January 2010 will be well remembered and not just for the fine cooking! Located on the outskirts of Chichester and close to Goodwood racecourse, the Fish House Hotel, restaurant and pub was cut off for ten days in the snow storms.
"The only vehicles travelling down the road were four-wheel drive Land Rovers," says Head Chef, Alan Gleeson.
"We ran on a skeleton team. Power was also down but as we have our own generator, we went around the houses locally to let them know we were open. On the first night, the police brought stranded drivers here so they could warm up and get something to eat and drink. We put them up for free, that was the spirit of the occasion."
Opened in April 2009 and owned by Catey* award winning operator David Barnard, over £4m was spent converting the former Chilgrove White Horse in West Sussex into his latest masterpiece. (*Caterer & Hotelkeeper award)
Formerly the pastry chef at Barnard's Crab at Chieveley, Alan Gleeson brings a wealth of experience to the Fish House. Starting out with Robbie MacRae at the Royal Oak, Yattendon, Gleeson then spent four years with Aaron Paterson at the Michelin starred Hambleton Hall, before moving to Hart's Restaurant, Nottingham as Head Chef.
The Barnard-Gleeson team is already making headlines, having been nominated as runners-up for 'Best Newcomer' in the Hardens Guide 2010.
"This is where I want to be now. I have been working with David for five years and my parents live nearby.
"We spent getting on for £400,000 re-doing the kitchen. The idea for the five 2 Drawer Adande units came from Steve Fear, Projects Manager at Space Catering who did the design. They take some getting used to but they do work very well and hold their temperature," said Alan.
An Adande Blast Chiller was included in the spec, which Gleeson (pictured right) uses chiefly for stocks and organic sauces. "When you are working in a high end fresh food establishment, food safety is paramount," he says.
"I like the fact that there is one big drawer bin which can be taken out for cleaning. It's just so easy. The weighting of the drawer is right as well so the doors do not get slammed."
"One drawer in the pastry section is set for frozen sorbet and ice cream at -14° C to suit the Pacojet - the other sits as a service fridge at +3° C. All the other drawers are set between 1.5° C & 2.5° C, primarily for seafood. We do not need to use ice to keep the fish in prime condition.
"We had a fantastic first 10 months," adds Gleeson, "but were then walloped by the weather. We did over 1000 covers during Goodwood week - not bad considering we had only been open three months."
The Fish House features 15 guest rooms, all with bespoke Asian themes and each named after a famous fishing port.
No corners have been cut in creating the restaurant and kitchen either. "A central island with a Bonnet cooking range was top of Alan's priorities, as were the Adande refrigerated units to keep the seafood in perfect condition," says Steve Fear. Space Catering's design also included a stunning open display counter, with shellfish on crushed ice, illuminated from below using brilliant white LED lighting.
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