The Kaleidoscope Collection – currently comprising No.15 Great Pulteney, The County Hotel, Bath and a third property due to be revealed in the coming days – has announced the appointment of Marc Hardiman as Executive Chef of the group, who joined in June this year.
The 36-year-old brings a wealth of experience from revered properties at home and abroad to the Bath-based hotel group, fresh from his most recent role as Executive Chef at Great Fosters Hotel, Egham.
Marc first caught the cooking bug from his grandmother, who used to be a pastry chef, when they would make cakes and cook together at weekends.
After growing up in Bristol, his formal training started at Bath College before a summer stage at Castle House, Hereford, then AA Restaurant of the Year. Ten weeks turned into three-and-a-half years and from there he moved to Le Rive, also in Hereford, before stints at Bath’s Homewood Park, The Close Hotel, Tetbury, Nunsmere Hall in Cheshire and Charlton House in Shepton Mallet, where he came runner up for the Gordon Ramsey scholarship competition.
His first Head Chef role was at The Greenway Hotel in Cheltenham, a position he also held at Fishmore Hall in Ludlow and The Feathers, Woodstock, where he got his first taste of multi-outlet catering, with its bar/bistro, afternoon tea room, fine dining restaurant and the UK’s first gin bar.
Marc got his first experience of five-star luxury properties at Bovey Castle, where he was promoted to Executive Chef after just three months, thanks to his passion for provenance, locality, and nose-to-tail dining, as well as use of the best of his local larder.
A sabbatical took him to Australia – specifically the culinary capital, Melbourne, to work at two of its finest eateries, The Royal Mail and Hare & Grace – and Asia before being offered the role at Great Fosters, where he led the team to win four red stars, three AA rosettes and a Michelin star for their Tudor Room restaurant.
Marc’s new role at the Kaleidoscope Collection, owned by seasoned hoteliers Ian and Christa Taylor, sees the energetic, personable and ambitious chef take on a very different kind of challenge.
“It’s something that I’ve never really done before in terms of the job,” says Marc. “I’m now working across multiple sites, allowing me to grow as a person and a professional. My idea is to create one team of chefs that will work across the different properties and give them a chance to learn different skills,” he says.
He has already set about making his mark on the existing food offerings, re-sculpting the menus at No.15 Great Pulteney and introducing a new all-day menu at The County Hotel Bath, to be more accessible and enticing for both locals and visitors.
“I’ve introduced a sharing plate concept at No.15, served both in Cafe 15 and Bar 15, to fit in with the hotel and everything that’s there. It gives people variety and lots of choice, so that they can design their own menu and choose as many or as few dishes as they want.”
On the new menu, guests of No.15 Great Pulteney will find the likes of lamb baked beans with merguez sausage and wild garlic; Fowey mussels with beer, pickled onions and Hovis and bruschetta with Isle of Wight tomatoes and basil.
“My style of food is very British based,” says Marc, “very clean, simple and ingredient-led, but because of the travelling I’ve done there are influences from different cultures. The dishes are very much designed for maximum flavour and what I think people want to eat.”
As a big fan of the humble vegetable, vegetarian and vegan dishes will be featuring more prominently across Marc’s menus, counting English strawberries, asparagus, and Isle of Wight tomatoes as some of his favourite ingredients to work with. Marc also has a real affinity for pastry, meaning visitors can look forward to an afternoon tea that is in-keeping with No.15’s curious collections, coming soon.