Seasonality: The Maidenhead Restaurant That Impressed Grace Dent


On the back of Seasonality receiving a glowing review from Grace Dent, we meet chef and co-owner Wesley Smalley to find out more about the Maidenhead restaurant

Congratulations on the Grace Dent review. How pleasing was it to read those words?

We were honestly blown away by the Grace Dent review because she just got what we are and what we are trying to achieve.

What has the reaction been like since it was published?

Since it was published the response has been huge for us, we’ve been overwhelmed it. We were confident that we were cooking well, sourcing the best ingredients we could and being innovative with our menu planning, we just needed more people to know about it and thankfully Grace was very helpful in that department. 

Jumping back, what originally inspired Seasonality?

I’d always dreamed of having my own place, but it just didn’t seem possible with a growing family and other commitments – and then lockdown happened. We did some market research amongst our friends for our dine at home boxes, did a few test trials and they convinced us to give it a go. Our original plan was to offer restaurant quality produce with monthly pop-up dining events (which are now our supper events) and of course the dine at home boxes. We received wonderful comments on the dining element of our business and customers started asking us if we were going to open more frequently, so we decided to give it a go.

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Seasonality’s menu is ingredient-led

What was your background in the industry at that time?

I was executive chef and head of food and beverage at a private members club in Mayfair, The Oriental Club.

Why Maidenhead for the location?

We have lived in Maidenhead for about five or six years now, and I knew there was nowhere in town offering this style of cooking. Plus, with the regeneration of Maidenhead we hoped there would be opportunity.

Was it easy to find the building that fitted your ambitions for Seasonality?

We found a site that we really loved, and that was within our budget (just) and built Seasonality around it.

When you opened, were you a shop first, restaurant later?

Yes, that’s right, but when we started to have customers sit in for lunch and the pop-ups, the revenue stream was impossible to ignore.

What do you offer in your shop now?

It’s very limited now, but we do offer off-site wine sales and pre-orders of fish and meat from our quality suppliers.

How would you sum up the dining experience at Seasonality?

Seasonality is an ingredient-led neighbourhood restaurant, which offers a warm, relaxed service and a memorable food experience.

Expect a warm welcome

How have you approached the menu?

We offer a fixed price lunch menu together with an a la carte menu, which changes to reflecting what our growers and producers are offering.

Would you say you have a particular cooking style?

My cooking style is light, flavour driven with influences from my travels.

What dishes right now do you love?

I honestly love everything we put on the menu. If I had to choose one now it’s the Ginger Cured Mackerel, Oyster Custard, Radish, Ponzu and Lemon Verbena.

Where do you source your producers?

I have long standing suppliers who I have supported, and they have supported me. Locally we use Maxwell and Webb Potager, which is a wonderful small holding in Cookham Dean growing interesting vegetables, fruit, flowers, and herbs – the quality is amazing, and it works perfectly with our concept.

How is it running this operation with your wife, Francesca?

Ha-ha, it can be challenging at times, but we’re lucky that we’ve both worked in the industry for a long time and have an honest sounding board that we can trust in each other. We have our own strengths and weaknesses that I think complement each other.   

How do you see the future evolving for Seasonality?

I have lots of ideas for Seasonality for the future, but for now we are concentrating on evolving our offering, training our team and concentrating on the consistency of our food.


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