Chef Profile | Executive Head Chef Chris Wheeldon
My first ever job was a paperboy, but I always knew that I was going to become a chef!
Hampshire born and bred, Executive Head Chef Chris Wheeldon embraces the tastes of home, and the seasons’ freshest ingredients, creating traditional British dishes with an inspirational French twist for his fine dining at The Manor Restaurant at Careys Manor Hotel.
Born in Havant, Hampshire, Chris’s working life began with a paper-round. With an aspiration to become a chef deeply engrained from a young age, Chris began his studies at Highbury College in Hospitality and Catering, encouraged by his parents and a dream of becoming the first chef in the Wheeldon family.
Whilst studying Chris gained his first round of experience at a pub called The Black Dog working as a Commis Chef, before moving to other hotels and restaurants to further his experience and move up the ‘Chef ladder’.
Chris worked his way up from Junior Sous Chef to Sous Chef at Goodwood Park Hotel before being offered the role of Head Chef, of which he humbly turned down, fearing that he was not ready for such a role. However, realising his hasty decision Chris moved on to become Head Chef at Down Hall House Hotel in Hertfordshire before Careys Manor Hotel welcomed him as Executive Head Chef to the Manor Restaurant in 2006.
When asked about a potential ‘favourite dish’, a tough question for a chef who states he does not particularly dislike anything, Chris alludes to the ‘great scallop’, “brilliantly versatile and delicious”, Chris loves the ingredient’s adaptability, claiming that “they’re wonderful hot, cold or marinated and they’re great with anything and everything!”.
"My travels have inspired me and my cooking, but I couldn't possibly choose a favourite kind of food, I love it all, and I don't really dislike anything! But if I had to choose one that I particularly love, Italian does comes to mind..."
Chris’s passion for travel has nurtured his love of food over the years, visiting destinations such as Chicago, Italy and Sydney, but he has a special place in his heart (or stomach) for Italian cuisine, having loved the delicacies he discovered travelling through Venice and Florence.
Alongside jet setting and cooking, a love of all things cycling follows closely, stealing his time when he is not in the kitchen. Working in the heart of the New Forest has only cultivated this love, having completed a number of charity cycle rides over the years together with many fellow cyclists and colleagues at Careys Manor Hotel, with even more to come!