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Meet Jesmond Dene House's Eddie Saint and Discover the Future of Fern

Meet Jesmond Dene House's Eddie Saint and Discover the Future of Fern
Eat and Drink
April 2024
Reading time 3 Minutes

At Living North LIVE (19th-21st April at Newcastle Racecourse) we're delighted to welcome some of the North East's leading chefs to our demonstration kitchen

We meet Eddie Saint, executive head chef at Jesmond Dene House, ahead of his demonstration...

Eddie is from North Shields and he’s been cooking since college. He describes his cooking style as ‘quite classic, no frills and using a lot of local produce’. ‘My step-dad used to be a chef, and when I left college I fell into it,’ he tells us. ‘When I did start working I thought: if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it properly. I got a job at Hotel Du Vin and it was a really good place to work.’ Eddie went on to work at Close House and at Eslington Villa, and then took on the role of lecturer at Newcastle College. ‘I was teaching professional cookery and professional patisserie,’ he explains, and he led his students to achieve gold awards at North East Chef of the Year (NECTA) competitions.

‘When I left Newcastle College I became head chef for Riley’s Fish group overlooking Riley’s Fish Shack, the prep unit and helping open the new restaurant,’ Eddie says. ‘I worked at Riley’s for quite a while so I have a good seafood background, and being from North Shields, with the fish quay on the doorstep, a lot of my family worked down the fish quay when it was booming. I’m passionate about using produce from there where I can.’ Eddie also took part in MasterChef: The Professionals.

The next step in his journey was Jesmond Dene House, and he joined the team in 2021 as senior sous chef for their upmarket neighbourhood restaurant, Fern. The head chef at the time was Danny Parker, who left last spring to take on a new role as a yacht chef. ‘Probably the most successful part of my career so far is getting the executive head chef job at Jesmond Dene House,’ says Eddie. ‘It’s very well-established, it’s got a really good reputation and it’s been great to put my name to it and build on that. When I took over I wanted to make things a little bit more accessible for everyone,’ he continues. ‘Everyone has Jesmond Dene down as the place to go for special occasions, but I wanted it to become a bit more open compared to competitors, attracting people who wouldn’t normally go to those places, but still in keeping with the really high standards that we’ve got.’

At Fern the cooking is skilful with an emphasis on creating fine, flavoursome food, and dishes are inspired by the rhythm of the seasons. ‘If you wanted to come for a nice drink, we’ve got a casual bar menu which we run during lunch times as well. In the restaurant, you might be next to someone who’s having a burger or fish and chips for example, or you can come along for the à la carte menu,’ explains Eddie. ‘We have a mix of almost up-market bistro food and intricate fine dining. Really we’re trying to cater for all. We’ve got vegan options on there too, which a lot of people don’t know. That’s become a popular trend. We want to offer good quality food which we all enjoy cooking and we all enjoy eating.’

Sustainability and supporting local remain important to Eddie. ‘We want to support local businesses as much as possible where we can,’ he says. ‘So keeping food miles down is really important to us. We use a lot of renewable packaging and we’re really trying to reduce our carbon footprint. We’ve got our gardens as well and we try to use as much produce as we can from there. We use reputable suppliers and we try to get our fish from day boats where possible so we’re not using trawlers.’ 

Living North are delighted to welcome Eddie to this year’s Living North LIVE where he’ll be showing off his skills in our popular chef’s demonstration kitchen. ‘I’ll be bringing a dish along from our à la carte spring menu,’ he says. ‘It probably will be a fish dish since I’m probably best at cooking fish and seafood. Expect maybe a bit of fish filleting, and I’ll be cooking quite a simple seafood dish you can cook at home.’

Eddie has trained numerous junior chefs during his time at Jesmond Dene House, and is looking forward to doing more of the same in the near future. ‘I intend on being at Jesmond Dene House for quite a while,’ he tells us. ‘We’ve got a lot of work to do here, and we want to push on and improve our offering.  We’re looking to expand our team slightly, attracting some more talented chefs and training our staff in the hope they’ll go on to long careers with us.’ 


Where’s your favourite place to eat in Newcastle (other than Fern!)?
I love Khai Khai. I love that style of food – I love anything with a bit of spice. I think it’s really original and the menu is really good.

What’s your favourite ingredient to use in spring?
Wild garlic. I think most chefs will give you the same answer. It’s a really good ingredient because you’re not just limited to using the leaves, you’ve got the capers there which you can pickle down and ferment too. You can really make it last all year.

What’s your food guilty pleasure?
It’d probably be an Indian takeaway to be honest.

What’s your drink of choice?
If I’m on holiday, it’s going to be a piña colada, always! If I’m at home, it’ll be a nice Wylam Brewery-style IPA.

Is there an ingredient you couldn’t live without?
Garlic. I just like garlic in everything. Garlic… and chilli. I really like those almost Asian flavours.

To get your early-bird discounted tickets for Living North LIVE click here, and you’ll also find all of the chef demonstration details and timings online, here. See you there! 

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