“Weetwood Estate”: An interview with Francis, Convive’s fabulous Head Chef
The first in a series of “Weetwood Estate” blogs, designed to showcase the diverse and talented staff that make up the Weetwood Hall family, we caught up with the incredibly talented Francis. Head Chef in our soon-to-be opened Convive restaurant, Francis enlightens us about his past chef experiences, his love for flying light aircraft and his delicious signature dish, an Iberico pulled pork cheek burger!
- What is your role at Weetwood Hall?
- Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I have previously worked as head chef at a number of leading Mediterranean and Italian restaurants in the region, as well as a number of independent, smaller Italian restaurants. I also lived in Spain for over two years working in authentic, family-owned restaurants cooking for locals and tourists. Outside of work I am training to be a pilot and fly light aircraft. I also love spending time with my family.
- What is your favourite thing about being a member of the Weetwood Hall family?
I love the great team spirit you can’t get away from at Weetwood!
- What do you find most rewarding about your role within Weetwood Hall?
I find sourcing fresh produce from local suppliers rewarding, as well as having ½ of a million-pound new kitchen to play in!
- If you were to choose a dish from the Convive menu to eat everyday for the rest of your life, what would it be?
My signature Iberico pulled pork cheek burger.
- What is your favourite thing about cooking Mediterranean food?
I simply love the freshness and simplicity of the cuisine, which makes the food very popular for home cooks to serve. And who can resist a big bowl of spaghetti bolognaise?
- What is the difference between Convive in comparison to other restaurants?
Convive has got the edge on most other restaurants because of the fresh food in a warm environment and our alfresco dining area for those warm summer evenings.
- Weetwood hosts a fantastic array of food from a number of local suppliers. If you were to get your loved ones round the table for the evening, what would be your speciality dish?
It would have to be the cured meats platter and Frito misto, both of which are great for sharing.
- Can you tell us a quirky fact about yourself?
I fly light aircraft, a world apart from being a Head Chef!
- How long have you been working at Weetwood Hall?
I have worked at Weetwood Hall for three months’ now
- Where would be your dream holiday destination?
Cruising around the Mediterranean on a private yacht.
- What would your perfect hotel room include?
That would have to be a Jacuzzi.
- Which five people would you invite to your fantasy dinner party, and why?
My five guests would be Marco Pierre White, my partner Karen, daughter Frankie, Rick Stein, and Emma Bunton – making for some interesting conversations, that’s for sure!
- What would your favourite breakfast include?
A good sausage and a view of the sea.
- What is your favourite memory of Weetwood Hall?
A special Christmas and the great team spirit around the whole of the hotel.
- If you had the opportunity to create your own craft beer, what would you name it and why?
I would name my own craft beer, ‘Grandma’s Brew’ because my Grandma was a really strong lady.
- What is the most important part of a Sunday roast? Explain why.
The most important part of a Sunday roast for me is spending valuable time with family and friends, in a non-rushed environment.
- For anyone visiting Yorkshire, what would you say is a “must do” during their stay?
Visiting the East coast is a true must. Asides its beauty, Whitby has the best fresh fish money can buy.
- Where is your favourite local spot to spend your spare time in Yorkshire?
I enjoy flying over the north Yorkshire moors and seeing historical sites from the air including York Minster.
- Where’s the most unusual place you’ve ever visited?
That has to be hiking in the mountains of Austria – simply spectacular!
If you would like to sample Francis’ and the Convive team’s culinary delights, inspired by the healthy and distinct flavours of Mediterranean cuisine, in the relaxed and laid-back atmosphere of our new restaurant, why not book at table at Convive, which is opening on February 23rd? Alternatively, you can check out the mouth-watering Convive menu, made from only the finest, locally-sourced ingredients here.
Don’t forget to stay poised for the next interview in our “Weetwood Estate” series, where we’ll get to know another member of the close-knit Weetwood family…