At the age of 15, when he was getting into bit of bother with the police, the thought of being a chef couldn’t have been further from Baz Comley’s mind.

Looking back now though, after 20 years as a professional chef in pubs, restaurants and hotels including time running his own places, Baz can’t help but wonder where he would be if he hadn’t made a few mistakes and been given a wake-up call.

“As a teenager in Ilfracombe, I fell in with the wrong crowd and got into a bit of mischief. Deciding that it was time to turn my life around, I started helping out in a youth café, which was run by the council. At this stage, I didn’t really know what I was going to do with my life but after starting work at the kitchen in the café, everything changed. I found purpose, something I was interested in and also something I was good at. My career in the kitchen blossomed from there onwards.”

At the age of 19, Baz wanted to take the next step in his career so began applying for jobs in quality pubs, restaurants and hotels in other areas. He managed to land a position as a kitchen porter with Hatton Hotels, which has 5 bespoke hotels with quality fine dining, across the south-west of England and Jersey.

Moving his way up to chef roles, Baz worked in various positions across the group before deciding to set up a venture on his own.

“My first period with Hatton was an incredible experience and enabled me to grow as a chef, and experience a wide range of kitchens, cooking styles and services. The thought of running my own place was always a lure though and in 2012, I took on a run-down Indian restaurant and turned it back into a local pub and restaurant. This was a great opportunity and I learnt so much about the running of a business, outside of the kitchen. I have many happy memories of these times but an offer from Hatton to return to the Snooty Fox in Tetbury was too tempting not to take. I was a trainee chef in the same kitchen so to return as Head Chef was a real privilege.”

In 2018, he moved to Hatton’s – The Corner House Hotel where he became Head Chef of The Retreat Restaurant. Continuing to create exciting menus
utilising the finest local ingredients and suppliers, the menu includes weekly specials and is constantly rotating with the seasons.

Baz’s signature dish is his Fish ‘n’ Chips. His special batter is made with Country Range’s flours and seasonings, as well as the German beer Krombacher Pils.

“I love the classics and our Fish ‘n’ Chips continues to be one of our top-sellers. The fish comes from Brixham, the beer for the batter is imported from Germany and the Country Range seasonings, flours and sauces are of fantastic quality. For me, the best dishes are uncomplicated, unpretentious and let the ingredients shine – you can keep your fancy foams.”

Working under Baz at The Corner House is Tyler Cooke, 26, who is another who took a different path into the kitchen. On his way to becoming a lawyer, Tyler decided it wasn’t for him, quit university and started applying for jobs in kitchens. 18 months later Tyler has recently been awarded a distinction in his NVQ Commis Chef Level 2.

“Carlos our manager and I are absolutely delighted for Tyler. He’s worked his socks off and you can see his passion everyday he comes to work. He is definitely a young chef to keep an eye on.”