Kent Life and Kent on Sunday Food & Drink Awards 2014
PUBLISHED: 13:17 07 November 2014 | UPDATED: 13:17 07 November 2014
Manu Palomeque 07977074797
In advance of the second Food and Drink awards taking place on 13 November at Tudor Park Marriott hotle in Bearsted, chef Tom Biddle discusses what guests will be enjoying at the gala dinner
There’s definitely a bit of a swagger about Tudor Park Marriott & Country Club’s executive head chef Tom Biddle these days. Gone is the shy young man of few words I met in early 2013 when I reviewed the restaurant he runs and first encountered his cooking.
Tom, 27, is just as ambitious as ever for the success of The Conical Grill, but there is an added confidence that comes from having pulled off our first-ever Kent Life and Kent on Sunday Food & Drink Awards dinner last year in some considerable style.
And walking out with his team at the end of the quite frankly brilliant night to receive the applause and thanks from a foodie crowd who included not only the county’s great and good but also its top chefs and restaurateurs, probably helped quite a bit.
So what’s cooking on 13 November, and are the nerves holding up? “I’m looking forward to it and really want to live up to the expectations we created last year and take it a little but further if we can,” says Tom, who grew up in Birmingham but now lives in Ashford with his wife and daughter.
“I couldn’t fault how last year went – we had great local ingredients and there was a real buzz from the guests on the night.”
Tom adds: “Two hundred is a lot of people so it’s going to be heads down and just crack on with it. We’re looking forward to showcasing our skills to everyone in the food industry in Kent.”
It was definitely time to find out what Tom had in mind for 13 November and I was delighted with what emerged from the kitchen to get photographed for this piece.
Tom explains his thinking: “We’ve got a nice, balanced meal – a fragrant crab bisque to start, a good-looking, gamey main course with some lovely autumnal colours on the plate and a seasonal dessert that’s a little out of the box, which my fantastic pastry chef Julie Boer and I devised.”
Vegetarian options at the time of my visit included a pressed tomato and red pepper terrine with pesto-marinated mozzarella and a savoury black pepper tuile biscuit.
There’s time for just one more question: Tom’s favourite dish? He has no hesitation: “The wife’s Christmas dinner!” n