Farmer, Butcher, Chef At GoodWood

Farmer, Butcher, Chef At GoodWood

It was a glorious Summer’s evening, and with an invitation safely in the pocket, I drove in the direction of Chichester to a place described by author and curator James Peil as Glorious Goodwood. The destination was the restaurant Farmer, Butcher, Chef. The celebration was that of Young Chef Isabella Raccagna winning Young Sussex Chef of the Year – the first female to win the award. The Duke of Richmond supported the event and introduced Isabella. She was to cook and re-create her award-winning three-course menu using all local ingredients for us to savour.

Farmer, Butcher, Chef is an exciting restaurant located just yards from Home Farm on the Goodwood estate. Showcasing their meat in terms of flavour, quality and provenance, but also achieving the very best yield from the livestock. Goodwood has been farmed by the family for over three hundred years and is one of the only self-sustaining organic farms in Europe. These ecological principles enable the farmer to produce the best-tasting beef, pork and lamb, all of which are reared right here. Their customers will travel farther than their food. And visit they should. The drive to the restaurant takes you around the edge of the beautiful, (mostly) peaceful Goodwood estate.

The Farmer, Butcher, Chef lies on the same location that Goodwood has been entertaining guests since 1780; the original coaching inn was known as Waterbeach Inn due to the then proximity of the nearby sea centuries before.

Arriving on a warm Wednesday evening, my welcoming was friendly and inviting as guests mingled in the courtyard next to open fire. As aperitifs were offered, the Duke and Duchess arrived and mixed effortlessly with the guests.

At 8pm, we were invited to take our seats. The restaurant is full of character, from the beautiful furnishings to an extensive collection of Goodwood memorabilia, and Goodwood’s 300 years of farming. The interior design has been created by Cindy Leveson, from the cosy snug and inviting fireplace, the relaxing bar to the distinctive decor which includes endless artefacts.

The Duke then asked Chef Isabella Raccagna to introduce the starter of the award-winning meal – Red Cabbage Bream. The plates were efficiently served, and a delicious combination was placed before all. The dish comprised of a sublime, delicately sweet citrus cured bream, shemeji mushrooms, spiced red cabbage and sea herbs. From the first taste, the positive murmurs around the room were obvious to hear. I was sat opposite MasterChef Champion Chef Kenny Tutt, who agreed on the quality of combined, excellent and delicate flavours.

Moving on, Isabella enthusiastically revealed her Main Course – Goodwood Beef. Taken from the deep-red Sussex beef cattle which are born and bred on the Estate. The dish comprised of pan-fried bavette Jerusalem artichokes, Levin down cheese and Oyster mushrooms. The perfectly sized cut of beef was perfectly cooked (in dripping), and the colour graduated from bright pink in the centre to a dark, organic brown on the outer. It was complemented by a superb synthesis of pea-green pesto and garlic sauce, a careful balance of great taste and whipped lightness. Said Isabella “Food is all about the flavour.” Then I tasted it. Wow.

The perfectly sized portions that had been served kept everybody enthusiastic and excited for Dessert – Rosemary Infused Apple. Artfully compressed apple, chantilly parfait, apple crisp and rosemary crumb made up the dish. It was simply delicious, and only good conversation slowed down the almost electric consumption. Coffee was offered and duly arrived in a farmhouse mug, a witty touch qualified by a delicious coffee blend.

Isabella Raccagna appeared back to the room from the kitchen to rapturous and appreciative applause, her blushing modesty was endearing. It’s a credit to the restaurant to have nurtured the talent of this former Sanderson Hotel apprentice. The award of Young Sussex Chef of the Year is totally justified based on the delightful meal we were served.

Farmer, Butcher, Chef is an exciting yet laid-back place to dine, a warmly run endeavour with masterful cooking that’s utterly flavoursome. A fantastic place to escape from the city, a lovely place simply to eat and drink. A destination restaurant and highly recommended.

Peter Hayward