Cumbria Crack

Perfect recipe for Masterchef Darren at Hazel Bank

New head chef Darren Comish at the Hazel Bank in Borrowdale

A Cumbrian chef who tasted national success on television has taken on a new role at an award-winning Lake District hotel.

Darren Comish, 37, was a finalist on the BBC’s MasterChef: The Professionals series in 2014 and went on to be named Cumbria Life chef of the year the following year.

The father-of-three, from Ulverston, has now been appointed head chef at the Hazel Bank Country House Hotel at Rosthwaite in Borrowdale.

“I’m really enjoying the challenge of raising the food standards at the Hazel Bank, with everything being cooked in-house and using seasonal and local ingredients wherever possible,” said Darren, who has been wowing guests with delicious and innovative dishes like suckling pig with black pudding ravioli and teriyaki mackerel with roasted watermelon and sesame marshmallow.

Barrow-born Darren was head chef at the Oak Bank Hotel in Grasmere when he reached the finals of MasterChef: The Professionals. He said his experience on the TV cookery series for professional chefs was amazing.

Food critic Jay Rayner had described Darren’s cooking at the Oak Bank Hotel as brilliant and a “remarkable secret.” He was later appointed head chef at Holbeck Ghyll in Windermere, having previously worked at the Miller Howe Hotel, also in Windermere.

Darren has already made a big impression since his appointment at the Hazel Bank, having been awarded a coveted Two Rosettes award in an AA inspection, with a recommendation for Three Rosettes from the inspector. In the same AA inspection, the Hazel Bank was again awarded a five star gold award and breakfast award.

“It is great to welcome Darren as our new head chef, with all the expertise and creativity he brings,” said Gary Macrae, who runs and owns the business with his wife Donna. “This has been a great start to the year for us as we continue to build on our reputation as a top quality local family-run country house tucked away in Britain’s most beautiful valley,” added Gary, whose hotel has won a string of local and national awards, including Cumbria Tourism’s guest accommodation of the year.

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