Head Chef of Beach House in Oxwich, Wales, is Hywel Griffith, a native Welshman. Hywel is passionate about local produce and his classic cooking is skilful, sophisticated and full of complementary flavours. Equally memorable is the restaurant’s stunning beachside location, which provides diners with panoramic views across Oxwich Bay.
At what age did you decide that you wanted to become a chef and who or what inspired you?
I was 12 years old when I came home from school and announced proudly to my parents that I wanted to be a chef. To this day I honestly have no clue where the idea originated from; we have no family history of chefs, and cooking wasn't seen as being trendy like it is now, with all these TV cooking shows… maybe it was just meant to be?
Who’s the best chef you have worked for and which other chefs do you admire?
As an all-round chef, with complete control over every aspect of the kitchen, I would say Simon Radley, who was one of the biggest influences on me in my early stages as a chef.
I also love what Daniel Clifford is doing, and I think he really has stood the test of time. His cooking has evolved yet he still cooks properly.
What’s your favourite worldwide restaurant?
We ate at La Dame de Pic in Paris before the pandemic, and that was rather special.
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
My most memorable meal was the first time I ate at Midsummer House. Everything was really well cooked, interesting and delicious.
What’s your favourite local ingredient?
It has to be Gower Salt Marsh Lamb. It’s so tender, it’s lower in fat then mountain lamb and also slightly pinker in colour due to the environment in which the animals live.
And your favourite global ingredient?
Probably ponzu. It’s the perfect balance of salty, savoury, sweet and sour.
Where do you get your influences from?
My influences come from the seasons and what's locally available. Then I build the menus from there with a sprinkle of global ingredients.
Is there a dish you could never take off the menu at Beach House?
I'm not one for having signature dishes; I like to develop new dishes to go on the menu as we have such a huge regular client base. So I only have two dishes which have become iconic here at Beach House and can never be changed: one is the bara brith soufflé with tea ice cream and the second isn't really a dish but is just as important... the laver bread with salted Welsh butter.
What’s the best thing about being a chef?
I love the whole industry, what we do and how we do it. I love seeing the delight on people’s faces when they try the food. I love finding new local suppliers that work hard to produce amazing ingredients. I love the pressure.
And finally, which are your favourite restaurants in the Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland?
Midsummer House, Cambridge
CORE by Clare Smyth, Notting Hill, London
Hide and Fox, Saltwood
Y Polyn, Capel Dewi
Read about every Welsh restaurant with a Michelin Star, a Bib Gourmand or a Michelin Green Star in the 2021 Great Britain & Ireland guide here.