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Chef’s Top Tips for the Perfect Barbecue

Find out a little about our Head Chef, Michael, plus he shares his top Barbecue tips for the summer.

Our talented Head Chef, Michael Culley, has been at the hotel for over 2 years. One of his favourite parts of the Summer Season is enjoying creating and tasting great barbecue food. This year, weather permitting, Michael and his team will be offering a barbecue dining option twice a week in Summer holidays.

We caught up with Michael and spoke to him about his culinary background and persuaded him to share his top barbecue tips.

Hi Michael. Where did you grow up, where did you start your career, and how did you end up making your way to Dorset?

I grew up in a small town called Rugeley in the Midlands. I started my career at a small spa and restaurant called the Orangery. I first decided to move to Weymouth in 2011 after finishing a season on the Isles of Scilly. Weymouth has been a large part of my life as I spent most school holidays here visiting and staying with family.


What attracted you to working in the hotel industry?

I always had a big interest in food and from an early age wanted to learn how to make certain dishes, especially those that I watched professional chefs making on television.


What were your first impressions of Moonfleet? What are your favourite things about the hotel?

I was blown away by the location, the views from the hotel and the surrounding are just beautiful. It is great to be off the beaten track, making you feel like your miles away from anywhere. I enjoy working with the team at the hotel, they have been very welcoming since my first day.


What is your favourite thing to have from the barbecue?

Nothing beats a homemade burger, with onions of course!


Here are Michael’s top tips for great Barbecue

• Get smart with marinades. Spicy, smoky or herby ones are all easy ways to add a flavour punch to fish, meat and veg. Think 4-48 hours for meat, 30 minutes to 24 hours for fish, and 5-30 minutes for vegetables.

• Boost flavour by sprinkling herbs and spices such as bay leaves or cinnamon sticks around the sides of your coals.

• Be creative with veg – Little Gem or romaine lettuce work well lightly char-grilled, while mini corn-cobs can be jazzed up with chopped herbs and a dash of piri-piri salt or chilli powder.

• Go to town on your choice of sauces – there’s a stupendous range these days, from classic mustard to Chinese hoisin, Japanese teriyaki, and American and Caribbean hot sauces. And don’t forget tongue tinglers such as pickled cucumbers, gherkins and jalapeños.

• Be creative with desserts. Bake bananas in foil, stuffed with chocolate and marshmallows, or brush thickly sliced sponge cake with melted butter and grill then serve with fresh berries.