A new year, a new menu and also in our case a new head chef. Introducing chef Tom Bennetts, the family-man who strives for perfection and is set to take the lead and head up the kitchen team at the Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa. Tasked with creating a new menu for Dune Restaurant ready for 2019, we wanted to get to know Tom a little better before delving into the dishes of Dune, so we sat down in the kitchen with Tom to find out what he’s really about.
Talk to us about your journey as a chef
Starting out as a butcher, I realised that I was more curious about how the meat was being turned into tantalising dishes through the planning, preparation, cooking and then serving it than just delivering it. At that point, I knew I needed to change direction with my career and that’s where my journey in the kitchen began. I trained at a local college before moving onto working for various Cornish establishments including Rick Stein and Gravy Boesti. I found my feet at The Rose in Vale in Truro where I gained 2 AA Rosette’s in 6 months and held them for four years, I also got to the semi-finals of South West Chef of the Year in 2018.
What’s your inspiration?
My family and to strive for perfection in my dishes. Standing still is not an option and every day we look for improvements. I’m looking forward to honing in on the individuality of my dishes and showcasing something different for Cornwall cuisine.
How do you know when a dish is perfect?
It never is. There’s always something to add or improve on, and I’m my worst critic!
We know you’re ambitious so tell us about your next goal
I am looking at taking Dune Restaurant to new levels of the right consistency to gain accolades and to take my career further.
Talk us through the new menu at Dune Restaurant
Clean straight lines, clean flavours and to let the amazing local produce speak for itself. It’s all about putting firm foundations of style in for future ideas and menus. Watch this space…
What can’t you be without when in the kitchen?
Black coffee! Also good quality sharp knives are a must.
Tell us something not many people know about you
I am a marvel super hero fan, and not afraid to show it.
Your favourite dish, to cook?
Desserts. It’s the last dish on a menu and should create a lasting memory of the dining experience.
Scott Paton, Tommy Banks, Chris Eden, Marcus Waring
How would you sum up your cooking style?
Clean lines, full bold flavours and crisp presentation.
When you’re not in the kitchen, where would we find you dining in Cornwall?
Anywhere with my two children and wife enjoying the time we get together when I’m not in the kitchen.
To sample Tom’s new menu at Dune Restaurant call 01637 852221 or take a look at the menu here.