Goodwood’s restaurant Farmer, Butcher, Chef offers something unique in Sussex. We speak to the Executive Chef, Alan White, about the concept
Farmer, Butcher, Chef is Goodwood’s exciting, flagship restaurant located just yards from Home Farm. It is the final stage in a unique process dedicated not only to showcasing meat in terms of flavour, quality and provenance, but also to achieving the very best yield from their livestock. Goodwood has been farmed by the family for over 300 years and is one of the only self-sustaining organic farms in Europe. These organic principles enable their farmer, Paul Dovey, to produce the best-tasting beef, pork and lamb, all of which are reared right here.
Working alongside Paul is John Hearn, the Master Butcher, who was drafted in three years ago to start the in-house butchery at Goodwood Home Farm, and Alan White, the restaurant’s Executive Chef. We speak to the latter to find out more about Farmer, Butcher, Chef.
What was the initial idea behind Farmer, Butcher, Chef?
Farmer, Butcher, Chef is located just yards from Goodwood’s organic farm on the estate. The restaurant is the final stage of a unique process dedicated not only to showcasing our meat in terms of flavour, quality and provenance, but also to achieving the very best yield from our livestock.
Goodwood’s Home Farm has been farmed by the Duke of Richmond’s family for over 300 years and is one of the only self-sustaining organic farms in Europe. These organic principles enable our farmer to produce the best-tasting beef, pork and lamb, all of which are reared right here.
The best way of describing Farmer, Butcher, Chef’s cooking style is ‘nostalgic cooking brought back to life’. Today’s society has become used to having any ingredient, from any country, at any time, but before this was possible, people would have to create recipes from what was available at the local butchers and greengrocer.
An example was when my grandmother went to the local butcher’s shop, she would be advised by the butcher what cuts she should try and what to do with them. Because of this interaction and advice, customers would sample much more than just the prime cuts. These are the principles behind our cooking but enhanced by using more up to date culinary techniques. We can generate some great stories around forgotten or under-used recipes and how our chefs have given them a new lease of life.
What do you think makes you stand out as a restaurant?
Farmer, Butcher, Chef is the showcase for Goodwood’s exceptional produce; the restaurant is involved in every aspect of production from field to fork, ensuring that nothing is wasted. It was one of the first restaurants to receive the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Sustainable Food Philosophy Seal. We have also achieved zero food waste by converting carefully managed waste into renewable energy.
Goodwood is well-known for your events, but do you think many people know about the self-sustaining organic farm?
We hope that our future food strategy will create a more inclusive culture, with our produce at the forefront of what we do across the estate. I am working closely with hospitality students at Chichester College to provide mentoring and on-site work experience.
Under the Goodwood Education Trust, we host thousands of students every year from across the South East to experience farm tours and see the food journey first-hand.
What does this approach enable you to produce?
We are able to use all parts of the animal. Different restaurants on the estate use the different cuts of meat, enabling the chefs to be creative, develop different cooking techniques; for example, cooking some of our meats on a low temperature for 72 hours, allowing the collagens to break down, and produce an increased taste, texture and flavour…
This allows us to be different, unique, and special, a chef’s dream.
Who are the people behind Farmer, Butcher, Chef?
The name of the restaurant really describes the journey our produce takes from our farm to your fork, however the people involved in delivering an exceptional plate of food to the table is made up of a team of very experienced and passionate people; from the farm workers caring for the animals, to the front of house team taking your order, that combined with hours of careful development and prep by our chefs in between makes for an extraordinary team effort.
How would you sum up the menu?
Our current menu is summery, light, and showcases our home farm produce, which changes according to the season. This flexibility along with the seasonal changes allows the chefs to deliver a variety of exciting dishes.
It’s ever-changing, but what are the popular dishes right now?
The beef tartare with egg puree, smoked hay oil, anchovies, nasturtium with beef dripping flat bread, the confit of halibut with courgette, saffron potato puree, fennel and brown crab oil, along with the pork belly, boneless chicken wing, chicken skin, bacon and caraway cabbage are proving to be the customers’ favourites. For pudding the peach melba souffle, with raspberry sauce, candied almond, mascarpone ice cream and roasted peaches is a winner.
How does the Butcher’s Board work?
The Burcher’s Board is the go-to dish, which showcases all our different meats, including Gloucester Old Spot pork, Southdown’s lamb and Shorthorn Sussex beef, and the various cuts such as the beef biceps, pigs’ cheeks, trotter and slow cooked lamb breast, which are great for sharing.
What kind of experience are you looking to offer at the restaurant?
Our wish is for our guests to experience their meal in a truly sustainable, relaxed environment, knowing that all our products are either from the estate or from a 10-mile radius, which helps support the local community, and where service is delivered by knowledgeable, passionate waiting staff.
What’s coming up as we head into autumn?
Autumn is traditionally game season and we will be offering meats such as venison, partridge, and pheasant, along with autumn apples and hazelnuts. New for September, we are expecting our first batch of honey from 50,000 bees we re-homed on the estate along with a new cheese and Goodwood gelato.