Peace and Loaf’s junior Sous Chef Simon Whitehead is no stranger to unique culinary situations – having dished up a treat in locations as diverse as a private yacht, to a two AA rosette rated restaurant on the Isles of Scilly.
Simon, who lists his favourite dish as the citrus cured Skrei – which will be served up in the historic Alderman Fenwick house come May 11th, has only been with Peace and Loaf for 12 months, however he’s wasted no time at all in creating dishes he describes as delicate, exciting and the perfect accompaniment for any season and can’t wait to show off his skills in an exciting setting.
Hugo’s appearance at the debut Experimental Diner event comes thanks to 2016’s Dine by the Tyne. Quick to jump on the opportunity, Hugo now brings 15 months of experience as Simon’s fellow junior sous chef at Peace and Loaf.
Seeing the event as an exciting chance to cook in a new environment with Simon who he credits as a great mate as well as a great chef, Hugo says it should be an event that he won’t forget in a hurry – and hopefully the first of many unique locations to cook up a storm in.
Stolen from London’s Hix Soho, Aussie come Geordie, Simon Hicks is looking forward to demonstrating his culinary magic. The head chef at Lord Crewe Arms at Blanchland, a medieval jewel tucked into the lee of the Pennine hills, has adopted Northumberland as his home with his Geordie wife.
Whilst the climate might be a tad different from Australia, he says the quality of fresh produce is just as strong. “I love taking a traditional recipe and giving it my own injection of innovation to gets the taste buds tap dancing.”
Young and ambitious chef Dan Robertson from the Borders, just so happened to fall into cooking and hasn’t looked back since! After working at the one Michelin star Chester Grovesnor, Dan started at Hawthorns as sous chef under Chris Woods, amassing a wonderful knowledge of ingredients and how to treat them with respect. He believes that food should stay true to its roots, keeping it simple and all about the flavour, but adding his own modern twist. He can’t wait to see the smiles on the guests faces as he presents dish after dish of beautifully simple food.
Moving from Cambridge to the North East in 2005, and after stints as head chef in Jesmond Dene House and Blackfriars, Troy joined forces with Andy Hook to open Dobson & Parnell. Creating modern dishes of British and European inspiration, Troy enjoys the freedom of exploring his creativity and developing his own style of unique cooking. Of course, with Dobson & Parnell being in such an old building, Troy is no stranger to creating modern dishes to compliment the historic surroundings and is excited to bring his style of cooking to the Castle, thinking the views and the building itself will be the perfect backdrop to his dinner on the Thursday.
Gareth Clarke, who hails from Wallsend, is the head chef at Hinnies Restaurant in Whitley Bay. Since Gareth entered the hospitality industry almost 20 years ago, he honed his skills at renowned venues across the North East including Alnwick Castle and Sage Gateshead, before moving to London to work for celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay and later, for Jamie Oliver.
He was especially attracted to Hinnies by the novel concept of focusing on rustic, earthy, Geordie-influenced food, likes the freedom to be creative in the kitchen using fresh, seasonal, local produce.
Greg began his career at just 15 years old as an apprentice, working with Terry Laybourne before joining the ranks at Fresh Element where he is at the forefront of their ambition to cook with only the freshest and best local ingredients.
“I loved the hustle and bustle of the kitchen and I became really passionate about making good food, wanting to learn more all the time. I have a desire to work with the best ingredients so I’ve been working with the team to source better meat, locally caught fish and vegetables grown on our doorstep. We’re even butchering and baking on site. It’s a really exciting time for the restaurant.”
Damian started cooking after working as a KP, a chef didn’t turn up to work so he stepped up and helped cook. He hasn’t looked back since, turning this into a 25 year career. Originally from the South East but moving to the North East as he loves the food scene here, Damian says “I have been cooking now for 25 years and honestly wouldn’t do anything else! I love teaching my guys and creating our dishes. Our menu changes most days as we are very much into cooking with the seasons and even the micro seasons.” He takes ‘foodie tour’holidays, searching Spain and the Nordics for new flavour profiles to perfect his dishes.