A man who grows giant vegetables spent almost a year cultivating a six-stone cabbage only for a chef to cut it up and serve it to hotel guests just a week before a competition.Dale Toten had nurtured the cabbage since planting it in his vegetable garden at the 36-acre luxury hotel and restaurant Ston Easton Park, Somerset, in October 2015.Despite chefs being briefed that they should only select the regular vegetables to serve guests and avoid the prized giant varieties, the message failed to get through to one staff member.Father of two Mr Toten, the hotel’s senior gardener, was horrified to discover a large portion of the cabbage shredded and awaiting to be turned into confit of cabbage in the fridge after being cut off by an over-eager chef. The 34-year-old, who was “near tears”, launched into an angry tirade against kitchen staff until the chef who cut up the cabbage came forward.Mr Toten, from Ston Easton, said: “I had planted it back in October last year and was due to pick it next week to take to the show. It was literally just days away.”I went out to water it and I spotted a huge part had been hacked off. I tried to think what could have happened, but there was no other explanation.”So I walked straight to the kitchen and looked in the fridge and there it was. I had hoped to enter it in the competition, but it probably won’t happen now. It’s a bit of a mess.”My heart sank. But then I lost my temper at anyone who was there at the time. Some chefs bore the brunt of that. They were very sorry. But I have not forgiven them yet. They will be banned from the garden.”They should all know [not to touch the giant vegetables]. Really it’s just common sense. The staff who have been here a while know how things work but some are new and obviously don’t know.” Sous chef Aaron Marsh is responsible for sourcing some of the agency cooking staff, one of whom took the knife to the cabbage.He said: “I supply the agency staff and it was one of my guys that did it, so I do feel somewhat responsible.”When Dale started talking about all of the prize money he was now not going to win due to this I thought ‘I hope I don’t get the bill for that’.”I was there when a red-faced Dale came in demanding to know what happened to his cabbage. He was pretty miffed.”Eventually the person responsible owned up. He thought he was saving time by taking a chunk of the big one rather than having to get a few smaller ones.”It has become known as cabbage-gate here. We laugh about it now. I think Dale might see the funny side now everyone has said sorry a lot.”From now on I think I will take new chefs for a walk around and show them what not to touch.”The irony is that the leaves of the giant cabbage were really bitter and we had to work very hard with it to make it right. So it’s not even like it was worth it.” The giant cabbage patch at Ston Easton Park Hotel in SomersetCredit:Dan Regan/Mercury Press Dale nearly throttled the chef. He was very upset that morning. He was close to the point of tearsNick Romano, hotel operations director Sous chef Aaron Marsh, who is responsible for sourcing some of the agency cooking staff, said he felt ‘somewhat responsible’Credit:Dan Regan/Mercury Press Mr Toten said he grows most of the vegetables that supply the restaurant, but in each patch is one or two of the giant variety that he takes to a competition at Malvern Autumn Show on September 24.The cabbage was shredded and made into confit of cabbage by adding salt, pepper, butter and white wine for the luxury country house hotel’s award-winning The Sorrel Restaurant.The hotel’s operations director, Nick Romano, 50, said: “Dale nearly throttled the chef. He was very upset that morning. He was close to the point of tears.”When he has nurtured it the whole year, it’s like having a child as it’s gone from seed to this giant monster.”But [the chef] hacked off a large part of it. He has apologised, he didn’t mean it, he just didn’t understand. But he won’t be doing it again.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.