A chef who was runner-up in the BBC’s MasterChef: The Professionals is now steaming ahead at a revamped North East hotel and restaurant.
Leon Dodd, who took second place in the culinary contest in 2008 and so impressed judge Michel Roux Jr that he offered him a job in his two Michelin star restaurant, Le Gavroche, has taken on the role of head chef at The Pullman Hotel, Bar and Restaurant in Sunderland.
The hotel’s owners, Rosalind Leisure, hope his appointment will put the restaurant – which has been so named because it features two historic, original Pullman carriages – on the map as a destination eatery.
The appointment of Leon means the aim of creating both a casual and more formal dining experience at the hotel are now on track.
“We’re delighted to have Leon on board,” says Rosalind Leisure’s John Gray.
“The first menu he’s created for us is already going down a storm and everyone has remarked on it. We’re looking forward to working with him going forward.”
The current menu is more informal and is being served in the Platform 5 bar. It offers a range of antipasti and mezze sharing plates along with favourites such as fish and chips, spiced lamb burgers and Thai green curry.
Leon reveals that he is now working on a second menu with the aim of offering a fine dining style experience focusing on seafood.
“When I was in MasterChef I became known for my fish dishes and Michel Roux offered me a job working on the fish section at Le Gavroche,” he says.
“Given the great location – right by the sea – and my passion, it makes sense for fish to strongly feature on the menu I’m currently creating.
“This is a great challenge and very exciting for me.”
For more information about The Pullman, or to book, visit www.thepullmansunderland.co.uk or call 0191 529 2020.