William Drabble. Seven Park Place Restaurant

Interview: Seven Park Place’s William Drabble on dealing with price rises and his wife’s Sunday roast

Executive Chef at Seven Park Place William Drabble first launched the hotel’s revered Michelin-starred Seven Park Place restaurant in 2009, having previously earned his first star at Michael’s Nook Country House Hotel in Grasmere at the tender age of 26.

The Birkenhead-born, Norfolk-raised chef chats to Supper about a childhood growing up in rural Norfolk, staff retention, and his wife’s Sunday roast. 


When did you first fall in love with cooking?
When I was nine years old we moved to Norfolk. We lived in the middle of nowhere, and if we wanted eggs I would cycle about a mile down the road and ask a lady for some. She would say: “Yes, help yourself” and I would have to go and search for them. The milking sheds for the farm were just behind our house, so I used to go and watch the cows being milked and the milk being pumped through to the cooling vats, where I would then fill some bottles and take the raw milk home. Blackberries grew in the hedgerows and vegetables in the garden and the fields… I suppose this is where the interest in and respect for food started.

How would you describe your culinary style?
Honest! I like to find great ingredients and let them speak for themselves; you don’t have to mess around with great ingredients too much.

Seven Park Place Restaurant

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned during your career?
Patience and forethought. It took a long time, but when you have got the restaurant, bistro, room service, function rooms, afternoon tea, breakfast and staff meals coming off the same pass, sometimes you need to take a deep breath and try and foresee the problems before they come.

Do you have a favourite dish on the menu at Seven Park Place?
I don’t really have a favourite because we try and continuously change the menu as the seasons change, so in the summer, I prefer lighter dishes, and in the winter, heavier dishes with powerful, intense sauces. 

What are the biggest challenges faced by the hospitality sector at the moment, and how are you tackling them?
Everyone has problems finding staff and trying to retain them and keeping them engaged and motivated can be challenging. But I am lucky I have some very loyal staff who have been with me for a long time.

Price rises: the whole world has this problem, you just have to be clever with what you buy, sensible with how much you buy and use every single bit so that you don’t waste anything.

With regards to energy, fortunately, we changed from gas to induction a couple of years ago because I would hate to think how much it would have cost to run the kitchen now with the old equipment that we had.  

Which chefs have inspired you?
Every chef I have worked with left an impression on me, but when I was young and just starting out, it was the Roux brothers and Marco that I looked up to.

Seven Park Place Restaurant

What is your approach to sustainability in your cooking?
I try to use as much as possible from the UK to keep down the food miles; I recycle as much as possible, and we moved away from gas in the kitchen to electric a few years ago.

The scallops are hand-dived, the langoustines are creel caught, as much line caught fish as possible and organic lamb and beef from the Rhug estate.

What would you like your next project to be?
At the moment we are working on a new afternoon tea. When that is up and running, I am sure there will be something else to do!

What is your favourite dish, and who cooks it?
My wife does a great roast chicken for Sunday lunch, sometimes with all the trimmings. It’s probably one of the only meals I get to sit down and enjoy properly!