Chef Profile – Will Hughes at The Crown Inn, Old Amersham

One of Will Hughes’ earliest memories is of sitting at the kitchen table making bread with his Mum. Will also remembers planting seeds and picking vegetables from their garden, where each of his siblings had their own plot.
That process of being actively involved in nurturing fresh produce, from seed to plate, has grown into a life long passion for Will that has surpassed all others.

Will began his career in the kitchen at just 15 years old when he became a kitchen porter in a restaurant in Northamptonshire.  His love of cooking and keen work ethic was evident from day one and this enabled him to progress quickly into a role as a Commis Chef, where he continued to work during the evenings and weekends in order to fund himself through his A-levels.

Will's scallops

After achieving good exam results and a University place on an engineering degree, Will quickly realised that he was more interested in his cooking than the prospect of learning a new profession, so instead of taking his place on the engineering degree he decided to go to Northampton Catering College, where his peers were surprised to discover that unlike many others on the course, he wasn’t there because of poor exam results and limited career options, but because of his passion for food.

Will qualified with flying colours from catering college and took a full time job as Chef de Partis in an independent restaurant in Market Harborough.  After a couple of years his ambition got the better of him and he applied for a number of high profile chef jobs and ended up with a tricky decision of whether to work on the Queen Mary 2 for its maiden voyage, or whether to work for the famous Albert Roux at the Cafe Roux in the Grand Sofitel Amsterdam.  Unsurprisingly for most foodies, he chose the latter.

Food at The Crown

After four happy and successful years working as a pastry chef, sous chef and banqueting chef at Cafe Roux, Will moved to become Executive Sous Chef at the trendy Westcord Fashion Hotel also in Amsterdam, where he worked for 3 years before deciding to move back to the UK in 2013.

What attracted Will to the job at The Crown was that the hotel was going through a period of change of ownership and on applying for the role he was told that the new head chef would be given free reign to come up with a new plan for the restaurant that had previously been an award winning ‘chop house’ but needed a fresh approach to revitalise its appeal for local people.

Will relished this opportunity and has thoroughly enjoyed creating a new Contemporary European menu using his classical French training and love of locally sourced produce, together with an array of international influences, discovered during his time at the hotels in Amsterdam.

crown_restaurantWhat he delivers now at The Crown in Old Amersham is fine dining in an informal atmosphere. And having just been awarded an AA Rosette, the new owners are delighted with what he has achieved.  Yet for Will, a single Rosette isn’t enough and he is disappointed to have narrowly missed out on gaining double Rosette status, so now he has his sights firmly focused on achieving this, or more, next time.

View our listing and details of the special offer for YOU FOOD members at The Crown Hotel, Old Amersham here



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