The Petersham Hotel in Richmond celebrated two milestone achievements this year: the 40th anniversary of the Dare family’s ownership and a one year anniversary since the appointment of head chef, Jean-Didier Gouges.
Proudly overlooking the Thames and Petersham Meadows, on the back of Richmond Park, The Petersham was originally built as a cottage back in 1650. Nicknamed ‘Nightingale Cottage’ due to the singing of the nightingales on Richmond Hill, the hotel had a number of different owners in the 1800s and 1900s, and saw various name changes, including ‘The Mansion’ and ‘The Star and Garter Hotel.’ Husband and wife Colin Dare and Merla English settled in Richmond in 1965 and purchased The Star and Garter Hotel in 1978, renaming it The Petersham.
The rich history, the unbelievable views and the impeccably classy interiors are major draws for guests here. But one of the main draws is The Petersham Restaurant. With its panoramic views of the bucolic surroundings, it offers a unique, atmospheric setting and an exciting menu. And that’s thanks to Gouges, who was appointed in October 2017. Since then he’s transformed all the menus with his unique cooking style and showstopping presentation skills. Describing his cooking style as ‘all from the heart’, Gouges has a passion for uniting flavours, smells, colours and history into his dishes.
Gouges began his culinary career at the age of 17 in his native Mauritius. Starting as a Chef de Partie for a successful Mauritian catering company, his talent was quickly recognised and at just 18, he had the honour of becoming Private Chef to the Mauritian President. A year later, Gouges became the youngest Le Cordon Bleu chef in his country and earned the opportunity to complete a successful stage in Montpellier, France. It was here that Gouges honed his culinary skill, receiving classical French training and exposing himself to a variety of new techniques and flavours. Inspired by his time in France, Gouges remained in Europe and went on to work in London at a number of prestigious kitchens, such as the 5* Metropolitan Hotel in London, where he worked as a Junior Sous Chef.
The langoustine carpaccio starter with coriander Thai jus, earth and sea marmalade, grilled pineapple and squid ink nest is imaginative and bold, while the Inverawe Scottish smoked salmon is carved off the fish at the table and has an exquisitely fresh flavour. The lamb rump, on a bed of mashed potatoes with braised onion, mint and rosemary jus, was perfectly cooked resulting in a dish that was delicious in taste.
As a trained chocolatier, Gouges also impresses with the desserts. The smoked chocolate delice d’elise was to die for. Be warned, however, it’s more than enough for two people!
Whether you’re seeking a peaceful and luxurious break from home or simply an unforgettable meal, The Petersham offers both in plenty. Not one to be missed.
For more information, visit petershamhotel.co.uk