Life in Lockdown: Bjorn Moen, Head Chef of The Commodore Hotel in Instow

In our penultimate Life in Lockdown interview, we speak to Bjorn Moen, Head Chef of the Commodore Hotel in Instow. It is strange to think that the UK went into lockdown in March, nearly six months ago. Yet the effect was profound and has had lasting repercussions.

The Commodore Hotel lies in North Devon and is popular with tourists and locals alike. A locally sourced menu is served at The Strandfield Grill, which is normally open to residents and the public, but is currently only residents only, but the Q’Deck Cafe is serving light bites and cafe classics.

  1. What is the name of your business and what do you do?

The Commodore Hotel, Instow in Devon

  1. How long have you been in business?

I started in January 2020 – the business is a family business.

  1. The last few months have been unprecedented as we are reminded often, can you take me through what it was like for you when lockdown was announced?

A relief that we were no longer having our trade constricted with no help… but nervous about the future

  1. What did you find particularly challenging adapting to a new way of doing things? (for instance if you started providing a takeaway or delivery service?

We decided that takeaway business would be saturated in our area and that we would let those who specialise in doing takeaway, make the most of the opportunity.

  1. It might be an obvious question, but how has closing your doors completely affected your business?

It is the uncertainty and the worry of what would happen if a decent summer couldn’t be attained.

  1. Was there anything that you felt went particularly well? Any big positives to take away?

We really got to reassess how to operate and a deep cleaning like no other!

© Copyright Rod Trevaskus and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
  1. Moving forward post-lockdown, do you see your business changing long-term? And if so, how do you think it will change?

It would be nice to see pre-ordering staying as, it lightens the burden on the kitchen and reduces both waste and overhead costs.

  1. What would you say to anyone who has discovered an independent business who has supported them through lockdown?

Please continue to support local and independent businesses with good ethics, as they are your future and bring more valuable and unique offerings to your area.  They must survive and are essential to the character of the South West.

To learn more about The Commodore Hotel, visit their website –

Hero photo credit: Andrew Bennett – used under the following license

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