A new head chef is bringing a buzz to the restaurant at Woodland Holiday Park. He spoke to Tony Wenham about his passion for cooking and his plans to put the park on the north Norfolk foodie map.

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My Woodland

Harriet Whittaker BA (Hons), head of sales and marketing

“I’m probably one of the first people our customers speak to or meet when they visit Woodland.

“I have worked here since 2008, all through my university years and now as a full-time staff member.

“I take great pride in the excellent customer experience we offer to all our guests, from initial booking to the end of the holiday or visit.

“We want our customers to return again and again for their staycation break or special meal out. We offer a friendly family atmosphere and also a cosy and relaxing escape.

“Its great working here – and even better to guest here.”

He’s just 25, but he’s been in the business 10 years. He’s been head chef at Woodland Holiday Park for just four months, but he’s already making his mark with some crowd-pleasing dishes of excellence.

Chris Moore talks about food with the passion another young man might reserve for football, or maybe his girlfriend.

“We work very hard in this business, but the dishes I’m producing excite me,” he says.

“My aim in 2014 is to prepare dishes that excite diners. We want people to come to Woodland for a special meal, and we want the park to become known for that.”

Chris and chief executive Andrew Hird are keen to attain the prestigious AA Rosette status, which would underline their bid to bring fine dining to Trimingham.

Chris says: “You have to produce one dish that’s consistently perfect. Everything has to be seasonal and locally produced.

“My signature dish just now is pheasant. The bird was shot on the estate and all the ingredients are locally-sourced. It ticks the right boxes, but most importantly I think it tastes great.” The dish comprises pheasant legs, black pudding and potatoes mixed with thyme, apricot chutney and a juniper jus. “The juniper is classic with pheasant, while the apricot gives it a bit of a sweet kick,” he explains.

Norfolk man Chris has plied his trade in Norwich, Dublin and Center Parcs. But his big moment came when he went to the Parson Woodforde gastro pub at Weston Longville under then head chef Eden Derrick. “He taught me so much about ingredients, it gave me a real buzz,” says Chris. “I realised then that I was in the right business.”

And the proof of the pudding is literally in the eating, with a 25pc rise in restaurant sales this year, and a 2014 expectation of 100 covers a night in peak periods. Chief exec Andrew says: “Chris is a great appointment for us. He’s a super chef and he brings such enthusiasm to his work. Now we’re really looking forward to seeing diner numbers increase in 2014, while continuing to serve our residents and holidaymakers with first rate food.

“We want to excite diners with our 2014 menu.”

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