Meet Will Devlin, head chef at The Windmill, Hollingbourne
PUBLISHED: 07:57 05 July 2014
Manu Palomeque 07977074797
The talented young chef from Tunbridge Wells on creating great tasting food and always keeping his customers happy
Tell us about yourself
My name is Will Devlin, I’m 25 and I live in Tunbridge Wells. I went to Great Oaks Small School in Eastry and later studied professional cookery at West Kent College, Tonbridge, which is now K College.
What are you doing now?
I am a chef and have been for the past five years. My current position is as head chef for Richard Phillips at The Windmill in Hollingbourne, just outside Maidstone. I love food and the best thing about my work is I get to cook with the best produce Kent has to offer every single day. We have beautiful produce in Kent, it’s one of the best places in the country to be as a chef.
How important is winning awards?
Awards are fantastic to get but they are not the reason behind doing what we do. Having been trained in the environment of restaurants achieving Michelin Stars, AA Rosettes and marks out of 10 in The Good Food Guide, for me the main thing to focus on is the food and the customers. Making sure the food is treated with the upmost care and respect and ensuring that it is delivered perfectly to every guest and creating great-tasting food and making customers happy is what we get a kick out of. At The Windmill we were named Dining Pub of the Year 2014 in The Good Pub Guide UK. It was a fantastic achievement especially as we were still in our first year of opening. I still see awards as more of a pat on the back for doing things well, not a reason to do them well.
Where will you be in five years?
In five years’ time I will look to be running my own business in Kent. I am sure that is every chef’s dream. Right now, however, it’s all about working hard, making good connections, learning and constantly trying to improve my craft.
What’s best about living in Kent?
Food! It’s everywhere – local farmers, livestock producers, bakers, foragers, it’s all going on here in Kent. On top of that there are all the restaurants, café, pubs, bars, right across the county; there’s a real foodie buzz and I love it. There is also the beautiful countryside, especially the hop farms and apple orchards. And Kent being a coastal county is great, for me a trip to the fish market at Whitstable is always on the cards on a lovely sunny day.
Do you have time for hobbies?
It’s mainly cooking, or going out to eat. I am always interested to see what other chefs are cooking. I enjoy training in the gym, exercise is good way of reliving stress.
Your favourite dish to cook at home?
I don’t tend to eat much food at home. But when I do, my all-time favourite is spaghetti Bolognese with garlic bread. Always a winner.
What did you have for breakfast?
Does a strong black coffee and a cigarette count? n