Head chef whose kitchen burned down leaves restaurant
- Credit: Archant
A chef whose kitchen was reduced to a blackened wreck at a Norfolk village restaurant is leaving to set up his own foodie firm.
Alex Clare joined the Ingham Swan - run by Dan Smith and Greg Adjemian - eight years ago from school, aged just 16. He worked under the award-winning Mr Smith - who continues to create his renowned culinary delights in charge as chef patron.
The thatched property the Ingham Swan was wrecked in a fire back in 2017. It was so bad, Mr Clare said at the time items in the fridges had cooked.
A former winner of the Best Chef in the Norfolk Food and Drink Awards, Mr Clare was an integral part of the reopening of the restaurant in March 2019 as head chef under Mr Smith. He is leaving to set up his own business in Winterton.
He said: "I joined the Ingham Swan at the age of 16, just a boy.. but wow did I have a shock.
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"Daniel Smith was my head chef and what an honour to have my first professional kitchen job with such a talent.
"Day by day I got through it, and to be honest to begin with it was somewhat overwhelming, my hair didn’t stay in place, I smelt like fish after every day and I cut every single one of my fingers by the end of week one.
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"Not a chance did I think I would make it through week two but...I was stuck on a section to serve food to Dan’s customers in his restaurant. I was honoured. However I’m sure it was more stressful for him."
Mr Smith, who runs the Ingham Swan as well as the Wildebeest, Stoke Holy Cross, with business partner Mr Adjemian, said: "What a journey. I'm sure Alex will smash the next chapter.
"I wish him all the luck in the future. I will be continuing as chef patron at the Ingham Swan which is currently extremely busy."
Mr Clare is setting up his own food firm The Edge in Winterton, launching soon.
"I now have the confidence to pursue my own business and I have all of the people I have worked with over the years to thank.
"I was taken under their wing, I’ve been treated like family and I’ve made some of the greatest friends ever. I thank every single customer who has ever eaten with me and supported my whole career.
"Till next time on the stoves, chef."