If you were an avid concertgoer in the 80s, you might have a nagging feeling of having seen Graham Garrett’s face before. In fact, he manned the drums for bands like the Ya-Ya’s and Dumb Blondes.
When he was 31, Garrett hung up his sticks and took up the chef’s knife. Working with chefs like Nico Ladenis straight away may be the culinary equivalent of going from practising in the parents’ garage to playing arenas with Mick Jagger. Garrett rose to the occasion, even cooking for the Queen and at 10 Downing Street.
After he hung a shingle in front of his own Biddenden restaurant The West House (in 2002), it took Garrett just two years to win a Michelin star, which he’s maintained since. He can now lay claim to a star from Egon Ronay, the highest possible rating from Harden’s for its food, and was a finalist for the title of Harpers and Queen’s Best Restaurant Outside London.
Garrett’s taste for savoury umami flavours means plenty of fish, rustic pork cuts and substantial game and fowl dishes. He also puts as much care into his desserts as the rest of his meals, and they often include unexpected touches – such as an almond cake soaked in Sauternes and peaches and cream made with vanilla Mascarpone.
The Good Food Guide 2011 said ‘the results are crisp, clear-flavoured and refreshingly free of flimflam.’
Garret describes himself as ‘ruthlessly seasonal’, and his menus are unusually consistent in reflecting the freshest possible ingredients.