Acorn winners 2016: Andrew Wright, 29

01 July 2016
Acorn winners 2016: Andrew Wright, 29

Head chef, the Pig on the Beach, Home Grown Hotels

Nominated by Robin Hutson, chief executive, Home Grown Hotels

Proudest moment "Being offered the head chef position to open the Pig on the Beach. Looking back, it must have been a gamble, but I think our kitchen team has gone from strength to strength, as has our food."

Greatest inspiration "Working on the Pig apprenticeship and specialised chefs course to help grow the next generation of chefs, sharing knowledge and teaching them."

Ambition "To one day have my own place with my wife Sandra. She works front of house, so it would be a great management team."

You could say that Andrew Wright is part of the Pig success story. He joined this cool restaurant-with-rooms brand as senior chef de partie when the first Pig hotel was being established. He quickly demonstrated not only his professionalism, but also that he shares the Pig ethos of using local and home-grown produce.

During the opening, not only did he stay true to the ethos, he made sure the kitchen team were inspired, too. He went on to develop house recipes for pickling and preserving, smoking fish and curing meats. His strong performance and clear understanding of the Pig's philosophy meant he was the obvious choice to be head chef when the Pig on the Beach opened in 2014.

To promote the philosophy of fresh, local food he would forage by the seashore and he worked closely with the kitchen gardener to create a garden that would support his menu.

Since opening the 65-seat restaurant, he has delivered 100 covers each service. Most bookings are made six months in advance, so guest expectations are high. But, despite the pace, over the last 18 months Wright has retained 75% of his workforce and achieved an impressive gross profit of 26.7%.

The awards have come thick and fast, including the Pig on the Beach being nominated Hotel of the Year by The Sunday Times in September 2014, just three months after opening.

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