Carter and Fitch pizzeria, smokehouse and bar is set in the beautiful grounds of the George Washington Hotel. Our restaurant is fit for any occasion, whether it’s a romantic meal for two, a special celebration, a chilled Sunday lunch or a night out.
We couldn’t think of a better way for us to explain Carter and Fitch than introducing our Chef and getting to know a bit more about him and the Carter and Fitch history so far.
How long have you been a chef? How long have you been at Carter and Fitch?
I have been a chef for about 34 years. Most of those years at the George Washington Hotel, and I worked on the invention of C&F with Chris Hume the previous head chef at the hotel, now semi-retired. So, I’ve been at C&F right from the very start. Together we visualized C&F to be a standalone restaurant at the hotel, implementing interests we had gained in smokehouse and BBQ, as well as an outlet for the creativity of dishes, the likes of which you don’t often see on restaurant menus.
Where do you get your culinary inspiration?
That’s easy- Richard Bell. My first head chef, and at the time head chef here at the George Washington. He was the first to employ me, developed my skills, and even lead me through salon culinary competitions, where I won many medals throughout the country.
Richard taught me the importance of creativity, organization, invention, customer satisfaction- you name it.
Describe a day in the life as the Head Ched at C&F.
I am normally in the kitchen by 8am to 9 am – sometimes even earlier for breakfast. It’s not unusual that I’m in the kitchen at 4.30 am. It’s all about standards and being hands on. I spend the day preparing for lunch then dinner, ordering, looking ahead to the next day and the following days.
Often days are interspersed with meetings with other heads of department, management, directors, suppliers, customers, but I’ve always got my mindset on that day’s service. After lunch I’ll be in the office, ordering, creating menus, rostering, hiring staff, etc.
Hopefully, I get the odd hour away from the hotel where I can see my wife and granddaughter- that really helps, a break from the treadmill. Then it’s back for evening service, which can get hectic, but it works, with intense organization. By 10 pm I’m in the office working on orders for the next few days – then home.
Do you enjoy cooking outside of work?
When necessary – yes. (And when I have time.)
Explain how the C&F menu was set.
Once we got the concept, we started stockpiling ideas for dishes that fit the brief- and we still constantly do that – other chefs in my team will come in one day and say, I had an idea we should do so I note those ideas down, then when we are working on a new seasonal menu, we pull out those ideas, talk them through, try them out ourselves before trying it out on customers as a “special” and see how it goes, how we can present it. Successful dishes then inherently appear on the new menus.
Which menu item is your favourite?
I really like the Chichetti section, it’s great for grazing with a glass of wine. On the current menu, I like the jambalaya, it’s a little different and complete in itself. I also like our Philly-cheesesteak because we went through an exhaustive round of ideas to get it right and it came out great.
If you had to choose C&F why?
Because it’s different, it’s casual but still classy, it’s friendly and the food is freshly prepared with every order, we don’t do fast food, but we do great food as quickly as we can.
And the pizza oven…?
We went through a real education with the oven, imported from Sicily and built in the restaurant as we watched! None of my team had ever worked with pizza, but we researched the best pizzas, and did a little testing! After which we realized that we had to really, and intensely do this well.
We make dough every day, but it takes 3 days to make that day’s dough, slow fermentation creates flavour and a light and airy sourdough- so we’ve always got dough and bigga on the go (bigga is the preferment we use to start our dough).
Having made a dough, we then produce a good tomato sauce, freshly made each day. The better the products you use, the better the end result. The taste of a good pizza is the simplest margarita: good dough, good tomato, good cheese.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
This will surprise you, mince and dumplings! Living with great food of all varieties every day, it’s great to sit back with something fulfilling, simple, complete and perfect.
Come and see us for lunch, brunch, dinner, drinks or afternoon tea. We have a great range of events and theme nights available with superb live music, themed menus and some very special drinks on offer.
Book a table or call us on 0191 202 2404 to check availability.