Oriental Cafe, Mansfield

Does anyone know when the Oriental cafe opened and when it closed?

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  • My late maternal grandfather,Valentin Eugene Massot,was employed as a pastry chef at the Oriental Cafe.
    Born in France in 1872, he served his his apprenticeship as a pastry cook and worked for various employees before coming to England in 1898,initially living in Sunderland which at the time had one of the largest ship building yards in Europe, in 1901 he married Mary Eleanor Craggs.
    He moved to Mansfield in about 1925 where he was employed by the Oriental Cafe. As neither he or his wife has relations in the area we can only guess that he was either ( to use the current parlance) ‘head hunted’ for the his skills as a pastry chef,or he had realised that there was a good living to be earned in the thriving mining area. So we can assume the Oriental Cafe was flourishing at this period of time.
    I remember him working at the Oriental during the early 1940’s and although I never went into the Cafe I do recall the shop on Westgate.
    I remember grandfather would carry home the wedding cakes he had baked in the cafe so that he could complete the icing decoration on the cake. One of my treats as a child was to watch him working and then be told to hold my hand out where he would make a swan of icing on the palm of my hand.
    In 1948/49 I remember visiting the Bentinck Restaurant with my mother for morning coffee and cakes. Her father was working there as a pastry chef.
    Whether the Oriental Cafe had closed at this time I cannot recall, or did he consider this move as a step up ‘the ladder’?
    (As an aside to this article, Valentin Massot also decorated the boars head for the annual feast held at the Swan Hotel)

    By Michael Parkin (06/10/2018)

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