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Posted: 22nd March 2022

Sitting proudly on the clifftop at Kingsgate, Broadstairs, the Botany Bay Hotel is the perfect spot for a seaside escape. The stylish coastal retreat overlooks one of the most picturesque sites on the coast and is just a minute’s stroll from the beach.

Offering 30 en-suite, recently refurbished bedrooms, a lounge bar and a la carte restaurant, it offers everything from a relaxing stay away to a short stop-off on a dog walk – and everything in between. 
We caught up with Head Chef Craig Spickett, 36, to find out more about his role.

Why did you join the team at the Botany Bay?
I first started at the Botany Bay in 2014, before moving to the nearby Minnis Bay in 2015, for four years, and then moving back, just before the first lockdown. I am now Head Chef.  It is a great place to work and the General Manager here, Daniel Cole, has been fundamental to my enjoying it here. He is a very supportive manager. I currently live on site here, too, which is great.

What qualifications are needed for your role?
I studied catering and started my training and career in Northampton. I worked for Chef & Brewer first, and that is where I learnt all my skills really. I started at the Botany Bay as Sous Chef and moved up to Senior Sous, before becoming Head Chef. 
It was always the career path that I wanted – I always wanted to be a chef. It has never crossed my mind to ever do anything else! 

How have you found working with Shepherd Neame?
Working for Shepherd Neame is brilliant. For me, one of the best things is how easy it is to contact people. If you have a problem, there is always someone there to help you.

Botany Bay head chef, Craig Spickett

What does a typical day involve?
Each day, I begin my checking what functions we may have booked in and cooking the specials. The only element of the cooking I don’t really get involved with is the breakfasts. There are eight chefs in the kitchen, which is long and narrow. It is seasonal, so although we are busy all year round, it can get incredibly busy in the summer.

What is most rewarding about your role?
It can get very busy, but I like being busy. I don’t like standing idle! I also really enjoy the interaction with my chefs – having a good team means it is a lot easier to work. 

What are your hobbies and interests outside work?
I have a six-year-old son, so it is a great place to be for family life.

The Botany Bay can be found at Marine Drive, Kingsgate, CT10 3LG, telephone 01843 868641. It is open from 9am to 10pm Monday to Thursday and Sunday and 9am to 11pm Friday and Saturday. Food is served from noon to 3pm and 5pm to 9pm Monday to Friday and noon to 9pm Saturday and Sunday. For more details go to

For information about working in one of Shepherd Neame’s kitchens, visit