Chef Gareth Rhodes
Gareth has built an enviable career in London, working for a plethora of award-winning restaurants such as Zuma, Zafferanos, La Petite Maison. After having moved his family to the Cotswolds to head up Soho Farmhouse as Executive Chef in charge of all food outlets, Gareth fell in love with the produce available in the area and decided to start a freshly made restaurant quality catering service.
Are you planning a trip to the Cotswolds this year?
The iconic honey-coloured stone cottages, lively markets and castles are a number-one destination for any British holiday-maker. There’s so much to explore in the Cotswolds, which if you’re a summer renter, can at times become a little tiring. Fancy taking a night off from dining out? We caught up with The GR:eat Food Kitchen, founded by Chef Gareth Rhodes, which offers delicious restaurant quality meals cooked by a professional chef for you to enjoy in the comfort of your Cotswold cottage!
Can you tell us about the concept behind GR:eat Food Kitchen?
GR:eat Food Kitchen is a play on my initials Gareth Rhodes and eat great food. The concept is to create simple delicious dishes that can be easily reheated in the home to be as close to restaurant quality as possible. I am also available as a private chef for intimate dinners or larger events for friends and family where the food can be prepared off sight and finished in the clients homes.
What’s your perception on clientele habits? Have they changed after so many lockdowns?
I have a few clients that are still being very cautious about going to restaurants and what I offer gives them the option of restaurant quality food delivered directly to their door. I think the main thing people are craving is freedom as they have been told for so long now what to do, where to go and who to see.
I believe this is your first venture by yourself right? What have been the challenges so far and how did you overcome them?
This is my second solo project. I ran a pub called The Black Swan in Derbyshire with my wife 10 years ago. The difference with this one is that I am currently doing everything myself. The biggest challenge has been building a client base. When you have a location like a restaurant it is easier to get people to come in and try what you have on offer. I have been working hard to create a social media presence as it is currently the most powerful form of advertising. The majority of people have access to at least one of the platforms available.
The Cotswolds have been highlighted as a perfect place to have a ‘staycation’ while we deal with the realities of pandemic-life. Are you targeting visitors as potential clients?
Yes I am in contact with private owners of air b n b’s and guest houses in my area. There is a large all year round tourist trade here. At the moment you have to be really organised with booking places to eat while you are away and many places are still limiting bookings due to social distancing and the new issue of staffing. Using GR:eat food kitchen gives you the option to enjoy great food in the comfort of your own surroundings without the stress of cooking or washing up.
One thing we noticed about your menu is that the price per person is very accessible. What is your strategy or goal in terms of pricing?
I want to keep the price as accessible to as many people as possible to give them the opportunity to have freshly cooked food using excellent seasonal Cotswold ingredients.
Your concept highlights local sourced ingredients. Tell us a bit about that. Who are your collaborators and what is amazing about them?
Parts of the cotswolds are the least populated in the country, which leaves plenty of space for growing amazing crops and plenty of room for cattle and animals to graze. My main suppliers for meat are Lambournes Butchers and Paddock farm. This year Paddock introduced Chickens and Hereford cows to their farm. They have also adopted a regenerative Agricultural system that I first learnt about watching the amazing documentary “Kiss the ground”. I recommend that everybody watches it!
My fruit and vegetables are from a local supplier called Drinkwaters, they also grow a lot of their own produce. The Cotswold cheese company supply me with the best cheeses from the area and with no coastline in the Cotswolds I buy fish and seafood from Kingfisher who are based In Brixham.