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Q&A with chef Loic Williams of The Port Hotel

Chef Loic Williams of The Port Hotel in Eastbourne

A new head chef joins the team at Eastbourne’s The Port Hotel this month. Nick Mosley asks the questions to Loic Williams.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I grew up in a kitchen and have many memories of working at my parents’ restaurant, The Hungry Monk. During my time there, AA Rosettes were awarded and the restaurant was voted in the top 100 places to dine in the UK. I often didn’t go home after school, I went straight to the restaurant; it was essentially my second home where I would make banoffee pies, sauces and peel potatoes. It’s where I developed my passion for food.

What led you to the head chef role at The Port?

I had just finished working in the fashion industry, much of it abroad. After my first child was born, I had a pull to return home to Eastbourne. A lot has changed in this town, from the way I knew and I really wanted to bring back a little bit of the food that was familiar to me.

The Port has always championed local and seasonal produce. Why do you feel that is important?

Simple. This area is blessed with an abundance of local produce, why would I not showcase that?

What dishes on your current a la carte menu do you think particularly represent Sussex produce?

Our beef is always Sussex wagyu. It’s particularly special, as there is only one place wagyu is farmed in Sussex, with only one head of cattle slaughtered per week. I get the corn-fed chicken breast from Arlington Farm which is also highly sought after.

You’ve just started a new Sunday roast menu. Can you share more about that and why it’s different to other local roast offerings.

There are a few things that I’m doing differently. As mentioned before, the meat I cook with is of a very high standard.

I’m really proud of is my gravy as it takes three days to prepare. It is made from the bones of the wagyu cattle as well as the chicken bones from Arlington Farm. I use no powders or bulking agents like a lot of typical roast gravies. The only things you’re tasting are wholesome fresh ingredients and a lot of very patient work! If this hasn’t enticed you enough, I also make giant Yorkshire puddings.

Are there any Sussex chefs that you particularly admire?

When I was working in London I was sometimes called by the Eight Bells asking if I could come down and help them out. I personally really enjoyed working alongside head chef Jamie Gardner. He runs a tight ship and has a great understanding of food.

When you’re not in the kitchen, what restaurants in and around Eastbourne do you enjoy?

The restaurants I used to love eating at have now all sadly gone, so I have a bit of exploring to do.

What’s on offer at The Port for Christmas – will you be working over the festive weekend?

Yes, we will be open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day but we’re closed on New Year’s Eve. I have a Christmas menu for parties of 10 or more, which you can view on The Port website. Give us a call for more details – we’d love to host you.

The Port Hotel, 11-12 Royal Parade, Eastbourne BN22 7AR

01323 438526 •


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