Originally from Dorset, Ashley Palmer Watts influences began with his love of the countryside and his knowledge of British seasonality and produce. An after school job at the age of fourteen washing up in a local restaurant ignited a passion for cooking that has resulted in a career spanning over twenty years. On leaving school he started to work full time in Le Petite Canard whilst studying and learning the fundamental disciplines of the kitchen, visiting producers and suppliers in his spare time.
Leaving home in 1999, Ashley joined Heston Blumenthal at the Fat Duck in Bray, which had been open for four years and just received its first Michelin star. Whilst working at The Fat Duck, Ashley’s continuous thirst for learning saw him undertake stage placements from France to Chicago, including some of the most renowned restaurants in the UK.
An integral part of the team saw Ashley achieve sous chef of the Fat Duck within 2 years and head chef in 2003. Since 2008 he has been the executive head chef for the Fat Duck group and in 2011, head chef at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in the Mandarin Oriental hotel in London’s Knightsbridge. His inherent artistic eye for detail coupled with a formidable enthusiasm for research and creativity, has seen him accomplish, side by side with Heston Blumenthal, the historic British inspired dishes of the new restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental as well as the continuous development back home at The Fat Duck and The Hinds Head.