Richard Smedley is Head Chef at Lake Yard in Poole.

He has worked at the eaterie for more than seven years, having first joined as junior sous, following a stint working as a chef in France.

A Yorkshire man at heart, having been born in Sheffield, Richard holds strong values when it comes to food, quality of ingredients and presentation. "It has to look as good as it tastes, and flavour is the most important thing with my menus," he says.

Now often overseeing more than 100 covers a day, he credits dealing with the challenge to his "great brigade of young and upcoming chefs".

"My role encompasses way more than just chef-ing," he elaborates.

"We are a small team here at Lake Yard, which is wonderful as it means I know every single member of staff from the cleaner up to the MD really well, which creates a real family atmosphere amongst the whole team. It does, however, mean I have to “wear a lot of hats”. From tutoring young members of staff to sourcing new suppliers, creating bespoke menus for the vents that we host and (of course) my greatest passion, creating new dishes for the menu."

Lake Yard has an emphasis on fresh, tasty and local food, with Richard able to get first choice of fresh fish and locally-caught game, due to the restaurant's harbourside location. The menu changes four times a year with the seasons, but there is an extensive selection of fish and market specials which change daily.

"The menu is essentially English but with an occasional twist. I like to take some influences from other countries and indeed highlight on any inspiration gained from other chefs in my kitchen. One of our most popular starter is Tuna Tataki, which was inspired from one of our Philipino Chefs."

"One of my favourite starters on the menu at the moment is Venison Carpaccio with Parsnip Puree, Parsnip Crisps, Pickled Blackberries and garnished with Pea it uses the best of what is local and seasonal. Whole Fish is always a favourite and Sunday roasts are particularly popular. I am well known for my “secret recipe” gravy. Only my Sous Chef and I know what goes in it, we even sell it for “takeaway” after so many of our guests requested it."


Lake Yard, Lake Drive, Poole

01202 676953