Tyler Torrance, head chef at the Crown hotel in Southwold, explains how the property's recent refurbishment has been reflected in his menu. He spoke to Janie Stamford
Has your approach to the menu been inspired by the hotel's recent refurbishment?
Just like the refurbishment, which has been inspired by local surroundings, the menu at the Crown showcases the very best Southwold has to offer, season by season.
The new ‘Taste of The Crown' menu heavily emphasises Southwold's farming community. By cooking with produce sent direct from farmers, we have a ‘pasture to plate' approach; with only a few exceptions, everything we use is produced within 100 miles of my restaurant.
How does sustainability and eco friendliness factor in your dishes?
The ethos has always been very simple: if you nurture the infrastructure of your community, it will thrive. This motto has been vital for preserving Southwold's heritage up until now and it has become the life-blood of the Crown too. Sourcing produce from local suppliers isn't just about reducing our carbon footprint; it's about knowing where and how the food has been grown.
Your culinary experience has been worldwide. Which style has influenced your cooking most?
I was first trained by a Cantonese chef in Canada who really helped me to solidify my skills. Pan-Asian influences continue to affect the way I cook, however, most of the time I find myself cooking food with British and French styles.
What type of food do you most like to cook?
I pride myself on being able to express all types of food in the confines of any kitchen. While my cooking is traditionally British (although not quintessentially so), I also lend myself to other cultures which is what I believe modern British cuisine to be all about.
You trained in Vancouver, Canada. How does the British scene differ?
I love to cook in Britain because of the relationship British chefs have always had with the country's agricultural heritage. The sense of tradition and regionality is what differentiates Britain from Canada as it offers chefs a more diverse range of food. Each region of Britain has artisanal products to die for - it makes chefs like me incredibly passionate and proud of what's on their doorstep.