Original article from Kent Live
A new pop-up restaurant is set to open in Ramsgate this summer, launched by a chef with experience in some of the UK's best kitchens.
It is set to offer a short but expertly curated menu, promising 'super fresh and vibrant' takes on seasonal British food.
Jack Hancock, the cook behind Hearth, has largely plied his trade in other parts of the country, having gotten started in the culinary business shortly after graduating from the University of Manchester.
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From there he's worked in a number of restaurants in Manchester and London.
Now he's bringing his expertise down to Thanet, with Hearth being the first restaurant he has been strictly in charge of.
Speaking to KentLive, Jack struck a lighthearted tone, explaining how he ended up in the restaurant business, and more precisely in Ramsgate.
He said: "When it came time to get a job in third year, I stuck around [in Manchester] and I thought, you know what, I actually quite liked the idea of getting into food.
"So I went into a pretty well renowned restaurant, and asked them about it and said, 'Hey, is there any advice you can give me? Is there anything I should be doing?'
"And they said, 'Well, we can offer you a trial shift, and if you're any good, then we'll take you on' – and that's exactly what they did."
Jack's skill is really embodied by where he has succeeded – landing a permanent job in Manchester before moving down to London and working under a Michelin star chef for the last three years.
This wasn't the upper limit of his ambition, though.
He said: "I just got an opportunity to come down down to Kent and open up a place down here, so I couldn't really say no, to be honest."
Born in Cornwall and raised in the Lake District, Ramsgate isn't home territory for the chef, and his venture into Thanet is a bit of an experiment.
"It's just to kind of just get a feel for what my concepts are about, and whether people are receptive to them," he added.
"It's also about whether I need to run away very quickly, or whether it works and I kind of stick around a little bit longer!"
Hearth has existed prior to coming to Kent, delivering a limited menu in London, but the short list of options is an intentional and careful choice on Hancock's part.
"I've worked in restaurants where the menu is 100 items, I've worked in restaurants, where it's just a single set menu, and what I tend to find is people like to have a better choice.
"It's pretty hard line to just say this is the menu, take it or leave it.
"But if you start to go too big for one, you start to dilute the concept of what you are – and you're putting a big control on what you can achieve in terms of freshness and quality.
"So what I wanted to do is kind of really deliver on the quality side."
There is a great variety of dishes too – from a Sardine Bolognese with aged parmesan and pangrattato, to glazed ox cheek, nduja prawns, and a salted chocolate budino.
This isn't to say that these options will be guaranteed features of the menu in Ramsgate – as Jack likes to rotate the dishes to keep things interesting.
Possibly the most unique part of this new venture is Jack's desire to get into butchery.
He said: "I didn't actually work in a butchers, but I did some work experience in a kitchen where kind of buy whole animals in with all the gross bits.
"They often had crazy specials on with different organs, spleens, and all that kind of good stuff.
"So yeah, I've got a bit of experience… with all animals – I'm also a huge nerd, I do a lot of a lot of research. I spend a lot of time on things like YouTube and just researching and finding out how to do things."
Needless to say, whatever is on the menu, it will be an adventure.
On the anticipation of opening his own restaurant and making this first dive into serving his own dine-in outlet, Jack was resoundingly confident: "I'm super excited – obviously, the nerves come and go in a little way – but I kind of I think what I can achieve is pretty good.
"The experience I've had on the Michelin side, the experience I've had elsewhere has, has made me feel like I've got a really solid base.
"It's obviously it's my first venture going it alone, so that's super exciting, too.
"It means I make all the decisions, but it also means all the decisions are on my head, which is fun."