Hotels serve up two leading chefs

Andrew Blakey who has been appointed Sous Chef at Eshott Hall near Morpeth..
Andrew Blakey who has been appointed Sous Chef at Eshott Hall near Morpeth..

GOOD food will be in plenty supply at two Northumberland hotels as some of the country’s top chefs join their staff.

Paul Danabie, who has worked alongside leading names in the industry such as Albert Roux, has been appointed Head Chef at Matfen Hall Hotel to oversee its entire food operations.

And Cramlington-born Andrew Blakey, who has worked in some of Europe’s finest Michelin-star restaurants, will work as Sous Chef at Eshott Hall.

The pair both bring a wealth of experience to their roles.

Mr Danabie, who is from the Highlands, began training at the Michelin-starred Inverlochy Castle in Fort William, moving on to other Scottish hotels and working alongside renowned chefs such as Alan Hill and Jeff Bland.

He spent time in London at the Landmark Hotel, The Goring and Sofitel St James, where he was Executive Head Chef for Albert Roux, and most recently worked as Executive Head Chef for Bank of America in North Carolina.

Now Mr Danabie will be bringing his expertise to Matfen, where he will source and create menus for all its wedding and banqueting functions, the Library and Print Room Restaurant and The Keeper’s Lodge.

He has already overhauled the children’s menu and will be designing dishes for the refurbished Conservatory Bar.

“I want to make Matfen Hall the place that people think about going to when they want to eat out or hold a special celebration or business function,” said Mr Danabie.

“The whole food and beverage team will be working together to ensure that this is the case. I am very fortunate to be in an area so rich in local produce and I will be sourcing the best quality ingredients to produce the best food.”

Mr Danabie is a member of the Academy of Culinary Arts.

Matfen Hall General Manager Rhys McKinnell said: “It is fantastic that someone of Paul’s phenomenal calibre will be working at Matfen.

“He brings with him a great deal of international experience and will be putting in place at Matfen the same standards as we see in the world’s leading restaurants, making dining here a memorable experience whatever the occasion.”

Mr Blakey will be tempting diners with his work at Eshott Hall.

He began his career working part time at The White Swan Hotel in Alnwick while attending catering college in Ashington, before leaving his native north east to work at London’s prestigious Savoy Grill.

He was then asked by Head Chef Simon Scott to help open his own restaurant, Les Saveurs De St Avit, in the Tarn region of France, which quickly gained a listing in the Michelin guide and now has its first Michelin star.

Mr Blakey returned to London to work in another Michelin rated restaurant, The Foliage at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, where he was part of the team that gained a fifth AA rosette and was voted Kitchen of the Year by Tatler magazine.

In 2004 he moved back to the north east as Senior Sous Chef at The Sanctuary in Alnwick, and he is thrilled with his new role.

He said: “Working for Michelin-star restaurants and some amazing chefs showed me what it was like to work in a high paced kitchen and how to present dishes with finesse and perfection every time.

“I’m delighted to be joining the team at Eshott Hall. It has already shown itself to be passionate about fine dining and I look forward to sharing my experiences with the team.”

As well as fine dining for private guests, the hotel hosts themed dining events, weddings and banquets.