Interviews with Devon's top chefs / Gary Rhodes, Rhodes @ The Dome

Gary Rhodes:

Head Chef at Rhodes @ The Dome in Plymouth, Devon

Gary Rhodes

Your early career was spent in Taunton. Is it a love of the Westcountry that brings you back to Devon?
I have always had a great love of the Westcountry and it was when I was based in Taunton that I won my first Michelin star. I have always said that one of the real delights of the Westcountry is the ability to travel around Devon, Cornwall and Somerset and to be able to source the most fantastic ingredients. I have returned on many occasions and absolutely fell in love with Plymouth and the location for Rhodes @ The Dome from the very first visit.

Why Plymouth?
Plymouth is very much an up-and-coming city with interesting developments in both the commercial and the leisure sectors. From a foodie point of view it is quickly becoming the gourmet capital of the South West. Chris and James Tanner have been here for over 10 years and in more recent times there has been a range of high-quality restaurants starting up. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has opened in the Royal William Yard and Mitch Tonks is coming here shortly, so Plymouth really is becoming the place to eat in.

What style of food will you be serving at Rhodes @ The Dome?
The food will be very much British with a modern twist. Every single recipe is one that I have worked on, and hopefully perfected. The restaurant has a modern feel and there is something for everyone, whether you fancy a cocktail, coffee, light bite in the bar, or lunch or dinner in the restaurant, there will always be something to satisfy every taste and every purse. It is important that people see Rhodes @ The Dome not as an expensive fine-dining environment, but very much as an everyday venue.

Do you already use any Devon produce in your London restaurants?
Of course; it is among the finest available.

How important is sourcing local to you?
Sourcing local is really important and every ingredient we use has gone through the 'approval' process. I was delighted to source our beef from Clannaborough Farm and Liam, our Head Chef, has literally spent weeks sourcing other local suppliers.

Who is your favourite Devon chef?
I cannot really say – there are so many fine chefs now, especially in Devon and Cornwall. Having said that, I have been so impressed with the kitchen brigade we have at Rhodes @ The Dome and I think you will see many talented chefs emerging from that source alone.

Why should diners visit your restaurant?
Diners should visit for the overall experience. The views are amazing and ever-changing depending on the weather. The dining environment is modern, contemporary and very welcoming; in the evening it has a very different feel from the daytime, which adds another twist to visitors' experiences, but of course the food is what I am most proud of. We have a wide range of dishes at very reasonable prices.

Do you have plans for any other eateries in Devon?
We have no plans at this stage, but it is such a beautiful county that I would 'never say never'. 

Interviewed by Jeff Cooper on
1 March 2013.

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