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Meet Our New Tinwood Chef

Santo Before Tinwood Estate

Meet our newest addition to the Tinwood Team, Santo Busciglio. The new Tinwood chef was born in Sicily, Italy, but brought up in England; he has years of experience in the culinary world in multiple countries.

Santo began working at a young age in the fish markets in England. At the age of 15, Santo went back to Sicily for 3 years and started his career. Having worked as a chef, he then moved to Brussels, Belgium, and Paris, France to continue learning and developing his skills. Santo returned to England and began his journey in London in the early 2000s, where he worked for the next 15 years. Santo worked in some amazing restaurants, including the A-Z group, at Michelin-starred restaurants and won 2 Rosette awards in his beautiful restaurant, Mennula.

Mennula, on Charlotte Street London, is where Santo received the majority of his achievements, with the 2 Rosettes, and multiple critically acclaimed notes. To those of you like me who do not know particularly what this means – a restaurant in which Gordon Ramsey rated the best restaurant in the Italian category, and second in the country.

Being a Head Chef at Tinwood may be slightly different to previous experience in the Ambassadors Hotel inLondon, where Santo was executive head chef. The Ambassador Hotel is a 100-bedroom hotel, where he worked for 2 years. Here he won 1 Rossette for the kitchen. However, even after all this experience, and accolades, Santo still describes his largest achievement as opening The Bird in Hand in Reading from 2014 to 2019, with his partner Helen.

“I was so proud we managed to successfully run The Bird in Hand, just myself and my partner Helen. She was fabulous on the front and I took care of the kitchen.”

Do you recognise Santo? Well, perhaps it is because you have seen him a couple of times on your television. He was a judge in the Celebrity Master Chef Semi-Finals in 2012/2013 and appeared on Market Kitchen in 2015.

What is the Tinwood Chef Planning on Bringing to Tinwood Estate?

At the Ambassadors, Santo project managed the whole construction of a brand-new kitchen – which means that creating a new kitchen for Tinwood has been heavily influenced by Santo. Santo and Art have been planning the Vineyard Kitchen together, ready for a busy summer.

But what does he want to bring to the customers?

Santo as mentioned previously, is a Sicilian, and therefore key to him is feeding people with great, seasonal, high-quality, and local produce. His key influence is to bring a seasonal simplicity where ingredients are not masked and food is allowed to shine. He has been heavily influenced by his Mediterranean background and aims to create simple, high-quality food with simple ingredients to match the ethos of Tinwood. Santo is looking forward to pairing the food with the wines and working with the local suppliers.

“Although I probably shouldn’t have a favourite wine, I do love the Blanc de Blancs”

After years of heavy experience in the kitchen, Santo took a 3-year break during the pandemic, where he moved to North Cornwall and lived a simplistic life for a few years. You will often find him talking about these days and the cottage he lived in with his partner Helen and his spaniel, Coco.

Recently, he moved back to Chichester to be closer to friends and family and is planning on staying here for a while, having just bought a house. He had enjoyed his career break and did not plan on starting a job until he was very sure that they were the company he wanted to work for. Tinwood was the first company he applied for, after having seen the advert for the role, and 2 days later accepted the job.

Santo fell in love with the beauty of the vineyard and the philosophy of growing and producing wine.

What will the Vineyard Kitchen Serve?

The idea behind the Vineyard Kitchen is to serve local, seasonal and high-quality delicious dishes which are perfectly paired with the Tinwood Sparkling Wines. The food has been carefully thought out and created to influence the taste of the wine and vice versa – for the wine to complement the food. The Tinwood chef, Santo, has created dishes using ingredients sourced in the local area and the menu will frequently change, depending on the availability due to seasonality.

Santo and Art have decided how the Vineyard Kitchen will operate to create the highest quality, affordable, and locally sourced produce. The idea behind the Vineyard Kitchen is to create dishes that can be shared and paired along with each unique Tinwood Sparkling Wine. Each dish has been designed to match perfectly with each individual wine, to complement the flavours of both the food and the sparkling wine. Guests are advised to choose 3 or 4 small plates. The menu will be best to accommodate all dietary requirements, ensuring there is a selection of meat, fish, vegetarian and vegan options.

The Vineyard Kitchen is situated in the existing picturesque tasting room near Chichester, which boasts a vast south-facing terrace overlooking the vines. You can enjoy the delicious dishes whilst having a tutored wine tasting, at your own leisure, or find a private spot amongst the vines. The ultimate date experience, or a great chance to catch up with friends over some delicious dishes and a glass of Sussex wine.

The Tinwood Vineyard Kitchen will be open 7 days a week. The hours are Sunday to Thursday from 10am-7pm and Friday to Saturday from 10am-9pm. To ensure you reserve your table, book a Vineyard Tour and Wine Tasting. However, if you would like to pop in for a glass of bubbles and a selection of dishes, there will be picnic baskets supplied for those days when nothing could be better than sitting amongst the vines with delicious food and sparkling wine.

Please read more about the Vineyard Kitchen here.

Learn More about the Head Chef

How would you describe your cooking and recipe style?

“A generous, Rustic Mediterranean style with lots of punchy flavours”

Santo’s favourite meal to cook depends on the season; however, one ingredient he loves to work with is asparagus. He is super excited about the asparagus season. I guess we can all be expecting some delicious asparagus dishes!

What is the best meal you’ve ever had?

“My Mother’s Artichoke”

A true family man, his mother’s artichoke tops it all. It is pickled and stored in olive oil with bread and wine, and fresh ricotta cheese.

What made you realise you loved to cook/What influenced you as a chef?

“The first thing I ever cooked was a crepe Suzette for my mamma on Mother’s Day when I was 13.”

Family has had a massive influence on Santo starting his cheffing career. Growing up he would visit his uncle’s restaurant in Belgium. He watched the chefs create food, including Suzettes, where he went home and copied what he had watched. 

What do you do when you aren’t cooking?

Fly fishing, particularly trout, grayling and sea bass. Or, walking his cocker spaniel and spending time with his partner Helen.

“I am very excited to meet everyone and speak more about the food and the pairings with Tinwood Sparkling Wine.”

At Tinwood Estate we are all very excited to see the new Vineyard Kitchen and welcome you all to try some delicious dishes. Santo is going to be a real addition to the team, and we cannot wait for you all to meet him.

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