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Meet the Chef

PUBLISHED: 12:16 06 January 2011 | UPDATED: 17:59 20 February 2013

Meet the Chef

Meet the Chef

Somerset Life meets Lynda Dawson, Head Chef at the Hood Arms, a famous 17th-century coaching inn situated at the foot of the Quantocks and serving real ales, fine wines <br/><br/>and locally sourced food

How long have you worked at the restaurant?
I took over as Head Chef of the Hood Arms in the summer.

Where have you worked previously?
I trained at the Royal Clarence under Michael Caines, and have since been a head chef in two successful gastro pubs. Last
year, I was also fortunate to chef
in France.

What are your food philosophies?
Im lucky to live in the country and believe everything should be locally produced, fresh and seasonal. Presentation is a very key point, along with colours and well-balanced flavours.

Where is your favourite place to eat in Somerset?
Reeves in Dunster is a great evening out, although I will admit to always ordering the same meal, which I know is naughty of a chef but Im probably not going to change!
What inspires you about living and working in Somerset?
Living right on the Quantocks we are open to the local shoots and hunts, where we source local venison and game.

What would you like to achieve at the restaurant?
I hope to bring the Hood Arms forward, maintaining its good name for fabulous food, and hopefully in the future achieve
two stars.

What is your favourite dish on the menu and why?
Currently the Salt & Pepper Squid is my favourite dish. The caponata is cooked in a demerara sugar and finished with capers and basil, which really complement the fresh yet simple squid.

What local ales/ciders would you recommend in particular?
The most popular ale is Exmoor gold and theres Thatchers gold cider, but I would recommend the wine list, in particular the Montes Estate Sauvignon blanc.

Sample Menu

Salt & pepper squid on a cherry tomato & aubergine caponata
Baked fig tarte tatin topped with crisp pancetta &
a goats cheese mousse
Pan fried calves liver on a garlic, pine nut &
endive salad

Main courses
Local rump of lamb on celeriac & pear puree with
a damson sauce
Corn-fed chicken breast on a smoked bacon, pesto & spinach linguine
Mille-feuille of red mullet & monkfish on an artichoke & watercress gallet

Vanilla & green tea pannacotta with a red
berry compte
Dark chocolate fondant served with ginger
tuille biscuits
Strawberry champagne cheesecake with a
basil coulis


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