#LPPortraits : Adam Smith, Executive Chef of Coworth Park country house hotel and former Roux Scholar
Ahead of the Laurent-Perrier Gala Wine dinner at Coworth Park on Thursday 23 March, we sat down with Adam Smith, Executive Chef and a former Roux Scholar to find out more about his passion for food, his inspirations and what guests can expect to enjoy in addition to a few, perfectly chilled, glasses of Laurent-Perrier champagne…
What made you decide to pursue a career in food?
I fell into a career in the kitchen when I was young. It was during my part time job as a kitchen porter that I fell in love with food and the excitement of a kitchen environment. From then on I grew a real passion for food and the hospitality industry. I started working in the kitchens of luxury establishments when I was 17 years old.
What inspired you to join the team at Coworth Park?
I joined The Ritz after culinary college and later moved from The Ritz to The Devonshire Arms in Yorkshire. I then found Coworth Park which is the perfect combination of the two: 5 star luxury in a country house hotel with beautiful surroundings. This is the perfect home for me and my style of cooking.
As a previous winner of the Laurent-Perrier supported Roux Scholarship, you had the chance to work the esteemed Yanick Alleno at Le Meurice. What’s the best bit of advice that he gave you?
Working at Le Meurice was an amazing experience for me and Yanick is still one of my idols. I relished the opportunity to work with him and the experience taught me how important basic ingredients are. In particular, I remember the arrival of some bunched celery being delivered and the smell and taste were eye opening.
What is it about Coworth Park that makes it different from other country house hotels in the area?
Coworth Park is the perfect blend of five star service in an idyllic countryside location with a range of dining options, as guests have a choice of classic modern British in Restaurant Coworth Park or traditional afternoon tea in the Drawing Room, as well as relaxed rustic dining in The Barn. This is what makes Coworth Park the perfect place for me as I love the countryside and we have our famous wildflower meadow and amazing 240 acre country estate which inspires me daily. We are making Coworth Park a culinary destination. For whatever reason our guests are with us, be it a wedding, weekend away or a gourmet break; I want them to leave talking about the food and itching to come back.
What do you like to do and where do you like to go in your spare time?
I enjoy spending my spare time with my young family. I also enjoy Rugby and, of course, I love eating out.
What’s your favourite dish on your menu at the moment?
My favourite dish is the Exmoor Caviar Tart with Cornish crab, yuzu and cucumber at Restaurant Coworth Park. I love working with shellfish and herbs and in creating my dishes for the menu I wanted to encompass the herbs that are grown on our estate. My style of cooking uses great quality ingredients that can shine on the plate and this caviar tart definitely stands out. I use both corn flowers and marigolds from the meadow, which bring a lovely colour and flavour to the dish.
How would you describe your cooking style/what can people expect from the Laurent-Perrier champagne-paired dinner?
My mantra towards food has always been ‘taste is king and never goes out of fashion’. There may be food trends that are exciting but they come and go, and what people want is fantastic food that simply tastes great. I have always been an advocate for classical cooking. I think at times when I say this people almost see it as a negative because it’s not on trend or in vogue, however for me cooking is about staying true to classical flavour combinations and elevating them with modern techniques and presentation.
Matching classic flavours that work with Champagne is what our guests can expect, however these will be executed in a modern and relevant style that makes them exciting. We will take the humble British chicken and pair it with the most beautiful champagne sauce that will make the taste buds dance.
The Laurent-Perrier Gala Wine Dinner at Coworth Park will take place on Thursday, March 23 and be hosting by David Hesketh, Managing Director of Laurent-Perrier UK and Master of Wine.
Arrive to a chilled glass of champagne and canapes, followed by a unique three-course menu with each dish perfectly paired to a different Laurent-Perrier champagne. David will divulge stories about the historic house and present all the wines served during the dinner for a one-off tasting experience.
£85 per person, inclusive of VAT and service charge
Reception starts at 7.15pm, followed by dinner at 8pm at Restaurant Coworth Park.
Advance booking required – contact the restaurant via firstname.lastname@example.org .