Meet the chef - Brad Instance at The Cottonwood Boutique Hotel in Bournemouth

PUBLISHED: 15:45 17 November 2015 | UPDATED: 15:45 17 November 2015

Brad Instance

Brad Instance


Inspired by the classic dishes of the Roux brothers Brad Instance, head chef at The Cottonwood Boutique Hotel in Bournemouth, has been busy creating a delicious new winter menu

A classic roast at CottonwoodA classic roast at Cottonwood

For Brad Instance, cooking is in his blood; his father owned a restaurant and this inspired him to become a chef. During his four years at the Cottonwood Boutique Hotel Brad has created a wide variety of menus for weddings, parties, corporate lunches, children’s events, cocktail parties and the Bournemouth Air Show. With the festive season on the horizon he says he is looking forward to working on the five-course Christmas lunches and the new festive afternoon teas which start in December. 

What was your first experience of cooking?

I have always enjoyed cooking and my father owned his own restaurant for a while. My mother also worked in catering and I would go to work with her at weekends and in the holidays. This made me want to go into catering and I subsequently did a two year course at Bournemouth and Poole College.

What were the smells and tastes of your childhood?

All the herbs and spices from different Indian dishes that my mum tried to re-create in the 1980s. Indian curries were just starting to become popular and mum was always trying to perfect her own.

Who are you food heroes?

The Roux brothers. I spent six months working with a head chef in the South of France who had been taught by them and that really inspired me. When I returned to Bournemouth I researched their recipes and tried to put my own twist on their signature dishes.

What inspires your menus at The Cottonwood Boutique Hotel?

Without doubt seasonal and local produce is at its heart - our butchers supply local West Country meat and our seafood comes straight from Poole Harbour. Many guests have special dietary requirements, and we like to ensure that they don’t miss out, so our menus are created with this in mind.

What are your signature dishes?

Linguine vongole - clams, chillies and tomatoes in a white wine sauce – this will make its first appearance on our new autumn/winter menu. We are particularly excited about this dish as previously we’ve offered it on special occasions and it’s always proved popular. I am also very proud of our Afternoon Teas; you can even have a glass of fizz or a cocktail with your traditional afternoon sandwiches, scones and cakes. And we have a special festive version of our tea starting from 1st December. We’ve also recently re-introduced our homemade cakes for people to enjoy when they pop into The Cottonwood for coffee or tea.

What sort of dishes do you like to sit down to at home with your family?

I always cook a big Sunday roast as it’s the one day we all get to sit down together as a family for lunch. I also enjoy making classic, hearty, homemade dishes that you can share with family and friends.

What would be your perfect supper?

My perfect supper would be in a romantic restaurant on the beach in Langkawi, Malaysia – my wife would choose the laksa and I would opt for a steak dish.

Anything new you will be trying out on your menus this autumn and winter?

For our Autumn/Winter menu we are going back to basics with locally sourced ingredients to produce classic, hearty, warming winter dishes like slow cooked lamb shanks, homemade pies, beef bourguignon and desserts such as homemade sponges and tarts. I can’t wait!

Sample menu (served 12-9pm daily)

Starters from £4.50

• Crab and crayfish tian with a ginger and lime dressing

• Deep fried goats cheese with chilli jam

• Wings of Fire - sharing platter of chicken wings with blue cheese dip and barbecue sauce

Mains from £8.95

• Linguine vongole clams, chillies and tomatoes in a white wine sauce

• Honeyed duck confit with creamy mash and red wine sauce

• Sautéed wild mushrooms on toasted brioche topped with a poached hens egg

• Chargrilled rib eye of beef with a coriander and chilli salad

Desserts from £4.95

• Orange scented dark chocolate crème brûlée with ginger biscuit

• Caramelised peach Melba with raspberry sauce and vanilla bean ice cream

• Cottonwood lemon tart with clotted cream

The Cottonwood Boutique Hotel, East Overcliff Drive, Bournemouth;; 01202 553183


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