Meet the chef that has overseen the rejuvenation of the Waves Restaurant9th April 2018
The Waves Restaurant is an Italian-inspired restaurant on the premises of the Celtic Haven Resort that has slowly grown into an intrinsic feature within the resort’s array of services and one of the best places to eat in Tenby.
With the establishment’s reputation continuing to grow within the community, we took the opportunity to interview David Zanato, the head chef that has overseen the restaurant’s growing success.
He may be a chef born and raised in our beautiful county of Pembrokeshire, but the Mediterranean influence derived from his two Italian-born parents has mapped out the course of his life.
Whilst David may originate from Tenby, it is via some journey that has found himself arrive at the Waves Cliff-top bar restaurant.
As he puts it in his own words: “My school looked over Carmarthen Bay and it was a common sight to see fresh lobsters and bass being carried from Tenby harbour to the local restaurants. Little did I know I would be buying the same fresh produce for my restaurant in the same location, some years later.
“I naturally progressed to catering college straight from school and within a couple of years I was learning my trade at Claridge’s in London and the famous Mirabelle in the West End.
“1990 saw me back in The Metropole in London and there was a gradual progression through other iconic establishments as my experience and reputation grew.
“For some reason I really enjoyed the very demanding environment of the International Casinos as the clientele was so varied and no two days were the same.
“As Head Chef in the Park Tower Casino, and, later as Head Chef at The Royal Thames Yacht Club in Knightsbridge, I was allowed the freedom to create my own style of cooking and presentation, which I have now brought to Waves Restaurant.”
However, with a successful career carved out across a number of leading establishments in London, the call of home and the opportunity to work in a Tenby restaurant ultimately beckoned for the Welshman: “When I look back I realise how lucky I was as a child to be brought up in a stunning location in Pembrokeshire, but with parents who reminisced about Italy and introduced me to a style of cooking pretty rare at that time in west Wales.
“I wanted my children to have the same Welsh environment I enjoyed and, to be absolutely honest, to have complete control over the restaurant. Being able to deliver my own culinary vision and chat to the clients whilst looking after their special requirements is a burning ambition inside every chef.”
And that is what he has found at the Waves Cliff-top Bar and Restaurant, where David has introduced a menu founded upon the authentic Italian cuisine he grew up on and refined by the endless hours he has committed to building an enviable wealth of experience within the industry.
“Waves has had quite a history”, said Philip Evans, the man who recruited David, “When we first opened the resort we had many approaches from chef’s that wanted to lease the premises as they understood the huge potential. We soon realised that our clients really wanted something quite special so we had to find a special chef!
”I was very lucky to meet up with David who had a great job in London with a very loyal following but also, thankfully, a hankering to come back to work in a Tenby restaurant. He has really made the restaurant his own over the last nine years and has created some of the most innovative menus – all with a definite taste of Italy, which of course is his heritage.
“As with all things, style and tastes change and David has that real ability to understand what the clients want so he is now working on a new menu to be launched before Easter with, as he says, ‘Loads of surprises’!”
From those tumultuous origins, the restaurant now represents an establishment that reflects the vision set from the resort’s owner.
Listed as one of the ‘Best in Wales’ and described as “simply stunning” by Wales in Style, Waves is now one of the most popular Tenby restaurants and prides itself on supporting local producers and utilising fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.
As well as the Waves Restaurant, Pembrokeshire is full of great places to eat on your visit to the county – Check out our list of the team’s favourite places to eat in Tenby!
Celtic Haven is one of Pembrokeshire’s leading Spa and Resort service providers, delivering boutique self-catering holiday cottages and expert spa and wellness treatments to all of its visitors.
Located just off the Pembrokeshire coastal path, the Celtic Haven resort offers you the opportunity to relax and explore the best that this beautiful county has to offer.