Trio of new Chef Appointments put Gilpin Hotel & Lake House on the Map as ‘Foodie Destination of the North’

Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, a five-star, family-run hotel near Windermere, is on course for becoming THE foodie destination of the region for 2023, with the appointment of three new high-profile chefs.

Ollie Bridgwater (ex Fat Duck), Aakash Ohol (ex HRiSHi), and Tom ‘Westy’ Westerland (ex Lucknam Park) will completely transform the F&B offering at Gilpin, leaving diners more than spoilt for choice with the development of three completely different dining experiences in one location.

Each will take on the role of overseeing the kitchen at one of the property’s three onsite restaurants, the Michelin-starred HRiSHi (to be renamed SOURCE) and Gilpin Spice – both at Gilpin Hotel – and the newly opened Glöð at Gilpin Lake House respectively.

From January, the chefs will begin to put their own stamp, creativity, and cooking techniques into practice: developing entirely new menus for the restaurants while also committing to more sustainable practices at every stage of the food production process.

Though the aim is to create three very different restaurants, headed up by three very different chefs, they will work together, sharing the same vision, commitment, passion and values, built on sustainable sourcing with low to no food miles and supporting local producers.

Under the guidance of owner Barney Cunliffe, the property will also introduce its’ strategy for sustainability. This will include new procedures and techniques for procurement, scrutinising the supply chain and developing a new Culinary Centre, complete with its own on-site butchery, and working with local farms and specific herds.

Further sustainability developments are to be announced in the new year.

The new appointments line as as follows…

Ollie Bridgwater – Executive Chef – HRiSHi – to be renamed SOURCE at Gilpin Hotel

SOURCE at Gilpin Hotel source /sɔːs / A place where something originates, where development and growth are nurtured

Taking up the role of executive chef at Gilpin’s one Michelin starred, AA four rosette restaurant is Ollie Bridgwater. Ollie joins Gilpin from Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, possibly the most innovative and successful restaurant in the UK’s history, which next year is due to celebrate an astonishing quarter of a century of three Michelin stars. Bringing new techniques, skills, creativity and imagination honed in one of the most competitive, demanding and pressurised roles in the industry, Ollie’s appointment is a real coup for the region’s burgeoning fine dining scene. Prior to joining the team at Gilpin, Ollie was with Heston for eight years, starting at the Hind’s Head and then moving to The Fat Duck, where he was Sous Chef for five years. As well as a wealth of culinary expertise, he has also been trained in modern management techniques by specialist coaches, adept in achieving the very best from elite sports teams. His aim is to create his own unique Lake District restaurant with sourcing, local produce and sustainability at the top of his agenda. All of course topped with a sprinkling of culinary magic and storytelling that pushes the boundaries of what diners have come to expect at this popular fine dining establishment. Talking of his appointment Ollie said: “I’m very grateful for the opportunity here with Barney and Zoë, there is a lot of history here, a lot of family; I want to respect that and protect the legacy. It does mean a lot to be chosen for this role. I visited before I knew I was coming to work here and I always thought it was a very special place, so I’m very excited to get started on this project.
“The new menu will be seasonal produce led, and we will be looking into the sustainable aspects of absolutely everything we do, that will be an important cornerstone. We’ll be collaborating across all three restaurants to use each animal nose to tail, ensuring nothing is wasted.

“Style-wise, I’m not going to try and replicate what I’ve been doing at The Fat Duck, but of course there will be strong influences. I do have some particular dishes in mind but I’m keeping them under wraps for now.”

Aakash Ohol – Head Chef – Gilpin Spice

Gilpin Spice spice |spʌɪs| An aromatic or pungent vegetable substance used to flavour food

The door has opened for one of Gilpin’s most-esteemed members of its brigade Aakash Ohol, previously sous chef at HRiSHi, to take the reigns as head chef of Gilpin Spice. A popular and well-respected senior member of the kitchen at Gilpin’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Aakash’s progression to the top role at Gilpin Spice was a natural next step. Prior to his role at HRiSHi he was already a long established, five-star head chef of Asian cuisine in Goa, India, catering to a very discerning clientele. Aakash has exciting plans to transform the menu at Gilpin Spice which is renowned locally for its inspired fusion of Asian-influenced cuisine. Aakash views the property’s new sustainable and sourcing strategy as a particular positive for Gilpin Spice, throwing down a challenge that he hopes will lift the new menu to new realms of possibility. Talking of his plans for the menu at Gilpin Spice, Aakash said: “I’m very ambitious to take Gilpin Spice even further from the great foundations laid already. My recent experience in HRiSHi has served to refine and develop my culinary abilities and ideas. “I want to present ‘a country in a bowl’, not the exact cuisine but a sense of it at least. I have a lot of ideas in my head and I’m looking forward to creating them. India has a lot of different spices, every city it is different. The same with the Philippines, China, Japan, Vietnam; finding the exciting dishes and bringing them here, that is the main idea right now.” “The thing I’m most looking forward to is seeing my guests’ reaction to the food. The kitchen at Spice is open so diners are right in front of me and the team, we can see them, we can ask them what they think – especially along the chefs table which surrounds the kitchen. If they keep coming back again and again, I know they enjoy the food.”

Tom ‘Westy’ Westerland – Head Chef – Glöð at Gilpin Lake House

Glöð at Gilpin Lake House Old Norse glöð means “glowing embers” and “gladness”, a perfect combination for Tom’s love of fire & fun!

Welsh chef Tom ‘Westy’ Westerland has joined the team to head up the kitchen at Gilpin’s newest restaurant, Glöð at The Lake House, where guests can dine in a truly extraordinary location with panoramic views of the lake. For five years, Westy trained at Restaurant Hywel Jones, the well-revered fine dining offering at Relais & Châteaux Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, which has retained its Michelin star since 2006. Westy was also head chef of the Brasserie at Lucknam Park, where he discovered and refined his passion for grill cooking, especially on coal, combining this with Michelin techniques to enhance the quality. His vision for Glöð at Gilpin Lake House is to create a menu that is fun, entertaining, nostalgic and taps into a sense of playfulness to create memorable, talkworthy dishes. Often, he takes inspiration from household products, such as his signature Branston pickle butter, which is both fun and sublime. Westy proudly holds the enviable title of National Chef of the Year for Wales, and his dragons are already on display at the Lake House. Talking of his arrival in the Lake District and his vision for the restaurant, he said: “I’ve never seen anything like the Lake District before, it’s a fantastic region. To see some of the vistas and some of the views, you can’t help but be inspired by what’s out there. It also has some of the best produce in the country thanks to the environment it is being grown in and being reared in. “I plan on bringing my own style to the restaurant. My food is very fun, there’s always a bit of a story behind it. So, I’ll be focusing in on storytelling and communicating that to the guests so that they know the background of the dish and what the inspiration was behind it. “My inspiration comes from my love of food. I’ve always loved going out and eating and playing around on barbecues. My food is based around cooking with charcoal and different woods. Some of my ideas come from driving around an area – I have a notebook with me all the time and I’ll jot down things I see that could transfer into my cooking, like the pine trees surrounding the Lake House for example. Being somewhere like this, where you have so much inspiration around you, it’s a fantastic tool to work with.” The three appointments come with the news of the departure of chef Hrishikesh Desai, who held the position of Executive Chef at Gilpin Hotel and Lake House for the past seven years, overseeing the entire F&B offering at Gilpin. Owner Barney Cunliffe added: “Whenever something major changes within an organisation you must look at it as an opportunity to re-examine what you’re doing and find ways to make positive changes for the future. We are very sad to see Hrishikesh go, but we are happy to see him follow his dreams; the whole team and we wish him lots of luck for the future. “Rather than try to emulate what we had, Zoë and I felt that it was time to try something new and with the opening of our new restaurant at the Lake House, it felt like the ideal time to begin to diversify our culinary offering. “We took this opportunity to appoint a new chef in each restaurant, and while the three chefs will work in partnership, each restaurant will be run independently. Ultimately, our aim is for our guests to be spoilt for choice and for Gilpin to be a complete foodie destination. One that’s built on a sustainable ethos. “Sustainability has always been important to us, and now we have the chance to do something really extraordinary, with all chefs working together to ensure there is next to no food waste, something we believe will magnify their creativity as they strive to use every single part of the animal.” Family owned and run Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, is an elegant, relaxing haven of luxury which offers the ultimate in wellness experiences. Awarded the coveted 5 Red Star Accreditation by The AA in 2021, which “recognises the top level of excellence in hospitality awarded to a hotel by the organisation”, guests can expect warm smiles, stunning culinary experiences, exquisite décor, real fires and friendly, unpretentious service.

For booking and enquiry’s, visit the Gilpin website here


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