The kitchen is buzzing at Crabwall Manor Hotel & Spa, just outside Chester city centre, as executive head chef Peter Hazlehurst drives the team in to a new era.
Whilst only joining the hotel at the beginning of the year, Hazlehurst has a long history with managing company Legacy Hotels & Resorts. Crabwall Manor is the sixth Legacy property to receive his expert guidance, with Royal Victoria Llanberis, Botleigh Grange and Wild Pheasant notable others. Prior to this latest role, he was executive chef at Portal Golf & Country Club where he opened and ran their successful brassiere.
Over his 37 years as a chef, Hazlehurst has witnessed a wealth of changes in the industry, none more so than the cultural shift towards wellness eating. “The emphasis on vegan and vegetarian dishes is a direct effect of the growing thinking on ensuring good quality of life, as we live longer. Looking after your body is now a top priority and how we balance what we eat has become a big part of this movement” he commented.
Hands on with the team, shoulder to shoulder over the stove, Hazlehurst is a dedicated practitioner of evolving and developing his craft. “When I’m there cooking and creating new dishes for the bar, the spa or the restaurant, that’s my proper work, everything else is just keeping everything moving along smoothly.”
As part of this continuous improvement mantra, Hazlehurst takes inspiration from a wide range of sources and builds this together into what he views as his ‘bigger picture’ of cooking to get new recipes just right for guests. Taking this approach, Hazlehurst created an exceptional super food salad with black quinoa, kwacha seeds, purple corn, chia, cauliflower, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, dandelion leaves and a manuka honey dressing, instantly lifting a regular dish into something with many layers of flavour and texture.
Looking ahead to the future, Hazlehurst noted, “My current challenge is to incorporate a higher proportion of local produce whilst simultaneously achieving great value for money for guests. People are looking for something special, but they are hyper aware of where ingredients are coming from. I need to ensure that we are able to strike that balance appropriately.”