Meet the Chef at great gastropub The Brushmakers Arms,
Upham

Meet the Chef at great gastropub The Brushmakers Arms, Upham

What first inspired you to become a chef? 

“Watching TV programmes with Keith Floyd and Gary Rhodes. At 14, I was washing up in a restaurant kitchen and, watching the chefs there, it seemed like magic, raw ingredients being transformed into a delicious meal!”

What was the first meal you cooked for someone else?

“Pork chops for my mum and stepdad.”

Tell us a bit about your career so far…?

“After starting out washing up in a local restaurant, a steakhouse in Maidstone, I gradually moved up to chef positions. By 24, I was working for Gary Rhodes at Rhodes 24 and then moved on to The Wolseley for a few years and then Arbutus, which had a Michelin star, and the Anchor and Hope, a gastro pub near Waterloo. I left London, moved to Hampshire and was a chef at the Thomas Lord, one of the first gastropubs here. I met my wife Nicky there, she was the manager, and we opened a cafe together in Petersfield called the Gypsy Kitchen. There we started doing secret dining once a month which we still do now at The Brushmakers. People love it, it’s a six course tasting menu and they get to try exciting produce from the excellent farms and artisan products from all over Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. I have been at the Brushmakers with Nicky now for over eight and a half years.”

What is your favourite dish currently on the menu?

“The menu changes day to day and from lunch to evening. At the moment, we’re using a lot of guinea fowl, chalk stream trout and gurnard.”

(Image: The Brushmakers Arms)

Where is your favourite place to eat in Hampshire? 

“Elderflower restaurant in Lymington. Beautiful old building on the quay. The chef Andy (Du Bourg) and I worked together at The Wolseley.”

What is your favourite meal to cook at home? 

“Braised oxtail and onion pie with a suet crust. We also do this in the pub, it goes down very well at shoot lunches.”

What do you like to drink with a meal?

“A good French wine or cider from Hyde Cyder in Herriard.”

(Image: The Brushmakers Arms)

What is your culinary guilty pleasure?

“Heinz tomato soup with a dash of Tabasco sauce with cheese and onion toasties cut into soldiers to dip in.” 

Which key ingredient is always in your fridge? 

“Butter and Isle of Wight garlic.”

What is your favourite Hampshire ingredient?

“Chalk stream trout and venison from Test Valley Game.”

(Image: The Brushmakers Arms)

What is your career ambition?

“To achieve more accolades. We came second last year in the best pub category in the South East (Countryside Alliance Oscar).”

What do you think will be the next restaurant trend?

“I think more and more chefs are thinking about sustainability and seasonality.”

(Image: The Brushmakers Arms)

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