MEET THE CHEF
Head chef Mike Wall-palmer’s focus on flavour, taste and simplicity has helped The Anchor in Ripley become a top foodie destination loved by locals and national food critics alike. He speaks to Simone Hellyer...
What first inspired you to become a chef? I’ve always been creative and studied art and design at A Level. I didn’t set out to become a chef but an opportunity arose in the kitchen at Goodwood and within a week of being immersed in that atmosphere, feeling the buzz and the pressure, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue as a long-term career.
What do you enjoy about working at The Anchor? Working closely with Steve Drake [who as well as running The Anchor, also owns Surrey Life 2018 Restaurant of the Year and Michelin Star-awarded Sorrel in Dorking]. Our regular creative meetings and implementing those dishes and ideas is very satisfying. We have a small team so working closely with them and seeing them grow and progress is really rewarding. It’s also great to work in a business that’s a real mix of regular and new guests intrigued by creative menus. What happens at your monthly supper club? Our set lunch menu changes every month so the Supper Club is a chance for guests to try the new dishes. It’s a seasonal fivecourse tasting menu on the last night of each month. For me, it’s one of the most exciting services of the month. I love seeing the creative process come together in the finished dishes that we’ve worked on for weeks.
What is your culinary ethos? Our food is simple with a focus on flavour, creativity and the best seasonal ingredients. The Anchor has been a pub since the 1880s and we want guests to experience that relaxed and familiar feeling you only get from a traditional village pub. Delicious food in comfortable surroundings that you’ll want to return to.
How do you source your ingredients? We’ve lucky to live in a county that’s full of quality produce and suppliers. We try and source as much as we can locally, even down to picking wild elderflower in spring from just outside our door for a delicious panna cotta and other dishes. Our menu planning starts months in advance so we’re ready for when ingredients are at their best.