Approach Of The Team

Family owned and run, the family values are shared unstintingly by the lead team of Managing Director, Barny Taylor, and Head Chef, Kenneth Culhane and used to inspire the team as a whole and guide what we do: 

  • passion for food and wine
  • commitment to quality ingredients, traditional husbandry and responsible sourcing 
  • the value of old varieties and breeds and the richness that wild herbs, flowers and plants add to our lives
  • belief in the value and wisdom of traditions and moderation
  • the increasing need, understood so naturally in earlier years more closely connected with nature, for ethical treatment and welfare of animals, thoughtful and natural cultivation of plants, and the wise, thoughtful use of resources, including the land on which we all depend 
  • understanding of the role of food, wine and welcome in wellbeing.
  • understanding of the way in which our beautiful surroundings in this country village half an hour from Mayfair and the always beautiful changes it sees through the seasons should be reflected in everything we do
  • commitment to the role of beauty in enriching life. 

One of our monthly recital pianists, over a glass of wine after the recital,  mentioned some words of Henry Miller:

“Art teaches nothing, except the significance of life” “Art is only a means to life, to the life more abundant”

Whether one agrees, or not, this sums up all we hope to help achieve across all the arts at our disposal, food, wine, music, paintings, environment, beauty on the plate, reflection of nature, with the aid of conviviality, good company and conversation, pleasure for all the senses to enrich life.

Immensely pleased, this reinforced the team’s determination to stick to these values and standards, with an increased sense of responsibility and drawing strength from widespread support gained over the years and congratulations on the award. Read more here.

Barny and Kenneth simply looked forward to the continuing pleasure of giving pleasure.

Barny and Kenneth were invited to join Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe, founded in 1974, in establishing an UK and Ireland association within the European JRE.

This was launched by the then JRE International  President, 2 Michelin Starred Chef, Ernesto Iaccarino at a press conference in the Royal Academy, which also launched the English translation of Andreas Döllerer’s cookery book, ‘Cuisine Alpine’; more than just a celebration of food, all about life, place, commitment, core values shared by us.

The World Gourmet Society has held a number of dinners hosted by Barny and Kenneth here at The Dysart Petersham and the pleasures and quality of these, along with the growing understanding of our shared ideals, prompted this invitation.

Membership of JRE is open to young chefs and restaurateurs and includes some of the most respected chefs and restaurateurs in Europe.

JRE’s international statement of ideals, link here, is simply summarised as:

a ‘Never-Ending Passion’ for innovation, imagination, inspiration, love and care for food and where it comes from, sustainability, biodiversity, honour to cultural heritage through modern food preparation, eating well, sustainably and healthily, creating dreams, emotions and a sense of magic, in essence bringing passion to the enjoyment of life and joy to guests.

It could not be closer to our approach.

PURITY – TASTE – TOUCH – SMELL – SIGHT TRADITIONAL CRAFT – PASSION – SKILL

Natural, intense and beautiful flavours, aromas, colours – pleasure to the eye. A lineage of ingredients and cooking methods stretching back over the centuries. Triggers to conjure old memories.

The Dysart Petersham is an Arts and Crafts building from 1904 which used only the highest quality of building materials, with a wealth of beautiful woods. 

The architect who designed it, his initials carved proudly into one of the richly carved gables, had spent a lifetime studying mediaeval timber framed buildings in Suffolk and Norfolk. 

It has been restored to lend emphasis to as many of the original features as possible, particularly the wood, and with a simplicity of decoration to let the original detail speak for itself.

In so many ways the Arts and Crafts movement enshrined the values we have just described and our appreciation of craftsmanship, fine materials, beautiful composition, founded on tradition.

The oak bar was not original – it had been made from church pews, themselves in the high Victorian gothic style. It nearly went in the restoration. 

In time, we discovered it had been bought in the 1850s for a then new church from decommissioned Napoleonic warships and our imagination went into overdrive.

We retained, simplified and restored it, with a craftsman joiner, reusing all the original and individual joints carefully numbered when it was taken apart. The oak now glows and sings, right in a building so richly endowed with oak and restored by hand in line with Arts and Crafts principles.

The main rooms face south over Richmond Park, with radiant views and are full of sun and patterned reflections of the lavish greenery outside through the leaded glass. On the colder days of the year we have a large log burning stove, DEFRA approved.

At every opportunity nature and our surroundings are brought into The Dysart Petersham, dressing it simply and naturally, using as many as possible of our own flowers, cultivated and wild, combining them with the changing foliage around us, from the first Spring buds, blossoms and vibrant green leaves, through the abundance of late Spring and Summer, the richness of Autumn to the marvellously structural bare twigs and branches of Winter. 

These are created with the essential beauty of the building in mind, with a thought for the importance of a harmonious relationship between building, garden and surroundings. We planted and nurtured the garden at the front which has done so much to anchor the building happily in the village scene.

We planted our garden to provide a fitting setting for this handsome Arts and Crafts building, with its oak beams and decorative carvings, blending it naturally into the village and the landscape of Richmond Park opposite.

South-facing and sheltered, it captures the sun, with dappled shade provided by the trees. We manage it naturally, without chemicals, the only exception our battle with the pests that try to destroy our box planting..

The garden always has something to provide, flowers and foliage to add to the flowers in the building, or simply the green freshness of a lovely view. There is always something of interest, from first fresh greens and scented blossoms to the skeletal intricacy of Winter, seen directly from the open windows, or through the intricate patterns of the glass.

View Gallery

A corner of our garden has been turned over to wild meadow flowers, initially seeded and with plugs, now as hoped increasingly self seeded with so-called ‘weeds’.

Each year we are rewarded with an abundance of wild flowers/weeds, including: Cornflowers, Fairy Toadflax, Tickseed, Corn Marigold, Black-eyed Susan, Red Orache, Larkspur, Shirley, Californian poppies, salad burnet, white campion, bladder campion, devil’s – bit scabious, harebell, wild marjoram, yarrow, dropwort, clustered bellflower, lady’s bedstraw, wild carrot, cowslip, meadow cranesbill, and field scabious, along with oxeye daisy. 

It does not look much in the dryness of high Summer when the grass over in the Park is burnished gold, nor in Autumn and Winter, but it is a delight to see the pleasure this planting gives to so many people, adults and children alike and to spot the first bees attracted by the flowers. It is a quiet pleasure to see parents’ showing and explaining the flowers to their children. 

We would like to thank all the people, local and visitors, who stop to look at the changing kaleidoscope of flowers and who write or speak to us about the pleasure they give. Many local people have said that they have been inspired by this to sow wild flowers in their garden, accolade indeed. 

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This is truly exceptional countryside in Town. Petersham remains in character a country village, in a country setting.

In front of us there is Richmond Park, beside us there are the Petersham Woods.

Behind us there are the water meadows, with cows grazing from May to October, and the River Thames, leading to the Carolean avenues of Ham House and the wild flower haven of the Ham Lands. We are surrounded by beautiful trees, in all directions and the oak trees, gracious, young, old and ancient are particularly to be enjoyed.

It is possible to wander through these spaces and the woods in a rural and village environment, remote even these days from Town and suburbs.

View Gallery

Because of this special place, there are many calm and beautiful walks through Richmond Park and Petersham, which seem as though they are part of a different world. These walks are beautiful and interesting in all seasons and all weathers.

The view of the Dysart Petersham down from the top of the hill in the Park, whether through the frost-encrusted branches of Trevor Aston’s photograph of The Dysart Petersham in the depths of frosty Winter (Click here to see this photograph), or in the high Summer photograph here, shows the breadth and scale of this beautiful landscape, with its ancient village church, itself unique.  

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NEWS & EVENTS

The Dysart Petersham Shop

Now available for purchase – parcels of recipes and the ingredients for them – the same as we use from our special suppliers. Created by Head Chef, …

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