Meet the chef: Luke Davies at Rowhill Grange, Wilmington

The executive chef at RG's in the spotlight

Meet the chef: Luke Davies at Rowhill Grange, Wilmington

Tell us about yourself

I started my career at Westminster catering collage and after qualifying my first position was with The Queen Mother at Clarence House. Returning to London I have been lucky enough to work with some fabulous people in fabulous places such as The Milestone and with Novelli.

What’s your signature dish?

I’m still searching for it! The elusive one true dish you can call your own, a unique marriage of flavours and ingredients nobody else is doing is exceptionally hard to claim when there are so many talented chefs. When I was at The Milestone, one of my cook-off dishes at interview stage was seared scallops, creamed leaks and curry foam, which apparently was one of the dishes that swayed the job my way. It stayed on the menu for two full years and became a signature dish.

Your top cookery tip for readers?

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Buy the best you can afford. Make friends with your local butcher, greengrocer, baker - buy fresh and buy local as much as you can. The meat your local butcher can supply you will inevitably be better than anything you can get from the supermarket. Local farm shops have a fantastic array of locally grown seasonal produce, and there is nothing better smelling than standing in a bakery waiting for a still warm unsliced loaf.

Who has influenced you most?

There have been so many, including people I haven’t met, books, TV programmes. Marco Pierre White was the hottest chef when I was just out of college, I always wanted to work for him. I have all his books, ate at Harvey’s and The Oak Room and wanted to cook like him, so I suppose Marco was an idol for me back then.

Your must-have kitchen gadget?

Kitchen gadgets have developed so far since I was starting out as a commis chef! I have quite a few now which are invaluable, my Thermomix, Pacojet, Vac Pac machine and water baths for precise cooking temperatures. I couldn’t imagine my life as a chef now without any of these pieces of equipment.

Who would you love to cook for?

I don’t really have a singular person in mind; I have cooked for royalty and celebrity’s throughout my career in various places. My Uncle sadly passed 11 years ago now and he was a massive influence in my life, and looking back it was probably him who lit the fire for cooking initially, so if I could cook for anyone, it would be him.

CONTACT

Rowhill Grange Hotel & Utopia Spa

Wilmington DA2 7QH

01322 615136

Utopia Spa Enquiries

01322 667433

Typical prices: Rye Bay scallops �12.50, Kentish pork belly �20, 14oz T-bone steak �28, apple tart �8.50

Restaurant open: 12-2.30pm and 7-9pm Mon-Sun