WIRRAL CHEFS SHINE: Garrett Forsey of Garrett’s in Bebington
THE Emerald Isle inspired him to become a chef – but Garrett Forsey found the restaurant of his dreams in Wirral.
After stints working in London, Canada and Manchester, Garrett and wife Helen opened Garrett’s in Bebington in 2003.
Next door was a DIY shop and Garrett says he could visualise how the space could be transformed into the restaurant he always wanted.
That became a reality two years ago and Garrett is now the proud owner of an expanded Garrett’s.
The old restaurant became La Petit Bistro – known informally as “Little Garrett’s”.
Garrett, 39, grew up in south west Ireland surrounded by the sights and smells of fresh produce.
He wanted to become a chef from the age of 12 and after leaving school started work at a hotel in Galway.
He said: “I like food, I love looking at food, I love eating food and I’m happiest in the environment of food – it’s how I express myself.
“At home everything was seasonal and that did inspire me.
“Those smells of foods like fresh leeks and potatoes stay with you forever.
“We were on the Atlantic Ocean with the mountains behind us and it was the perfect training ground for a young chef.”
Garrett spent a year in Galway, happily working “long hours for very little money” before going to college in Birmingham, where he met his wife.
He said: “I knew the more I learned in Galway the more I would benefit in many years to come. It was perfect.
“After college my placement was at the Ritz in London which was very old school. It was tough but it prepared me for all the things that were to come later.”
Garrett’s next move was to Toronto to work in top restaurant La Bodega.
It was an experience he credits for opening his eyes to a whole different way of cooking.
After Canada Garrett and Helen, who grew up in Wirral, settled in Bebington. The couple have three children aged 12, 11 and 3.
He became executive chef at the Marriott Hotel in Manchester Airport and says the job taught him about food as a business – a perfect grounding for a future restaurant owner.
After three years there, Garrett moved on to become head chef at Thornton Hall Hotel. Three years later, he left to open Garrett’s, with the aim of creating “simple food cooked really well”.
He said: “Even though it was small it was great to be able to come to work for yourself. I felt a great deal of freedom but it was extremely challenging working off minimum resources.
“It’s taken me seven years to get to where we are right now and I’m very happy with the environment we’ve created.”
Despite his love of all things food, Garrett says his true passion is hospitality.
He said: “Our food comes from the heart. It means a lot to me to have traditions like home cooking.
“But I think the most important thing is hospitality. It’s missed out so much.
“I want customers to feel that we’re on their side of the fence and no request is too big or too small.
“I don’t allow any shouting or bad language in my kitchen and I like to build up people’s confidence.”
Wirral Chefs Shine at Garrett’s on Bromborough Road, Bebington is on the evening of Tuesday, October 12.
The cost of a three-course meal is £18.95. To book call 0151 645 7199 - choose option 1 (restaurant)
l Wirral Chefs Shine 2010 is supported by Wirral Council, the Mersey Partnership, Liverpool Community College, Wirral Met College and The Chocolate Cellar.