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Q&A with Steven Edwards of Etch

Steven Edwards of Etch in Hove

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m Steven Edwards, aged 36. I started cooking when I left school at 17 and did a modern apprenticeship at Burnham Beeches hotel in Buckinghamshire before moving to a few different country house hotels such as Stoke Park, Monkey Island and Hartham Park before taking an opportunity to work in the newly built The Pass restaurant at South Lodge Hotel with Matt Gillan in 2008.

I worked my way up to sous chef, winning Sussex Young Chef of the Year in 2010. I then took on my first head chef role at the Camellia Restaurant before winning MasterChef: The Professionals in 2013.

It was after winning MasterChef that I set up Etch – a business that did pop up restaurants all over the country, it's where I honed my cooking style while looking for a permanent venue.

In 2017 the search was over and I launched Etch by Steven Edwards on Church Road in Hove. Etch is a tasting menu restaurant that offers weekly changing five, seven or nine course tasting menus. I love how the menu evolves over the year and uses a variety of different British ingredients.

In 2020 I launched my second restaurant Steven Edwards at the Bingham. A beautiful restaurant on the bank of the river Thames in Richmond offering an a la carte menu with a similar style that has made Etch so successful. 

What led you to a career in hospitality?

My interest in food began at a young age as I have always loved eating and trying new foods. As I grew older I would help out on Sunday lunches and Christmas. I loved the way food brought people and family together. With both my parents in the industry it was easy to find out about it and be given an opportunity to start my career.

Clementine and creme fraiche at Etch in Hove

Which chefs do you particularly admire?

For me all the chefs I've worked with, I’ve taken a little bit of what they are about and obviously they have shaped and influenced my career. I have had the pleasure of staging for Paul Rankin, Gary Rhodes, Michelle Roux Jnr. and Pierre Koffman but working with Matt Gillan and Raymond Blanc really opened my eyes to the way they work and think about food before creating a new dish.  

Was Masterchef a game-changer for your career?

100%. Not only did it give me the confidence to open my own restaurant it also gave me the exposure that always helps when starting a new business and believe it was the difference between success and failure. 

Tell us about the concept of Etch and the journey since opening?

Etch was established in 2014 to showcase my food. I started off doing pop ups and weddings as I wanted a brand that was not only about the food but the whole operation. We have evolved and transitioned as a company and now offer tasting menus in our restaurant that change weekly with the seasons.

Our head chef George Boarer is constantly developing and pushing the menu forward with his team. I am also proud of the wine list our restaurant manager Sam Weatherill has been putting together over the last five years and really represents his style of championing smaller, family run producers with an emphasis on sustainability, a sense of place and terroir.

We also have our speakeasy cocktail bar – Ink – headed up by head bartender Bethany Pogson. Previously a tattoo parlour, Ink has a dark, intimate decor with flashes of neon in its artwork by Ben Slow. Beth has created a menu that breathes new life into the classics as well as creating new and original serves.

The dining room at Etch in Hove

Is provenance and locality important to you?

The menu changes fully every four weeks so we run 13 menus a year. We source over 75% of our ingredients from the UK with other ingredients coming from western europe but we are quality and sustainably driven. We look for the best produce within a 500 mile radius. If we have to get squab pigeons from Anju in France we will because they are the best. Equally we use fish sustainably caught from day boats just down the road in Newhaven and Scottish hand dived scallops. By only having a dish on for four weeks ensures we are not over-using an ingredient. I truly believe that a sustainable menu is a varied menu.

In a sentence, why should diners choose Etch?

We are an exciting destination restaurant offering guests innovative British tasting menus with a large unique wine list in a beautiful dining room with open kitchen.

Anything else you’d like to share?

We will be opening up our speakeasy cocktail bar 'Ink' to non-diners shortly.

Etch by Steven Edwards, 214-216 Church Road, Hove BN3 2DJ

01273 227 485 •


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