A Chef’s Tale……

We have all been guilty of not answering our phone as it is being used for something far more important….taking images of the food that we are about to eat!

I went behind the scenes of Dorset’s delicious dining and hotel group, Urban Guild, and met their Executive Group Chef, Ian Gibbs, to gain insight into life behind creating that edible picture perfect image…….

Tell us about your role as Group Executive Chef at Urban Guild?

My job is a more strategic role looking forward; how the group develops the menus, standards and suppliers; and utilising more of our fantastic South Coast produce. Other responsibilities include looking after my chef teams, helping, guiding and inspiring our junior members of the brigade through our Urban Guild Academy programme.

What can you tell us about the values and ethics of the “Urban Guild” family.

We love our local suppliers, that is our food value, as my role progresses within the Guild I will be sourcing more and more small producers (give me a call!!!!!!) We even have our own Farm in the Forest!

Through our businesses, the Team want to give our guests a big HUG of hospitality (hence the Pineapples) we want everyone to have as much fun as we do

The look of a plate is very important and in today world of social media how much of an impact do you think Instagram etc has had on restaurant food?

It’s very important these days but it’s not just about the plate. From the moment you arrive and get a smile from the team, to menu presentation, to the beautiful plating by the Chef, the dish exceeding the anticipation of the presentation by flavour and texture to give the diner an overall enjoyment of the dish!

You’re stranded on Brownsea island. What 5 ingredients would you want with you? What would you make?

Apart from my National Trust card and a really really really long pipe to carry Prosecco, I would take veg, potatoes, greens, carrots, tomatoes (fruit) and puff pastry to make game pie (only joking!!)

What would your advice be to someone wanting to become a chef?

It’s a tough but rewarding job, ups and downs. You make real friends but you work very hard. I’ve cooked for, and met the Queen and Prince Phillip, been awarded Rioja Chef of the Year and Dorset and Hampshire Chef of the Year, won many international Competitions, these all off the back of Kitchens and working with inspirational Chefs. It’s a great industry to be in!

My advice is study hard and get the right qualifications. We are working with Brockenhurst College and are looking for candidates to train and encourage as apprentices, these new chefs are the future of the industry.

For more details on Urban Guild:


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