Kray Treadwell Stuart Collins: I look back at my time at Gidleigh I can still remember those recipes

Alex South

Alex South


Kray Treadwell and Stuart Collins discuss what Qatar is really like and why as the owner of restaurant you have to be able to do any job that needs doing.

In this week’s episode of Grilled by The Staff Canteen head editor Cara Houchen was joined by new co-host Kray Treadwell, Chef Owner of 670 Grams, and their guest Stuart Collins, Chef Owner of Docket No.33.

During the episode, the pair discussed what they both wash first in the shower, the best advice they’ve been given, and if they could be another chef for a day who would they be and why.


Stuart has worked for some of the industry's greats, including Michael Caines MBE at Gidleigh Park in Devon, as well as at Maze, and at the three Michelin-starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London and New York.

His first job in food and hospitality was working for a butchers shop in Staffordshire before working numerous pub jobs in his area.

After enjoying working in these roles, Stuart enrolled at catering college in Birmingham where he became part of the culinary team before embarking upon a number of impressive stages in some of the UK’s most renowned restaurants and fine dining centres.

Describing what it was like at that age, Stuart explained: “I was about 18 and it literally was before social media, so you had no idea what you were going into. You would go in, have no idea of what you’re walking into, but it was amazing to walk into and a brilliant environment to be in.”

Prior to opening Docket 33 in 2017, Stuart served as the executive chef at the Abode Hotel in Chester, then, in 2011, travelled to Doha in Qatar where he worked across four hospitality projects in the Qatar Foundation.

In 2021, Stuart took part in Great British Menu, producing a menu that celebrated a broad range of scientific innovators from Stephen Hawking to Edgar Hooley, the man who invented tarmac.


Highlighting the difference between one- and two-star Michelin kitchens, Stuart explained how his time at the legendary two Michelin-star Gidleigh Park differed from his experiences working in one Michelin star kitchens.

“It was a totally different environment. It was a lot smaller team, the dining room was 30 covers at the time so there was five or six chefs in the kitchen plus pastry section. It was two star so a bit more precision, less volume but more intricate dishes. Michael’s dishes had about 15 different in each dish so it was really focusing on the detail,” explained Stuart.

Talking about how this affected him: “It blew my mind and I think that’s when I saw what you can do with food. You can take one ingredient and do five or six preparations with it and that triggered something in me ‘cool, that’s what you can do with food’.”

His experience at Gidleigh Park was dictated by the intense learning of every single section and element of the venue’s kitchen, with Stuart expected to master each step before progressing onto different kitchen teams.

Looking back at how his experience differed from how many young chefs progress today, Stuart explained: “Everyone wants to come in and because they’ve done a dish twice they think they’ve mastered it and then they get frustrated because they’re not progressing as fast as they want, but I know now when I look back at my time at Gidleigh, I can look back and still remember those recipes, I did them so many times, I can still remember them off the top of my head.”


After moving on from Gidleigh Park, Stuart continued working for The Gordon Ramsay Group both across the UK and the US, before he was offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to relocate to Qatar.

“I got itchy feet and I wanted to travel again. I was 27 and an opportunity came up to go to Qatar. I had never been, I’d flown through Dubai once or twice, I didn’t actually know where Qatar was!” explained Stuart.

Deciding to take up the offer of moving to Qatar Stuart flew over for an interview before taking the job, which saw the chef partner with the legendary Michelin-starred chef Guy Savoy.

“I did five years out there, which was brilliant and I think that was where I went from executive chef to F&B director, it meant a bit of time out of the kitchen but gave me a chance to understand the business side of things,” he described. 

Looking back on his time working in Qatar, Stuart explained he had a brilliant time over there, experiencing new cultures that he had previously been exposed to.

Stuart said: “We had a great time and never felt suppressed or that we couldn’t do things. You had to be a bit conscious, females had to wear relative clothing, but we just needed to be respectful of where we were.”

Dispelling some of the assertions made about the country, he added: “One of the reasons why we wanted to go over to Qatar was to embrace culture. Dubai on the contrary was very open, a bit like Vegas, its purpose built, the square footage of each building is a literally like a toy town, and that’s how they live. We wanted a bit of culture, so we knew what we were getting into when we went there, which is important.”


Upon returning to the UK, Stuart and his wife decided they were ready to take the next step and open a place of their own.

Being unable to decide upon whether to locate to Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter or a more rural setting in the countryside, the pair decided upon Whitchurch in Shropshire.

Opening in 2017, Docket 33 offers modern British cuisine using high quality locally sourced seasonal produce, offering diners tasting and a la carte food menus as well as an extensive wine list.

“When we were looking at the UK we knew more than ever that we wanted to connect with suppliers and source local,” explained Stuart.

Talking about his initial aims with the restaurant, he explained: “It was a massive thing for us with the restaurant that we wanted to get back to this being in touch with the produce, and the suppliers, and the growers, and know them individually. We try and cut as many middlemen, we have very few big company accounts, we work direct where we can.”

When asked what’s the biggest lesson he’s learnt after opening Docket 33 five years ago Stuart reflected that there’s been many important lessons learn over the years.

“I remember a good friend of mine who has restaurants in Scotland telling me to invest in things that people touch and feel. Get some good cutlery, get amazing glassware, and if you can afford awesome plateware go do it,” explained Stuart.

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Alex South

Alex South

Editor 8th December 2022

Kray Treadwell Stuart Collins: I look back at my time at Gidleigh I can still remember those recipes