Regulars at The Kings Arms in Berkhamsted are going to be missing the familiar face of pub general manager, George Tompkins, who is moving to a new position within the Oakman Inns & Restaurants group.
However, ably stepping into George’s shoes is Aaron Kibble, who has lived and worked in the area for most of his life – actually making him a local for the popular ‘local’.
Most of Aaron’s immediate family live in and around Berkhamsted area, and Aaron went to Berkhamsted school and Tring Sixth Form, before going to University in Portsmouth.
With a keen interest in food and wine, he travelled and worked in Australia for three years as a fishmonger and butcher and managed a leading bar in Surfers Paradise. Joining Oakman Inns in 2013, as a bar manager at The Akeman in Tring, he was quickly selected for the company’s fast-track ‘Future Leaders’ training programme and within 18 months he was promoted to deputy manager. In January 2016, he took charge of the Beech House in Beaconsfield as general manager, and on Bank Holiday Monday May 1 he takes up the reins at The Kings Arms.
“I got a B.Sc degree in Property Development but I soon realised that my real interest lay in food and wine and my overseas experience had given me a lasting passion for the hospitality industry. My experience with Oakman Inns has been nothing but positive and becoming General Manager of The Kings Arms is a huge responsibility as George will be a hard act to follow. As I’ve known the place pretty well all my life, I’m looking forward to welcoming friends, family and locals every day.”
Aaron will also be responsible for rolling out The Kings Arms’ new Spring/Summer Menu which sees a new “Build Your Own” concept for the pub’s Pizza and Salad offer.
“It’s a great idea and makes perfect sense! Customers select a base and add their choice of fresh ingredients to create a perfect dish customised to their taste.”
George is moving to open Oakman’s new pub in Amersham (opening towards the end of the year) – which, he admits, is going to be a wrench for him.
“It will be a sad day for me when I hand over the keys for The Kings Arms to my successor, but I have no doubt that Aaron will be a great success and all the regulars are going to be really well looked after by him. I’ve had an incredible experience at The Kings Arms over the last two years. It has exceeded all my expectations, but being offered the chance to open a brand new pub in Amersham for Oakman Inns - which will also have its own brewery – well, it’s a boy’s dream come true.”