In order to escape military service, Bernardo Stella left Italy during the heat wave that was engulfing Italy in the summer of 1957. He travelled to England and found the cooler, green fields of Kent re-energising. He had found his Eden.
In 1958 there was a military raid in a Cypriot village, where freedom fighters had sought refugee in the local church. A very young Androulla Stella fought back and disarmed an English soldier. To escape retribution Androulla came to London.
In 1959 Bernardo moved to London to work in a French restaurant. Here is where he met his future wife Androulla.
Their love began when the chef put a live lobster on Androulla’s back and she fainted. Whilst the staff were laughing, Bernardo rushed to her aid with a glass of water and a gentle pat on the cheek, followed by a furious telling off to the culprit. They have been together ever since.
After much looking for the right establishment, on March the 5th 1962, they opened La Gaffe in Hampstead in a building that was once the site of a shepherd’s cottage (dating back to 1734!) And here we have the Genesis of “La Gaffe”, meaning the mistake. The name arose from the reasoning that for a Cypriot and an Italian to open a French restaurant in north-west London could only be a “Gaffe”.
From modest beginnings of only a few tables constructed from barrels, drinks bought from the pub next door, Bernardo taking orders and with Androulla doing all the cooking, La Gaffe began. Over the years La Gaffe has expanded and introduced the popular guest accommodation in 1976 and the superb value wine bar in 1986. La Gaffe prides itself as being a warm, welcoming, family-run business where neighbours and regulars become part of the family.
The hard work of Bernardo and Androulla has been acknowledged with many accolades over the years. The Stella family and long serving staff are justly proud of providing decades of continuous service to the local community and travellers the world over.
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La Gaffe London
Inducted into ‘Hall of Fame’ of Five-time Certificate of Excellence Winners on the World’s Largest Travel Site
London, England – 21, May 2015
La Gaffe London are delighted to announce today that it has been recognised as a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame winner. The Certificate of Excellence award celebrates excellence in hospitality and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve great traveller reviews on TripAdvisor. The ‘Hall of Fame’ was created to honour those businesses that have earned a Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years. Winners include accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a superior customer experience.
Being awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence five years in a row and inducted into the ‘Hall of Fame’ is a true source of pride for the entire team at La Gaffe and we’d like to thank all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor,” said Lorenzo Stella, General Manager at La Gaffe “There is no greater seal of approval than being recognised by one’s customers. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence.”
“Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years is a remarkable feat. TripAdvisor is pleased to induct five-time award winners into the ‘Hall of Fame’,” said Marc Charron President, TripAdvisor for Business. “By putting a spotlight on businesses that are focused on consistently delivering great service to customers, TripAdvisor not only helps drive an improvement to hospitality standards around the world, it also gives businesses both large and small the ability to shine and stand out from the competition.”
When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, TripAdvisor uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the honourees that takes into account the quality, quantity and recency of reviews and opinions submitted by travellers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period as well as business’s tenure and ranking on the Popularity Index on the site. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.
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