Andrew Swann has been appointed as executive chef at The Castle at Taunton in Somerset – returning to where he first started his career more than 20 years ago.
As part of his role, Swann will be responsible for the food and beverage offer across the award-winning hotel, including its 70-cover Brazz restaurant, as well as its 44 rooms and suites.
He initially joined the business in 2000 as a 17-year-old commis chef, and has since worked in some of the UK’s top hotels and restaurants, including Michelin-starred Zafferano and L’Escargot, as well as Soho House Group, Rök Smokehouse, and The Savoy. Most recently, Swann was head chef at Luciano’s by Luciano Pierre White, in Dorchester.
Swann grew up in Somerset having moved to the area at the age of 15. A classically trained chef, his cooking style focusses on using seasonal produce that is sourced locally.
Owned by three generations of the Chapman family for 72 years, The Castle at Taunton has long been known for its food pedigree and Swann follows in the footsteps of many well-known chefs who have worked in its kitchens. These include Chris Oakes (who won the hotel its first Michelin Star in 1984), Gary Rhodes, Phil Vickery, Richard Guest and Liam Finnegan.
The move also comes following a recent £150,000 kitchen refurbishment, enabling the restaurant to offer a wider, more sustainable, and energy efficient offer for guests.
Swann said: “It feels so great to be back home. I fell in love with cooking when I first started my career here, and to be able to come back so many years later to continue that journey is really special for me.
“Given the hotel’s history, I know I have some big shoes to fill but that’s what gets me up in the mornings.
“I’m especially excited to be able to work with an incredible core team here and to have access to some of the country’s greatest produce. Where we are, we are spoilt by the produce coming in every season, and I can’t wait to get reacquainted with the local farmers and producers.”
Ronan Hunter, general manager and director, The Castle at Taunton, said: “We are delighted that Andrew has come home. Andrew is very familiar with the hotel and shares the same core values that is in the DNA of the hotel. “Having been with Andrew when he was first at the hotel at the age of 17, it’s incredible to see how his career has developed over the years, and I’m delighted he is back to share some of his brilliantly British menus and dishes with our guests.
“We have some very exciting plans in place for the hotel and we are thrilled to have somebody leading the kitchen who is grounded in our heritage and history.”
Chairman Nick Chapman said: “Andrew joins our family business in its third generation. He began his career with us over twenty years ago. Now, he returns at the top of his form. He’s coming home and we are thrilled to welcome him back.”