IF NEW Chepstow Racecourse head chef Pete Knight’s food is as good as his sporting pedigree, then racegoers are in for a treat. 

In recent years, Mr Knight has been in charge of preparing menus for customers at Lord’s Cricket Ground, Wembley Stadium, Stamford Bridge, Cheltenham Racecourse,  Royal Ascot, and lastly, this year’s Ryder Cup in Italy. 

“The Ryder Cup in Italy this year was a real highlight,” says Mr Knight. 

“It was bedlam in one sense. You are dealing with a lot of different nationalities. We were feeding all the staff.

“Our kitchens were open 24 hours a day – and I was working 18-to-20-hour days. 

“We had greenkeepers who were coming in at 4am and needed breakfast, so it was a long two weeks.” 

Mr Knight, who is currently based in Tewkesbury, reckons he survived one of the world’s biggest sporting events by strong Italian black coffee – the Marco Pierre White of the Marco Simone Golf Club. 

“It was a great experience and something I’ll always remember. It was one of the most challenging and difficult jobs I’ve ever done, but very rewarding when we made it a success. 

“A lot of people don’t appreciate how many staff it takes to make an event like that work smoothly and that staff needing looking after as much as anyone else.” 

Mr Knight’s racing background is pretty decent, too. He has tickled the tastebuds of the smart hat brigade at Royal Ascot for eight successive years and says what racegoers want is what all sports fans want – an unforgettable experience. 

He said: “Sports events are about passion. I know the clientele at horse racing are very passionate about their sport and we need to feed that passion.  

“I feel I bring a lot of experience to the table from all the major events I’ve worked at. 

“The customers want to come and experience a great day. I have owners and trainers, plus some people who pay £10 for their lunch and others who may be paying £800. 

“My job is to make sure they all get the great experience they deserve. 

“It is about maximizing that experience. It doesn’t matter how much they pay, they should all get a good experience.” 

Now, Mr Knight will be bringing his signature style to Chepstow Racecourse alongside new sous chef Dan Lotinga. 

He added: "I want people to see a change in the culinary experience, with more homemade cooking, with food that is the right seasonal offering – that goes for meat and vegetables - and also bringing the presentation to a higher level. 

"We should never be satisfied with what we are doing. 

“We should be looking to exceed with every race day. How can we top our last performance and make it better? 

“I have told the chefs here I don’t want to see stuff bought in. I want to see them making dishes, made with drive and passion. 

“I want to change things so that people enjoy going to work. People need a passion for what they do.” 

The pair hope to leave regulars and new visitors with sated appetites.