Meet the chef: Claire Wood, Woods Restaurant, Tunbridge Wells
Heading up an all-female chef at the Pantiles favourite, Claire Wood shares her top tips
Meet the chef
Claire Wood, Woods Restaurant, Tunbridge Wells
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am the owner, along with my father Sheridan and stepmother Karen, and head chef of Woods Restaurant and Produce Store on the Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells. Although I have been managing catering operations for more than 20 years, I have only really been a chef for six. After struggling to find someone to meet my standards in the kitchen, I decided to put some whites on and have been cheffing ever since. I draw inspiration from the seasons and the amazing range of food grown and produced locally.
What’s your signature dish?
I don’t have one specific signature dish, each dish is as important as the next. I have some dishes that return each season, such as the autumnal wild mushroom and Stilton salad with cob nuts and apple marmalade that I’m fond of, but we are known as much for our boiled eggs with Marmite soldiers as we are for our steak or sea bass.
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Your top cookery tip for readers?
Use local ingredients in season as much as you can and avoid synthetic products. Don’t overcomplicate dishes. Respect food, but don’t be afraid of it.
Who has influenced you most?
My mother, she is a standard driven perfectionist!
Your must-have kitchen gadget?
Who would you most like to cook for?
Damon Albarn – he’s a genius