Meet the chef: Wayne Joyce at Urban Reef in Boscombe

PUBLISHED: 11:43 17 July 2017

Wayne Joyce

Wayne Joyce


Head Chef, Wayne Joyce, says his ethos of using seasonal and sustainable ingredients means sensational flavour-packed dishes are always on the menu at Urban Reef

Wayne Joyce’s passion for sourcing local seasonal produce, from garden fork to plate, started on his grandparents’ allotment. After gaining his professional catering qualifications at Bournemouth & Poole College, and honing his skills at The Ship in Distress in Christchurch, Wayne worked as a chef in the States, France and Thailand. Local, seasonal and sustainable produce, as well as Urban Reef’s seaside location on The Overstrand at Boscombe, inspire Wayne’s menus. And when not in the kitchen this experienced wild food forager will be out hunting for fungi or tucking into a slow cooked meal.

Tell me about the food of your childhood

My love of fresh produce started with my grandparents, they had an allotment and grew most fruits and vegetables. They would make soups, wine, jams, chutneys and my granddad was also a baker, so my interest in food from field to plate originated from them.

What inspired you to become a chef?

Two weeks’ work experience at the Royal Bath Hotel. I then studied catering at Bournemouth & Poole College and joined the kitchen brigade at the award-winning Ship in Distress, Christchurch. There I learnt all about fish and seafood, as well as foraging for mushrooms and edible plants, from head chef Eddie Blanchard. At 21 I went to work with JW Marriott in Atlanta, Georgia, where we also did offsite catering at private houses and food festivals. 

You also worked in Thailand?

I was doing a ski season in Megeve, France and the owner of the hotel had a restaurant in Hua Hin, Thailand, he asked me to manage it. I had a fantastic team of Thai chefs who taught me proper Thai family cooking, and on Sundays I would do a roast for all the expats. 

What are you favourite signature dishes at Urban Reef?

Hake Fritters, which use chunks of sustainable hake marinated in yogurt, coriander and spices and the Beetroot & Conker Gin Cured Salmon with shallot, samphire and a celeriac remoulade.

Do you have a favourite ingredient?

Fungi! I have been foraging for fungi for last 19 years. With summer approaching I’m looking forward to using seasonal ingredients such as sorrel, radishes, broad beans, peas, kohlrabi, and greengages which always remind me of my grandparent’s allotment.

What do you enjoy cooking at home?

Slow cooked meals using different beans, pulses and grains with maybe pork belly or any secondary cut which, if cooked correctly, will give you so much more flavour.

Proudest culinary moment?

Cooking at the home of the vice president of Marriott worldwide is one and being awarded silver ‘Best in Class’ at the Wessex Salon Culinaire for a scallop dish.

And your ideal supper?

If my grandparents were still with us, I would like us to cook together using honest produce with great flavours and lots of love! 

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