We take a look at some top UK hotels owned by celebrity chefs
These days, it's virtually impossible to walk down the street in any major UK city without spotting a restaurant with a celebrity chef's name above the door.
In such a saturated market it was only a matter of time, then, before some of the nation’s more entrepreneurial culinary figures decided to branch out into the hospitality industry proper.
Here, we take a look at some of Britain’s finest chef-owned hotels – and the names behind them.
Perhaps the most imposing of the current generation of celebrity chefs, Marco Pierre White is as famous for his tantrums as his pioneering cookery talents. With three Michelin stars to his name however, one might be inclined to forgive the odd outburst here and there. He’s even brave enough to take on fellow TV chef and one-time protégé, Gordon Ramsay.
Situated in the heart of Wiltshire, The Pear Tree Inn epitomises the English countryside and its finest traditions. Sumptuous dishes, cosy accommodation and a welcoming atmosphere combine for a truly memorable experience. Of course, what really sets this place apart from your everyday country getaway is the two AA Rosettes awarded for food and dining, and the five stars for accommodation.
The ‘Celebrity-Chef’s Chef’, charismatic Frenchman Raymond Blanc is one of the culinary industry’s best-loved personalities. He was voted the AA’s Chefs' Chef of the Year by his peers in 2005, and was awarded an OBE in 2007. Of course, behind every good man stands a good woman and, in this case, it was Raymond’s mother – the inspirational ‘Maman Blanc’.
Le Manoir is nestled in the serene surroundings of Great Milton in Oxfordshire. With only 32 rooms, the emphasis is very much on quality over quantity. In addition to the five-Rosetted restaurant, each room has been individually designed to create a harmonious blend of dining, comfort and service. You’ll need a hefty-sized wallet however, as room rates for this famed hotel are on the high side. As Raymond himself explains: "Creating a room is as challenging as creating a beautiful dish; it takes the same creativity, love and attention to detail."
You’d be forgiven for thinking celebrity chef Rick Stein owns half of Cornwall’s Padstow by now. Be that as it may, the locals – and indeed it seems the rest of us – can’t get enough of his inspired seafood dishes. His ever-popular television show reveals a genuine passion for food and its cultural significance around the globe. The Seafood Restaurant heads Mr Stein’s considerable property portfolio. Featuring 16 well-appointed rooms (the majority of which overlook the beautiful harbour), the accommodation has the considerable appeal of sitting above one of the country’s finest seafood restaurants.
On the off-chance that the Seafood Restaurant has no availability on your chosen dates, you could try this small but perfectly formed addition to the Stein property portfolio – St. Petroc's Hotel, which is also in Padstow.
Featuring 10 rooms and some wonderful views over the surrounding area, a high standard of decor and comfort more than make up for the hotel’s relatively small size. There are even optional facilities for man’s best friend, should patrons not wish to be parted with their beloved pets for the duration of their stay. Be aware through –
strict house rules apply!
Founder member and manager of the Welsh National Culinary team, Graham Tinsley brings a much-needed competitive edge to the world of fine cuisine. Awarded an MBE for his service to Welsh food, Graham has certainly paid his dues with stints at such culinary hotspots as the Dorchester Hotel in London. It’s probably worth mentioning that he’s knocked up the odd dish for such notable figures as Her Royal Highness The Queen, other members of the Royal Family, the Emperor of Japan and various European Heads of State.
His 28-bedroomed Castle Hotel lies in Conwy, North Wales. This historic building has seen more than its fair share of famous patrons over the years, including Thomas Telford, George Stevenson, William Wordsworth and the Queen of Romania. Graham is both chef director and partner at the hotel. His commitment to innovative dishes sourced from fresh local produce resulted in an award from the AA for Best Welsh Hotel in 2005-6.
Tommy Miah is not only an internationally renowned chef, but he is also one of the UK’s leading Bangladeshi businessmen. The ‘Curry King’ of Britain is best known for – you’ve guessed it – his Indian cuisine. Not bad for someone who arrived and began a takeaway business at the age of 17.
The Original Raj Hotel is Tommy’s flagship restaurant, made unique by the Indian influences which run throughout the building – right down to the decor. Furnishings are constructed from Indian hardwood, and handmade in Jaipur from recycled Australian railway sleepers. Situated in Edinburgh’s affluent Murrayfield area, the hotel is conveniently located close to the city centre. So, if you fancy something a little different, this could be for you.
(15 January 2014)
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