Meet Dan Gavriilidis, Head Chef at THE PIG – at Combe, nestled in glorious East Devon countryside the restaurant with rooms famous for its 25-miles menu and bountiful kitchen gardens.
Dan is a passionate chef with over twenty years’ experience working in world class kitchens. He started out his career working as a Commis Chef at several acclaimed restaurants in London. One of which was Tom Aikens, a one Michelin stared restaurant in Chelsea, London where Dan gathered a huge amount of experience working on the larder and pastry section.
He then moved onto Pied a Terre in Fitzrovia, London where he moved around all the sections to get as much essential experience under his belt as possible.
After a short stint at Bonds as a Junior Sous Chef, he moved onto The Greenhouse in Mayfair which offers contemporary French cuisine. He was able to plan, direct and supervise the team, ensuring food was always presented to the highest of standards.
In July 2013 Dan joined the team at Alyn Williams at the Westbury in Mayfair. Whist assisting the Head Chef in managing the pass, Dan learnt a huge amount and was able to constantly develop his knowledge and management skills.
Dan then made the move out of London and in January 2014 he was appointed Sous Chef at THE PIG-near Bath and worked his way up to Senior Sous Chef where he was heavily involved with the daily running of the kitchen. Dan’s skills, attitude and hard work were rewarded as he was appointed head chef at THE PIG-at Combe, the fifth PIG addition of this highly successful group founded by Robin Hutson.
THE PIG’s famous 25 Mile Menu suits Dan’s passion down to the ground of using high quality fresh local produce and creating exciting but simple new dishes. Dan works very closely with the Kitchen Gardener at THE PIG- at Combe to ensure that the philosophy of plot to plate continues!
What prompted you to become a chef?
Family cooking is ingrained in the Greek culture, preparing a meal together was the cornerstone of how my family bonded and spent time together when I was young. Greeks cook with the freshest seasonal ingredients; this upbringing made me passionate about food and laid the foundations for me to pursue a career as a Chef.
What has been your greatest achievement/proudest moment in your career?
Here at THE PIG-at Combe we are fundamentally about people, by offering award-winning training programs and competitive salaries we ensure that our Kitchen has an inclusive culture. This is something that the team and I take great pride in, and as a result we have had no redundancies and maintained a high percentage of our brigade for many years.
What makes Devon such a great place to work as a chef?
There’s a saying in Devon that ‘if you stick your finger in the ground it will grow’, and the Kitchen Garden is the beating heart of THE PIG-at Combe. We make the most of the fertile soil with 3 walled gardens – the vegetable garden, the herb garden and the infusion garden, these bountiful plots provide us with the best seasonal produce for both kitchen and bar.
Our menu is a homage to the ingredients we can either grow or rear on site, 80% of what we cannot provide for ourselves we source from local suppliers within a 25 mile radius of THE PIG-at Combe. Thanks to THE PIG-at Combe’s location being 8 miles from the coast the menu consists of fresh fish as well as the very best Devonshire cheese and locally reared meat from butchers around the market town of Honiton.
Where would you go to dine out on a night off?
One of our local suppliers is Darts Farm – from humble beginnings as one of the first pick-your-own businesses in 1971 Darts Farm has evolved into a family run unique shopping experience with a working farm at its heart. Being a pillar of the community for the last five decades they have built relationships with local artisan producers that all share THE PIGs commitment to sustainability.
On our menu you can expect to see Devonshire cheeses, fruits, and vegetables from Darts Farm which is only 15 miles away. They have a restaurant on site where their talented chefs pay tribute to everything West Country – my favourite place to dine and enjoy unpretentious fresh seasonal produce at its best (outside of the PIG of course)!
What is your favourite Devon ingredient/product to use in your dishes? And why?
Something that is unique to Devon is hand dived scallops from Lyme Bay – only 17 miles away from THE PIG-at Combe. Keeping in line with our sustainability ethos we don’t use any dredged scallops and the resulting dish tastes better for it!