Richard Allen, Executive Head Chef at Rockliffe Hall
Anna Addison

Member Article

Michelin star chef joins Rockliffe Hall

One of the UK’s most celebrated chefs is joining Rockliffe Hall in Hurworth, County Durham.

Richard Allen, who has held a Michelin star since 2011, will be taking over the running of The Orangery at Rockliffe Hall in January when he joins the 5* resort as executive head chef. In addition, Richard will work with the teams in Rockliffe Hall’s other two restaurants, The Clubhouse and the Spa Brasserie.

As well as his Michelin star, Richard has held three AA Rosettes for eight years and has two of the highest industry accolades to his name- the Cateys’ Head Chef of the Year 2012 and the Craft Guild of Chefs Restaurant Chef of the Year 2012. Richard is also one of the only chefs to have been named as one of Debrett’s People of Today.

Before joining Rockliffe Hall, Richard was executive chef of the Michelin-starred Tassili restaurant at the 5* Grand Jersey Hotel and has worked with well-known names such as Martin Blunos, Cheong Liew and Michel Roux Junior.

Originally from Poole in Dorset, Richard has relocated to the North East with his wife and two sons and joins Rockliffe Hall’s new chief executive, Eamonn Elliott.

Eamonn himself has worked at a number of prestigious venues all over the UK and Ireland, including eight years as general manager of the multi-award winning Devonshire Arms at Bolton Abbey in North Yorkshire and manager of the AA Irish Hotel of the Year, the Mount Falcon and Spa in County Mayo.

For the last five years, Eamonn has been general manager of the Grand Jersey Hotel, taking it from an unknown 4*hotel to the Channel Islands highest rated hotel, gaining a Michelin star for its restaurant and AA 5* status. In addition, he has won numerous awards and is the current holder of the Institute of Directors Young Director of the Year.

Speaking about joining Rockliffe Hall, Richard Allen said: “Rockliffe Hall and the North East have so much to offer and I have so many ideas that I am really looking forward to sharing. The team in place is so enthusiastic and, together, I am confident that The Orangery will become the region’s flagship restaurant offering a mix of informal yet informed dining.”

Eamonn added: “This is an incredibly exciting time for Rockliffe Hall as we have so many plans that will become clear throughout 2015. Both Richard and I are committed to making Rockliffe Hall the very best hotel, spa, restaurant and golf resort in the country. Richard is one of the UK’s most celebrated chefs and is passionate about working with the team at Rockliffe Hall to set The Orangery apart from any other restaurant in the North of England.”

In November, Rockliffe Hall celebrated its fifth anniversary since opening as a 61 bedroom hotel, home to three restaurants, a world-class golf course, a multi-award winning spa and wedding and conference facilities. The 5* resort has seen its business and reputation grow internationally and staff numbers steadily increase since launching in November 2009. Having started with a team of around 150, Rockliffe Hall now employs over 320 mainly local people.

Occupancy levels at the hotel, despite opening in a recessionary climate, have increased by around 25% since the first year of opening, going from 52% in 2010 to 78% for the period ending June 2014.

In the last five years, Rockliffe Hall has won numerous awards* including being given the AA’s highest accolade of five red stars last year and being named as Visit England’s Large Hotel of the Year in 2013.

Rockliffe Hall’s spa was this year (July 2014) named in the top five of the UK’s most luxurious spas by the Good Spa Guide which introduced a new category of ‘5 Bubble Luxury’ with just five UK spas nominated and, in addition, in September (2014) the resort was named in the Sunday Times top 10 spa hotels in Britain and, in November, was named as the Good Spa Guide’s ‘Best Spa for Sheer Luxury’.

The golf club has also become world renowned and has, for the last two years, been the home of the European Tour English Senior Open attracting international names and Ryder Cup stars such as Ian Woosnam, Mark James and Sam Torrance.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Anna Addison .

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