Introducing Our New Head Chef
It has been a blissful few weeks here at The Bath Arms. Not only has the summer weather been absolutely fantastic – guests have been enjoying dining alfresco in our garden, so if you love the outdoors we are one of the top places to stay near Longleat – we have also been busy behind the scenes with an exciting new announcement to make; we would like to introduce our new Head Chef, Joe Donson!
Starting his career as a pastry chef, at a young age it was clear that he adored making patisserie style desserts – even wedding cakes! “I knew early on I wanted to be a chef.” It goes without saying that he has worked hard over the years to see that ambition come to fruition. His kitchen experience began at the 2 AA Rosette Browns Bar and Bistro where he was a commis chef before gradually building his way up to a chef de partie. “I was fortunate to learn the ins and outs of a busy kitchen serving great quality food with exceptional culinary plating. It has always stayed with me!”
Post-Browns, Joe then took his culinary skills to P&O Cruises working on their fleet of cruise ships. There, he worked alongside 167 serving a massive 10,000 meals plus every day! He can certainly stand the heat in the kitchen…
His career then saw him promoted into Marco Pierre White’s kitchen as senior chef de partie. It was here that he got a taste for using different ingredients in unique and creative ways via culinary and gastronomy skills. His skills furthered when he secured a position as senior sous chef with the William Cecil Hotel in Stamford. The level of service and dishes were to an impressive 3 AA Rosette standard and Joe was able to learn from Head Chef Phil Kent. “Phil was winner of Game Chef Of The Year so I learned a lot from him. My take-away ethos was that I need to constantly bring new menu ideas to the table and make sure that dishes should not just look appetising – they need to taste as good as they look.”
That was the attitude that made Joe the perfect fit with us here at The Bath Arms. Our country pub and accommodation may have a real talent for making our guests feel at home, but we like to serve food that goes far beyond any ‘pub grub’ fayre. “I see my role as head chef as mainly coming up with inspirational dishes in a unique and creative way – it is all about pleasing our guests. For me, this means using the best seasonal ingredients with quality produce to ensure that each plate is special.” In joining us at the Bath Arms Joe will be cooking with a team of 6 chefs who work just as hard and are just as passionate as he is.
So, what are Joe’s plans for the future?
“I want us to achieve a 2 or 3 AA Rosette for our food – we are one of the most welcoming pubs in Wiltshire, so I want our dishes to be recognised as much as our atmosphere is. The idea of playing more with the outside spaces at the pub is top of my list – I am keen to bring the outside kitchen into play doing amazing BBQs for the summer – not forgetting fresh baked pizzas. I also want to develop a herb garden so that we can grow our own different varieties of ingredients for the menu.”
His menu plans at the moment are a closely guarded secret, but it is safe to say that there are exciting and tasty times ahead at The Bath Arms.