Chef Dave Mothersill On His Solo Venture, Furna In Brighton


Last December, acclaimed chef Dave Mothersill opened his own first venture, Furna, in Brighton. Absolutely Sussex discovers more about going it alone

Furna is the first solo venture for Yorkshire-born Dave Mothersill, who has been cooking for over two decades in some of Brighton’s most lauded restaurants and is one of the city’s most consistent and well-respected chefs. His honest, uncompromising cooking has brought him both local and national acclaim, and now as chef-patron at Furna, he invites guests to enjoy a dining experience all of his own creation.

Drawing inspiration from childhood memories, family and his travels, Dave applies both classic and modern techniques to the best produce he can source to create flavour-packed dishes that are complex without being complicated. He has built the Furna team from scratch, choosing the most dedicated chefs he can find – many of which he met while working his way up through the brigades of Brighton’s best restaurants.

Absolutely Sussex visited the acclaimed chef to find out more about Furna and how things have been going since opening at the tail end of 2022.

Dave Mothersill, chef-patron of Furna

Did your Yorkshire upbringing influence your love of cooking?

Absolutely. My mum was always in the kitchen at home cooking dinner for when dad finished work. We would sit down most days for a family dinner of roast meat and braised veg, generally. Dinner time was family time, and that meant alot to me.

When did you realise food was the career for you?

I left school at a reasonably young age and went straight to working as a kitchen porter in a local Italian restaurant. I loved seeing the chefs working with all the amazing produce that came through the door every day, and that definitely inspired me to pursue a career in food. If I wasn’t a chef I’d almost definitely still be in the industry, maybe on the bar!

You are Yorkshire born, but how and why did you end up working in Brighton? 

I met my now wife whilst I was working in Oxford and after travelling and working around Europe for a few months we ended up settling in Brighton. There wasn’t a huge amount of thought behind the decision, we wanted to be by the sea.

Furna Foarke Feb

How would you sum up your cooking experiences in Brighton? 

I’ve worked for many reputable restaurants around Brighton during my time here, starting as a commis and working my way up to executive chef before Furna. During the past 10 years I would say that the food scene in Brighton has become really exciting. Working in higher positions in various restaurants has also given me the opportunity to travel and learn from incredible chefs both here in the UK and abroad.

What has been the greatest thing you have learnt?

Never get too comfortable. You never know what’s around the corner, whether it be a flooded restaurant, your kitchen porter calling in sick on a busy Saturday night, or an incredible new opportunity. Always be ready for anything.

Furna Foarke Feb

Would you say you have a particular style of cooking?

The foundations of classical French cookery always run through everything I make, but I love using modern and overlooked techniques. If I had to pick a style I would just say I cook tasty food.

What inspired Furna? 

Owning my own restaurant has always been a dream of mine, as it is for most chefs. Being able to curate the guests’ experience from start to finish is an incredible opportunity that hasn’t been afforded to me in the past.

What does it mean to be a solo venture?

Whilst it is amazing to have complete authority over decisions that might be out of your hands in someone else’s restaurant, it also means having to make the hard decisions and deal with the daily challenges that running a restaurant brings. 

How have you approached the menu?

Our menu changes almost daily (sometimes twice a day) and is completely dictated by our suppliers and the seasons. We don’t write a menu and then source the ingredients. Instead, we find out what’s in season or what is particularly good that day, and base our menu around that. 

Are there dishes you particularly love right now and, if so, why?

Recently we have had some stunning hand dived Orkney scallops and incredible Cornish turbot on the menu, which have been a joy to work with. The Herdwick lamb is especially good at the moment too, spring always heralds the start of some incredible produce.

Furna Foarke Feb

What kind of experience do you want to offer guests at Furna? 

We want to offer incredible food and wine in a relaxed atmosphere, with exceptionally high quality service. Myself and my chefs often take food from our open kitchen to the customers table, talking them through the dishes. This connection between chef and customer is something that we try to nurture, we aren’t hidden away in a basement kitchen far away from the dining room. Much like my family dinners as a child, food should involve conversation and connection.

What has the response been like to Furna? 

In the short space of time since we opened in December we have had some amazing feedback and reviews, which we are incredibly grateful for. Four weeks after we opened we were recognised by Square Meal, who placed us 27th in their top 100 uk restaurants, and we have been nominated by the national restaurant awards for best new opening. We are very lucky, and myself and my team have worked incredibly hard and continue to do so everyday.

Is the first of several solo ventures?

Slow down! We will wait and see. For now I am focussed on making Furna the very best it can be.


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