Meet the chef: Nick Brodie from the Llangoed Hall Hotel in Wales
Culinary heavyweight Nick Brodie has built his name with a career that has spanned Hong Kong to London before making the UK his home and working his way up the kitchen system in many of the world’s best restaurants and alongside many award winning chefs.
Nick now heads up the kitchen at the 3 AA Rosette Llangoed Hall in Wales where he has built up a growing reputation for his innovative style of cooking and for using the best seasonal ingredients. This year for the second year in a row, Llangoed Hall appears in The Good Food Guide and more notably in the guide’s Top 50 Restaurants in the UK.
Llangoed Hall is nestled in seventeen acres of gardens and parkland including extensive kitchen gardens in the valley of the River Wye. The hotel and restaurant offer outstanding views of the Black Mountains in the heart of Wales.
Natasha Heard, food and drink editor at Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, talks to Nick about his culinary background, his favourite restaurants and what it’s like to cook at one of Wales’ leading fine dining restaurants.
1 – Tell us how your culinary career started?
I started at North Warwickshire college on a BTEC hotel management course but after stints in the kitchen I knew that was actually what I wanted to do. The buzz of kitchen life felt very fitting and I have never turned back.
2 – How did you arrive at Llangoed Hall as Head Chef?
I had been looking for the right position for a while and something I could put my stamp on, then the position at Llangoed Hall came up and it was very much a blank canvas with huge potential so I went for it. Even now after four years it’s still very progressive and I feel everything can always be worked on to make the guest experience the best I can.
3 – Llangoed Hall has appeared two years in a row in the Top 50 restaurants in the UK in The Good Food Guide. What does that represent for you?
It solely represents the dedication of the team I have working alongside me. It’s a great success for us as we have come so far in such a short time, it’s a great achievement for us!
4 – You have access to your own kitchen garden and three egg houses – duck, chicken and quail. Tell us about how you use all of this in your menus.
The use of eggs and garden produce is throughout the menu from breakfast to afternoon tea down to dinner and room service, it makes menu development easier and keeps you right in season when designing dishes to go on each menu.
Using the produce we grow and nurture makes you appreciate and cook with so much more understanding than just receiving it all in a box every morning!
5 – What is your favourite restaurant and why?
I have no bias to a favourite restaurant, I really just enjoy eating anywhere which does good food and has good service.
6 – Where do you like to travel to for culinary inspiration?
I have travelled quite a bit and find it helps with the use of ingredients as in matching products or to adding a little something to a dish, but I still feel culinary inspiration can be found just from the things around you and the seasonal changes here in Britain.
7 – You recently launched the Prestige Menu. Tell us about it.
The prestige was born from wanting to offer the guests something a little extra, really just so they can enjoy a longer evening of dining in a beautiful country house setting. They are lengthy but showcase a wider variety of the wonderful produce we have access to and this menu fits in well with our other four course menu and vegetarian tasting menu.
8 – Why do you think Wales has become such a foodie destination?
I think Wales has a lot of very good calibre chefs, so I’m not surprised there are so many good restaurants and things are changing all the time with new great places opening. The countryside is also the perfect setting for a wide variety of farming and produce.
9 – How do you inspire your team?
Inspiration for the team is very simple, give them freedom to express their flair, let them create sample dishes and always give feedback, keep them in the loop of everything that goes on from the business side to menu development to what we are planting in the gardens to purchasing. It makes everyone understand and feel part of the entire process.
10 – What sustainable methods inspire you and why?
I think it’s a way of life and think we should all do what we can however insignificant we think, it all helps. On all levels of the kitchen we try to be as understanding and be aware of the actions we take so they are not detrimental to our surroundings. Most ingredients are sourced within a 5 mile radius. The hotel’s award-winning wine card even includes Welsh wine!
The hotel reuses cooking oil for producing fat balls for the bird feeder or for Bio-Diesel. Rainwater is captured to top up the duck pond (pictured), catching some 2178 litres of water. LED lights both internally and externally and low energy hairdryers and motion sensor taps and lights have allowed the hotel to reduce the amount of energy used per guest. In fact, since 2012 over 138 tonnes of CO2 per annum have been saved. We were awarded the Conde Nast Johansens ‘Best for Green Practices Award’ 2016.