We’re opening every day!
July 9, 2018
Double Celebrations for Thomas and his Teams!
October 2, 2018

Introducing our Head Chef, Chris Essex


It's incredible to think that the Seafood & Grill has now been open for 5 months!

Whilst most people know who Thomas is, there is a key member of our team who doesn't always get the recognition that he deserves (which happens when you're stuck in a kitchen all the time)!

The restaurant was created following Thomas's vision to open a restaurant offering quality, yet affordable dishes, and whilst Michelin starred Thomas was the person with the vision to create the Seafood & Grill he needed a Head Chef who he trusted to head up the new kitchen so immediately got on the phone to someone who he knew very well, Chris Essex.

"Chris is someone who I have known and respected as a chef for a long, long time and as soon as it was apparent that opening the Seafood & Grill could be a reality I contacted him straight away. He was, for me, the only man for the job; so much so that if he had said 'no' I would have genuinely reconsidered opening the restaurant"

Chris moved to North Devon at the age of 8 and went on to build his career and reputation around the area so is no stranger to Ilfracombe and the abundance of fantastic local produce.

His cheffing career started at Kittywell House in Croyde where he left 7 years later as Head Chef.

From here he moved on to the Watersmeet Hotel in Woolacombe which is where he met Thomas. We love this part of the story as at this point Thomas was the KP and we hear rumours that Chris used to throw things at Thomas when he was misbehaving!

Chris remained at the Watermeet Hotel whilst Thomas went off to Cornwall to train under Nathan Outlaw and a few years later the pair were reunited back in the Watersmeet kitchen with Thomas as the Sous Chef and Chris as Chef De Partie.

At this point the pair then worked together to set up Michelin recommended, Kentisbury Grange. They worked together for 2 years before Thomas moved to Ilfracombe to set up Thomas Carr @ The Olive Room and Chris then worked alongside renowned chef Michael Caines before returning back to the Watersmeet Hotel as Sous Chef.

Fast forward to the end of 2017 where Thomas was looking at making the Seafood and Grill a reality so called his friend and trusted colleague to join the team and work with him in establishing the Seafood & Grill.

"It was such a great opportunity for me to not only work alongside Thomas again, but to take this blank canvas and to be able to put my stamp on it".

...and put a stamp on it he did! Chris's credentials were cemented following a glowing review by renowned food critic and Guardian columnist, Jay Rayner in June this year exclaiming that the skate wing he ordered was "one of the best versions of this dish I have ever had laid before me"!

If you would like to book a table to try the fantastic dishes created by Chris and his team then select 'Seafood & Grill' from the Restaurant tab at the top of the page where you will find the online booking calendar.