Award-winning pub chef Justin Brown joins team at The Palmer Arms in Windsor

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Restaurant

Award-winning pub chef and former MasterChef: The Professionals contestant Justin Brown has revealed details of his latest project at The Palmer Arms in Windsor
Award-winning pub chef and former MasterChef: The Professionals contestant Justin Brown has revealed details of his latest project at The Palmer Arms in Windsor
Award-winning pub chef and former MasterChef: The Professionals contestant Justin Brown has revealed details of his latest project - heading up the kitchen at The Palmer Arms in Windsor as he helps position the venue as a gastropub ahead of possible group expansion.

Brown, who took part in the 2009 series of the BBC TV show, officially joins the Berkshire venue this week while his Isle of Wight restaurant, Justin Brown at Farringford, is closed for the winter. 

Classic

"Gastropubs have been where I have been most successful," Brown told BigHospitality. "I have been trying to find the right one and the right location. I want something for the long run now I have mastered my craft."

After being attracted to the location and following several meetings with Chrys Fisher, the pub's owner, the chef agreed to join the team to help push the venue's gastropub credentials and develop the food side of a business that has been trading under its current ownership for five years. 

The recently-refurbished pub, which is located close to Eton, Maidenhead and Windsor, has capacity for 60-70 covers. Brown will be showcasing a classic pub food menu alongside an a la carte offering featuring local produce including five spice roasted duck breast and pork belly cooked for 24 hours.

"The idea is to try and put it on the foodie map. We are aiming for rosettes and as many accolades as we can get," he said.

The chef and restaurateur was named among the winners of the Pub Chef of the Year awards for three years in a row and was crowned Best Newcomer in the 2011 Great British Pub Awards. Earlier this year he helped his Isle of Wight venture win two AA rosettes.

Expansion

If successful, Brown is hoping this latest project will develop further following a recent acquisition by the owner of a second site nearby.

"I am going to go in as a business partner in the New Year and, after we have traded for a while, the idea is to get The Palmer Arms running successfully and then try and open a second.

"We are not going to run before we can walk," the chef added, explaining he would likely take on an executive chef role for the group if expansion did occur. 

Pub food

Referring to recent statistics, reported on BigHospitality,​ which suggest sales of food in pubs dwarf those in licensed restaurants, Brown said he expected pubs to continue to lead the way when it comes to dining and not because they are assumed to be cheaper.

"I think it is probably because people prefer pubs because they feel a little less formal - there is the atmosphere. I am serious about cooking but I just feel much more comfortable in a gastropub environment - I find it a lot more relaxed.

"I do use some modern techniques - using water baths, a Taurus Mycook and Taurus Rowzer, from Nisbets - and I don't mind telling people about that. You get a result now but people don't really know you are using modern techniques," he said.

Future plans at The Palmer Arms include private dining and a £45-a-head tasting menu; meanwhile Brown will carry on in an advisory role at his Farringford restaurant on the Isle of Wight when it re-opens in spring next year.

Related topics: People, Pubs & Bars, Venues, Business

Related news

Show more

Spotlight

Follow us

Hospitality Guides

View more

Featured Suppliers

All suppliers

Free Email Newsletter

Subscribe to BigHospitality

The trusted industry reference point

Get the latest news & analysis from the UK hospitality sector straight to your inbox!