Meet our chef
Meet Craig, Head Chef at The William Cecil hotel. Craig started his kitchen experience at the tender age of 14, working as a Kitchen Porter whilst at school. By the time he’d reached 17 he was a fully-fledged Commis Chef in his home town of Pitlochry, Perthshire. He went on to land the role of Chef de Partie in the nearby Green Park hotel, but it wasn’t until he secured a role at the prestigious Fonab Castle that Craig accelerated his culinary skills and knowledge, working alongside the likes of Graham Harrower and David Mackintosh, with 3 AA Rosettes. Craig absorbed every single piece of culinary finesse required when creating a dish. After deciding to jump over Hadrian’s Wall, Craig spent a year at The Daffodil as Head Chef, then headed to Middle England to join us here at The William Cecil.
Craig landed in at the deep end at The William Cecil in August 2017 right at the start of the Burghley Horse trials – ‘I loved it immediately. It was a challenge and a good starter for ten. This year I’ll be firmly in the saddle, ready for the three-day event.’
He believes that each dish must be stand alone, clean, simple, and full of flavour with a unique twist. In doing this Craig always makes sure that he uses as much local, seasonal produce as possible.
Can you tell us a little about the role and what’s involved?
My role as Head Chef at The William Cecil is to bring new inspirational seasonal dishes to the table and to source the very best seasonal ingredients available to me.
I’m passionate about offering quality, simple, and clean dishes with a unique twist. For example, we’ve just updated our seasonal menus, one of which includes; Loin of line caught cod, cod brandade, artichoke, asparagus, with a chicken reduction.
With a six-man team in my kitchen, it's essential we’re all cooking from the same menu from the start of service until the end. Promoting good team morale is fundamental to my role.
What do you love most about the property?
We have a talented team of 6 and an even better working atmosphere. I love the people I work with at The William Cecil and you can’t plan! I’ve supportive management behind me, from the director of Hillbrooke Hotels to Vicki our General Manager at the property; this is invaluable when working as a Head Chef.
Who inspires you?
David MacKintosh & Graham Harrower. I was fortunate to work alongside these two culinary legends when I worked at Fonab Castle. I absorbed and learnt pretty much everything from the secrets of good prep to getting the dish to its highest standard for the pass. These skills I implement daily; whether it’s training my team, creating a new seasonal dish from scratch or pulling up my sleeves and getting amongst a sack of sprouts! It’s totally all about the team in my kitchen.
If you could have famous dinner party guests who would you invite?
I’d genuinely love to cook for Daniel Humm – Eleven Madison Park. Can you imagine? It would be an honour, and a genuine dream come true.
What can we expect from the property this year?
Continuing to use local, seasonal produce with some unique British dishes, yet adding my fine dining twist and maintaining our two AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence, thus building on the hotel and restaurant's reputation as a the fine food destination in Stamford.