New Head Chef turning Bournemouth hotel on its head

Emil Donchev is the new Head Chef turning Bournemouth’s Marsham Court Hotel on its head. Emil (striped apron) with his Senior Sous Chef Rowan Pyke and junior sous chef Chiara Fabiani

The Marsham Court Hotel’s new head chef is enjoying putting a new spin on classic cuisine.

Emil Donchev, 43, the former Head Chef of Bournemouth’s Queen’s Hotel and Sous Chef of the Marriott Meon Valley in Southampton, is only the third person to head up the kitchens of the Edwardian, 95-bed Marsham Court in Russell Cotes Road.

The hotel has been in the same family for more than 30 years, and Emil says he is enjoying putting a ‘spin’ on some of guests’ traditional favourites.

“It’s an exciting, new challenge and I have been given the opportunity to produce food that is trendy but still keeping in touch with the old classics,” he said.

“I’m passionate about researching and implementing new dishes and techniques to stay in touch with current trends, and as a result my team and I have been creating new dishes for both the restaurant and bar – such as Goats Cheese, Caramelized Red Onion & Wild Mushroom Strudel and Duck, Orange & Caramelized Walnut Salad with a Citrus Dressing – and getting some fantastic feedback from our clients.”

Keen cricketer Emil is a fan of fresh flavours – specifically salads and grilled foods with a Turkish, Greek, Italian and South African twist.

“I’m definitely spicing things up here at the Marsham Court!” he said.

The Marsham Court is close to completing a massive refurbishment project which has already created modern, new looks for its Solent Restaurant, new inter-connecting rooms, meeting and banquet spaces and most recently its Edwardian Terrace ballroom and outdoor pool area.

Father-of-two Emil posed for pictures with his team at the Upside Down House in Bournemouth Triangle.

He said: “The Marsham Court is unlike anywhere I have ever worked before.

“I like the family feel and values of the hotel.  There is also a rich history here, coupled with a modern twist – and a diverse clientele to go with it.

“I‘m really enjoying the atmosphere, the people, team spirit and the fact that the family is investing in new facilities. And as I move forward I will also be working to build strong ties with the hotel’s other departments for a more fluent operation.”

Emil’s Australian Senior Sous Chef Rowan Pyke is used to being ‘down under’.

Father of one Rowan trained in Perth and previously worked alongside Emil at the Queen’s Hotel in Bournemouth.

He said: “I was attracted to the Marsham Court by the look and variety of the food produced in the kitchen and the fact that I am given so much scope to be inventive.”

The chef team is completed by Junior Sous Chef Chiara Fabiani who came to Bournemouth three years ago to work in hospitality after studying and training in her native Milan.

Chiara has been sharing some of her Italian grandmother’s recipes with the chef team.

She said: “I am really enjoying learning from Emil and hope that I can also leave a glimpse of my own creativity in every dish that I prepare.

“It must be working because no one ever refuses a portion of my lasagne!”

Media information from Debbie Granville at Deep South Media on 07884 657782 email: