How did you become a Chef?
From an early age it was all I ever wanted to do, I just love food. I studied at Sheffield college in the North of England before beginning my professional career. I was fortunate enough to have a series of jobs in Relais and Châteaux properties, allowing me to develop leadership skills. I began working at Summer Lodge in 2004.
How would you define your cuisine?
Modern British, but it maintains the country house feel which is so important to the experience here at Summer Lodge. I use my previous experience that I gained in different properties along with the input of my team, to create our seasonal locally sourced menus. The provenance of our food is important to us and the ability to utilise the best that Dorset has to offer is a wonderful gift.
What is your favourite produce and why?
We love making the most of local produce along with ingredients grown in our own kitchen garden. We are fully committed to only using completely sustainable products while supporting our local farmers, fisherman and producers. Seasonality is key and the best produce is always that which is currently in season and not artificially ripened or imported, creating a huge carbon footprint.
What is your signature dish?
My signature dish is roast loin of Dorset lamb and braised shoulder ‘Shepherd's Pie’, served with savoy cabbage and rosemary jus.
It is a modern twist on a British classic, using the amazing lamb from our home county of Dorset. It is a fantastic blend of flavours: the melt in the mouth tender lamb loin, the rich slow cooked shoulder, the creamy potato puree and the wonderfully aromatic jus all combine to make a perfect dish.
What advice would you pass on to an aspiring chef?
I always remind my team to be patient, to watch and learn at every opportunity. There is no shortcut to the top and experience needs to be gained over time and should be treasured. There is simply no substitute for hard work, dedication and effort in a young chef.