Most chefs either endure rigorous training in catering college or start at the bottom in the kitchen and work their way up. There are, though, several self-taught high-end chefs who’ve traded in previous careers for the call of a scorching-hot oven and the sharpest of knives – people such as Heston Blumenthal, Mikael Jonsson at Hedone and now Eric Snaith, who cooks with heart and passion at Titchwell Manor, near Brancaster in Norfolk.
Snaith, whose parents own the chic Titchwell Manor hotel, has transformed the two restaurants – the casual Eating Rooms and smarter Conservatory – into serious dining destinations by focusing on fine local ingredients and unique flavours, gleaning three AA rosettes in the process.
We kicked off at Titchwell Manor with a tasty canapé of locally sourced oysters in breadcrumbs with an oriental sauce. A plate of lamb was a meat-eater’s delight, a rich slice of belly with crispy, sweet fat and a lean slab of loin oozing meaty tenderness.
Dessert highlight, and one of Snaith’s signature dishes, is a creamy brie de meaux custard served with crumbled bread pudding and booze-soaked grapes.