A spectacular Scotch Egg is his signature dish, but he can't resist a Krispy Kreme doughnut.

Hanger Freehouse owner and chef Francis Joyce talks chalk stream trout and Findus crispy pancakes in our meet the chef column. 

What first inspired you to become a chef?

"I very much began my career just needing a job! Luckily, I fell for the intensity of the environment in a kitchen, a love for food, hard work and the opportunities that can open to you followed."

Daily Echo:

What was the first meal you cooked for someone else?

"I imagine as an 80s kid, it might have involved a Findus pancake!"

Tell us a bit about your career so far…?

"I started in larger hotels in North Devon, then in notable places such as Dukes Hotel and Royal Crescent in Bath. I moved to Hampshire in 2012 to open the newly refurbished Thomas Lord pub in West Meon and in 2022 bought The Hanger Freehouse."

Daily Echo:

What is your proudest career moment to date?

"Buying and running The Hanger Freehouse with my wife."

What is your signature dish?

"I am always changing the menus and use the seasons and produce to dictate this. There are dishes on our menu that would never change such as the Scotch Egg, using perfect produce, technique and cooking to execute the perfect one."

Daily Echo:

What is your favourite dish currently on your menu?

"Fillet of ex dairy cow, wild garlic, English asparagus, ox cheek and potato terrine, bone marrow jus. It's all about the fantastic British produce."

Where is your favourite place to eat in Hampshire?

"Pulpo Negro in Alresford, the best tapas outside of Spain."

What do you drink with dinner?

"Mostly wine, I love anything from North Spain or Stellenbosch, South Africa. FMC by Ken Forrester is a favourite."

What is your culinary guilty pleasure?

"Domino's and Krispy Kreme doughnuts!"

Which key ingredient is always in your fridge?

Vale Farm free range eggs from Winchester. The most versatile ingredient."

What is your favourite Hampshire ingredient?

"Chalk stream trout cannot be matched."

Which chef do you most admire?

"Simon Rogan. The best meal I had last year."

Daily Echo:

What’s your career ambition?

"Not to go bankrupt! Accolades are always a lovely reward but as long as I'm always pushing myself and doing the best I can..."

What do you think will be the next big restaurant trend?

"Hopefully people continue to support local and independent!"

Daily Echo: