We are delighted to announce that we have appointed a new Head Chef to lead our Award winning Restaurant and culinary offer at the hotel, and he’s a familiar face… Following five years of dedication to the Duke, Nicholas Reed was promoted to Head Chef at the beginning of the year.
Nick brings passion and creativity to the role, adding delicious new dishes to the menu on a daily basis and with his extensive experience in the catering industry he is the perfect choice to lead the hotel’s food offer forward. Nick’s drive ensures that the Restaurant remains fresh and inviting for returning guests and residents alike, often taking an adventurous twist on dishes. The hotel was recently awarded a second AA Rosette for its fine dining and Nick played a key part in this recognition as he has led the Restaurant for many years. Dishes such as Creedy Carver Duck Breast with Braised Chicory, Dauphinoise and Green Beans (pictured below) tempt our guests back and the menu constantly evolves with the produce available in season. Nick and his team work with a fantastic range of suppliers to ensure that only the best produce is used, much of which is locally sourced and sustainable – two areas that are key to the hotel and the future.
We caught up with Nick to see how he is settling into the role…
How did you feel when you were offered the position?
I was excited to be given the opportunity to head up the kitchen team, and to make my mark by implementing new menus and fresh ideas. Although I knew this would be a challenge, having worked at the hotel for five years, I felt the time was right to take the next step and further my career. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working at the hotel so far and look forward to seeing what the future brings.
When did you realise that you had a passion for food?
I have always had an interest in food, even from a young age. I realised it was a career I wanted to pursue whilst visiting a Michelin star restaurant in France when I was 13. The food was amazing and like nothing I had ever tasted before – I loved the fresh ingredients, and the variety of flavours. Looking back, I have fond memories of spending time with my family and enjoying meals abroad with fantastic fresh food and locally sourced fish and vegetables. I wanted to be able to create that dining experience for others, and to inspire people to try different dishes.
Where did it all begin…?
I made the decision to undertake a two-year course at City College Plymouth (LINK) at the age of 18. Following completion of my training, I went on to work at the Tudor Rose Tea Rooms on the Barbican, where I developed skills in baking and realised this was an area I enjoyed. Shortly after, I joined the team at The Duke, starting off as a Commis Chef which involved basic food preparation. This was initially offered to me as a temporary role over Christmas, however I was then invited back in the New Year and offered a permanent position. After almost two years, the opportunity arose to become Demi Chef De Partie, a role which I remained in for around a year. I was then promoted to Chef De Partie, before progressing to Junior Sous Chef and then later on, Sous Chef. Following the departure of Kevin Scargill, who was Head Chef at the time, I was offered the chance to take on the role. Keen to progress my career further and excited by the opportunity, I eagerly accepted the position. Having worked my way up and gaining hands on experience in each role, I feel this has equipped me to manage the team confidently.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I take a lot of inspiration from British Chefs – I don’t tend to watch cooking shows on TV, but do enjoy reading cook books and researching online. I am influenced by Chefs such as Marcus Wareing, Michel Roux and Simon Holstone. Seasonality also influences the dishes on the hotels menu and means that we are able to offer our guests variety as well as wonderful fresh produce.
What is your favourite part of the role?
I enjoy coming up with new ideas and seeing how they are received by our guests. It is great to hear feedback from those who dine in the Restaurant and to know that they have enjoyed our food. The Restaurant was recently awarded a second AA Rosette which was a great moral boost for the team and is recognition that we are doing a good job.
Do you have a favourite Restaurant dish?
A recent addition to the Restaurant menu, and one of my favourite dishes is Prime Westcountry Beef Fillet with Braised Short Rib Suet Pudding, Caramelised Onion and Cavolo Nero.
What is your ambition for the future of the Duke Restaurant?
We will continue to work hard and maintain the current high standard. We have recently welcomed new members to the team, who will no doubt bring enthusiasm and fresh ideas to the role. It is my long-term ambition for the Restaurant to be known as the place to go in Plymouth for fantastic food and a fine dining experience.
We can’t think of anyone better suited to take the hotel on this exciting journey and look forward to seeing what the future holds for Nick and the kitchen team. If you haven’t dined with us, then we hope we have tempted you. Our Restaurant is open seven days a week from 7pm. Click here for a sample menu and remember we have beautiful function rooms available for private hire for birthday and anniversary celebrations. Our team look forward to welcoming you.