Kenneth Culhane is the head chef at one Michelin-starred restaurant, The Dysart Petersham.
The chef was born in south western Ireland, where he kindled his love for food from the ground up - quite literally - on his family farm.
Kenneth studied science at college but found it wasn't for him and chose to work in a hotel kitchen and to study culinary arts instead.
He honed his skills alongside two Michelin-starred Guillaume Le Brun at Patrick Guilbaud in Dublin, as well as with two Michelin-starred Pascal Bouvier at Le Choiseul in the Loire in France and Tetsuya Wakuda in Sydney, Australia.
In France, he learnt how to develop a personal relationship with suppliers, and the value of sourcing the best seasonal produce available, while Australia taught him the Japanese way of analysing produce and presenting his food.
He explained that for Tetsuya Wakuda, "how he looks at food – it’s not about the chef, it’s about representing the produce, nature and a moment in time. It’s a more romantic and respectful way of looking at it. To the naked eye you might think there’s nothing going on when you see a simple dish but then you eat it and it’s like ‘wow’."
"When you work in a kitchen you realise there are all those processes to creating something so visually simple. If you have something on a plate which looks amazing it builds an expectation but when something looks simple you focus more on the flavour. It’s a nice way of cooking."
Kenneth won the Roux scholarship in 2010, and as his reward chose to work under Jean Georges Vongerichten at his New York restaurants, after which he took on his position at The Dysart.
The Dysart Petersham
Built in the 1900s as part of the Arts and Crafts movement, the Dysart is named after the family who once lived in Ham House. Run as a restaurant rather than a pub, the space combines period features with the more contemporary design elements: original leaded windows, wooden window frames and a central piano, on which jazz tunes are played during the restaurant's many musical events.
Cooking has evolved in recent years and the Dysart now offers a classic, ingredient-led menu, blending French flavours and Japanese techniques, good quality ingredients. Fish features heavily.
Typical dishes on the menu include charred mullet, with radish, ginger and champagne; Longhorn beef with kombu braised swiss chard, belle de fontenay potatoes and red wine jus; Valrhona chocolate & praline bar with cherries and raspberry sorbet.
The restaurant won OpenTable's Diners' choice award in 2017 and the International Wine and Food Society's Award of Excellence in 2014,
"There's some significant talent in this kitchen," said Marina O'Loughlin when she visited the restaurant in 2014, calling it "a bloody good posho restaurant."
Meanwhile, the AA Restaurant Guide 2020 - in which the restaurant features with two Rosettes - states: "Kenneth Culhane's confident and sure-footed cooking delivers some fascinating, intricately detailed dishes full of subtle interplays of taste and texture."