Chef David penny, The Wharf House Restaurant, Gloucester
PUBLISHED: 23:11 28 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:33 20 February 2013
"We are a bit unusual in that three of us share the cooking. It's a team effort, not just one Head Chef taking the credit."
We are a bit unusual in that three of us share the cooking on hot partie, with Andy Chapman generally taking the lead in service and Claire Lloyd being the master in making sure everything is ready. They are ably supported by Franco, Poppy, Mike, and Rachel, mainly on cold partie, and me (David) in the kitchen when and where necessary in between running the place. It's a team effort not just one 'Head Chef' taking the credit.
Tell us about your menu.
We try and use the best of local produce and have some great suppliers, it ranges from some very simple but extremely popular dishes at lunchtime like the smoked haddock with The Wharf House salad and poached egg, to something very much more complex and rich in the evening like the ever popular noisette of fillet beef with pan fried foie gras, set upon oxtail red wine and spring onion with Single Gloucester gratin dauphinoise. We all love to cook fish and you will find sea bass, halibut, and red mullet on the menu in the evening, as well as there always being two vegetarian options at each course.
Where did you train?
All of us have always had an interest in food, with Andy and Claire having worked in several places before The Wharf House and others having been trained in house. We originally had a head chef who had trained in several Michelin starred restaurants in both England and France, and we have put that experience to good use and that is showing in the success of The Wharf House.
How would you describe your approach to food?
We try and give a good variety - there is a place for something complex like our fillet beef dish or the unusual venison with chocolate and redcurrant. Sometimes it is hard to beat something really simple, and with the fish in particular you need to let the delicate flavours shine through, and one of our favourites is sea bass on a bed of sauted leek with a white wine and citrus sauce - it's simple but has a perfect balance.
Best cooking tip for a novice?
Keep it simple - don't be tempted to just add another ingredient because you have it! But why not experiment? It's the only way you will get out of a rut of cooking the same dishes and you may find a new favourite
Who is your favourite celebrity chef?
Jamie Oliver - simply for what he is trying to do with schools - it can only be good.
What local products do you value most?
We buy the finest meat mainly reared in Herefordshire from a butcher my family have used for 20 years, cheeses from Dymock, herbs from Malvern, mushrooms from Tibberton, there is so much good local produce that we are very lucky.
Why should people visit you?
To quote one review 'it's the perfect blend of setting and dining'. It's very conveniently placed for access from Cheltenham, Gloucester, the Forest or the Cotswolds - we really are at the hub of things even only a short hop off the motorway, yet set right alongside the River Severn and the restored Canal Basin.
Also, from this summer we will also have alfresco dining on the river terrace - what better place to enjoy a glass of wine and some fine food with relaxed and unobtrusive service?
We are unique in being part of The Herefordshire& Gloucestershire Canal Trust with all the profits going back to the charity for the ongoing restoration and upkeep of the Canal, with the visitor centre telling the progress we are making in restoring the 34 miles of canal from Gloucester through Newent, Dymock and Ledbury back into the heart of Hereford