Chef chat: We talk to Bovey Castle’s Mark Budd
Luxury Lifestyle Magazine sits down with Mark Budd, Head Chef at the luxurious Bovey Castle in Dartmoor, Devon.
When it comes to turning fabulous ingredients into memorable meals, Mark Budd knows a thing or two. The talented chef, who has worked at some of the finest hotel restaurants in the world and even cooked for the Royal Family, has a passion for provenance and incorporating the best quality local produce into his menus.
Having earned his stripes at five-star establishments such as The Staffordshire, The Ritz and The Dorchester in London, Mark is now Head Chef at Bovey Castle, in Dartmoor National Park, where his flair and imagination in the kitchen is rapidly earning him a reputation among food-lovers across the South West.
“I grew up just down the road in Totnes and it’s always been my ambition to one day return to Devon and become Head Chef at Bovey Castle,” Mark told us, who is married and lives in Ogwell, near Newton Abbot, Devon.
Just a few months into his role at the iconic hotel, part of the Eden Hotel Collection, he has already developed a new menu for Bovey’s Great Western Restaurant which pays homage to the bountiful fresh produce on his doorstep – from local game shot on the moors to lamb and aged Exmoor beef and seafood sourced from the coves of Devon and Cornwall.
‘South Coast Rock Pool’, with seared, hand-dived scallops, cockles, clams and oyster emulsion; whole roast young grouse; Brixham crab and line-caught mackerel; and smoked rib-eye of Devon Red beef are just some of the dishes that are attracting diners from far and wide.
Mark has also injected a sense of fun into the menu to reflect Bovey Castle’s glorious surroundings: his ‘9th Hole Chocolate Tree Stump’ creation, a marriage of lime and cardamom and milk chocolate whisps, is a nod to the estate’s championship golf course; while the ‘Bovey Meadow’ dessert of cream cheese ice cream, Perry poached pear, bee pollen and honeycomb celebrates Bovey’s beautiful landscape.
But it’s not just the menus that have changed – Mark has created a herb garden and is growing a selection of his own produce for the kitchen team to use.
He has also introduced the ‘Big Green Egg’, a unique outdoor oven designed with hi-tech ceramics developed for NASA. “We use it to slow cook dishes such as our Old Spot Pork and Crackling,” says Mark. “It’s a fantastic piece of kit which takes flavours to a whole new height. It keeps everything beautifully moist and succulent and is fast becoming a favourite with Michelin-starred chefs.”
Mark is now working in conjunction with the Bovey Castle estates team to bring Dexter cattle to the estate. His goal is to start putting this pedigree beef, which is favoured by top chefs for its outstanding quality, through the kitchen in 2016. There are also plans to introduce bees to produce ‘Bovey Honey’.
He concluded by saying: “As a proud Devonian, I’m extremely happy to have returned to my native Devon and now believe I can take dining at Bovey Castle to the next step and achieve the 3 AA Dining Rosettes which I think the hotel truly deserves.”
The Great Western Restaurant is open for dinner every evening from 7 to 9.30pm and from 1 to 2.30pm for Sunday lunch. For menu details or to book a table, visit boveycastle.com. Tables can also be booked at Bovey Castle’s Smith’s Brasserie, open Monday to Friday from 10am to 10pm and at weekends from 8am to 10pm.
For more information about the Eden Hotel Collection, the AA Small Hotel Group of the Year 2014 / 2015, visit edenhotelcollection.com