Meet Head Chef Dane Watkins
Written by The Cormorant Hotel
We wouldn't be able to do that without our talented head chef Dane Watkins.
Dane, 28, has been Head Chef at The Cormorant hotel in Fowey for 18 months, after returning to the Hotel for a second time, after being our number 2 Chef during his previous spell here, and has been doing a fantastic job of running our kitchen.
Our Restaurant earned two rosettes before Dane came along, and has been improving steadily ever since. We are sure that, under Dane's careful watch, the Restaurant will go on from strength to strength. Dane, who trained under Michelin starred chef Richard Davis, has aspirations to earn a star of his own and we'd love to see him do that here at The Cormorant.
So we thought it would be nice to introduce all our guests to Dane through this blog.
Dane was born in Bath and grew up around the city, before first getting into cooking aged 15.
"We lived next to a pub when I was a child," said Dane, "and it was when I was about 15 that I first went to work there as a KP.
"It was just a local pub that didn't really do special food, just steak and chips, that kind of thing. I watched and learned, and after I'd been there for a short time one of the chefs was off sick. I was young , and a bit cocky and said that the chef was useless anyway, and I could do a better job."
With that Dane was thrust into cooking and soon realised he had a talent for it.
"I realised very quickly that I could cook a steak very easily," he said. "I was only 16 or 17 and still in school when I decided that, if I was going to get into cooking for a living, then I'd do it properly.
"I decided to see how far I could go."
That realisation saw Dane move on from his 'local' to a nearby gastro pub, and the young chef spent the next year or so cycling from his home to the pub for work.
"After a while I found that food very easy too, so I decided, I may as well try to go up another level," Dane said.
Dane start training at Whatley Manor - a restored Country House Hotel in the Cotswolds with a Michelin starred restaurant run by Martin Burge, who was himself trained by Raymond Blanc.
"It was a shock," said Dane, "like a kick in the face."
"I was working from 8am to 12pm every day and I was shattered - I couldn't handle it."
After a few months the young Dane left Whatley manor and went to work at the Olive Tree in Bath, a gastro pub attached to the Queensberry Hotel.
He spent almost three years there before being given a second chance to train under a Michelin starred chef.
This time that chef was Richard Davis, one of Gordon Ramsay's protégés, who had just taken over the restaurant at the Manor House Hotel in Castle Combe.
"I really wanted to be part of that," said Dane. "I was there for two years and was there when the restaurant won its Michelin star - it was a great time to be there.
"I was really quite lucky to train under Richard."
When Dane's family then opted to move out of the area he decided to follow, and headed to Cornwall and The Cormorant as a sous chef.
"I was hungry for Michelin stars, and I ended up going back to the Manor House where I spent another two very productive years."
At the end of the two years Dane found himself again heading back to The Cormorant at Golant, when he had been offered the role of Head Chef .
"I was excited to come back and run my own kitchen," said Dane.
"I've been able to push things forward here now and have started to put together a great team.
"I've always pushed boundaries and have found that over time I've been able to make the style of cooking and the menu here more my own, with plenty of traditional meals and classically cooked dishes.
"In the future I'm really looking forward to being able to push on even further and keep improving what's already a very good restaurant."