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New top chef at The Orangery in County Durham unveils his new menu

Fresh dishes making the most of seasonal and regional produce are Richard Allen's recipe for Rockliffe Hall in County Durham success

Richard Allen, executive head chef at Rockliffe Hall
Richard Allen, executive head chef at Rockliffe Hall

Richard Allen, Rockliffe Hall’s new and multi-award-winning executive head chef, has revealed his plans for taking the Hurworth-based hotel’s The Orangery on to the next dining level.

Richard was the executive chef at the Michelin-starred Tassili restaurant in St Helier, on Jersey, before coming north to Rockliffe Hall at the end of last year.

He has now developed a new menu featuring a host of fresh dishes that make the best use of seasonal and regional produce, including some from the 365 acre estate in which the hotel stands.

A beetroot dish served at The Orangery, Rockliffe Hall
A beetroot dish served at The Orangery, Rockliffe Hall

The emphasis is on ‘bringing the outside in’, with a menu that offers a foodie journey across land, sea and air.

Dishes include crispy pork belly, fillet and braised cheek, poached langoustine and chorizo; mackerel fillet, parfait and shashimi with Asian flavours and cucumber seeds; beetroot served with goat’s cream and fritters, Iberico ham and Marcona almonds; and roasted breast of pigeon with onions, foie gras and sultana jus.

A pigeon dish served at The Orangery, Rockliffe Hall
A pigeon dish served at The Orangery, Rockliffe Hall

Dessert highlights are apple pressing served with Calvados mousse and toffee ice cream; pistachio and olive oil cake, orange gel and chocolate; and banana cheesecake with sate foam, salted caramel and sesame brittle.

Richard says: “I am really excited to unveil our new menus for The Orangery and share my style of cooking.

“My aim is to take guests on a culinary journey of tastes and textures and to really showcase the magnificent produce not just here in the North East but from our own grounds as well.

“We want to bring the outside in with a few surprises too.

“But, overall, it’s all about the stunning surroundings of The Orangery, great food and a memorable experience.”

A pistachio dessert on offer at The Orangery, Rockliffe Hall
A pistachio dessert on offer at The Orangery, Rockliffe Hall

Richard gained Tassili its coveted Michelin star in 2011, as well as three AA Rosettes for eight years.

The Michelin feat is one he will be hoping to replicate at Rockliffe Hall.

He also won two of the highest industry accolades in 2012 – the prestigious Cateys’ Head Chef of the Year and the equally respected Craft Guild of Chefs Restaurant Chef of the Year.

Also among Richard’s claims to fame is that fact that he is also one of the only chefs to have been named as one of Debrett’s People of Today.

Originally from Poole, in Dorset, Richard has relocated to the North East with his wife and two sons.

For more information about the mouth-watering menu and The Orangery go to www.rockliffehall.com

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