Here at The Venues Collection, we know food is one of the most important choices when selecting a venue and to set the scene, we sat down with Tony Maude, the Head Chef at our venue of the month – Kents Hill Park. To spice things up even more, Tony shared one of his most beloved recipes by guests at the venue, so keep reading..
What made you want to be a chef and when did your love of food first start?
Cooking has always been my passion, I fell in love with it at an early age whilst helping my mother in the kitchen. As she was a Chef as well, many of the tricks I know today are thanks to her valuable lessons. After graduating University, catering was the only career I was interested in pursuing.
Do you have any stand out dishes or packages which are popular with corporate guests? What can they expect to eat when attending an event at your venue?
Our menus change seasonally, however we have found delivered buffets to be very popular. This offers corporate guests something different compared to the usual buffet we offer in the restaurant and we have had some great feedback from clients.
What options are available for bigger events such as celebrations, parties and conferences? And how much prep is required for these types of events?
We offer a wide selection of packages from finger buffets to sit down private dining. The preparation always varies depending on the package the customer selects, however we staff accordingly to ensure a great experience for everyone involved.
What can you offer clients looking for a fine-dining experience? How do you make the occasion unique and how do you get the right combination of food and drink?
Our fine dining packages give our customers the option to select all three of their courses. This ensures our customers look forward to what they have chosen, as opposed to everyone having the same dish and running the risk of a bad experience for guests.
Do you use locally sourced ingredients and produce, and does this change seasonally? What would you recommend for a small scale meeting in the summer compared to the winter? Would it vary?
We are proud to be part of Compass Group’s Venues Collection with all of our food sourced through Compass Group. This gives us the opportunity to adapt our menus as the seasons change.
How important a role do you feel food plays in the success of an event and its objectives?
I believe food to be a massive role with many; if not all the events we have at Kents Hill Park. This gives our clients on these events not only something to look forward to, but to talk about as well.
What three reasons would you give event organisers to choose your venue/hotel for their next event?
Kents Hill Park is a purpose built training & conference and offers versatile meeting space, delicious food and attentive staff. We wouldn’t disappoint.
Which recipe would you present us today? What is the story behind the recipe and how did it become the recipe it is today?
As Kents Hill Park offers a wide selection of food offerings, we are at our most creative when drawing up our private dining menus. This is similar to a dish I first created many years ago and has since been adapted to serve at our Venue. It’s very popular among guests.
Here we have; Pan Fried Duck Breast & Confi Duck Leg Bon Bon, Potato Fondant, Glazed Carrots, Beetroot Puree, Blackcurrant Jus
1 duck breast
1 duck leg
1 garlic clove
500ml chicken stock
1 large potato
20g tomato puree
Half an onion
How to cook:
- In a container, cover the duck leg, garlic glove, and orange peel with salt and pepper in oil, and put into the oven for 2 hours. Once it’s cooked and chilled, make a ball and add the egg, then coat with the breadcrumbs. Fry to finish.
- Cook the beetroot in 400ml of chicken stock with the remaining orange until tender, then blend to a puree adding the stock if necessary.
- Roast the carrot in oil for 30 minutes with salt and pepper
- Shape the potato to a fondant, and fry with a little oil and seasoning, turning when coloured. Add the butter with the remaining chicken stock, and cook in the oven for 30 mins
- Pan fry the duck breast with salt and pepper, and put into the oven on a separate dish for 7 minutes (depending on size)
- Use the same pan to add onions, carrots, tomato puree and blackcurrants, and reduce to a jus. Pass when seasoned