Andy's making his mark at Cwtch
8:40am Wednesday 18th January 2012 in Food & drink
The new year is set to bring good tidings for one local restaurant, where a new head chef is the order of the day.
Andy Holcroft has taken the reigns in the Cwtch kitchens, in St Davids, after taking over as head chef from predecessor Matt Cox.
Andy, who served as a sous chef at the restaurant for two-and-a-half years, said he was looking forward to putting his own stamp on the menu.
He said: “The menu will definitely reflect my own personality, but we will keep the foundations of the dishes, which we developed with Matt, because customers relate to that.
“And of course there will always be our signature dishes. People come back again and again for our steaks, and our pork belly is also a local favourite.”
Cwtch, said Andy, specialises in modern British cuisine, but the restaurant will be bringing a traditional Welsh twist to the table, using British regional food.
“We will look at things more seasonally – what’s best in produce, and available at the time of year,” said Andy.
“It is a competitive market, and we want to stand out from the rest. There’s some wonderful produce around and there to be used.”
The 33-year-old, who has been a chef for 16 years, said Cwtch is committed to using local produce, sourcing its meat and fish through local butchers and fishmongers.
He said: “Local and sustainable produce is very important to us. We use things at their best, as long as they’re sustainable and don’t impact badly on the environment.”
Cwtch owner Rachel Copley, who has been running the restaurant for seven years, said: “Andy is a great ambassador for local produce. He is always talking to local suppliers, and we hope to bring that element in even more in 2012.”
And the bar was certainly set last year, when the restaurant was recognised as readers’ restaurant of the year in Wales, in the Good Food Guide 2012.
Shortly after, in October, Cwtch scooped the gold award for Eating Out in Wales, at the True Taste Awards.
Andy said: “Cwtch food is very simple, with big, bold flavours. Our food is flavoursome but uncomplicated, so people know exactly what they are getting.
“It is modern British cuisine, with traditional elements, and a quirky twist that can take you back to your childhood.”
Andy said that his craft is partly down to years of experience and partly to learning from his predecessor.
"Matt has built up a solid reputation at Cwtch over the years, and it will be tough to follow, but I hope to give it a good shot, and see what the future will bring," he said.
“It’s early days yet, I took over during the busiest period and it’s hard to evolve things straight away, but I am looking forward to putting my own stamp on it.
“There’s a huge wealth of knowledge that chefs have to learn over many years, and I am always bringing together knowledge I have gained from many different places, and from Matt.
“And when you reach the stage where you are confident in your own food, you can succeed, because you have to have convictions and self-belief to know that flavours work.
“There’s the tried and tested flavour combinations, and around that, that’s when creation comes in.”
So what’s in store for Cwtch in 2012?
Rachel said: “For us, 2012 is a really exciting year. Andy has put his ideas out there to take Cwtch to the next level, and we’re ready. Our menu will change more often, so that we can be more reactive to what farmers have got.”
She added: “Cwtch is Cwtch. We are not going to go off and do a huge international menu. Our menu embraces local produce and we let the flavours of that local produce speak for themselves.”
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