Head Chef at Dart Marina, Peter Alcroft, grew up in and around South Devon. His earliest memories are of watching the shoals of mackerel at Bayard’s Cove in Dartmouth. Having trained as a Chef at Torquay College, he started his career at The Ritz, London before moving to The Dorchester, London. He then travelled around the world for a couple of years before moving back to England and started working at The Lygon Arms, Broadway (part of the Savoy Group) and also working for Raymond Blanc. He then opened his own restaurant, The Normandy Arms, Blackawton in 2006 gaining two AA rosettes within 6 months of opening. Peter has worked as Head Chef at the Dart Marina for over 6 years now.
Q&A with Peter…
What do you enjoy most about working at Dart Marina?
That it’s an independently owned hotel and I have a fantastic kitchen team and also the fabulous local produce we are fortunate to be surrounded by.
What’s the hardest part of the job?
The long, unsociable hours!
What are your kitchen essentials?
Seasoning is a must on my list along with garlic and thyme.
Do you have a signature dish?
Cumin spiced beef carpaccio, celeriac salad and three flavoured vinegar.
What’s your favourite season for cooking in the hotel?
Spring and early summer as you start to get all the new season fruits coming through.
What/who inspires you?
My inspiration to cook came from my mother. At a very young age I enjoyed making shortbread with her.
My first inspirational Chef was Dietmar Sawyer – a fantastic Chef who grew up in Switzerland but lived in Australia. I worked with him for a couple of years which was a great learning curve.
Describe your personal cooking style.
Anything goes as long as it tastes good and is made with fresh, local ingredients.
What other career would you have liked to pursue?
Marine Biologist or Forest Ranger – anything outside.
It would have to be ginger or coriander. Amazing aromas from the food stalls when I visited Thailand and I enjoy adding these flavours to my dishes when I can.
What’s your favourite dish on the menu at the moment?
Slow Cooked Then Pan Roasted Devon Duck Breast
Tender Stem Broccoli & Bok Choy, Pickled Ginger, Bataille Potatoes
Soya, Chilli & Coriander Dressing
A popular dish with our guests, too!
Describe your ideal full day off.
A day out with my family either sailing, cycling or walking and then perhaps a BBQ in the evening followed by playing my guitar. We are a very active family and enjoy exploring.
Favourite comfort food?
Mashed potatoes and homemade venison sausages!