Friday 15 July 2016
More about me …
I’m a local lad and I first started my training at Gloscat college in Cheltenham. I spent three years there, learning the basics, before heading out to work in various pubs and restaurants where I was able to really hone my skills.
Before I came to The Old Stocks Inn, I was head chef at The Montpellier Chapter – which is now a Malmaison – in Cheltenham and I was previously the head chef at The King’s Head in Cirencester.
My style of cooking …
The simplicity of my cooking is what makes it stands out – lots of chefs will try and put as many flavours on a plate as possible, and you can only taste a little bit of this, or a little bit of that. However, I try and choose four or five core flavours that work in harmony with each other.
In particular, I like to challenge the way people see a traditional dish – take a beef bourguignon for example. Instead of cooking it in the usual way, I like to take the elements from the dish and deconstruct it. So rather than using diced chuck, I’d take a blade of beef, braise it in the same way, and then present it on the plate with some pomme purée, button mushrooms and silverskin onions, so it all tastes how you might expect a beef bourguignon to taste, but in a very different style.
If you really want to get an insight into how I create our dishes, come along to one of our Chef's Table events in September, October and November.
My menus …
Moving from the ‘big town’ to somewhere like Stow hasn’t affected the way I shape my menus at all. We have such a diverse customer base here, so we have to make sure we can cater to all kinds of people.
During the day, we have lots of tourists that come through the town who are looking for a quick, but tasty, bite to eat, so our lunch menu is really focused around pizzas, salads and sharing boards – dishes that are really fresh, but quick to produce. In the evening, our menu is more geared towards the fine dining experience that people have come to expect from The Old Stocks. The fine dining aspect is where my talents really lie and I can put a lot of flair into each dish, but it’s good fun to be able to work with two different styles of menu and get as many of our ideas out there onto the plate as possible.
What attracted me to the Old Stocks …
I heard about The Old Stocks when it first opened, but I never had the chance to try it! My wife works in Stow and she’d enjoyed coming here, so when I heard about the job, I decided to pop in and see what it was like. I met Charlotte, Rich and the rest of the team, and instantly fell in love with the hotel.
Working with the troupe …
The brigade here is fantastic – our chefs de partie are brilliant, and it’s been great to just get on with it and create some fantastic dishes. I’ve got quite a lot of management experience from different hotels, so I’ve been able to make sure that we’re a well-oiled machine.
I thought that my style of food would just fit here perfectly, and I’m really lucky that the troupe have given me the opportunity to shape the menu as I wanted. In other restaurants, you can find that the owners and the board have a very set idea of how they’d like the menu to be. But here, we’ve been given some very simple instructions – here’s a restaurant, so fill it!
Looking ahead …
As the business grows, we’ll need more great people to work here, so I’m currently keeping my eye out for a few new members of the kitchen troupe.
We’re looking for a sous chef to become my right-hand man or woman, so they’ll be my eyes and ears in the kitchen while I’m not there, and also making sure that each dish has the Old Stocks quality that our guests will expect. I also want that person to be someone I can learn from myself, to help give us that drive to improve and develop ideas. So whether that person is an experienced chef de partie looking to step up, or a sous chef that’s looking for a change of scenery, then I’d love to hear from them.
We’re also looking for a new chef de partie to join the troupe – someone who’s ready to take the bull by the horns and bring lots of new ideas to the table. At the end of the day, it’s a team effort, so I need someone who’s ready to pitch in and help us grow.
To apply for one of our kitchen troupe opportunities, please email a copy of your CV and a covering letter to firstname.lastname@example.org