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Meet the Chef

Head Chef Paul Barnes 

With a keen eye on local produce and a burning passion for Welsh cuisine, Paul Barnes is our talented Head Chef. Joining us on a mission to put Penally Abbey firmly on the map as one of the best places to eat in Pembrokeshire, he has been cooking since boyhood.

Paul's career as a chef began with 6 years training in the Royal Air Force. He was head chef at the reknowned Le Monde in Cardiff in the 1980s before becoming head chef and then operations manager at Cwrt Bleddyn Hotel and Spa. His passion for the sea and local fresh produce of the area eventually brought him to Pembrokeshire to seek a role that he could use to channel his love for seafood and the surrounding scenic countryside.

Since joining us he has created menu after menu that is inventive, interesting and that maximises the wonderful local suppliers that we are so fortunate to be using. Not only has he developed and finely tuned the delicious dishes that leave the kitchen but he has created a fantastic work ethic and team within the kitchen itself. 

What do you like cooking the most?
Living by the sea we have a wealth of freshly caught fish and seafood. We source our supplies from Tenby Harbour and the quality and freshness is second to none. The choice of fish is endless, but monkfish and hake are favourites and are adaptable and versatile. They can be combined with many diverse flavours giving us the opportunity to create original and special dishes that are simply cooked but with defining flavours.

What else would you consider as the best current Pembrokeshire produce?
Pembrokeshire produces the first, early new potatoes in the country, that have a sweetness and flavour like no other. Locally sourced, they can accompany most dishes, but marry fantastically well with our local seafood. Other special products that we offer at breakfast here at Penally Abbey are the locally produced marmalades and honey. These are all handmade by Nick and Annette Tonkin of the award winning Coedcanlas. The marmalades are cooked in large copper pans, using whole oranges and lemons, and produced just a few miles north of the hotel overlooking the Cleddau estuary. The honeys are made by Nick's own bees. They have even created a Raspberry Jam especially for us at the hotel.