Dorset Food & Drink has three award-winning celebrated chefs as ambassadors for our ever-growing organisation. Mark Hix, James Golding and now Lesley Waters.
Lesley Waters well known for her regular television appearances on Ready Steady Cook, Great Food Live and This Morning, Lesley is also a former Head Tutor of Leith's School of Food & Wine, author of several Cookery Books, a qualified Fitness Instructor and a mother of two!
Originally a Londoner born & bred, Lesley was quickly charmed by the beauty of the West Dorset area and inspired by the superb quality of the fresh local produce available right on her doorstep. She likes to cook seasonal food when ever possible and her simple, modern style creates dishes that are easy to recreate with stunning results.
Teaching has always been her great passion and opening her own Cookery School in Dorset in this amazing location is the realisation of a long held dream. Her energetic style of presentation is expertly combined with clear and simple guidance, making her classes both entertaining and informative.
Celebrated chef, restaurateur and food writer Mark Hix is known for his original take on British gastronomy. After 17 years as Chef Director at Caprice Holdings, he opened his first restaurant in 2008 - the distinguished Hix Oyster & Chop House in Smithfield, and has since opened a further 7 establishments including Hix Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis, the chicken and steak concept restaurants 'Tramshed' in Shoreditch and of course the well known HIX Soho. Hixter City's new venue Hixter Bankside is due to open in July 2014.
Mark is frequently lauded as one of London's most eminent restaurateurs with an unrivalled knowledge of ingredients with provenance. Mark has a monthly column in Esquire, a weekly column in The Independent, and is the author of a number of cookbooks on British cuisine.
Mark said: "Being a born and bread Dorset lad and now having a fish restaurant and B & B in Lyme Regis, I obviously love being a part of the Dorset food scene. I try to support local growers, fishermen and farmers where I can, as food is an important part of everyone's lives"
As modern British cuisine began to emerge fully in the late 1970’s, James Golding was brought into the world. James, a local Hampshire & Dorset boy, was to leave his home 16 years later for the bright lights of London and his first job as a chef.
The Savoy Hotel first employed James while still just a student on the Specialised Chef course. This course is still run by The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (formerly Académie de Culinaire de France) founded by Albert Roux and Richard Shepherd among others. He won his place at the Savoy on the back of his enthusiasm and excitement for cooking, as well as for this determination.
Within 3 years he had completed all sections at the Savoy and hand a firm grasp of Classical French cooking. It was at this time Chris Corbin and Jeremy King were beginning to attain legendary status for the sophisticated elegance of Caprice Holdings; Le Caprice and J Sheekeys. In 1998 James was offered the position of Chef de Partie at Le Caprice working under Mark Hix and later Elliot Ketley.
It was during the next 7 years James’s love for British seasonal produce began to present. Truffles, foie gras and caviar were happily exchanged with elvers, lamb’s kidneys, Dorset cockles and snipe. James stayed at Le Caprice until 2001 when head chef Tim Hughes offered him a new position at the seafood restaurant J Sheekeys. James left J Sheekeys in 2005 on a high note. He had risen to Sous Chef, been a part of restoring the restaurant to its former glory and had learned how to motivate and train the junior members of staff.
It was these leadership qualities Elliot Ketley drew heavily upon when he placed James in charge of the 6th floor restaurant at Soho House New York. In this “city that never sleeps” James still managed to find the time to take 2 weeks to be involved with the exclusive members’ only Oscar party that Soho House Hollywood hosts annually in Los Angeles, California. It was his experiences in America that finely tempered his modern British style of cuisine.
In 2006 James returned to his home on the south coast as both a seasoned chef and new father. James’s work began to take on inspiration from the region and its unique produce from both forest and sea. James feels the responsibility to promote and protect the traditional foods of the United Kingdom. To James this means seeking out small producers and local butchers in the habit of working sustainably and with passion for their products. Provenance and seasonality are the key ingredients when Chef James Golding builds his menus.
Through his Position as Chef Director at The Pig, he has worked to raise interest in where his food comes from and how it tastes. He has done this through working closely with his head Chefs and Kitchen Gardeners, the New Forest Marque, Dorset food and drink and the AA. Through his position and relationship with The Pig and the Home Grown Hotels Ltd he achieves and delivers his vision with respect to the Environment, to taste and to animal welfare. He has been awarded two Rosettes form the AA and have made it into this year’s Michelin guide as a recommended restaurant. We have also been voted the U.K’s most sustainable restraunt by the SRA 2012 & 2014; have been place in the top 100 at the National Restraunt awards three years in a row, Best Independent Hotel Cateys 2013.
James says "Since opening THE PIG on THE BEACH in Studland we've been overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of the amazing local and passionate producers located within the Dorset borders!
Before we were used to approaching producers & Farmers to try their products but because of how passionate the Dorset people are of their own local products we are now being approached by them.
It really is a very special county and I truly believe we should all be very proud of what is being achieved within the Dorset area. As a Dorset boy myself I know I am!!