Adam Gaunt-Evans – Welsh heart, Asian soul – Executive Chef at The Three Eagles
Adam Gaunt-Evans – his work as a Chef has already taken him to various places in the world. From London to Dubai, the Maldives, Sydney and Thailand or even Sri Lanka. Now he is back in his homeland – Wales, the place where it all started.
Adam Gaunt-Evans – Executive Chef at The Three Eagles
You are a British Executive Chef with more than 20 years of experience in international Fine Dining and lead as Executive Chef the opening of The Three Eagles in Wales today. When did you find your love for cooking?
I started working in local pub kitchen at the age of 14, it was a summer job that never quite ended. My love for cooking grew over the years but my first head Chef Dai Davies instilled a passion for cooking in to me during my apprenticeship. He taught me to cook seasonally, champion Welsh produce and forage locally, years before it became fashionable!
Which cooking school did you visit?
Whilst completing my apprenticeship I attend Coleg Cambria, my local catering college once a week for 2 years. It was a great training ground and taught me some fabulous classical cookery.
You started your career as a Chef at London’s five-star Dorchester Hotel. What was your biggest learning during this time?
The main thing The Dorchester taught me was quality – everything was made perfectly whether it was an a la carte dish or a club sandwich. I worked with some great senior chefs who were from the old school, yet the Dorchester was always forward thinking and contemporary. It remains my all-time favourite hotel.
You continued your career by working at Michelin-starred Green House in Mayfair. How has this Michelin star experience influenced you to this day?
Cooking at that level was life changing. So much work went in to every single detail of the restaurant, and the dishes were sublime. It was probably the hardest kitchen I’ve worked in, yet I really treasure all my memories of the Green House. It set a benchmark that I will always aspire to.
Your international career as a Chef began with a job at the Burj al Arab in Dubai (the world’s first seven-star hotel). How did you experience this time with Jumeirah in Dubai?
I was 22 years old, and by far the youngest Chef de Partie in the hotel. It was my first time overseas and I really learnt a lot about working with different cultures and man management. Our restaurant Al Muntaha sat at the top of The Burj, it was a demanding kitchen and we called ourselves ‘The Muntaha Marines’
It was a very proud moment working under Jean Paul Naquin in such a dynamic culinary team, and 2 very special years cooking at that level.
After some time as Chef in the Maldives, you worked in Australia in a seafood restaurant run by celebrity Chef Peter Kuruvita. What skills in the preparation of fish/dishes could you gain from this time?
Flying Fish is near Sydney fish market, and Peter loved visiting the markets early in the morning to select the best fish; the quality of Australian seafood and produce in general is second to none. I learnt a lot about working with suppliers to source the best products, which already puts you halfway towards creating an exceptional dish.
With your work as Chef de Cuisine in Thailand and Executive Chef in Sri Lanka, you have also gained Asian kitchen experience. After so many different experiences – how would you describe your culinary line today?
Eclectic! I’m very comfortable cooking with spices now but it wasn’t always that way, going to Asia I had to learn to cook all over again. I like to respect authentic cuisine from anywhere in the world, but am not bound by tradition and enjoy bringing global influences for my cuisine to evolve.
What are some of your unique cooking techniques learned during your time outside the UK?
Making curries is extremely satisfying. There are serious techniques involved in creating layers and layers of flavour with a diverse palette of ingredients, and in the end you have a simple delicious pot of food with nowhere to hide!
I like using primitive tools to make pastes such as the miris gala in Sri Lanka. Modern chefs are all about technological advancements yet there are deep root traditional techniques that produce amazing textures.
I studied Thai cooking and would steer more towards Asian stocks, sauces and dressings.
Now you returned to your hometown Llangollen, Wales, where you work as Executive Chef of the The Three Eagles, which will open soon.
I’m back in the town where I grew up…we are an ambitious new company with a broad skill set and there are several exciting projects in the pipeline.
How would you describe Wales from a culinary point of view in one sentence?
Wales has an amazing natural larder, with an emerging scene of artisans, quality farmers and chefs making Wales a great place to explore and dine. The natural beauty of Wales is outstanding and unspoiled.
Some countries/regions are well described with a spice and dessert. Which are suitable for your hometown Llangollen?
Wild garlic represents the seasonality, green pastures and robust flavours of my region perfectly.
What will be the culinary set up of The Three Eagles?
Small fresh menus that change with the seasons. It will be a kitchen where local boys and girls can train to cook fresh food from scratch and be proud of the natural produce of their region.
I believe The Three Eagles will be one of the most exciting places to eat.
– Adam Gaunt-Evans
Will you work with local Welsh farmers and producers?
Absolutely. I don’t go local for the sake of it, but fortunately we can source most of the meat, dairy, freshwater fish, and vegetables locally. We have plans to grow our own produce in an effort to save food miles and be more self-sufficient.
Welsh artisan cheese making and charcuterie has made a renaissance and I believe its important to give our guests a taste of our region.
Will seasonal cooking be part of your concept?
Everything fresh will be seasonal and local, with an international palette of flavours and ingredients. Llangollen has always had international influences playing host to the Worlds first ever international Eistedfodd – a Welsh festival of music and dance.
What do you offer in winter in your seasonal concept?
Winter brings in slow comfort cooking, lots of braises and rich meat dishes. We also have access to exceptional British coastal seafood in the colder months which will play a big part. Root vegetables and foraged goods always feature heavily in the winter, and we will work hard to make our own preserves in the summer months to keep us going during the winter.
Can you share 1 or 2 of your current creations?
Dishes that really represent our cuisine would be Ceiriog valley smoked salmon, horseradish cream & keta caviar. The salmon is smoked 5 miles from the restaurant and presented in the style of a sashimi, using horseradish instead of Wasabi.
We’ve taken local produce and flavours from our own culture and made them more interesting by taking influence from a cuisine on the opposite side of the earth. Rhosllanerchugog mountain lamb, ratte potato & onion massaman curry, onion & peanut crumble combines Welsh lamb from a hillside a few miles from us with a delicious curry I perfected whilst working in Thailand. The flavour is authentic yet the presentation is contemporary. Ultimately its delicious.
Liverpool is not far from Llangollen, The Three Eagles. Once the restaurant is open, how do you attract guests to come to The Three Eagles?
We border the north west of England and North Wales is a popular destination for people from Liverpool, Manchester and the rest of Cheshire to visit, as well people from all over UK and international visitors. For those wishing to sample the best produce north Wales has to offer I believe The Three Eagles will be one of the most exciting places to eat.
Thank you very much, Adam! We wish you good luck with The Three Eagles!