Devon pub welcomes its first female head chef

A new chef takes the helm of her former local in Clyst Hydon

Charlotte Vincent has been appointed as head chef of the popular Five Bells pub in a move that’s something of a homecoming for the one-time local. 

Charlotte built her career initially as a pastry chef and has notched up over 20 years of experience at fine dining establishments such as Gidleigh Park and the Royal Clarence Hotel. It’s safe to say, then, that the kitchen – which is famed for its award-winning Sunday roasts – is in safe hands. 

Having grown up in Clyst Hydon themselves, co-owners of the Devon watering hole James and Charlie Garnham knew that they’d found someone that shared a passion for the local area in Charlotte.

“My dream was always to one day return home and run the Five Bells,” says James. “Charlotte shares our passion and our ethos for creating another golden era in the pub’s long history and her pedigree as a chef speaks for itself. To have our first female head chef is something Charlie and I are really proud of – there’s not many out there and we’d love to help encourage more women to head up successful Devon kitchens.”

Charlotte describes her cooking as ‘classic-contemporary’ and has already eyed up the pub vegetable patch for growing fresh herbs for her dishes. 

“I grew up in Exeter, and like James, have been dreaming about working my way back home,” she explains. “Our family also used to come to the Five Bells in my early teenage years so I too have very fond memories of the pub in its heyday. After a career break to raise my family in North Devon, it’s great to have this vote of confidence and to at last be able to run the kitchen of my favourite pub.”