The Grand Hotel Eastbourne is the only five star hotel on the Sussex coastline. Nick Mosley talked to executive head chef Hrvoje Loncarevic about the operations of the hotel’s restaurants and his ongoing commitment to encouraging young people into the hospitality industry.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m Hrvoje Loncarevic – originally from Croatia – with over 20 years’ experience of working in high-end establishments including five star hotels, country house hotels and Premier League stadiums. It was always my goal to be an executive head chef of The Grand Hotel Eastbourne as that is where my career started. I was over the moon once I found the job was mine.
What does a typical day as executive chef of The Grand Hotel Eastbourne look like?
My day is different every day but I usually start work by 8.30am. We have a senior kitchen brief at 10am where we can discuss about any challenges we are facing and go through the day’s business. Then the section leaders go to their area of the kitchen to brief the commies and trainee chefs on what we need to achieve for the day. I will attend meetings throughout the day, alongside ordering, planning, menu development and recipes.
You’re working with local schools in Eastbourne to promote healthy eating – why is that particularly important to you?
From a professional point of view, I think it’s very important to educate children and support schools and colleges. They are our future and I love hearing all about the different experiences of today’s children and their challenges, so I can offer support through food and hospitality.
Tell us about the format of the ‘Pack Lunch’ competition and how the youngsters engaged…
This is a competition in junior schools for nine- and ten-year-olds. For me this is the perfect time to talk to them about healthy eating and try to engage their parents as they buy the food! The purpose is to educate them as well as inspire them with healthy eating, to understand what they put in their body and also encourage them to have fun with food.
You’re also a judge on the forthcoming Eastbourne Young Chef of the Year. Why is it important for hospitality professionals to promote the industry to young people?
They is our future, and we must invest and pass on our experience and inspire the next generation. Also – as evident at The Grand Hotel Eastbourne – there is never a problem recruiting young, new talent to hospitality.
Is locality and seasonality important to you when you plan your menus?
I am using as much local produce as I can, especially at The Mirabelle restaurant where we use a lot of local fish. One of the dishes that features on the menu over the summer period is Fruit de Mer, serving up the best seafood from South Coast on one platter. It’s my favourite.
Why should readers consider visiting The Grand Hotel Eastbourne for a stay or dining experience?
Of course, to experience traditional hospitality at its best alongside the best local seasonal food from land and sea in East Sussex and the South Coast. We are just about to launch our new `Grand Gin’, which will be with us in mid-April and I am really looking forward to incorporating the gin on my menus.
The Grand Hotel Eastbourne, King Edward's Parade, Eastbourne BN21 4EQ
01323 412 345 • www.grandeastbourne.com