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Progress being made at historic Kendal restaurant

Castle Dairy
Castle Dairy

[A]fter more than a year of enforced closure due to Storm Desmond, 2017 will bring some light at the end of the tunnel for the historic Castle Dairy restaurant in Kendal.

The age and status of the building has meant that the work to dry it out and then refurbish needs to be a much longer process, however a brand new state-of-the-art kitchen is now fully fitted. The new kitchen will include a chef’s table, giving diners a special close up experience of new Head Chef Chris O’Callaghan and his team at work.

With work on the kitchen about to be underway, the next step for Chris, who took over as Head Chef in August, is to build up his team of apprentices.

The Castle Dairy works in a unique way as it is run by catering apprentices under the eye of Head Chef, Chris and Restaurant Manager, Darryn Van der Merwe. All of the apprentices receive training and will gain valuable qualifications at Kendal College.

Chris said: “The Castle Dairy offers a really exciting opportunity for any young chef or anyone interested in developing or furthering a career in hospitality. Honestly, I wish there had been something like this on offer for me when I was first starting out. There can be no better learning experience than first hand in a busy, working restaurant where expectations and ambitions are high.

“The Castle Dairy has a strong reputation in Kendal and, because it has been closed for such a prolonged period of time, there will be a lot of pressure on us to make sure everything is running like clockwork in time for the reopening.

“We’re all looking forward to building a brand new team and ensuring that both loyal and new customers enjoy first class contemporary food and service in this historic setting.”

During the renovation process, a medieval doorway was uncovered. It is hoped this can be knocked through – subject to building control approval – to the College’s new Art Gallery in the Wildman Street Studios next door to the Castle Dairy. This will provide guests and diners with an opportunity to view original artwork as well as using the space for special receptions and launches.

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. The kitchen and bar area have been redesigned, a new staircase is being fitted in the restaurant, the toilets are being modernised, and there will be a new open fire added to the ‘Roman Road’ room. The new-look Castle Dairy is expected to open in March 2017 with Kendal College and South Lakeland District Council doing everything possible to finish the building work as quickly as possible whilst preserving the history of the building.

For more information on the Castle Dairy, visit For more information and to apply for apprenticeships at the Castle Dairy, visit

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