Michelin-starred chef Dominic Chapman: 'brilliant rollercoaster' first month at pub venture

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Heston blumenthal, Bray berkshire, The fat duck

Dominic Chapman: 'My advice to anyone taking on a similar food venture is to make sure you have sound financial footing'
Dominic Chapman: 'My advice to anyone taking on a similar food venture is to make sure you have sound financial footing'
Michelin-starred chef Dominic Chapman has described his first month in charge of his new pub venture as “brilliant rollercoaster”.

Chapman, who took on the Beehive in White Waltham, Berkshire, on a 20-year lease from Enterprise Inns a month ago, said he was currently “working every hour under the sun” to get the business into the shape he wanted it.

A former executive chef at Berkshire sites the Royal Oak in Paley Street and the Belgian Arms in Holyport, Chapman said he kept the Beehive open on being handed the keys, because he wanted to “see what parts of the business worked before throwing money on things that potentially didn’t need doing”.

He explained: “We wanted to get a feel of what this business is crying out for, which we’ve done. It’s been a brilliant rollercoaster so far, and now we’re in the process of working out a masterplan.”

Investment needed

Chapman, who has also worked at the Fat Duck under Heston Blumenthal, said he could spend “£100,000 tomorrow” on investment into the building, which requires refurbishment in a number of areas including the kitchen, restaurant area and garden.

He is currently in talks with Enterprise and was hopeful that the pubco would make a financial contribution to renovation work.

Chapman said: “Enterprise has been very supportive so far, and we need to invest – but it will be done slowly.

“I’ve borrowed quite a lot of money, and my advice to anyone taking on a similar food venture is to make sure you have sound financial footing – because it’s mega.”

The food offer is to go through a similar evolution, but Chapman said he wanted to continue his philosophy of producing British dishes with a seasonal emphasis.

“If it’s at its freshest in the field, or if it’s at its best in the sea, then I want it on my menus. I’ve developed great suppliers over the years who provide me with the best seasonal ingredients, but if there are any others out there who feel they offer the same, they are welcome to get in touch.”

Michelin matters

While admitting that he “would be over the Moon” if he achieved another Michelin star, Chapman – who was earlier this year a finalist on BBC Two's Great British Menu – said the most important thing is to make the business work.

“We want to produce beautiful food with clear flavours and clean presentation – that is paramount to what we do.

“To be honest, I would love to have a Michelin star at my own business, but before anything I need to make sure my business stands up.”

Related topics: Chefs

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