A small introduction about myself and also my history in the food industry. I believe it always helps when you know the people in the kitchen, the place I will be making the magic happen. 🥕🥦
My name is Stuart Drake. I have been cooking for over 10 years now.
Having spent half of my career at Tuddenham Mill in Suffolk, a three-rosette level restaurant under the role of senior Sous Chef.
After my Daughter was born in 2017, I decided my five-year journey with Tuddenham was over. Calvin approached me the day I left to basically say he would like to have me in one of his properties, but as much as I appreciated the offer, at that time I needed some time to work out which path in the hospitality industry I wanted to go down. Following this, I started doing freelance Chef work as the freedom of my hours gave me the opportunity to start up and really push my private dining company (Drakes Bespoke Dining). My main vision for this business was being able to cook food that individuals/big parties desire but with the sort of touches and skill you would expect from a high-end restaurant while being able to relax in the comfort of their own home. This started off strong and appealed to a lot of people. With this being said, Covid-19 then put a temporary halt on things. This drove me to brainstorming on how I could help in the pandemic, so I started up a contactless delivery service called Chef2U. The main aim of Chef2U was to help vulnerable people and also families who couldn’t get good, nutritious, home cooked food delivered which was desperately needed! The growth of this business was almost too much to handle. I then messaged Calvin Holland to see if I could use his kitchen on a temporary basis at the White Pheasant in Fordham and he agreed. This generosity made it possible for me to prepare and deliver freshly produced homemade yet still affordable meals. All meals were prepared on the day of delivery then chilled and delivered with re-heating instructions, this allowed the older and more vulnerable of our community to be able to stock up for the week. Chef2U got recognised by the council and they put our name on the list for the “Home but not alone scheme”, so anyone who was struggling during lockdown could get hold of me. I also prepared and personally delivered numerous meals for key workers in different sectors over Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk just as a thank you for all their hard work during this difficult time. Starting from this, I began communicating with Calvin regularly and then the conversations with Calvin and Luke started and I just seemed to find they were on the exact same wavelength as me. I personally believe that this next chapter in my life and career is going to be a seriously powerful movement. With the experience and drive from Calvin and Luke behind me I can’t wait to show my food style and really make the Anchor an experience, not just a destination. I don’t think there will be any other places around here offering the sort of food I like to cook. Focusing on simple plating but with massive flavours in each ingredient. In this part of the country, restaurants seem to be very set in their ways of offering a simple lunch and dinner service then on a Sunday do a roast. After discussions with Calvin, we have some great ideas that will all be coming in to play over the next few months. I can’t wait to cook for everybody, and I hope you enjoy the direction we are taking, as I am very excited as the new Chef Patron to welcome you all to The Anchor.