Cumbria Crack

New Head Chef takes charge at Castle Dairy

Chris O'Callaghan
Chris O’Callaghan

[A] new Head Chef has been appointed at Kendal’s historic Castle Dairy – the innovative fine dining restaurant and art gallery run by apprentices from Kendal College.

Thirty four year-old Chris O’Callaghan from Kendal has taken over the reigns and is working with the College’s Head of School for Hospitality, Robert Marshall-Slater to oversee the redevelopment of the Grade 1 listed building after it was flooded last December.

Chris has been cooking professionally at an exceptionally high standard for over 18 years and joins the Castle Dairy after four years as Head Chef at the 4-star Linthwaite House in Windermere where he achieved 3AA rosettes.

He has also spent time at The 10 in 8 Fine Dining Group’s Michelin-starred restaurants, Paris House in Bedfordshire and L’ortolan near Reading, as well as the Michelin-starred Gravetye Manor Hotel in Sussex.

One of the new developments planned at the Castle Dairy is the introduction of a chefs table and Chris is relishing the opportunity to get stuck into creating enticing new tasting menus to cook up in front of guests.

He said: “Its an exciting position to be in and I can’t wait to get into the new kitchen and start doing what I do best – cooking excellent quality food whilst training the next generation of young chefs.

“People dining at the new-look Castle Dairy can expect to enjoy contemporary food and service in a historic setting.”

Robert Marshall-Slater, Head of School for Hospitality at Kendal College, said: “Its quite an unusual position for a new Head Chef to find himself in with the Castle Dairy still being closed after the dreadful floods last December.  However, getting Chris in place was a real coup for us and we’re delighted that he’s got this opportunity to build up his team of young chefs and front of house staff before we reopen.

“The Castle Dairy has established a strong reputation in Kendal in the last few years and we know that having Chris in place will take it to the next level, so we’re all excited to see what the future holds for this unique restaurant.”

Castle Dairy
Castle Dairy

The Grade I listed building, which houses the Castle Dairy Restaurant and Art Gallery, was beseiged by flood water from Storm Desmond on Saturday 5th December 2015. Both the kitchen, which was less than a year old, and the bar area have been ripped out and redesigned and work is expected to start on fitting in the coming weeks. It is hoped that the new-look Castle Dairy will reopen before the end of the year with Kendal College and South Lakeland District Council doing everything possible to get the building open in time for the festive season.

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