Chef Nat Tallents has joined the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall as head of hospitality and development chef.
A competitor on the BBC One 2021 Great British Menu, Tallents was also a semi-finalist in the National Chef of the Year competition in both 2019 and 2021. She previously worked as executive chef at the Box Plymouth.
The venue has its own kitchen and bakery, using produce from the 200-acre estate including more than 500 varieties of mostly heritage fruit and vegetables, and is home to the first rare breed farm park in the south-west.
She said: "Heligan has a sensitive land management policy that appealed to me. Farmland is managed using a mixture of traditional and rare breed livestock and poultry and sustainable, low-intensity techniques, practiced here for centuries. Getting close to the land and working in harmony with natural habitats has helped me appreciate the food I work with more. We all need to understand the process of where food comes from and what a joy it is to cook with fresh produce.
"Next year will be the 30th anniversary of the gardens opening to the public and I want to showcase the unique palette of flavours that is Heligan. The gardens are still one of the UK's top tourism destinations, an inspiration to gardeners worldwide. The skills and knowledge of the gardeners that worked here need to be celebrated, by preserving the past and learning from it, we protect our future and have a good time doing it."
Ramon van de Velde, managing director of the Lost Gardens of Heligan, said: "The gardens are unique in many ways and a living entity that continue to evolve. Nat's knowledge and vision will only enhance the visitor experience; she is a natural fit to the team and we are excited by some of the plans she has."
Photo credit: BBC/Optomen Television Ltd/Ashleigh Brown