He may be the new Executive Head Chef at Bournemouth's Highcliff Marriott, but Nick St Peter is no stranger to the seafront kitchen.

Having worked at the hotel for five years, during which time he worked his way up from Pastry Chef de Partie to Sous Chef, he is now back after a two-year stint at the London Marriott County Hall.

A Dorset boy born and bred, Nick is delighted to be back in the area with his family and has brought with him a wealth of ideas from his time in the capital.

"We've revamped all the menus," he explains.

"I've kept it with a similar ethos to what was here before - fresh, local, seasonal and sustainable. We're just taking classic food and putting a contemporary twist on it using modern techniques.

"It's a balancing act. You want things to look beautiful, you want them to be complicated from a chef's perspective, but your customer wants to eat simple flavours. Good produce doesn't need much doing to it anyway."

Nick, who returned to the hotel's Highcliff Grill restaurant in September, oversees a team of 16 chefs, but he stresses they all have their say when it comes to creating a new, seasonal menu.

"We try everything once, if it doesn't work we try something else, we develop it together. But the best people to teach you are your customers. You know what sells well, you get plenty of feedback. A lot of people consider themselves foodies in Bournemouth.

"I try to leave the kitchen as often as possible to meet with customers and always aim to speak to as many as I can."

Nick is also keen on building relationships with local suppliers, and even sells some of their produce in the restaurant.

"It's really great to be part of the community and build your relationships with the suppliers," he says.

"We try and source from the South West, so its West Country beef, some from Hampshire, but that's mainly lamb and great pork products in Dorset. This is the area for it, for great produce. You can't get much fresher fish."

Using seasonal produce, Nick and his team will adapt the menu around five times a year, but old favourites remain as year-round staples. The hotel's renowned Sunday lunch also remains untouched, although Nick has added in a few additional alternative options.

The coming year will see a particular challenge for Nick and his team, as they celebrate 15 years of Highcliff becoming a Marriott property with a 15-course menu, including wine pairings, desserts and chocolates.

"It's a big challenge for a chef," he admits," if it is successful we will try and have them every few months for big events."

An afternoon tea promotion with Conkers Gin is running throughout January, with Nick keen on developing the afternoon tea concept as a sitting, and the kitchen is also preparing a Mad Hatters' Tea Party - one of a number of events taking place as part of the Bournemouth Food Festival later in the year.

He certainly has a lot on his plate, but Nick insists he wouldn't have it any other way.

"I love it," he smiles.

SIGNATURE DISH: Banoffee Choux Pastry • 110g-butter • 300ml-water • 150g-flour • 3-4-eggs 1- Melt the butter and water until brought to the boil.

2- Add flour and combine until dough texture, add dough back onto the heat until glossy.

4- Put the pastry into machine and beat until cool, then slowly add eggs until pastry is at dropping consistency.

Salted Caramel Balls • 700g- butterscotch • 100g -butter • 10g- salt 1-Reduce down the butterscotch until thicker (if necessary).

2-Remove off the heat and slowly emulsifying your butter.

3. Once combined add salt and then freeze.

4-Once frozen (Parisian) ball the caramel then freeze until service.

White Chocolate Soil • 100g-sugar • 70g-white chocolate • Water to dissolve Place sugar in a pan with water and boil until temp has reached 132c, then take off the heat, slowly add chocolate and whisk together.

Chocolate Ganache • 250g-54% dark chocolate • 300ml-doublecream Bring the cream to the boil, pour onto chocolate and stir, and then put into piping bag for service.

Banana Ice-cream • 700ml-cream • 300ml-milk • 6 – bananas pureed • 12-yolks • 3- eggs whole • 600g- sugar 1- Bring cream and milk up to the boil, meanwhile whisking your eggs and sugar together.

2- Once at the boil, pour half on to your egg mix, return all to the heat and slowly cook out the eggs.

4- Leave to cool, add banana puree then churn.

Banana Mousse • 150g- yolks • 300g-sugar • 7- bananas • 1 pint-double cream • 3 - egg whites • 100g- sugar 1- Whisk yolks on machine while heating 500g of sugar to 121c, once temp reached add to yolks (once the yolks have got to the ribbon stage).

2-In a bowl whip the cream to semi whipped, in another bowl whisk your egg whites and sugar until stiff peak.

3- Blitz your bananas until pureed, then add puree to yolks and sugar before combining with whipped egg whites and then adding cream.

Praline • 300g -sugar • (water to dissolve) • 20g- dried banana chips 1- Bring sugar and water up to hard crack (142c), and then pour onto a silicone mat 2 - Once cold, blitz in thermo with chips until crumb form, sprinkle over a silicone mat and plate in the oven at over 160, checking every five minutes until melted/come together and golden brown.