Behind the scenes at Parea in Alderley Edge
PUBLISHED: 00:00 12 October 2018
So how often does the WAG come in?' That isn't the kind of question asked in most restaurants but then they are not all owned by the wife of a famous footballer.
Chantelle Heskey, wife of Emile Heskey, is co-owner of Alderley Edge’s newest eaterie, Parea, a glamorous hang-out that boasts Laurent Perrier branding on chairs and hosts celebrity parties.
But contrary to what you might think she doesn’t just drop in for a cocktail and a chat. Chantelle, along with co-owner James Golden, has been working around the clock to make it a success.
‘The other day James told me “Someone just asked me how often does the WAG come in?” and James said “The WAG just served you.”
Adds James: ‘People think Chantelle’s going to turn up in a diamanté covered Rolls Royce and waft in and out, but we come from very hard working class backgrounds and we know that when you do something you have to work hard to make it a success.’
Ahhh, but this is Alderley Edge, the epicentre of Cheshire’s golden triangle, and an area that today is even more the focus of media obsession, thanks to TV’s Real Housewives of Cheshire. It seems people just can’t get enough of the glam.
Chantelle and James go way back. She set up a charity after going over to South Africa for a World Cup documentary in 2010 called Wags, Kids and World Cup Dreams. Seeing the poverty there she began fundraising to help the orphanages and they both worked together on events and parties.
‘And from that we got a restaurant,’ laughs Chantelle.
‘It wasn’t quite as simple as that,’ says James.
‘We looked in Wilmslow originally but that site didn’t happen but Alderley was great as a lot of our friends are located in this triangle. It worked well for our contact list.’
Chantelle agrees: ‘ And there’s a lot more going on in this high street. As more restaurants come here there are more people so it’s perfect.’
The pair admit that what they wanted was a fun local restaurant and bar and so they called it Parea, which is a Greek term meaning the coming together of like-minded people.
‘It just suited our concept so well,’ explains James.
‘We wanted a fun, local eaterie and bar. We wanted great cocktails because that’s what we personally like and then we have vegan dishes, as Chantelle’s husband is vegan, and our head chef has a real focus on healthy eating.’
There’s also the social aspect of having a place right in the heart of Cheshire’s three liveliest towns.
Says Chantelle : ‘You find yourself coming in on your days off because it’s such a nice place to be. I love it.’
‘Everyone in the village and the customers become your friends. It’s nice getting to know the locals here and it’s great having conversations, knowing their name.’
With live music and DJs at the weekend, the venue has won a varied of clientele, from people who want to drink cocktails at the bar to those who want to dine in style upstairs, or those who drop in for brunch.
Another bonus is that the pair now have their own space in which to hold events. Collaborations with big names such a Selfridges are already on the cards.
The one thing that has surprised them, has been the response to the pretty silk flowers which decorate the exterior of the building.
‘There has been a real fuss over the flowers,’ admits James.
‘People have asked the local council if we have had planning permission, while other people adore them. The Alderley in Bloom competition people loved them but one of the ladies hated them because they aren’t real It’s a conversation point. They’re very vivid but the idea was to suggest that we’re colourful and fun.
‘We want Parea to be the hub of the village. We’re independent, so when you come in you can be sitting with us. People like those little personal touches. It’s a little bit old school. That’s what I like about this location.’