After meeting at the internationally renowned Thanet Catering College in 1991, Nikki Larkin & John Giles started their invaluable training for their City & Guilds Catering Qualifications. The additional motivation was that John had secured himself a position at Buckingham Palace as a Footman.
Two years later, John embarked on his career Front of House in a small hotel in West Sussex. After gaining experience there, he enhanced his knowledge by employment in a more senior position at the Grand Nutfield Priory in Surrey, then The Berystede in Ascot.
Nikki continued her training and passed with distinctions in 'Advanced Pastry'. After which she accepted, in 1994, a life changing position of cook to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother at Her Majesty's Royal Lodge, Windsor.
In September 1998, Nikki & John were married - thus forming the unique 'Giles-Larkin' name. In January 1999 John joined Nikki in the kitchens of Royal Lodge, where Nikki was promoted up to Sous Chef.
With Nikki's experience and John's support, their reputation for high standards in cooking soon became a watchword among the households. Nikki's expertise in making the most amazing cakes enhanced their combined reputation ever further. This ensured that whenever Queen Elizabeth went on her travels, John and Nikki went along too and in return they enjoyed the sights of Sandringham House, Castle of Mey, Walmer Castle, and Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate in Aberdeenshire .
When Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother died in 2002, Nikki & John faced another life-changing decision. For three months the Queen Elizabeth's Household were in mourning and little was said about their future. During this time, both served others in the Royal Family and eventually Nikki & John were offered permanent employment by the Earl & Countess of Wessex. This was declined for in June both John and Nikki had been offered employment as Housekeeper, Cook & Butler, and House Manager for David & Victoria Beckham.
It is well known that David and Victoria expect nothing less than perfection from their staff in everything they do. John and Nikki's reputation and qualifications easily met the strict criteria.
This lead to a series of major events which not only involved the perfect dinner party menu but everything that is required to impress guests and visitors. Not only did they have to cater for large numbers of sportsmen including the England Football Team, but also parties for the talented and famous stars of stage and screen: Sir Elton John, Naomi Campbell, Patsy Kensit, Jamie Oliver and the Spice Girls Reunion.
The call of a normal family life beckoned and John and Nikki set up a temporary home in Devon where life would be more suited to the upbringing of children. In December 2003 their daughter Caitlin was born.
A year later they both decided to leave life in the fast lane for the relative anonymity at their house in Appledore, North Devon. Looking for a permanent home in the area, they settled in Frithelstock, near Torrington. In February 2007 their second child, Joseph, was born.
John kept his hand in as freelance butler and chauffeur, looking after local clients some of whom are titled and in positions of local importance.
Nikki maintained her skills in creating and selling many varied cake creations for weddings, celebrations and family events.
John, Nikki and the children have now relocated beck to their home ground in Kent, not far along the coast from Whitstable and Herne Bay.
Aside from John Butling he now enjoys a successful career with the well renowned and trusted 'Lady Magazine' in Central London.
Whilst Nikki is re-establishing her cake crafting, now that the family have settled from their move in May 2013.
The Lady Magazine 21st June 2013
"John and his family have been known to me for over six years. During that time John has proven himself invaluable, be it in his work as a butler, or driving me on long journeys.
His quiet competence, charm, reliability, and courtesy are exemplary, as is his ability to work within an existing team of staff".
"John and Paul are very polite, considerate and conscious of our every needs. We have always felt very comfortable and safe with them at the wheel. A thoroughly relaxing, and recommended service from true gentlemen".