Top chef Gary Rhodes was in the kitchen last night to oversee a reception to mark the opening of his new venture – Rhodes @ The Dome in a prime position on Plymouth Hoe.
Gary, who began his career with a Michelin star at The Castle Hotel in Taunton at the age of 26, was tempted to the Westcountry by happy memories of his time in Somerset.
"I remember Plymouth from the 1980s when I was working in Taunton. It was such a great time," he said. "I really fell in love with it. The Westcountry is stunning. The architecture is beautiful and this place has the most stunning views."
Rhodes @ The Dome – which opens tomorrow – comprises Rhodes Kitchen, a 105-cover restaurant with two separate dining suites, plus the 70-cover Bar Rhodes and an outside terrace for al fresco dining and entertaining.
The project reflects a £1.5 million inward investment in the city. But at the heart of the restaurant is Gary's passion for local, seasonal produce.
"Every single recipe comes from me," said Gary. "It's about having great food and treating it well.
"This is an amazing place to be and we are really going to show off what Plymouth's all about.
"Plymouth has become very much a culinary story with the Tanner brothers and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingtsall."
Main courses on the menu will hover around the £12-£18 mark, as Gary wants to make this a restaurant everyone can enjoy.
So if he was presented with his own menu, what would he order?
"That's a good question," he laughs. "I'd have the local scallops with a white onion and pea risotto and caramelised maple syrup dressing and a glass of white wine. And then it would have to be sticky toffee pudding!"