A chef who has cooked for rock stars and royalty and worked at the Michelin starred London restaurant, Le Gavroche, has taken on a new role heading up the catering at the award-winning Middleton Hall Retirement Village near Darlington.
Jo Stoddart worked alongside Michel Roux Jr at his acclaimed restaurant Le Gavroche – the first in the UK to gain three Michelin stars – and is now bringing some of that food magic to the North East.
Jo was among five students plucked straight out of catering college in Liverpool to join Le Gavroche where she found she was the only girl out of 20 chefs.
Within three months she had been promoted to head chef of the training kitchen where she stayed for six years before working for Michel’s father, the gastronomic legend, Albert Roux, for four years.
Working for Albert as chef manager, her jobs included catering for the BAFTAS and cooking for the likes of A List Hollywood actors, rock stars such as Tom Jones, Prince, Bon Jovi and Oasis and Arabian royalty.
From working for the Rouxs, Jo joined Raynham Primary School in Enfield, London, as a chef manager, where she won the London School Chef of the Year competition.
She moved to Wolviston near Billingham, Teesside, with husband Elton and her three sons aged seven to 16 in 2010 and joined the social enterprise, Create, helping to run a training programme aimed at getting people back into work.
Jo is now looking to bring her Michelin standard experience to Middleton Hall by updating the restaurant and Orangery menus as well as the food for events and functions and launching an advanced training package for the retirement village’s chefs where they will learn new techniques and update skills.
She says: “We’re looking to make the menus more seasonal from locally sourced ingredients. Middleton Hall is working on healthy eating so we are looking at what we cook, how we present it and how we source food.”