Bespoke English Luxury: Cooking With Celebrity Chefs At Chewton Glen

Dining Lifestyle

The Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa is England’s top luxury resort. Perched atop a grass field beside England’s majestic New Forest, the hotel and spa occupies an ivy-covered Jacobean manor. With a red-brick facade and sage shutters overlooking a croquet lawn, Chewton Glen is a whimsical retreat any worldly traveler can get lost in.

Much of the history surrounding Chewton Glen has been lost to the past, but records from the 1730s indicate the manor was built about that time. After several ownership changes in the following decades, Chewton Glen was finally turned into a hotel in the 1950s. Though many improvements and additions have been made to the original manor, this modern hotel and spa still retains its historic, English-countryside charm.

Chewton GlenChewton Glen’s inimitable blend of classic, English elegance and new-age holistic sympathies is exactly what sets this resort apart from the rest. Guests to this idyllic retreat can disappear to their private garden terrace for tea time, and relax in a hydrotherapy pool under a domed ceiling that glows like a dusk sky. Chewton Glen offers horseback riding, clay pigeon shooting, 18-hole golf, and has its own sommelier with an extensive wine collection, which guests can enjoy while dining at their award-winning restaurant.

In recent years Chewton Glen has added additional guest rooms (bringing the total number to 70), plus aromatherapy saunas, a dance studio, crystal steam rooms, and a nail salon. There are also 12 elegant Treehouse Suites spread out on Chewton Glen’s 130 acres of New Forest real-estate.

Chewton Glen is continuing to find new ways to distinguish itself among world-class luxury resorts. Recently, Chewton Glen’s owners announced the development of an on-site culinary institute, The Kitchen, which will have its own bakery, charcuterie, and cooking school. This won’t be Chewton Glen’s first foray into the culinary world, though; Chewton Glen’s mainstay culinary experience, The Dining Room, has long made Chewton Glen one of England’s leading culinary destinations.

In keeping with the relaxed elegance of Chewton Glen, The Kitchen will also include an informal restaurant — airy, bright, and full of delight. Guests can come in from a morning stroll through New Forest (pristine, English Channel beaches are a 20-minute walk away) and pick from an à la carte menu featuring wood-fired pizzas, gourmet burgers, superfood salads, and Mudeford lobster and fries. Guests to The Kitchen needn’t feel limited to the locally-sourced menu, however; if the chefs have it, they’ll be more than willing to craft a meal to the diner’s desire. Dining at Chewton Glen has always been a versatile, bespoke experience, and The Kitchen will continue this tradition.

The cooking school at The Kitchen will be run by Chef Rob Cottam, a senior chef tutor from the prestigious Leith’s School of Food and Wine, in London. The cooking school will offer over a rolling curriculum of specialty culinary courses including artisanal bread-making, cooking with chocolate, gluten-free cooking, and how to make gourmet butter and cheese.

In crafting the courses to be offered at the cooking school, Chewton Glen has partnered with celebrity chef James Martin, the long-time host of the BBC’s “Saturday Kitchen.” Martin will be a frequent chef tutor at the cooking school, personally leading courses of up to 12 people. Martin, in conjunction with Chewton Glen, will be also be inviting England’s top chefs to be on hand to lead classes.

Chewton GlenThe cooking school will have 12 cooking stations centered around the chef tutor’s table. The small size of the classes (no larger than 12) will lend to the intimacy and congeniality of the experience, allowing the chef to take his time as he shows the class step-by-step how to fill conchiglie with sausage and chestnut ragù. Beginners will be more than welcomed, and all guests of the cookery will be encouraged to ask questions — the chef isn’t your teacher, he’s a good friend showing you how to properly spice South Indian chicken curry.

A visit to Chewton Glen’s new cooking school will begin in the morning with coffee and pastries from The Kitchen, giving guests time to meet their chef. There will be a tour of the greenhouse and gardens, where guests will be instructed on how to hand-pick the best vegetables for the day’s lessons. The chef tutor will then begin the course with a demonstration of the skills and techniques to be used throughout the day, before proceeding into the hands-on, experiential course. Lunch will be included with all classes, and as guests dine with their chef they can gush over how perfectly their hoisin braised pork belly turned out.

The Kitchen will open this March, and parties interested in scheduling dates for the cooking school are encouraged to visit Chewton Glen’s website for more information. Dates are already beginning to fill up.

By Brian McHugh

Brian McHugh is a staff writer for The Vue. He's an intern, technically, but is allowed liberty with his title. He loves to travel, read, and experiment with different styles.