Always pushing to grow and develop as a chef, his most recent move has been to a head chef position at esteemed restaurant Colette’s – the flagship eatery at luxury hotel, The Grove, in Hertfordshire. Awarding the restaurant three AA rosettes, the reviewer said: ‘Russell Bateman's avant-garde culinary genius is given free rein … he's on a mission to dazzle.’ The Good Food Guide too has recognised his achievements at Colette’s, giving the restaurant an excellent 6/10 in the latest guide. They said: ‘This is a kitchen with focus, creativity and confidence to tackle bold ideas … a hugely memorable experience.’
Russell Bateman has spent the past two years working closely with the head gardener at The Grove, making sure the fresh produce that reaches his kitchen is the best that it can be. Better ingredients have meant that the food can be simplified, with components of quality the star of the show, rather than convoluted technique. The estate’s seasonal offerings are showcased on small plates such as his Fine herb tart canapé and Scallop with radish, avocado and vanilla butter, as well as more substantial dishes like Roasted foie gras with strawberry and Veal fillet with girolles, apricot, spring onion and green almonds. Desserts – honed during his time on the pastry section of Marc Veyrat’s three-star restaurant – include a delicate Strawberry and almond tart.
In 2014 he was named National Chef of the Year by The Craft Guild of Chefs, coming full circle from his first ever kitchen position at Tutto. Russell Bateman’s culinary influences are broad, taking in foods from a variety of countries, experienced both here and abroad. His winning menu shows this diversity, starting with Oyster panna cotta with scallop tartare and celeriac (described by competition mentor Alyn Williams as one of the best dishes he has ever eaten) followed by Roasted veal sweetbreads with garam masala, creamy girolles, turnip and black garlic purée. Dessert was an extravaganza of chocolate, marshmallow and tuile.
Russell Bateman has showed drive and determination over the course of his career, always striving to better his understanding of food, his cooking and his kitchen management. Having trained with an incredible roster of some of Britain’s – indeed the world’s – greatest chefs, he now executes beautifully fresh plates, very much in his own style, with creativity and flair. But characteristically, he continues to push: ‘I want to take both Colette’s and myself as far as I can go.’
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