Page 9 - ESLH Herefoodie 2023 Complete Guide.indd
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                                                               Nick Bennett
                                                               Nr Ludlow
             Pensons has become renowned not only
             for its delectable dishes but also for its   Only 6 miles from Ludlow, on the far north
             commitment to sustainability and ethical   Herefordshire border, Old Downton Lodge
             practices. By sourcing ingredients from   is a lovingly restored mixture of buildings –
             nearby farms and suppliers who share    medieval, half timbered and Georgian with
             their values, Pensons ensures that each   views for days.
             plate is a celebration of both flavour    Far away from light pollution, see velvety
             and responsibility.                 night skies sprinkled with a myriad of stars
                                                 and enter Old Downton’s secret world; the
             For an extended gastronomic experience,
             book a stay in a courtyard room, complete   remains of an ancient Motte, the cottage
             with breakfast, exclusively available to   garden, the old milking parlour sitting room,
             diners Wednesdays to Saturdays. You   and converted stables bedrooms.
             might even catch a chat with Countess   The Dining Room has the feel of a grand
             Peta Darnley as she weeds amongst the   medieval hall. In fact, it was built around the
             flower beds or vegetable cloches – she    time of the Norman conquest, providing
             still likes to remain very hands on with    a regal atmosphere to your experience.
             her creation.                       Originally from Leamington Spa, Nick
                                                 Bennett is Head Chef and became known to
                                                 millions when he reached the finals of BBC2’s
                                                 MasterChef: The Professionals screened on
                                                 Christmas Eve 2015.
                                                 Bennett joined the Mallory Court Brasserie,
                                                 was part of the team that maintained the
             hotel’s kitchen garden. Passionate about   Michelin Star and 3 AA rosettes for 4 years,
             British produce Gavin works with suppliers   and uncovered a real passion for pastry.
             ideally no more than 20 miles away, such   Moving on to The Curlew Restaurant in
             as Huntsham Farm beef, Trealy Farm cured   Bodiam, East Sussex he won Sussex Young
             meats and Severn & Wye smoked fish.  Chef of the Year 2013.
             “It’s fair to say I’m obsessed with food and   Nick and his growing family moved to
             working on the constant evolution of my   Downton on the Rock to join Old Downton
             dishes bringing simple fresh ingredients   Lodge in October 2019, where he has
             together to deliver complex flavour.” He   achieved and maintained 3 AA Rosette status
             enthused. “The Tudor Farmhouse already   and continues to grow and develop the food
             had a first class reputation for food and   offering at Downton.
             I’m enjoying injecting new energy as   On working in Herefordshire he says
             Head Chef and putting my own mark on   “I am extremely lucky to have such amazing
             the menus. We are truly blessed by our   produce on my doorstep. The seasons write
             location in the heart of the Forest of Dean   our menus for us and using such wonderful
             and on the edge of the Wye Valley with    ingredients such as Hereford Beef is a must
             so many incredible local suppliers.”  for me”.

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