The Devonshire Hotels and Restaurants Group new Head Chef, Chris O’Callaghan, talks about his plans for The Devonshire Arms Hotel and Spa, Bolton Abbey.
Chris O’Callaghan says he’s settled in well at Devonshire Hotels and Restaurants Group, heading up the Burlington Restaurant and The Brasserie, at Bolton Abbey.
Originally from Cheshire, Chris’s culinary skills were rooted in some of the South’s most prestigious restaurants, most notably Gravetye Manor, L’Ortolan and Paris House. Since his return North, Chris has enjoyed Head Chef roles at Linthwaite House Hotel, The Castle Dairy in Kendal and Goldsborough Hall which have nurtured his culinary prowess.
As well as his passion for top quality produce, Chris is an advocate for nurturing the Chef talent of tomorrow and enjoys giving time to youngsters who are also embarking upon a hospitality career, which will assist greatly with the new Hospitality Training Academy recently launched by The Group.
Chris explains further: “I am settling in well at The Devonshire Arms, overseeing the creation and delivery of menus across a varied collection of outlets. I hope to grow a team that will develop with me over the coming years, working with our suppliers and kitchen gardener to improve the brigades’ understanding of the produce around us in Yorkshire and further afield, if needs be, as we constantly seek to improve.
“I want to create a safe and happy working environment where there the team and guest experience is equally important. For me, I want the team, front of house and back of house, to be proud of what we do here as a collective.
“I have been watching the Devonshire Group with interest for some time now and have noted their ongoing commitment to improving the typical work/life balance of the kitchen teams, their charity raising team events with Hospitality Aid, and their ethos to nurture those just starting out in their hospitality careers.
“This is an area that really lights me up, I feel passionate about supporting and developing that upcoming talent – the creativity of many of the youngsters coming through the local catering colleges just blows me away and I feel it’s key to keep this raw talent within our industry, rather than it being allowed to divert elsewhere.
“With my approach to cooking and co-creating; simple and uncluttered dishes, with a focus on big flavours and appealing presentation, it’s rewarding for me to work hand in hand with the local community – such as our own dedicated kitchen gardener, the local farmer and estate workers, butchers and craft producers to ensure that we are collectively showcasing the best that the region has to offer – here in this pocket of Yorkshire, that is an exciting prospect indeed.”
James O’Donnell, Head of Operations, Yorkshire for Devonshire Hotels and Restaurants Group, said: “‘In offering Chris this key role, it’s a given that we selected an accomplished professional, capable of creating amazing plates of food and showcase our local ‘pantry’ as it were. We also sought an individual who will inspire, motivate and develop the teams to be the best that they can be. With the Academy now ongoing for new starters, and other developments in the pipeline, this of his talent will really shine.
“Having become to know Chris better recently over recent weeks, I feel very comfortable that along with Chara Forrest our Resident Manager, the future of the Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey is in very safe hands.
“Our people, our produce, our pride and our perseverance are our cornerstones here at The Devonshire Arms, and we are more committed than ever to promote these aspects in a holistic way, not just at Bolton Abbey, but across the whole Devonshire Group.
“We are embarking upon a progressive period of development and Chris will play a pivotal role in this. We wish him every happiness and success in this next step of his career as a key player in the Devonshire Group family.”