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Gabor Katona

Gabor Katona's earliest memories are of his grandparents, mother and father in the kitchen cooking for the family and helping his mother make her fresh bread and sponge cakes.  Like most children, he loved licking the bowl and the spatula clean.  On one occasion when he was allowed to make his own sponge, much to his mother’s horror, he ate the whole mixture.

Born in Hungary, Gabor’s grew up on a farm where he learned all about rearing chickens, pigs, cows and skinning rabbits.  Later his family moved to the city and at school he realised a skill and love for carpentry.  However, his life took a different route when, encouraged to attend a catering college, he discovered a deep passion for food and cooking.  After graduating, Gabor spent his year’s national service working as an army chef, cooking for regulars and five star generals alike.  On completing his year, he became a Sous Chef in a large sports complex.  Working with six other chefs, he cooked for athletes training in a variety of sports and learned much about nutrition and cooking the sort of foods to achieve maximum energy and fitness levels.

After five years, Gabor left and took up a Head Chef position in a well-known city restaurant. It had 70 covers and a small, regularly changing menu but such was its reputation that some days there would be 400 for lunch.  However, by now aged 27, he still had itchy feet and when a friend mentioned that the Left Bank restaurant in Herefordshire was looking for staff, he decided to travel to England.  Under the watchful eyes of Stuart McLeod, Gabor soon achieved the Head Chef position. 

Now Head Chef at Castle House, Gabor has introduced a fine dining menu in the evenings and continues the hotel’s Tasting Menu on Saturday nights. Very popular with diners, it consists of 5 courses, starting with a savoury to “prepare the taste buds”. The menus are all seasonal, with food from trusted local growers and producers, or grown in the kitchen garden on the Watkins family’s Ballingham farm.

Gabor is extremely passionate about making his own bread and the hotel has recently extended the kitchen with some state of the art equipment.  It now also includes a bakery so everything can now be made and baked in-house. As well as his signature sourdough breads, Gabor has brought in a range of home-smoked meats and lite bites on his lunch menu.  His Afternoon Tea has become something of a 'must have' and includes a delicious selection of finger sandwiches, cakes and treats all made in-house, and some intriguing savouries. Scroll down to see some of his delicious dishes.

Click here for Herefordshire Living's Meet The Chef 

 

Click here for Gabor Q & A