Head chef Ben Davis starts out on a new venture tomorrow (Friday), looking to make a name for himself in culinary circles locally.
And he does so with the backing of his new boss, licensee Paul Hancock, who took over the tenancy of The Cross Keys in High Street, Upwood, near Ramsey, three weeks ago with a view to establishing “a traditional pub that serves quality food.”
One of the first things he did was seek out a chef to help fulfil that particular aim - and was taken with Ben, who for the past year has been a sous chef at the excellent Fox at Folksworth.
“I know what I am looking for, and am really happy to have Ben on board to help achieve that.
“He wants to build a reputation for his food, make a name for himself, and I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised at the quality of our new menus,” said Paul, who has been in the industry for more than 20 years.
“There are exciting times ahead for The Cross Keys.”
Food-wise that starts tonight, with a special invite-only event showcasing some of the dishes from the new menus, before the kitchens open to the paying public tomorrow.
There will be a lunch menu featuring the likes of scampi and fish and chips - “all done fresh, mind,” says Ben, as well as the a la carte dinner menu.
“I enjoyed myself at The Fox and learned a lot working with head chefs Sam Bateman and Kenny Bradford, particularly about the type of chef I wanted to be, and what I wanted to do for the future.
“I had reached the point where I wanted to be able to do my own thing.
“I saw Paul’s advert for a head chef at The Cross Keys and thought it was just right. It is small and quirky with an ‘olde worlde’ feel, but really nice at the same time.
“It was clear Paul had a passion for the place, and saw its potential. Going forward I can really see it taking off.”
“I want to be known for really good food - fresh local produce, simple but done really well. And to be fair Paul has given me free rein to get going with the menus and has suppported me all the way.”
The restaurant area, which has 40+ covers, has been given a new look in time for the relaunch.