Cafe owners swap Indian paradise for Sidmouth
15:00 29 January 2014
An adventurous café-owning couple departed from a life of luxury in an Indian paradise to lay down roots in Sidmouth.
Julia Mumford and Richard Gaywood left a beachfront hotel near Goa behind to give their son Charlie the best education.
After searching across Europe for years looking for the best spot, they found Libra Court, and took on the well-established Selleys.
“It was like stepping back in time – this is where we want to be,” said Richard.
“We didn’t know what we were looking for until we found it.
“People have been very welcoming and supportive, and there is a lovely community in Libra Court.”
He added: “It’s well known as Selleys – we’d be shooting ourselves in the foot if we changed the name.”
He and Julia turned down places in the Cotswolds and the Provence region of France before finding Sidmouth in the glorious May bank holiday.
The family had been ‘living two lives’, split between summer in Notting Hill and the Indian tourist season for years, but had had enough.
“We decided life on the beach wasn’t for us any more, and for the sake of our six-year-old’s education, we came back to the UK,” said Richard, 48.
Their first week was a fast-paced, ‘interesting’ FolkWeek, that they hope to be more prepared for this year.
They may have moved thousands of miles away, but their clientele is similar to in Goa, an ‘eclectic mix’.
Richard learned from chefs who went onto great things, such as Marco Pierre White and Antony Worrall Thompson, and at restaurants such as the Ivy in London.
Meanwhile Julia is an artist, dress designer and ‘woman of many talents’, as her partner of eight years puts it.
The food is all locally sourced, and the menu is traditional but with evidence of their time in India.
The new owners are working towards a relaunch in the spring.