With a CV namechecking some of Devon’s most respected restaurants and four years at the country house hotel under his belt, Tom Browning steps up as head chef at Lewtrenchard Manor
The secluded location, bountiful kitchen garden and ingredient-led style of dining at Devon’s Lewtrenchard Manor is nothing new for chef Tom Browning. Before landing the role at the family-run hotel and restaurant, the talented young chef worked closely with previous head chef Matthew Peryer in a sous position which he quickly earned after joining the brigade in 2014.
Previous experience working under Tim Bouget of ODE in Shaldon and Tom Williams-Hawkes and Michael Caines at Abode in Exeter equipped the chef with a repertoire of skills and a passion for local and seasonal fare. ‘The produce that we have in the UK, especially in the South West, is some of the best in the world,’ enthuses Tom.
With a walled garden on his kitchen doorstep, Tom is looking forward to pairing freshly plucked produce with fish, meat and dairy from some of the South West’s best suppliers. ‘I get to work closely with our gardener,’ explains Tom. ‘We’ll choose quality ingredients to grow especially for a dish I want to create. I prefer to write a menu and devise dishes around what’s good at that time of year, rather than trying to source something I need for an idea.’
Tom’s agenda doesn’t include any groundbreaking changes at the restaurant; continuing to uphold Lewtrenchard’s refined foodie reputation is what matters to the passionate chef. ‘What the team have created here is fantastic and I don’t want to change that,’ admits Tom. ‘However, I’m looking forward to putting my own stamp on the food and fusing modern techniques with classic flavours.’
As well as running the lunch and dinner service at Lewtrenchard, Tom will be cooking at the Devon Food Movement pop-up event in North Tawton in September and joining the line-up of chefs cooking at the prestigious Trencherman’s Awards 2019 dinner in November.
One of a remaining few family-run country house hotels in Devon, this is a must-visit for glorious escapism where you can dine like lord of the manor, says Jo Rees