THE man hailed by food critics as one of the UK’s most talented seafood chefs has joined a picturesque West Dorset pub to head up a garden-inspired menu.
George Marsh, 31, who picked up a clutch of dining accolades during his six-year tenure at the Riverside Restaurant in West Bay, is now Head Chef at the New Inn, in Stoke Abbott. The 18th century thatched pub nestles in the heart of the picturesque village next to up-and-coming foodie haven, Beaminster.
The Telegraph describes George as ‘cooking with real swagger’. His list of awards include:
Taste of the West pub, 1999
Dorset Dining Pub of the Year, 1999
Winner of TV’s Taste of the West series, 2002
Taste of the West gold award 2009
Taste of the West Best Restaurant in Dorset 2010
George looks after 60 covers, supported by second chef John Kellas, who used to deliver to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage just down the road. George will be able to create new dishes from the pub’s impressive kitchen garden, which boasts a wide range of delicious crops from mange tout, purple haze and sweet samurai carrots, shallots, sunburst squashes, seven varieties of tomatoes and even edible flowers for us on salads.
The trio also aim to start a smokehouse and rear their own chickens, providing food at its freshest, from garden to fork.
George said: ‘I want to go back into doing more seasonal dishes as well as offering great fish – at this time of year it’s hearty, warming, country dishes like beef bourguignon, confit of duck leg, slow roasted belly of pork.
‘We are blessed here living in Dorset – the coast is just a few miles away, and we are in the countryside where we can grow our own food and rear our own livestock – it’s the best of both worlds.
‘I have been looking for the opportunity of using a garden to support the kitchen throughout the seasons, so I can cook with the freshest local ingredients I can source. That’s why I approached Luke.
‘We both want to make this place somewhere special, offer the best food we can without being too expensive. It’s honest, country cooking where families are made to feel welcome.’
Starters on the New Inn dinner menu include mussels with coconut, kaffir lime leaves, chilli and coriander (£7), pigeon breast salad served with crispy pancetta and a romesco sauce (£6.50), and pan fried scallops served with saffron and prawn risotto with fresh parmesan shavings (£7).
Main courses range from beef bourguignon with shallots, pancetta and thyme (£12.50), wild mushroom risotto with mascarpone and fresh parmesan shavings (£12) and fillet of brill with pea and mint purée and tartar sauce (£17.50).
Licensee of the New Inn, Luke Stevens, said: ‘We want to grow more of our own fresh produce, and start smoking our own meats – ham, mackerel, eel, pigeon, cheese. It’s going to be fantastic for our customers and well worth the effort.
‘But it could not be done without the right chef, so I am very excited that George has joined us. This year we aim to grow over 40 types of salad, vegetables, herbs and fruits in the garden for George to use in his dishes, ranging from home-made dressings and purées to puddings and salads.’
Luke added: ‘It’s great that there are so many food oriented businesses in this part of Dorset and it means that we have got to be not just different, but exceptional – and that’s what George is.’
Palmers Brewery Tenanted Trade Manager Tom Hutchings said: ‘We are delighted to welcome George Marsh to the New Inn. At Palmers, we are passionate about the food served in our pubs, which perfectly complements our range of five finest ales – Palmers Copper Ale, Palmers Best Bitter, Palmers Dorset Gold, Palmers 200, and Palmers Tally Ho!’