Ben Wilkinson Joins The Team at The Pass as The New Head Chef

Ben Wilkinson Joins The Team at The Pass as The New Head Chef

Fine-dining restaurant, The Pass at South Lodge has appointed a new chef to take the helm at the intimate 28-seat restaurant. Head Chef Ben Wilkinson will join the hotel in August 2022, bringing a wealth of experience to the restaurant following his success at The Cottage in the Wood, a Michelin starred restaurant with rooms in the Lake District.

Ben will also be joining the team with his partner, Monika Zurawska, who will be leading the front of house team. Both are thrilled to be join The Pass and bring something new to the Sussex community.

Ben’s menu at The Pass will bring seasonal and local produce to diners’ plates, very much an ode to Sussex, highlights will include Sussex Downs Venison with fennel, caper, smoke and rye, Wild Sea Trout with cucumber, oysters, and roe. Desserts include Three Sheep’s cheeses and Strawberry ewes’ curd with vanilla and elderflower.

Due to the unique design of The Pass, visiting guests will embark on a truly immersive ‘Chef’s Table’ style dining experience focused on seasonality, clever cooking and thoughtful tasting menus. More details on the menus to follow.

David Connell, General Manager of South Lodge: “We are delighted to welcome Ben and Monika to The Pass. The past two years have seen us working with some fabulous chefs for short term residencies, however, we now feel the time is right to bring in a more permanent team to take the restaurant onto new levels. The Pass has always been about providing excellence and fabulous dining experiences, and we believe Ben is the Chef to deliver this for the longer term. Having held a Michelin Star at The Cottage in the Wood in Keswick, along with being listed at number 24 in the UK Top 100 Restaurants list 2021, Ben demonstrates the quality of menu he can bring to South Lodge. The Lake District has fabulous local produce, but we also know that Sussex has too, so we are very excited by what he can bring to the table for our guests.”

Ben Wilkinson, Head Chef of The Pass: “We are very pleased to be joining the team at South Lodge to reopen The Pass. It is a fantastic venue where we will be able to produce a really exciting menu and experience for our guests and add another great restaurant to the hotel. It is a big move down from The Lake District, but I am excited to get working with the produce and suppliers of Sussex.”

Ben’s first foray into the kitchen was two decades ago, when he began working at a golf course restaurant in Derbyshire, which then lead onto his role at The Windows at The Hilton Park Lane in London, before taking up a role in Netherlands at a boutique hotel restaurant in the Hague called Savelberg. It was here that Ben got his first taste for Michelin-level cooking. When returning to the UK he joined the team at Holbeck Ghyll in Windemere for two years, followed by a year at Daniel Clifford’s Midsummer House before returning to Holbeck for another year.

The seven-course tasting menu (plus snacks) will be priced at £120 per person.

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