Meet: Chef James Duckett, of The Kennels at Goodwood
Once housing the Duke of Richmond's hunting hounds, The Kennels at Goodwood is the central clubhouse for all of the estate's sporting and social memberships. The members' culinary needs are met by chef James Duckett.
What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Thinking up and creating new dishes which will work for the customer and for the business. At The Kennels, we use small quantities of quality, local and seasonal ingredients, so our menu is constantly changing and always a challenge.
Your top cookery tips for readers?
Simplicity – stick to two or three flavours on a plate. It’s always too tempting to add ‘just one more thing’ but as they say, less is often more…
Your must-have kitchen gadgets?
For me it has to be a Bratt Pan – this is used to create anything from 100 litres of stock to delicious stews and soups. A must-have for any large kitchen and great for slow food.
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Who would you like to work for?
Kennel Hill, Goodwood, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0PN
Membership enquiries - 01243 755132
What is your signature dish?
Roast turbot for two which is filleted at the table and served with celeriac pur�e, capers, clams and a red wine ‘jus gras’.
How long have you been a chef?
Twenty years with some time off during this period for travel and education.
What made you want to become a chef?
I saw a programme when I was young called Take Six Cooks. It was a brilliant fly on the wall documentary programme about working chefs. Ever since I’ve been hooked!
Where did you start your career?
I started my career at a restaurant in France as a commis chef. Here I learned the basics of classical French cookery – skills that have stayed with me and helped throughout my career.
What inspires you most at The Kennels?
From a chef’s perspective, it’s a great treat to have such a wonderful array of products grown right on your doorstep. As part of the Goodwood Estate, we utilise all of the produce from our own organic Goodwood Home Farm; we produce a fabulous array of organic meats, vegetables and herbs from our own garden, as well as wild food growing across the estate. This gives the team the rather refreshing opportunity to be creative with seasonally inspired dishes for our members.
Who has influenced you most?
Albert Roux was a great influence and I was lucky to work with him early on in my career. When I was 22, I worked one-on-one with him in my section on several occasions and learned so much, including when to keep my mouth shut! Phil Howard at The Square taught me about flavour and refinement, which are both very important in my cooking to this day and, to me, Phil Howard is one of the best chefs any chef could work with.