Alan Thompson, Owner and Executive Chef at Flaxton Gardens, has had quite an illustrious career in haute cuisine, beginning with his training in New Zealand. Alan decided to pursue a career in London, working as Head Chef for a number of well-known chefs over several years and finally opening his own fine dining restaurant in the early 1990’s known as 755 in Fulham, London, often frequented by English Society and Royalty.
Following several years of making his name in London, he moved to the heart of the Cotswold countryside where he purchased The Royalist Hotel (now known as The Porch House) – authenticated in the Guinness book of records as the oldest inn in England, dating as far back as 947AD. Alan purchased the Hotel in the late 1990’s at the beginning of the Gastro-Pub phenomenon, and over the next five years, developed the Royalist into a venue with an esteemed reputation.
“The Royalist has many curious features befitting such an ancient building: ‘witch marks’ above the fireplace to ward off evil spirits, a medieval frieze, and even a leper pit in the oldest part of the cellars. The hotel also features an adjacent pub, The Eagle and Child, where unpleasant pursuits such as bear baiting would have once taken place. The name itself is linked to the English Civil War when the building was used as headquarters of the Royalist army prior to the Battle of Stow in 1646 – a battle they would lose at great cost.”*
After dedicating 16 years to establishing himself as an Executive Chef in the UK, Alan then moved to Australia and purchased Flaxton Gardens and has put a lot of passion, determination and love into developing and growing the property as a Wedding and Function Venue and à la carte Restaurant. Alan wanted to “retain a feeling of relaxed elegance” to Flaxton Gardens, “rather than a pretentious elegance”.
Flaxton’s Famous High Tea is one British tradition that has followed Alan to the Sunshine Coast and has proved to be very popular. Flaxton’s Famous High Tea is elegantly served on the Terrace or in the beautiful gardens of Flaxton Gardens’ Vineyard Restaurant.
Flaxton Gardens offers the choice of al fresco dining on the terrace, an intimate table on the verandah or restaurant dining, and ensures quality throughout. Alan says, “With such a wealth of wonderful produce right on the doorstep, you can be assured that everything on the menu is always freshly prepared by our experienced chefs.”
“Our approach, ‘Honesty on a plate’, demonstrates a sophisticated yet honest style of cooking that comes from the heart.”, explains Alan.
According to Alan, the Vineyard Restaurant’s menu could be described as “a healthy modern European style” that is constantly evolving with each season. A new Seasonal Menu is developed every two months at Flaxton Gardens and the current May-June Seasonal Menu is full of amazing culinary delights. The Crispy Pork Belly, Fennel & Mandarin Salad as one of the Entree options is full of flavour, and the Grilled Salmon with Mussel and Vegetable Chowder is a perfect accompaniment to the crisp Autumn air of the Hinterland.
One of Alan’s mainstay dishes that has originated from his time in England, is the Hot Raspberry Soufflé with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream – a best-selling recipe refined in the UK and developed alongside the two-star Michelin Chef, Richard Neat. This is a ‘must have’ dessert when you are next at Flaxton Gardens.
Article written by and published in June/July Edition of Come on Up