Head chef is lucky catch for Rowleys

Sous chef Ian Woodhead and head chef Jason Kendra at Rowley's, Baslow
Sous chef Ian Woodhead and head chef Jason Kendra at Rowley's, Baslow

CHEF Jason ‘JK’ Kendra was very nearly the one that got away…

He was helping out a mate before accepting a job in Australia when the head chef announced his resignation. So, with just 48 hours to go before booking his flight, JK found himself leading the kitchen at one of the area’s top gastro-pubs.

JK – whose career stretches from Harvey Nichols in York to the Monsal Head Hotel and Hassop Hall – took it in his stride.

He led the team at Rowley’s in Baslow through the busy Christmas period without missing a beat.

He has now been head chef for nearly two months and is beginning to make his mark.

His new menu is up and running, drawn up in close consultation with Michelin-starred directors Max Fischer and Rupert Rowley.

JK is also working well with sous chef Iain Woodhead, both determined to ensure that Rowley’s stays firmly on the gastro map.

Their first joint challenge came last week when the pub hosted its annual evening in partnership with Thornbridge brewery.

The event featured a five-course meal, each accompanied by a different Thornbridge ale.

JK set the tone from the start, greeting guests with nibbles of unusual honey roast pork scratching clusters.

First course was a meaty, chargrilled pheasant sausage served with pickled red cabbage.

That was followed by thick slices of Scottish salmon, cured in beer and cold-smoked over Thornbridge hops.

Main course was a slow-cooked osso bucco of Derbyshire pork, set on a spicy butternut squash and spinach saag aloo – a perfect foil for citrussy Jaipur India pale ale.

Then came cheese ‘with a twist’: four kinds in a melting filo pastry parcel. And finally sticky stout pudding with bitter chocolate and stout ice cream.

For menus and bookings visit Rowleys Restaurant

Lesley Draper