Woven By Adam Smith is the new restaurant concept at Coworth Park. It is no secret that we love Coworth Park and The Dorchester Collection in general, but my experience at Woven by Adam Smith was the culinary highlight of 2022.
Restaurant Coworth Park was already fantastic and following a massive redesign, Woven by Adam Smith showcases Britain’s finest produce, from fresh seafood to locally foraged mushrooms, hand-picked herbs and native flowers. Each dish on the seasonally changing menus tells a story, and all these stories come together to create an extraordinary dining experience AND one of the most wonderful bread courses in the restaurant world.
We caught up with executive chef Adam Smith to find out more.
How did it all start?
My interest in cooking all started when I was 13 after I took my first part-time job in a kitchen as a pot washer in a local restaurant in Birmingham. In 2004 I received my first break and joined The Ritz London, where I spent ten years moving up to Executive Sous Chef. Here I developed my core professional training and took with me the belief in a classic approach to cooking. I won the Roux Scholarship in 2012 and moved to The Devonshire Arms as head chef the year after.
In 2016 I joined Coworth Park as executive chef, overseeing all culinary operations with a focus on Restaurant Coworth Park. During my time at Coworth Park, I distilled all my learning into a passion for creating dishes of simple beauty and can’t wait for everyone to experience my new dishes at Woven by Adam Smith.
Tell us all about the new culinary concept at Woven
I have created a culinary concept at Woven by Adam Smith that is fresh, creative, and contemporary. The dishes have not only been inspired by classic flavours and techniques but showcase the finest produce, from fresh seafood, quality butchery, foraged mushrooms, hand-picked herbs, and native flowers from Britain’s celebrated larder. I am inspired by what’s around me in the English countryside. The dishes on the menu will continually transform, testing unique pairings and authentic ingredients.
What about the interiors?
The interiors for Woven by Adam Smith have been designed and led by Martin Hulbert, the designer of Coworth Park when the hotel first opened in September 2010. The design will be theatrical and contemporary yet woven seamlessly into the fabric of the Georgian manor house setting and the surrounding Berkshire countryside. Every detail of the design has been inspired by the natural world, with the fabrics, lighting, artworks, natural materials, striking colours and textures all coming together to create a lively, luxurious, and infinitely interesting space.
What new flavour combinations or ingredients have recently caught your attention?
I tend to focus on classic flavour combinations but reimagine them in a modern and contemporary way. I have a newfound love of roses, which previously I found to be too overpowering, but now I pick roses from our rose garden here at Coworth Park when they are at their best, around June. I pickle them which creates a less synthetic flavour.
Any future signature dishes you are working on that you can tell us about?
I am excited to showcase the whole menu, however, I have a feeling that the signature dishes will become the Brown Crab, the Hereford Beef, and the Black Fig. These dishes all showcase the finest British ingredients as well as being my favourite things to eat! The Black Fig is perfect for our opening months, with figs being in season. As the seasons change, so will the fruit in this dish.
How important is sustainability at Woven and the food you create?
Sustainability is one of the 5 pillars of the Woven by Adam Smith and has been from its conception. To us, sustainability is so much more than just recycling. Within the design of the restaurant, we have numerous examples of where we have used recycled materials such as the tables made from recycled paper, handbag stools made from reclaimed wood and waiter stations made using recycled paper-mâché and natural resin.
We aim to source all our products from responsible suppliers and producers who farm ethically and responsibly, for example, we use a small farmer in North Yorkshire who grows amazing brassicas for us, and if we do work with larger companies we conduct extensive research into their actions as a company, such as Valrhona to make our bespoke signature chocolates which has excellent ethical standards.
We reinforce sustainability by utilising our kitchen garden and our 240-acre estate at Coworth Park. We have adopted and embraced several traditional methods to allow us to pick and preserve ingredients when they are abundant and at their best, such as elderflower, wild garlic, roses and brambles. As you drive onto the grounds, you meander past the beehives and orchards with many different types of apples and plums, which are not only pretty to look at but also very useful to the menus at Woven. The beehives also help with the horticulture of the wildflower meadow and the wider estate. Throughout the summer months when the meadow is in bloom, we harvest and preserve as much as we can for the winter months ahead.
What do you like to cook at home?
Roast chicken and broccoli are what I like to cook most at home, not very glamorous but it’s my family’s favourite. Quick and simple is the motto for our cooking at home and it must fit around the busy family schedule.
Top 3 favourite restaurants in the UK?
If you could award a Michelin star right now to a UK Chef, who would it be to and why?
It sounds biased because he is part of the Dorchester Collection family, but what Tom Booton does at The Grill at The Dorchester is really exciting and I think anyone who dines there would agree he deserves a star.
Also, Douglas Balish at Grove Of Narberth. I love his food and he has had a star before so I’m sure he won’t need to wait long.
To discover more, visit: dorchestercollection.com
All imagery courtesy of James Thompson / Mark Bolton.
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