James Chatfield, 28, from Hailsham, East Sussex has been appointed as the new Head Chef at The Small Holding, the Michelin green star restaurant in Kilndown, owned and operated by brothers Will and Matt Devlin, and part of the Acre group including Birchwood.

James started his new role at the farm to table restaurant with one-acre of productive land growing vegetables, fruit, herbs, plus beehives, ducks and chickens, in early December. Having grown up and worked in East Sussex in restaurants including Gravetye Manor, Restaurant Tristram, 64 Degrees and Murmur, James’ most recent role was Senior Chef de Partie at Tommy Banks’ Michelin star restaurant The Black Swan at Oldstead in North Yorkshire. James and his wife, Gabby Chatfield who worked in Front of House, were in position there for just under a year, with Gabby now joining James at The Small Holding as a supervisor.

Coming from a family farming background, with his uncle and grandfather owning the award-winning Hook & Son dairy and beef farm, James has had hands-on experience of good produce and close relationships with suppliers since a young age. He brings with him to The Small Holding a shared ethos to Chef Owner Will Devlin of sourcing, growing, and foraging the best quality ingredients, combining time-old preservation techniques with modern innovations.

James’ appointment sees the departure of previous Head Chef Duncan Moran who was at The Small Holding for five years and has been a pivotal member of the team. Duncan has joined The Black Swan Oldstead as Chef de Partie.

Will Devlin comments, “Duncan leaving us is bittersweet as he’s been an amazing part of The Small Holding and the wider Acre team. He’s been with Matt and I since the early pop-up days, through lockdowns, catching escaped sheep and cooking some incredible food together. He is on to great things and we’re all really happy and proud of him. We’re excited to welcome James to the team, we share the same passion and values, and he has some fantastic experience and skills; I can’t wait to get behind the stoves with him.”