David Kelman is the award winning head chef at Ellenborough Park, a 62-bedroom luxury hotel in Cheltenham. BH caught up with him to discover exactly what makes him tick.
What does a typical day look like for you?
It depends on what we have in regarding business and the number of guests staying at the hotel. It can range from a nine-hour day to a 13-hour day. The day can involve anything from sorting out emails to creating bespoke wedding menus following the initial talk with brides and grooms; or from executive meetings to prepping for the A la Carte menu in our three Rosette Beaufort Dining Room.
What is the best part of your job?
Cooking of course. This is closely followed by interactions with guests. I always love when I have the chance to speak to wedding couples to talk about their menus and find out what they really want from their day; this is always exciting.
I also really enjoy it when I perform cooking demonstrations at events such as our Ladies’ Lunch Club. These are the perks of the job, as well as when I get the chance to develop menus for both restaurants at Ellenborough Park, The Brasserie and The Beaufort Dining Room.
What is the worst part of your job?
I hate all the paper work. I’m a chef that wants to have his hands busy with food, not pens or tapping away at a keyboard.
What is your favourite dish to create in the kitchen?
I don’t have one favourite dish in particular. I love all the dishes on our menus – if I didn’t, we wouldn’t serve it. I love creating and developing dishes, to make them seasonal and taste the best they possibly can.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Big nose, overweight… oh sorry, I would say I’m approachable, calm and helpful; all good qualities to have when you’re the executive head chef at a five-star hotel.
Top tips for working in a hotel kitchen
If you are a young chef then stick it out in a good kitchen for a couple of years and listen to your senior chefs all the way through. Soak up all their experience and when it’s time to leave, move to the right place and the right role. By building your career this way, you will reach your goals.