Deans Place Country Hotel and Restaurant at Alfriston in East Sussex has appointed a new Head Chef who is Sussex born, bred and trained.
Sturat Dunley, 36, was born in Shoreham-by-Sea near Brighton and was educated at Tideway School Comprehensive in Newhaven.
He graduated from Brighton College of Technology, where he gained a Diploma in Craft Cookery which included a distinction for his City and Guilds 7061/7062 cookery qualifications.
While at college, Stuart was named ‘Student of the Year’ in 1987. Eleven years later, while working at the Hilton West Pier Hotel in Brighton, he was named the hotel’s Employee of the Year.
Following a stint at the Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel, Stuart returned to Brighton in 2001 where he rejoined Hilton, graduating from sous chef to Event Head Chef.
A spokesperson for the restaurant said: "Stuart is a fervent advocate of using local and seasonal produce on his menus wherever practicable – not just for reasons of taste, freshness and supporting local business, but to help reduce food miles and their harmful impact on the environment."
Stuart played a significant role in hotel’s recent environmental triumph in the ‘Excellent Social Responsibility’ category at the 2008 UK HRS Hotel Excellence awards.
Stuart said: “I am delighted to have been given this exciting opportunity to build on the excellent work of my predecessor Chris Lamper, whose reputation for excellent contemporary-style cuisine – using fresh local produce –resulted last year in the awarding of a first AA rosette for Deans Place’s Harcourt’s Restaurant.
“My ambition is to continually improve the customer dining experience at Deans Place and earn accolades for my favoured style of modern British cookery – with French and Italian influences – whilst leading a highly motivated team, driving consistency and quality.
"Also, I am determined to further increase the amount of quality fresh local and seasonal produce used on the hotel`s a la carte, conference, function and wedding menus."
Deans Place managing director Peter Bramich FIH added: “We are very fortunate to have found such an excellent successor to Chris Lamper.
"Stuart is not only very talented and ambitious, but is totally committed to continually seeking to improve the customer dining experience at the Deans Place, while strictly adhering to the strong environmental ethos we have created at the hotel.
“Travelling times for suppliers’ deliveries, for example, are a priority concern for us at Deans Place, for reducing food miles wherever possible.
"For this reason, the majority of the Deans Place’s fish is landed and prepared approximately eight miles from the hotel at Newhaven by B&N Fish Sales and Network Sea Foods; smoked salmon comes from Springs at Edburton, near Henfield, which is around 20 miles from the hotel; smoked venison is bought from Weald Smokery at Flimwell which is approximately 30 miles away; and cheese is supplied by the Huge Cheese Company at Hailsham, which is only around six miles from the Deans Place.
"Other suppliers include Gunnes Butchers – approximately 18 miles away at Bexhill-on-Sea – where free range chicken and Romney Marsh lamb is bought.”