Chef Edward Cracknell, The Close Hotel, Tetbury
PUBLISHED: 14:33 07 January 2011 | UPDATED: 16:11 20 February 2013
We speak to The Close Hotel's head chef Edward Cracknall.
Name: Edward Cracknell
Restaurant: The Close Hotel, Tetbury
Address: 10 Long Street, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL88AQ
Tel: 01666 502272
What is your earliest memory of food? Catching mackerel; picking cockles and netting prawns in Poole harbour.
Tell us about your menu. Modern British and Italian.
How often do you change your menu? As often as needed, but at least with the seasons.
Which dish on the menu would you recommend to a customer? Steak and Stilton pie with mash
What initiated your interest in cooking? I suppose collecting fruit from the orchard, blackberries from the hedgerows pulling and picking the vegetables from the garden, the game that dad brought home and wondering in amazement how my mother transformed it into those wonderful meals that we enjoyed as children, and that if I was cooking I would not have peel the vegetables, pluck and draw the pheasants or do the washing up, Oh how could I have been so wrong....!
How would you describe your approach to food? Keep it simple and enjoy it!
What advice would you give to a novice?
The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.
Have you ever had any cooking disasters? Yes as Sous chef working for an Austrian company on board a cruise ship. The first cruise after refit, mid winter (Millennium Cruise December 1999)in the Atlantic with 350 passengers, an executive chef who was AWOL, menus in German and 16 new Russian cooks who had not got their sea legs, the language barrier was the least of my challenges.... Well they do say worse things happen at sea!
What has been your most memorable (or unusual) meal? On leave in Portofino, Italy, in mid winter looking for some where to eat, everywhere was closed except a little seafood restaurant overlooking the harbour, where the owner was in fact hosting a private dinner. He invited us to join them. I have never forgotten the genuine hospitality, friendliness and enthusiasm that we were welcomed in with and the amazing supper that was produced, a testament that strangers can become friends over good food and glass or two of wine.
Which chef has been your greatest inspiration? Terry Greehouse, Executive Chef of the QE2 for 11 years and who I worked for at Rhinefield House Hotel, Brockenhurst.
What is your favourite local ingredient? , The beef and pork from Folly Farm and Larkhill farm, 16 food mile from field to shop, where I have the opportunity to pick and choose which meat we use from John at Jesse Smiths the butcher opposite the Hotel.
What's in your fridge at home? 4 tubes of fruit gums and milk (or maybe its yoghurt........)
What is your favourite local restaurant? The Gumstool, Nr. Tetbury
Why should people visit you? The garden for afternoon tea or a long drink watching the sun set.
What would you recommend about the local area? The scenery, the Cotswolds are an area of outstanding natural beauty
What would you choose for your last meal on earth? Steak and Kidney Pudding, mashed potato with any of the brassica's preferably Ragged Jack (Red Russian Kale)