Meet a talented local master chef

Meet a talented local master chef
Scott Goss and Jim Harrison

Chef Scott Goss is a veteran of the foodie scene, having worked in it for the past two decades. Cutting his culinary teeth at Thanet College in Broadstairs, where he trained from the age of 16, the Kentish chef then spent four years in London working in a number of high profile restaurants, including City Rhodes and Rhodes in the Square under the mentorship of Gary Rhodes.

With his star firmly rising, he then went to join the kitchens of Anton Edelmann at the Allium in Bath and Robert Spencer at The Admiralty, London, honing his craft in the disciplines of French, European and modern British cuisine.

In 2007 he decided to move back to Kent and took up a job as Head Chef at The Swan in West Malling, where he quickly gained two prestigious AA rosettes. There he met one of the restaurant’s partners, Pete Cornwell, and when entrepreneur Pete decided to establish I’ll Be Mother, a new independent restaurant group, Scott joined him as Creative Director, overseeing the menus at The Beacon in Tunbridge Wells and The Swan in Tenterden.

He was also given the kitchen restaurant The Twenty Six in Southborough to launch in 2014.

Scott used his culinary Midas touch there and enjoyed a very successful few years turning The Twenty Six into one of the area’s must-visit restaurants. In 2017, it made it into the much revered foodie bible the Michelin Guide, which described its food offering as ‘satisfying, seasonal modern dishes’ adding ‘you’ll wish you could try everything on the menu’.

But after working for many others over the years, Scott decided it was high time for him to branch out on his own, and so in 2018 he opened Verdigris in Tonbridge after ‘an opportunity’ came his way.

“I enjoy the challenges of opening a new restaurant,” says Scott, and so far his gastro kitchen, which is located on the bridge in the town overlooking the river Medway, has been very well received.

“The number one comment we keep getting is that Tonbridge has been crying out for a place like this,” laughs Scott, who has brought back to life the original building’s art deco character.

Step inside and you’ll enjoy seeing the oversized palms, grand gilt mirrors, bistro-style tables and ornate panelling.

“Food is the beating heart of Verdigris,” he continues. “We believe that what we eat impacts directly on our wellbeing. We also believe that a respect for life, a sense of gratitude, and a loving touch contribute to the taste and health-giving properties of food.

“Some of our ingredients are locally foraged – for example, a couple who have recently moved to the area have just discovered truffles under one of their trees – Kentish truffles! I’m also a keen forager, so I like to pick ingredients from the local woodland and hedgerows on my
walks to work.”

On the Verdigris à la carte menu, which Scott says is constantly evolving and appeals to a variety of palates, you’ll discover delicacies such as fresh oysters and 80-day-aged rib of beef alongside smoked aubergine risotto, crab and tomato brioche and breast and loin of lamb with artichoke and black olives.

Then there’s the Scott Goss tasting menu, on which you’ll find smaller versions of some of the à la carte menu accompanied by a variety of perfectly partnered wines. As you’d expect from a chef of Scott’s calibre, exceptional taste and exquisite presentation are key.

And he’s certainly achieving those goals, given how word is getting around about the impressive quality of a dining experience at Verdigris.

 “One couple came down from Manchester when we first opened specifically to eat in the restaurant,” says Scott, who appeared on the BBC Two show The Great British Menu last year.

“The #RemySprint (Rémy Sommelier Pâtissier Rooted In Talent) contest has also been great for getting our name out there,” says Scott, referring to the global competition he and his barman, Jim Harrison, entered in April last year, finding themselves joint finalists a few months later.

The contest is run by Rémy Martin, one of the world’s finest cognac houses, and its aim is to ‘shine a light on the humble dessert moment’.

So Scott and Jim got their creative thinking caps on and made an unforgettable sweet. Their efforts saw them win, along with four other establishments, which included Sketch and The Connaught in London.

“The inspiration for our dessert was a walk through a Kentish field inspired by mother nature and our own home terroir,” explains Scott when describing his incredible creation, which is split into two parts.

First up is an elderflower, wood sorrel and tabory sorbet, served with wild strawberry consume (inside a round transparent glass).

The second part is a white chocolate and pea truffle with tempura elderflower designed to be enjoyed with Rémy Martin XO neat.

Scott had the winning dessert on his menu right up until Christmas, and later this month he and Jim, along with the other finalists, will head off to Cognac to enjoy a gourmet tour.

And as if this wasn’t enough, at the end of last year Scott was also awarded Kent Life’s Chef of the Year at its annual awards ceremony.

“That was really lovely recognition for a team that has given me so much over the past 12 months,” he said on receiving his award.

Impressive competition wins and accolades aside, Scott is clearly loving running his own place, and is full of enthusiasm at being at the heart of a great fledgling foodie offering outside of London.

“The current food scene in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells is the strongest it’s ever been,” he says. “There are some fantastic eateries and we certainly love what we do.”

Viva Verdigris!

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