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In Conversation With: Greenbank’s Chef Dan Beare

Having spent most of his childhood in the company of fishermen, foodies, artists, and charismatic locals alike, Dan Beare, Chef at The Greenbank Hotel, takes us on a trip down memory lane. Recollections of restaurants, tourist tales, fresh fish finds and curious crustaceans each tell the story of how he came to find himself at The Greenbank.

Can you tell us a little bit about where you grew up and how this may have influenced your career and ethos to Cornish provenance?

I was born in St Austell, where my dad lived in the cosy neighbourhood of Gover. It had this laid-back vibe that I loved, but my weekends were a whole different story. They were an adventure all their own, as my mother rented in various picturesque places like Mevagissey, Fowey, Polkerris, and The Gribbon.

When I was young I spent most of my time with fishermen, foodies, artists, and all sorts of interesting locals. It was a blast. I learned so much and I’m left with fond memories of restaurants, tourists, fresh fish and crustaceans.

Growing up in a place with such a rich culture at its core instilled in me a profound appreciation for Cornish heritage and provenance. 

When did you join The Greenbank and what prompted your move there?

I’d been working in another hotel and the time had come for a change. So, in 2021 I reached out to The Greenbank’s Chef Bobby Southworth, who I had worked with previously. He invited me for a chat and in September I joined the team. The rest is history.

What do you think set you on your path to becoming a chef?

I love cooking. I always have and I will never stop learning, that’s what makes it so beautiful. It’s certainly helped by the fact that I’ve always had a knack for cooking. In food technology at school I’d always have other people coming over to see what I had made, eager to try some.

How would you describe your style of cooking? Is there anyone who has influenced or inspired you?

My Gran and her partner Christophe, who was a chef, owned several bistros together. I spent a lot of time there and began working as a kitchen porter on weekends when I was 13. This would mark the start of my journey into hospitality.

Here I learned that long hours of dedication and love were needed to produce amazing plates, fine flavours and an invitingly private feeling in a restaurant.

Do you have a favourite dish?

Cassoulet of haricot beans, chorizo, pancetta, foie gras and saucisson. It’s amazing if done right, and the finer and smaller you cut the ingredients, the better the dish tastes. 

And, if you really want the wow factor, top it with a morcilla sausage and crispy pork puffs. Now that is a show stopper.

What would you say is the best Cornish delicacy?

Saffron buns, toasted and topped with clotted cream and sea salt. Much better than butter. 

Or a proper pasty handmade by someone’s grandmother. 

Where’s your favourite secret place to explore?

The clay tips in St Austell have amazing little hidden ecosystems with strange plants and crystals to find.

I’m not telling you where though. Else it’s not secret.

Describe what food means to you in three words.

Passion. Dedication. Compulsion.

And finally… Why The Greenbank?

The Greenbank is an amazing place to work. It’s professional, and yet relaxed. We source amazing ingredients locally, so I can have fun creating seasonal specials to post on my social media accounts.

As well as the fact that the work-life balance is amazing, I have time to relax and I’ve never been able to think more creatively. Put simply, I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.

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