A ‘LOCAL LAD’ from Stratford has been appointed as the new head chef of the town’s award-winning restaurant No 44 Brasserie.
Lee Cresswell hopes to push fine dining to the next level after taking the reins at the 2 AA Rosette restaurant, which is part of The Arden Hotel on Waterside.
He said: “I’m really excited to get going and can’t wait to bring new flavours to Stratford.
“Stratford has a growing food scene with so many different cultural offers – from Indian, Greek, to Chinese – alongside traditional English pubs and cocktail bars.
“There’s an emerging fine dining scene right now and we hope to take that up a level here at The Arden with some exciting plans for No 44 Brasserie in the coming months.”
Lee joins The Arden Hotel in what will be his first role as head chef after working his way to the top.
He started in the industry fresh out of college aged just 16, beginning as a commis chef at the Evesham Hotel before moving on to become a chef de partie.
He then spent eight years in the Cotswolds, which included roles at Buckland Manor as a chef de partie, Dormy House Hotel and Spa in Broadway – part of the Farncombe estate – and its sister hotel The Fish as a junior sous chef, working his way up to become sous chef.
During his 18-month stay at The Fish he worked alongside culinary director and two Michelin star chef Martin Burge and executive chef Jon Ingram, as it reinvented itself as a fish and seafood restaurant and gained two AA rosettes within the first six weeks of opening
His next role saw him move to his hometown of Stratford working at Michelin-starred 3 AA rosette Salt under the stewardship of chef Paul Foster, before returning to The Fish as senior sous chef.
Lee said: “I have been lucky enough to have had some great mentors along the way and their advice has helped mould me into the chef I am today.
“As a local lad I am really pleased to be here at The Arden and take my first step as head chef – I feel I am ready for it.”
Lee, who is originally from Evesham but has spent the last ten years living in Stratford, will be working among a team of five staff at No 44 Brasserie, introducing new seasonal dishes with fresh, contemporary flavours.
When asked what diners can expect, he said: “It is modern food. It is cool, playful, fresh and seasonal.
“I just like to play around with things. I am one of those people who just really likes to cook food and have a happy team around me.”
That includes inventive main dishes such as grilled hake with salt and vinegar mash, mussel chowder and sea herbs, and pork loin served alongside a postato and onion rosti.
Starters are no less inventive, from grilled torched and cured salmon Asian style to chicken and tarragon terrine and salmon and cod fishcake.
And the desserts complete a fine start to life in the No 44 Brasserie kitchen for Lee, from chocolate creameaux to rhubarb crumble tart.