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LIVE 24-SEVEN


IN THE KITCHEN WITH… DARREN MEACHAM


SWINFEN HAL L


Darren started his role as the new Head Chef at Swinfen Hall in September. His experience is extensive and takes in Michelin stars and multiple Rosettes, his inspiration is the English garden – but he also likes the ingredients found in French and Japanese dishes.


We had a quick chat with this coveted chef about his career and cooking style, but did he divulge to us what we can expect from his kitchen at Swinfen Hall…


How long have you been cooking professionally? I’ve been cooking professionally for 12 years - ever since I left school really.


Where did you train to cook? I started out at country manors around Coventry and Warwickshire and then went to Hampton Manor in 2011. I trained there for seven years under three different Head Chefs, learning many different skills and techniques. I’ve also enjoyed stages at some of the finest restaurants in the UK including Ynshir Hall and Raby Hunt.


How would you describe your style of cooking? I’d like to think my cooking style is very natural - inspired by the English garden.


Is there a secret to a successful restaurant? Creating a team who all have the same dream and the same work ethic!


Do you have a ‘signature dish’ or favourite dish you enjoy cooking? I have many dishes I enjoy cooking. I don’t have a favourite but I like to use classic flavour combinations in a modern way.


Do you have a favourite ingredient? This time of year, I love to use Jerusalem artichokes. The sweetness and earthiness makes them a great garnish for so many dishes.


Where do you source your ingredients? I source most of my fresh ingredients from local suppliers but also like to use ingredients from France and Japan. We have stunning gardens at Swinfen Hall where we grow many vegetables, fruits and herbs. We also have wild deer and rare breed sheep which feature on the menu.


Which restaurant do you most enjoy eating at on your night off? At the moment I’m really enjoying all the street food restaurants in Birmingham. It’s sometimes nice to have a beer and burger and take a break from fine dining.


What is the most interesting or fun experience you can share with us from your time in restaurants? When I was on work experience at Ynshir. It was really good to see how the very best restaurants work. Also being part of the team that won a Michelin Star and 4 rosettes at Hampton Manor in 2016.


What would be your ‘last request’ dish? I love Italian food so it would probably be some kind of pasta - maybe a carbonara.


Any advice you would give to someone wanting to become a chef? Only do it if you really love cooking. Always strive to better yourself and be the best you can be.


Any final thoughts you'd like to share, maybe new developments at the restaurant? Can’t wait to settle down in my first Head Chef role at Swinfen Hall - Beautiful - There’s going to be a lot of changes. Watch this space.


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