcock Inn. All eyes will be on Turford’s next move when she and Alisdair Brooke-Taylor depart The Moorcock Inn early next year. In her role of sommelier, she has created a game-changing drinks list, abundant in originality and likeability, with a wealth of interesting options for non-drinkers and designated drivers.'  

Code Hospitality- Most Influential Women in Hospitality 2022

Review of COIN, Hebden Bridge: 'Expect a very warm welcome – we’re greeted like old friends by Chloe, a graduate of the Aimee Turford School of Charm...'

Amanda Wragg, Yorkshire Post

Review of The Moorcock Inn: 'Brooke-Taylor and his business partner, the gifted sommelier Aimee Turford, were hunting for their own place and found the Moorcock, a battered old boozer on the moors above Halifax. 

Nobody in the neighbourhood knew anything about the people involved. There was, however, a good reason for this. Australian/British chef Alisdair Brooke-Taylor, and Aimee Turford, who runs front of house, spent years together at the highly regarded In De Wulf in Belgium. Before that, they were in Australia. They may be new to the nuanced business of running a British pub, but feeding people well is something they know all about.'

Amanda Wragg, Yorkshire Post

Trendsetters and Trailblazers — 19 People Who Will Shape Beer, Wine, Cider and Food in 2022: 'Aimee’s expertise as a sommelier gives The Moorcock a magical array of drinks to choose from, but in 2022 I can see them leading the way with their non-alcoholic choices. Homemade tisanes in the pairing menu, a full non-alcoholic list to choose pairings from—this stuff is important, and it’s been ignored for too long. It’s so gladdening to see a place put together with such deepness of thought considering the quality of their soft drinks as carefully as the mushrooms foraged from the surrounding countryside.

Katie Mather, Pellicle Magazine

10 of the best UK natural wine bars and restaurants: 'Exceptional wood-fired, pre-industrial cooking and a 120-bottle natural wine list... “That taste of grapes, not oak and other cellar work”

Tony Naylor, Olive Magazine

Six Great Restaurants for Non-Drinkers in the UK: Set in acres of moorland, The Moorcock boasts possibly the best alcohol-free drinks menu we have ever come across. This cosy pub with it’s exposed beams and open fire has an exception menu of small plates and larger dishes, with a focus on seasonality and cooking over open flames...Thought has gone into every drink on the menu, from how the range sits together, to the glass, garnish, and serving style of each drink. This spot is definietly a strong contendor for best restaurant for non-drinkers, an exceptional gastronomic experience.

Anja Madhvani- Club Soda

The best UK restaurant food and drink pairings: At her exceptional pub-restaurant, The Moorcock Inn near Halifax, Aimee Turford uses beer to “open up different pairing opportunities”. Its carbonation can provide exciting variation in wine-focussed flights and certain ingredients – classically asparagus and artichokes. And, in Aimee’s view, sweet roasted vegetables, pungent garlic and pickled foods do not work well with most wines: “Beer can save the day.”

Good food beers are complex, offering plenty of scope for contrast and sympathetic overlap. Sourness is useful, too: “Acidity is one of pairing’s foundations.” Consequently, Aimee loves funky, often wild-fermented Belgian beers. She recommends pairing cherry kriek beers with game or charcuterie, or matching lambic beers with oysters, smoked fish, hollandaise or steak with béarnaise sauce. “The beers’ savoury notes sit well with smoke, and their acidity cuts rich cream.”

Matching is about thinking logically and laterally. Full-bodied Belgian tripels, such as Westmalle, can stand-up to buttery, garlicky dishes but also “their spiced notes add an extra dimension, the way herbal Pernod might in a mussel stock”.

Tony Naylor- Olive Magazine

 

The 100 Best Places to Eat in the UK: 'A plain old pub transformed by its new owners, Alisdair Brooke-Taylor and Aimee Turford (a gifted sommelier), into a culinary wonderland not ...'

Marina O'Loughlin- The Times

With Provenance to Guide Us: Visiting The Moorcock Inn, West Yorkshire: Saké also has a presence on The Moorcock’s list because of its food-friendliness, and the same goes for the many great beers featured on the drinks list and on the pairings menu too... You might be surprised to learn that The Moorcock’s ever-changing wine list is surprisingly affordable. But then, a commitment to making good things more accessible is just another way that this place absolutely rules....

Of course, not every guest is going to walk into a country pub and order a £12 glass of wine. But both Aimee and Alisdair have worked hard to share their passion and built trust with their guests who no longer bat an eye when a biodynamic rose shows up alongside a bottle of lambic.'

Katie Mather- Pellicle Magazine

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