For the Peake family who founded the Stoke by Nayland Hotel, the origins of the ‘Pippin’ brand name go back 50 years.
The apple variety “Cox’s Orange Pippin” was first used by the family as a component of the now well known “Copella” apple juice brand in 1969 which Bill and Devora Peake developed in their farmhouse kitchen – “COP” plus the second part of their youngest daughter’s name, Carmella.
Seven years later, the Peake family used the name “Pippin” for a vegetarian wholefood restaurant at 83/84 Hampstead High Street that they acquired in 1976, which also included a wholefood shop and a first floor French Bistro. Pippin was the largest vegetarian restaurant in London at the time and was renowned for its excellent, imaginative vegetarian and macrobiotic dishes, colourful, healthy salads, and delicious homemade bread, cakes and desserts. Devora and Bill’s three daughters, Susanna, Tamara and Carmella, each took a turn in running Pippin for a few months after leaving university, and they all look back on those times as valuable training for working in the family business back in Suffolk later on.
This iconic restaurant, which was a listed building with rustic stone floors and rickety pine staircases, attracted a creative, artistic clientele of famous actors, comedians and musicians who lived in Hampstead during the 70s and 80s. These included Peter Sellers, Peter O’Toole, Alan Bates, June Whitfield and Peter Cook, and the restaurant was officially opened by Graham Chapman from the Monty Python team. In 1976 a young Annie Lennox took a job as a waitress in Pippin and met her future Eurythmics partner, Dave Stewart there when she served him as a customer.
The Wholefood Shop adjoining the restaurant was also open 7 days a week and sold homemade bread, cakes and large volumes of the family’s own-produced Copella fruit juices – amongst many other wholefood products.
As many as 500 customers a day visited Pippin to enjoy its healthy menus and treats, often after walking on Hampstead Heath. In the evenings there was live music in the first floor French Bistro which featured a lovely open balcony overlooking a bustling Haverstock Hill. The Peakes eventually sold the restaurant to its two chefs in the mid 1980s so they could concentrate more on their farming, Copella and Golf Club businesses in Suffolk.
When it came to adding a retail enterprise to the Stoke by Nayland Hotel, the family decided to use the Pippin brand once again to help keep the legacy of the company’s diverse history alive.