Hailing from South Africa, Rob Creaser brings international expertise as well as a love of British fine dining to his role as the new Executive Head Chef at The Milestone Hotel. With decades of experience in the kitchen, Creaser is responsible for the hotel’s much loved Cheneston’s restaurant as well as its delectable Afternoon Tea service and thoughtful private dining options. Here, he talks about life in London and the British dishes he can’t get enough of.
How did you start out as a chef?
“I was just turning 17 and entering compulsory National Service in South Africa. Good advice was given to me by my stepfather who said, ‘I know the food in basic training is terrible but do the chefs course—you won’t go hungry and everyone will be your friend.’ This advice, which wasn’t really very altruistic, led me to the career I love.”
What were your first impressions of The Milestone?
“A classic grand 5-star hotel. It was interesting to see the owners signature dishes but with a scope still to create your own. It seemed a friendly place and reminded me of hotels I had worked at in South Africa.”
Can you describe your cooking style?
“My style is fairly modern with a classic background. I like trying new flavour pairings and am getting used to the seasonality of English produce as we focus many of our dishes around ‘local’ and sustainable products.”
What are your favourite dishes on the menu?
“With no dishes of my own yet featuring on the menu, I think the spring vegetable terrine is a nice fresh dish. The Suffolk lamb rack with braised shoulder and sweetbread croquette is another favourite and, of course, the chicken pot pie, which is the ultimate comfort dish.”
How do you like to spend your days off in London?
“This is quite easy—I do a bit of cycling. Other than that, it’s music concerts and football matches!”
What has been your career highlight so far?
“It would have to be when I was working in South Africa and I had the opportunity to meet some of country’s most talented winemakers, which really inspired my passion for gastronomy.”
Since moving to London, what have been your favourite things to eat?
“Beetroot and Goat’s cheese and variations thereof. And, it has to be said, a good traditional Sunday roast.”
What British ingredients are inspiring you at the moment?
“Most recently it was the humble turnip that inspired me! I used them to cure fresh mackerel as an amuse bouche for a dinner we recently hosted at The Milestone for the British Exploring Society.”
Sample Rob’s food and enjoy British fine dining at The Milestone Hotel.
Image Credits: All images courtesy of Red Carnation Hotels.