Meet Adam Smith, executive chef at Coworth Park
Fresh from receiving one Michelin star from the 2018 Michelin Guide UK & Ireland, we caught up with executive chef Adam Smith to discuss his culinary achievements at Restaurant Coworth Park in just over 12 months. We also find out what it takes to run all of the dining outlets at Coworth Park. At just 30 years old, as Micheal Roux Sr once proclaimed, he is certainly ‘one to watch’.
1. How does it feel to be awarded a Michelin star this year for Restaurant Coworth Park?
I am thrilled for myself and the team who work tirelessly front and back of house to make sure we meet and exceed the expectations of our guests in Restaurant Coworth Park. For me, it is the realisation of a lifelong ambition to achieve a Michelin star and even more special that it has happened here at Coworth Park. Having been at Coworth for little over a year this amazing award is testament to the hard work that our team put in, and I am very proud that we have done so in a relatively short space of time.
2. What has been your highlight at Coworth Park so far?
Aside from receiving recognition from the Michelin Guide, I enjoy the challenge of working in such a prestigious property. I’ve been able to build a great team of people to help drive things forward at a formidable pace. The highlight for me so far has been reading some of the amazing feedback we receive from our guests. It makes me look back at the progress we’ve made – and it’s amazing – but what’s more exciting is what we will do in the future.
I’ve been able to build a great team of people to help drive things forward at a formidable pace.
3. Why did you choose Coworth Park?
I first got a taste for working in a five-star environment when I worked at The Ritz after culinary college. I then moved out to The Devonshire Arms in Yorkshire, which I loved because of its stunning location. The opportunity at Coworth Park immediately stood out to me as it was a perfect combination of both of those experiences; beautiful surroundings and five-star luxury. It just seemed to be a perfect home for me and my style of cooking.
4. What makes it different?
I now oversee all of the food operations, including Restaurant Coworth Park, The Barn, in-room dining and events. It’s a very exciting challenge for me to take on. The change in environment is also making it very special – the country estate inspires me daily.
5. Before winning your Michelin star, what other moments stand out in your career?
Joining The Devonshire Arms was a big moment for me and it gave me great confidence in my ability to oversee a number of different operations. I was thrilled that during my time there we were awarded the coveted four AA rosettes in the January 2015 guide, and this gave me the confidence to achieve the defining moment in my career: becoming executive chef at Coworth Park.
My mantra is always ‘taste is king’
6. Who or what first inspired you to become a chef?
My first part-time job was as a kitchen porter and I immediately fell in love with food and the dynamic environment. That love for the kitchen soon turned into the hospitality industry as a whole and my first job in a luxury establishment was when I was 17. My cooking style really developed during this time and inspired me to become a chef.
7. How would you describe your food?
I describe my food as British, seasonal and flavoursome. My mantra is always ‘taste is king’ – food trends come and go, but ultimately my goal is always to make food that simply tastes great.
8. What’s your favourite dish?
My favourite at the moment is definitely the Exmoor caviar tart with Cornish crab, yuzu and cucumber. I love working with shellfish and herbs, so I wanted to make the most of the herbs we grow on the 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.
My favourite dish at the moment is definitely the Exmoor caviar tart.
9. Do you cook at home too or are you busy with other hobbies?
I do but I love eating out too – I think it’s important to try and experience other chefs’ food as much as I can. I spend most of my other free time with my young family, but in terms of hobbies I love rugby.
10. What’s next in the world of cooking?
It may not sound like a typical ‘trend’, but I really hope we see a reduction in food waste in the UK and beyond. This needs to be at the producer level, but also chefs need to utilise more of their ingredients by using their creativity.
11. Can you share a top tip for budding chefs?
When I won the Roux Scholarship, I had the chance to work with Yanick Alleno at Le Meurice, which was an amazing experience as he is one of my idols. The experience taught me how important it is that you work with high quality ingredients, so my advice to chefs starting out would be to develop their skills in sourcing high quality ingredients as this makes the job a lot easier!
Discover Adam’s favourite dishes at Coworth Park’s restaurants and bars.