A new Head Chef has joined the White Swan in Alnwick and received some tips from renowned TV Chef, Jean Christophe Novelli, whilst he was staying at the hotel for the local food festival.

Steve Dembry has been working at the hotel for four months now and in that time has completely revamped the menu but stayed true to the values of sourcing produce as locally as possible and only when in season.

Before taking on this role Steve was the Head Chef at Paxton Hall, Northumberland, and the New Exchange Brasserie in Newcastle and it was while in this position that he was also a Catering Lecturer at Newcastle College for a year. He has also previously held positions at the Fisherman’s Lodge, one of the North East’s premier fine dining restaurants, and Mc Coy’s Brasserie.

Steve and his team were pictured with TV Chef Jean Christoph Novelli while he stayed at the White Swan during Alnwick’s food festival: “It was great to have such a famous TV chef come into the kitchen to give the guys a few tips and some useful advice; these are young 19 year-old lads who are working extremely hard, they just need a bit of encouragement and confidence.

“By teaching them to do everything in the kitchen including butchery and fish preparation – dying arts in many kitchen these days as so much produce comes pre prepared, I think we will create more accomplished all round chefs. I also want them to have an input on the menu from creating garnishes for dishes, to designing new dishes and if they are good enough adding them to the menu.”

Steve’s focus has been on local produce wherever possible and nurturing his young team, teaching them how to source the best possible quality – for example the fresh fish used on the menu comes from the North Shields Fish Quay, and so far the restaurant has become busier over recent months as its reputation spreads:

“I want the restaurant to always be in peoples’ minds if they are thinking of going out for a meal locally. The long-term goal now is to eventually win two rosettes, and the team believe they have everything in place to achieve that,” Steve concludes.


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