He may be a city boy, born and bred, but Richard Allsopp really feels at home by the sea.

As executive chef at the cliff top Carlton and East Cliff Court Hotels in Bournemouth, the proximity to the sea brings back happy memories of his childhood which he translates onto the menu.

“The sea does give me inspiration,” he said. “Even when I was a child, my dad would take me to Birmingham fish market, as a six-year-old I was encouraged to try whelks and cockles and as you can imagine this was quite daunting at that age but that was the start of my passion for cooking.”

“Living by the sea you do have influences of seafood because it’s so accessible with such great local suppliers at our finger tips and with Fredericks Restaurant at The Carlton overlooking the Bournemouth Bay, the fish and seafood dishes are always extremely popular.”

Growing up in Birmingham, Richard has worked in four and five star hotels in Europe for several years. He started his career at The Belfry, famously known for its golf competitions, where he was introduced to UK and International competitions.

“I cooked for the Worlds Master Chef Society British Team that won numerous gold medals in Toronto as part of the World Championships, I also was involved in the Midlands Association of Chefs Team and then for the Belfry Culinary Team,” he remembers.

Moving to the south coast, Richard spent three years at the five star Imperial Hotel in Torquay where he led a team of 18 before moving to Buckinghamshire where he led the team at Stoke Park Club. After a period of time he realised he missed the sea and took the job at The Carlton in Bournemouth 11 years ago.

Richard, who has also overseen the team at the sister hotel The East Cliff Court for the last three years, is currently concentrating on the launch of a new menu at The Carlton, following the recent investment in the restaurant.

“We are introducing a single menu, extending the choices available and this will change seasonally to ensure we have the freshest ingredients,” he explained.

“We have daily visits from suppliers where I am able to select high quality local produce as well as a selection of European produce from locations such as Rungis Market, Paris. Where possible I try to select a lot of my fish from Mudeford. “It’s fresh, the best we can get, simply cooked with true flavours.”

“We are a changing company,” he said. Following the recent change in ownership of The Carlton and The East Cliff Court Hotel it is anticipated that there will be considerable investment into the hotels in the coming months. We now have new owners that see great potential for what we have here in Bournemouth and there are a lot of plans coming up. We are putting The Carlton and The East Cliff Court back on the map and it is very exciting.”

Signature dish – Roast Mudeford Brill, Scallop, Lobster, Sherry and Foie Gras Sauce

Reduce shellfish stock with shallots, bay leaf and thyme. Add dry Vermouth and Pernod and reduce again.

Whisk in diced foie gras, pass through a sieve and season with salt and pepper.

Melt unsalted butter and olive oil, roast brill fillet and lobster claw with thyme and black pepper.

Pan fry scallop on both sides in butter and olive oil.

Fold together potato puree, chopped lobster meat, crème fraîche, chive, dill and a little grated horseradish.