Do you follow? Terry Balme
Executive Chef at Lowestoft’s elegant Hog Hotel, Terry Balme explains: “The owners of the hotel saw my photos on Instagram and invited me in for a chat. I don’t get obsessed with social media, but I must be honest: you can’t live without it. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t use it to have a nose at what the competition was doing, either!”
His creativity and expertise have led to him being awarded two AA Rosettes but for Terry it all started with his sleeves rolled up, washing the pots and pans in his local pub.
“Before I knew it, I was garnishing plates and that was it, I was hooked,” he says. Then, three years full time in Norwich’s City College officially set Terry off on his professional career.
“I lived on the coast near Cromer in Norfolk and, as a teenager, I’d be hot and sweating in a kitchen while my mates were having fun on the beach,” Terry says.
His career has taken him up and down the east coast of England, stopping off at village pubs, Michelinstarred destinations and relaxed fine dining restaurants, including some of East Anglia’s most fabled eating spots. But his recent move to the coastal town of Lowestoft in Suffolk, in the UK’s most easterly town, just three miles east of the Norfolk border, has given Terry a sense of a journey completed.
“I’m 35 now, and it’s good to live just down the road from my place of work,” Terry says. “I feel like I’ve settled down at last!”
British with a touch of French
Terry brings his keen eye for regional flavours and old favourites to the busy dining room at the Hog, a luxury boutique hotel, where his dishes cater for locals and tourists alike.
“At its heart, our menu is modern British with a little bit of French in there,” Terry says. “I like to think it’s food that people understand, but with a little twist to keep things exciting, for them and for me.”
He adds: “Being a hotel, you have to cater for special events, so we’ll do everything from christenings to wakes.” All human life, you could say, and for Terry, that’s just perfect.