Meet the new Head Chef, Charlie Murray, at Fredrick’s Hotel & Spa
When Charlie Murray took up residence in the kitchen of Fredrick’s, three months ago, he wasn’t employed just to cook food. For Charlie, the art of cooking goes beyond what is just served on a plate.
“It’s a craftsmanship,” he enthuses.“The raw ingredient is where it begins. Being a chef, it’s my job to work with the food to get the flavourings right. I call it honest food: using high quality ingredients, not quirky recipes to entertain.”
Charlie’s straight-talking attitude about food is in part due to his no nonsense, South Yorkshire roots, but he credits his grandfather, Ken, for inspiring his love of food.
“For me, the whole cooking process essentially means loving the food, until it leaves the kitchen. That’s how it was always served to me when I was young,” recalls Charlie fondly. For this 37-year-old, from Doncaster,
“quality ingredients, cooked well” is his mantra. ‘For me, the whole cooking process essentially means loving the food, until it leaves the kitchen’.
This means, using the best suppliers to source his menu ingredients, from hand-dived Orkney scallops to fresh crab from his fishmongers Kingfisher Brixham.
For his Loin of Venison or his Pressing of Pork, he knows he can rely on butchers in Thatcham.
Seasonality is important as I look at this month's a la carte this is illustrated by Charlie’s dishes of Salt Baked Beetroot and Spiced Roasted Pumpkin.
Working in a hotel, Charlie has to be flexible. When he joined in August, he was catering for many happy weddings held at Fredrick’s. During the weekdays, he has to cater for the corporate clients whose, time demands' or tastes, have to be addressed.
During the weekends, he meets the necessary expectations of visitors celebrating a family occasion at Fredrick’s. And, right now, he’s flexing his culinary muscles in time for the many Christmas events and private bookings he will be catering for during the festive season. All the while, “using quality ingredients, cooked well”.
Charlie has certainly made an impression with his colleagues, he’s teaching his team of chefs: “my standards”. Even the general manager, proudly introduces him to hotel visitors as “The Head Chef”.
Charlie is also realistic about the task he has taken on at Fredrick’s: “There are a lot of exceptional restaurants in this area,” he points out. “My mission is to raise the standard of the menu at Fredrick’s and make it a destination not only for international travellers, but local residents too.”
Working more than 12 hours-a-day, Charlie is truly determined that his food will add another accolade to this four star hotel and spa.
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