MEET THE CHEF
Tell us a bit about you
onion tartlets. The superb pastry boded very well for later and I thoroughly approve of hot savoury additions to a typically sweet feast.
Our plan to stride across the estate and burn off the calories was thwarted by driving wind and rain, so we explored our quarters instead. I was in the heavily beamed Blenheim Suite in the oast house, which had its own reception area and entrance and upstairs a grand four-poster, cleverly designed roundel bathroom with a lovely custom-made round bath and a second bathroom with shower.
The Tiny One, appropriately, was in cute Pippin (all rooms are named after apple varieities) in one of three suites at Pond Cottage, the former stable block housing in the grounds of the main farmhouse.
Dinner later was courtesy of one of Her Majesty’s former chefs, so we felt highly privileged and wondered as we crunched across the gravel if we should have packed tiaras.
We needn’t have worried. Service in the two AA Rosette restaurant was warm and friendly, led by young mananger Ben Jeffreys, and we were soon tucking into Kevin’s seasonal seven-course taster menu using produce mainly grown, shot and sourced on the farm.
My Petite Friend doesn’t eat meat so her side of the table was more fish than fowl, but we both particularly enjoyed the panroasted cod with mussel chowder, mine served with pancetta, MPF’s with spinach. The crisp yet floral Chapel Down English Rose was an inspired accompaniment.
A deep red Ruffino Chianti complemented the richness of the damson sauce served with my estate partridge, while a glass of El Monturo Tempranillo went down a treat with MPF’s equivalent main of crispy skinned sea bass with confit potato, capers and courgette.
Biddenden cider sorbet then gave us a clever, local, refreshing pause before a classic pear belle Hélène and Kentish cheeseboard finale.
In the morning, after peaceful sleeps with only the sound of birdsong to wake you, the sun finally decided to appear and gave a lovely warm glow to the barn’s central breakfast buffet spread. Fruit was followed by two perfectly poached eggs on good crunchy wholemeal toast and lots of tea.
A relaxing, restorative visit – and hopefully next time we’ll also get to expore the wider estate.
I’m married to Hayley and we have two lovely daughters Matilda and Elodie. I grew up 20 minutes away in Ashford and started my formal training at Eastwell Manor. At 19, I went to work under The Roux Brothers at the Waterside Inn at Bray. After 18 months I moved to London to be one of The Queen’s personal chefs. I then went to The Dorchester to work under the renowned chef Alain Ducasse. I have been the head chef at Frasers now for a year. South Coast fish, Hinxden Farm Dairy, Sandhurst, David Catt and Sons Vegetable Purveyors, Chart Sutton and The Village Green Butchery, Bethersden. The duck with Victoria plum and mushroom; it represents the ethos of Frasers on a plate. The duck is sourced from the estate by the owners’ son William, plucked by Hedgerow Game, a small independent local business, smoked in a home-made smoker with hay from our farm – and to top it off the plums are gifted from a neighbour! Source the finest quality local ingredients – don’t scrimp. Neil Wiggins from Eastwell Manor and The Queen’s Chef Mark Flanagan. Both invested in me and dedicated their time to ensure that my career proceeded on the right path. Three Wheatabix and half a punnet of blueberries.