Chef profile - Chris Bailey-Jones, Head of Catering at Chatsworth
PUBLISHED: 00:00 02 August 2019
With the celebration of the Great British tradition of afternoon tea this month in mind – Afternoon Tea Week 12th to 18th August – Chris Bailey-Jones, Head of Catering at Chatsworth goes under the spotlight
Tell us a bit about yourself
I'm lucky enough to live on the Estate in Pilsley having relocated from London where I looked after Hampton Court Palace… Derbyshire wins hands down!
How would you describe your approach to food?
It needs to be local, straightforward and with just a touch of the amazing.
Tell us about your menu and what makes a perfect afternoon tea
The tea is designed to showcase the best of local produce and at the same time show the depth of talent we have in our bakery team at Chatsworth. This offer is really a cut above and is further complemented by its stunning location and beautiful china. For me the service is just as key as the food we serve, it should be an experience you want to go home and talk about.
Which afternoon tea dish is your favourite?
It's got to be the chocolate and coffee opera cake made by our bakery supervisor Josie… simply amazing!
What has been your biggest culinary high point? And have there been any culinary disasters?
Serving afternoon tea for HM The Queen, it makes all the long hours worth it.
On the down side - dropping a wedding cake the day before a wedding… It was a long night to get it fixed.
What has been your most memorable meal?
An amazing brunch at the Wolsey in London… Again, the food was great but the service was even better.
Who would be your dream guests?
We're lucky to look after the Duke and Duchess, which is always special, but I'd love to host Giles Coren and just pick his brain on what he thinks makes a good restaurant into a great one!
Which ingredient could you not live without?
Citrus fruit. Whether it's in a cake or a drink, it always lifts it!
Is there a local product you'd like to tell everyone about?
Our friends at the Chatsworth Estate Farm shop keep me up to date and their home-produced beef is a constant source of inspiration for my team.
What advice would you give to a novice chef?
To practise and don't forget the customer is why we're here.
Which chef is your greatest inspiration?
Nigel Slater... great food, simple ingredients that are beautifully put together.
Have you a perfect picnic and/or afternoon tea spot in Derbyshire?
The perfect picnic spot for me is at the top of the canal pond at Chatsworth. The house in one direction with rolling dales to the other.
Bakewell / Lemon / Yorkshire Curd or Egg Custard Tart - which would you choose?
Always Bakewell, loyalty to my new home!