Telford chef seeks second rosette
It’s been nearly a year since Charles Dundas was appointed Head Chef at Hadley Park House Hotel, we caught up with him to find out a bit about the man behind the chef’s whites.
What or Who inspired you to become a Chef?
I started working in a kitchen at the age of 14 when I was still at school doing my NVQ Level 1. While I was working at the Malt House in Ironbridge, Dan Forber persuaded me to go to Radbrook College, where I studied for 3 years. Later on, he asked me to work with him at the new restaurant in the Theatre Severn. It was Dan that really got me passionate about food.
What has been the highlight of the last year?
As someone that enjoys the pastry side of cooking, I’ve worked hard with the team to improve our Afternoon Teas. We now offer probably the best range of Afternoon Teas in Shropshire, our sweet treats and pastries are prepared with grea attention to detail, the sort of quality you would get in a top London hotel and our bookings have increased significantly, so we must be doing something right.
What do you like about working in a team?
We have a good young team here, in fact I am the second oldest at 28! I get involved in all the interview, trials and decision making so I am building the team that will work together and complement each other. We also have an apprentices and I enjoy training, teaching and passing my knowledge onto others.
How do you use seasonal ingredients and what ingredients are you currently working with?
We create a new menu each season so I am constantly researching new techniques, ingredients and equipment to improve our dishes and make them different. This winter we will have calves liver, venison and butternut squash on the menu as well as a new pork, mustard and apple terrine
What are the advantages of work with local suppliers?
Fresh ingredients are everything to me, when food is local you know everything is fresh. We have some great suppliers for our meat, bread, cheese, veg, dairy and fish right on the doorstep.
Do you have any top tips for any budding chefs?
Just to be patient and work your way up in the kitchen. Too many young people want things too quickly, they want to know everything straight away but you really need to put in the time and effort. It takes a lot of practice to be a good chef.
What have you got planned for the future?
My main goal is to get a second AA Rosette for our restaurant, we have already won awards for our weddings and our Afternoon Teas are very popular so I would like to see the restaurant gain a good reputation regionally as well as locally.
If you want to experience Charles’s food then join us for an informal lunch, exquisite afternoon tea or come and enjoy some high quality dining in Dorrell’s Restaurant https://www.hadleypark.co.uk/restaurant/