Olivier Certain has this month (May, 2018) been officially appointed Head Chef at The Swan in Bampton and Finn Hutchison has also joined the kitchen team at the 2018 ‘Estrella Damm’ Top 50 Gastropub.
Olivier joins from the multi-award-winning Clavelshay Barn near Bridgwater and Finn from the Michelin-starred Masons Arms at Knowstone in Devon.
Co-owner of the gastropub with rooms, Donna Berry, who jointly runs the business with her husband and fellow Chef Patron, Paul, said: “We’re delighted that Olivier has joined us. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise, and really complements our style here. As does Finn, who is also an exceptional young chef. They will strengthen our talented team greatly and help us all take the business forward. We’ve exciting times ahead!
“But, rest assured, Paul and I are not taking a back seat, we’ll be here and all working together as a team to continue to develop the menu and what we offer to our loyal customers. The pair will very much work alongside us and you’ll continue to see us both in the kitchen, at the bar and front of house generally. We’re not disappearing!”
Marseille-born Olivier moved to Somerset in 1998 following his Michelin star training in La Bonne Etape Chateau Arnoux and Les Roches in Le Lavandou. His first job in the area was with Andrew Dixon at Porlock Weir where he was second chef.
In 2006, he joined Woods in Dulverton as head chef where he achieved 2 rosettes and the accolade of Somerset Dining Pub of the Year 2008, 2010 and 2011. In 2009, he reached the finals of the South West Chef of the Year competition.
In 2017, he was crowned Somerset Life’s Best Chef at the magazine’s annual Food and Drinks Award and he was also a finalist in the 2018 Trencherman’s Award, and was in great culinary company. His fellow finalists included Michael Caines, Josh Eggleton and Nathan Outlaw, who all have Michelin stars.
Olivier, who joined Clavelshay Barn in 2016, which has won Taste of the West Gold Award for the last six years running, as Head Chef.
Meanwhile, Finn joins The Swan from well-known chef Mark Dodson’s Mason Arms. In July 2006, The Mason Arms’ restaurant was awarded a Michelin star, which it still holds 12 years on.
The Swan, which is an AA Four Star Gold Inn and the oldest pub in Bampton, was named as one of the top 50 gastropubs in the country for the second year running this year.
In 2017, the pub was polled at 50 and this year it’s 28th in the rankings and received a highest climber award. The ‘Estrella Damm’ Top 50 Gastropub Awards are voted for by food writers, executive chefs, celebrity and top hospitality industry chefs, pub guide editors, industry chiefs and food operators.
It has scooped a plethora of awards for its food in the past few months and years including being named Gold Tourism Pub of the Year 2018 at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards, voted Best Dining Pub for 2018 in the Trencherman Awards and receiving a Gold Tourism Pub award in the 2017 Devon Tourism Awards. It has two AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence as well.
The Swan’s team has a passion for food and embraces the use of produce from the area to create some real pub classics, such as sausages and mash, cod and chips, pies, grilled rump steak and sweets.
Donna said: “We try to keep our dishes simple yet bursting with flavours and imagination. From the freshly baked bread at the start of the meal, to tempting puddings, our kitchen produces everything we serve here at the pub.”
The Swan’s menu is created from fresh, seasonal ingredients, sourced from nearby, on a daily basis by Paul and Donna and their team.
Paul, who is a leading chef with more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, explained: “We are dedicated to using all the local or regional produce available to us, needless to say we are so lucky living here in the Westcountry, we have local farmers supplying us with their beef, pork and lamb and the fishing communities providing us with the freshest cod for our classic cod and chips.”
To find out more about The Swan and to book a table for the Exmoor please call 01398 332248 or visit www.theswan.co.