Meet Nicholas Reed: Head Chef @TheDukePlymouth
Following five years of dedication at the Duke, Nicholas Reed was recently promoted to the hotel’s new Head Chef. Having played a key part in the hotel’s recent award of a second AA Rosette for its fine dining, Nick brings passion and creativity to his new role. Nick’s drive ensures that the Restaurant remains fresh and inviting for returning guests and residents alike, often taking an adventurous twist on dishes. Here, Nick talks about his career so far, his influecnces as well as his exciting plans for the Duke.
Congratulations on your new role as Head Chef at The Duke of Cornwall. For those who aren’t aware of your background, can you tell us a little about your career so far.
When I turned 18 in 2010, I started my career by studying at City College Plymouth. I studied BTEC Food and Beverage Service level 1, followed by Professional Cookery level 3. Shortly after completion of my studies, I began working at the Tudor Rose Tea Rooms on the Barbican, before joining the team at The Duke. I worked my way up through various roles, starting as Commis Chef and was then promoted to Head Chef several years later. Having gained hands on experience in each role, I feel this has equipped me to manage the team confidently.
What attracted you to the role at the Hotel?
I have always wanted to work in a large kitchen where I could really develop my skills alongside a talented team of Chefs. The hotel caters for a wide variety of functions and events with everything from weddings, charity balls, proms and large conferences. This combined with the Two AA Rosette offering in the Restaurant provides a great deal of diversity and keeps the role interesting.
How did you feel when you were offered the position?
I was excited to be given the opportunity to head up the kitchen team, and to make my mark by implementing new menus and fresh ideas. Although I knew this would be a challenge, having worked at the hotel for five years, I felt the time was right to take the next step and further my career. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working at the hotel so far and look forward to seeing what the future brings.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
I enjoy cooking classic dishes and traditional British food, using the very best local ingredients. I like to ensure that the Restaurant remains fresh and inviting for returning local guests and residents alike, often adding a unique twist on dishes.
How fortunate are we to have such amazing produce on our doorstep?
Extremely! We work very closely with local suppliers and make the most of a fantastic range of locally sourced ingredients. We have a great relationship with our suppliers and make regular visits, enabling the team to see where the produce comes from and providing us with inspiration for new dishes.
What can we expect to see on the menu at The Duke of Cornwall this summer?
I have some exciting new dishes planned for the coming months, but here are just a couple of my favourites. The first is Poached Rhubarb with Set Vanilla Custard, Honey Granola and Stem Ginger Ice Cream. The second dish is Roasted Lamb Rump with Spiced Aubergine Puree, Minted Feta Fritters and Tomato Relish. I hope that these will be enjoyed by those visiting our Restaurant! For the last three years, we have offered Champagne Tea at the Top in our Tower and each year I have enjoyed creating a new menu.
Here are just some of the items that guests can look forward to for the coming season: An Atlantic Prawn, Crab and Marie Rose Sandwich, Ham Hock and Piccalilli Crostini, Plum and Amaretti Fool and of course freshly baked Scones with Jam and Cream.
Who has been the biggest influence in your career to date?
I take a lot of inspiration from British Chefs – I don’t tend to watch cooking shows on TV, but do enjoy reading cook books and researching online.
I am influenced by Chefs such as Marcus Wareing, Michel Roux and Simon Holstone. I am also inspired by my team on a daily basis, we all share ideas and come up with new dishes together. As a relatively small team, we are able to work closely together and can bounce ideas off one another.
What are your first memories of food and has that influenced your style throughout your career?
I have always had an interest in food, even from a young age. I realised it was a career I wanted to pursue whilst visiting a Michelin star restaurant in France when I was 13. The food was amazing and like nothing I had ever tasted before – I loved the fresh ingredients, and the variety of flavours. Looking back, I have fond memories of spending time with my family and enjoying meals abroad with fantastic fresh food and locally sourced fish and vegetables. I wanted to be able to create that dining experience for others, and to inspire people to try different dishes.
What is your food hell and food heaven?
Heaven – I love Seafood so possibly Oysters, Mussels and Langoustines. We are privileged to live near the sea and have access to wonderful fresh ingredients.
Hell – Tinned Hot Dogs
Do you have a favourite Restaurant dish?
My favourite dish on the Restaurant menu currently is Prime West Country Beef Fillet with Braised Short Rib, Suet Pudding, Caramelised Onion and Cavolo Nero. This has been particularly popular with our guests and we have had great feedback!
What exciting plans do you have for the restaurant and for the rest of the year?
We will continue to work hard and maintain the current high standard. It is my long-term ambition for the Restaurant to be known as the place to go in Plymouth for fantastic food and a fine dining experience, as well as the perfect venue for special occasions. If you haven’t dined with us, then we hope we have tempted you. Our Restaurant is open seven days a week from 7pm.Visit the website to view a sample menu and remember we have beautiful function rooms available for private hire for special occasions.
Our team look forward to welcoming you.
Millbay Road, Plymouth, Devon PL1 3LG
Phone: 01752 275850