Globe-trotting chef takes up top post at Tudor Park
Meet Tudor Park’s new executive head chef, Alfonso Salvaggio. He has recently swapped a jeep, sand and the stifling heat of Dubai, for the lush green surroundings and a golf buggy at the four star Marriott Hotel & Country Club in Bearsted – and says he and his young family couldn’t be happier.
“It is so fantastic to be able to walk outside and enjoy this beautiful countryside and fresh air. I bought my daughters (Giulia 5, and Fiona 3) umbrellas for the first time in their lives and they are even loving the outdoors when it rains as they have never experienced it before,” says the 41-year-old.
He is also revelling in the fact that, unlike in Dubai, ingredients here are fresh and seasonal and don’t have to be flown in.
“I have heard so much about Kent and the produce grown here, so I am looking forward to making the most of that in our seasonal menus,” he says.
Alfonso now heads up a 13-strong team of chefs who create dishes for Tudor Park’s Conical Grill restaurant, Mezzanine and Zest Bar, as well as catering for up to 250 people at any one time at business banquets, golf events, private functions and around 50 weddings a year.
His arrival coincides with the launch of a new a la carte menu for the Conical Grill which has been designed following feedback from Marriott’s loyal customers and will bring menu consistency across all the group’s hotels in the UK. Alfonso will also be overseeing new menus for Mezz bar and Zest arriving this summer.
Alfonso was literally born into catering – his parents owned a successful Italian restaurant in his home country of Belgium. As a teenager, he spent his free time serving meals to guests and working alongside his Italian father in the kitchen which inspired him to become a chef.
After catering college, he worked in various fine dining restaurants in Belgium before returning to his parents’ restaurant for five years. He then caught the travel bug and worked in four and five star hotels in Brussels, China and Romania before his 18-month stint in the Crowne Plaza Dubai Deira Hotel where he held the position of executive head chef overseeing seven outlets.
His travels, combined with Italian family connections, have strong influences on Alfonso’s cooking which he hopes to bring to his new role.
“I think guests at Tudor Park will see Asian, Balkan and Italian flavours coming through some of my dishes which I hope they will enjoy,” he adds.
*To book a table at the Conical Grill call 01622 734334. For meetings, events and private functions call 01622 632006.