I began work at Lainston House Hotel in 1986 taking up the position of pastry chef, after several years working at the Four Seasons on Park Lane. Originally I planned to stay at Lainston House for one year, but found I was able to express my cooking skills, my love of the Great British and local ingredients, and being able to put together dishes that I had only dreamed about. Although I had been planning to move to France and build a life there, I changed my plans and decided to stay.
Over the years I progressed through the kitchen ranks, until in 2000 I was given the opportunity to become Head Chef. Not long after becoming Head Chef we went on to achieve our third AA Rosette for the great food we were producing at Lainston House.
In 2006 I became the Executive Chef, which allowed me more time to go out and meet the local food producers. This enabled me to seek out more great quality ingredients, from the local producers in the area. It also gave me an opportunity to mention the food producers when I was in cookery demonstrations, in schools, universities and exhibitions.
Some people now call me Mr Hampshire, which is something I am very proud of as I have formed great relationships with the local producers that surround us at Lainston House. We have also taken the fantastic bread that we bake at Lainston House, to the Hampshire farmers market where we made many more local friends.
I became the Hampshire Life Chef of the Year two years running, and have always been in the top three nominees to date.
I was one of the founder members of the Create and Cook competition that has now gone on to be a great success in Hampshire, Sussex and the Isle of Wight. This idea is aimed at inspiring 12-14 years old school children to cook great local food.
After 27 years at Lainston House I was given a great opportunity to step out of the kitchen put together the Exclusive Chefs Academy, which based at Lainston House. I am busy putting the program together, to take talented chefs from Commis chefs to Chef de Partie on a two year program. We will develop their skills in all areas of the kitchen which will involve all the talented Head Chefs within the group. We will also take them to the source of the great British and local ingredients. My journey continues…