Spotlight: Fraser McDonald, Head Chef at Hothorpe Hall & The Woodlands

11 April 2016

When gathering feedback from our guests, food always scores highly, and we know when people book our Leicestershire conference venue that the quality of food is high up on their list. We’re pleased to say that our food is always freshly made in-house by our expert team of resident Chefs, headed up by Fraser McDonald.Well-presented food

Head Chef, Fraser, has been at the helm of the Hothorpe kitchen since 2009 leading a 5-strong team of Chefs. With a wide variety of experience across the team, their skills are showcased in the varied events for which they cater; from intricate Mother’s Day afternoon tea; to fresh and tasty buffet lunches for large conference groups; through to fine dining at weddings and private company dinners. With the opening of The Woodlands – our second function venue – in 2015, Fraser now manages two busy kitchens and is grateful to be supported by his second chef and the wider kitchen team.

Fraser’s passion for food comes from his Scottish roots with his culinary interests beginning as a child when his grandfather took him foraging and fishing in South West Scotland. Together they would cook the fresh ingredients, sourced from the countryside, on a campfire and he knew then he wanted to develop this interest and show others how exciting food could be.

Having gained a formal qualification at Dumfries and Galloway College, Fraser’s first job was at an Italian restaurant specialising in local seafood dishes which became paramount to his career, as Fraser now counts seafood as one of his main areas of expertise (despite working in central England with no sea in sight!).

Fraser’s experience, professionalism and passion for creating fresh, tasty and ‘talked about’ food, has developed from working under a range of chefs and in a variety of Fresh bread, baked in houserestaurants across the globe. Simon Gueller – once Marco Pierre White’s second chef – helped Fraser fine-tune his skills to the highest standard while working at Rascasse in Leeds. Fraser has also worked at restaurants in Italy, Australia and New Zealand, discovering new flavours and techniques from around the world. As Head Chef at Scouzi in Auckland, the NZ Herald awarded him five out of five stars and the ‘Best Neighbourhood Restaurant’ Award.

Following some time as Head Chef at Barnacles seafood restaurant in Hinckley and award-winning Poachers Restaurant in Leicestershire, Fraser, his wife and then newborn son, took up residency at Hothorpe Hall and have since welcomed the arrival of a second son. Living on site, you may see Fraser’s two young boys discretely enjoying their countryside living while out on their bikes in the grounds. And if you pass the kitchen’s back door while open on a sunny day, you may just hear the sound of Fraser’s favourite dance music playing while he gladly prepares your next gastronomic delight.

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