New and updated
As part of the Kitchen Garden series: Leading by example.
- Garden tours
- Creative menus
- Rolling Welsh countryside
- Herb ice cream
- Fresh produce
MATILDA RILEY & ROSE GRIFFITHS
Douglas Balish – Head Chef
The Grove of Narberth Hotel is one of two hotels in the Seren collection in the beautiful Welsh countryside. Opened in 2016, the owners of the group wanted the hotels to be a luxury, Welsh experience that prioritises sustainability. And The Grove of Narberth has achieved just that.
We sat down with Head Chef Douglas (Dougie) Balish, who extolled the virtues of using the fresh produce grown in the Grove’s Kitchen Garden.
The kitchen garden is a central point for The Grove, with many guests choosing to spend their afternoons strolling around the garden and looking out for veggies that might feature on their plates later. Dougie shared that guests are encouraged to visit the garden, and the gardeners are pleased to speak about what produce is being cultivated for the kitchen. Dougie explained that one of his favourite things about a kitchen garden is the story it creates for the guests and how it makes the food they are eating more meaningful.
“The kitchen garden creates a story.”
“A kitchen garden gives you freedom to choose the exact ripeness, size and shape of a vegetable.”
As head chef, Dougie highlighted how he adores the kitchen garden for the creativity and inspiration it gives him with the menus. For example, The Grove is known for their delicious herb ice creams! The freshness and quality of the produce is also remarkable, given the short journey down the garden path to the kitchen. When finding suppliers for other produce, Dougie reiterated that they focus on local, both because of the sustainability factor but also so that the freshness and goodness of the ingredients are not lost in transit.
Even throughout the winter, The Grove is able to use homegrown root vegetables and the wide array of produce that is preserved through pickling and smoking. This process helps with the “hungry gap” in the garden over the colder months and also minimises waste.
Dougie’s favourite aspect of being Head Chef at The Grove is clearly the kitchen garden. He explained how the garden provides him and his colleagues with a great deal of freedom, allowing them to curate the menu and choose the exact size and colour of their vegetables. The relationship between the chefs and the garden is instrumental to the success of both, and so everyone invests in nurturing this relationship. This, in turn, results in an even greater appreciation for the food they prepare and then an exceptional meal experience for guests.
Below is a picture of Dougie’s favourite creation: ‘Grove Vegetables.’ It is pure culinary artistry, made from the freshest vegetables growing in the garden.