Behind the Door | 14th July 2023
Behind the Door: Eating local in Dorset with Executive Head Chef Stephan Guinebault, The Priory Hotel
With a passion for British dining, hand-picked producers, and a chef who's dedicated to providing an all-round, all-day delicious dining experience.
Eating fresh, local, produce and carefully sourced ingredients is more important than ever.
The provenance of what's on our plate, and cooking with the seasons, can make all the difference in flavour, as well as supporting sustainable eating.
We go behind the door of The Priory Hotel in Dorset to speak with Stephan Guinebault about making the most of Dorset's natural bounty.
What inspired you to be a chef?
Growing up on my grandparents' farm, and seeing all the diverse produce available.
How important is provenance to you and how does it feature on your menus at The Priory?
Having a very good relationship with suppliers is important for all the fruits, berries, and vegetables in season even if it is for a short time and supply. We run seasonal menus which change regularly depending on the local produce that is available. Our close relationships with our suppliers means we can plan ahead and work closely together, adapting depending on what is working well. For example, we like to use younger asparagus when it is in season for its finer style and slightly different flavour. Our Dorset supplier works closely with us to make sure he picks it at the perfect time for us.
What other local Dorset ingredients do you regularly use?
We locally source lamb, beef, venison, pork, lobster, trout, crab and cheese - our incredible suppliers provide amazing produce.
What is your favourite signature dish?
I really enjoy cooking, curing, and serving our local Purbeck trout dish.
What should guests eat when in Dorset each season?
These are a few I recommend trying - just not all together!
Spring – New spring lamb, and wild garlic
Summer – Fresh berries like goosberries from our garden, and seafood such as Kimmeridge Bay lobster
Autumn – Blackberries and apples, they're not just for cider...
Winter – Venison and pheasant are perfect in game season
How do you think your food stands apart from other chefs in the UK?
I have been classically trained; I am still looking for the provenance and essence of any produce using traditional cooking techniques and respecting the ingredients. There is so much to speak about, I prefer to let my food do the talking!
For a guest visiting you for the first time, what are 3 things they must do during their stay?
Spend time in our four acres of gardens - some of our ingredients and plating decorations come straight from it.
Take time to visit the coast, and don't miss Kimmeridge, Lulworth Cove and Tyneham.
After a long day of exploring, take a seat in the lounge and let me and the team look after you.