Steven Doherty, famously Head Chef at Albert Roux’ Le Gavroche and the first Briton to secure the elusive third Michelin-star, is working with Lancaster Brewery as Executive Chef – across the Brewery’s stable of pubs, restaurants and hotels.
Doherty, who relocated to Cumbria in the 1990s, has played a significant role in the county’s foodie revolution, helping to put the area on the map for its gastronomy.
Lancaster Brewery, which owns several pubs and hotels across Lancashire and Cumbria, hired Steven to help overhaul the food offering at each establishment. The Mill at Ulverston is now complete, reopening in January after a six figure revamp. Steven has redesigned the kitchen, menu and recruited a new kitchen brigade with head chef Nigel Bullock.
Doherty comments: “We have introduced fine but casual dining to Ulverston. There are French influences from my background and huge dollops of local Cumbrian essence. This isn’t pretentious, tiny portioned food at huge prices. It’s quality food, fairly priced that looks beautiful and is served with thought, energy and effort.
“The main menu has a bedrock of pub favourites – around 20% is consistent with minor seasonal tweaks. The rest changes to reflect our head chef’s desire to stretch his talents and offer variety to his diners, many of whom are now weekly visitors.”
The Duke of Edinburgh Hotel at Barrow in Furness has also undergone a rehaul with Steven overseeing the menu changes. Head chef is Sam Moore, a Lake District local who has previously worked with Steven at The First Floor Cafe in Windermere.
Sam Moore comments: “The Duke is a famous Barrovian landmark. I’ve watched it develop over the years and when I heard Steven was taking the lead on their food offering I leapt at the chance of getting involved. I have a real passion for great food, I love cooking to impress. I want my kitchen to produce really special food that can be glamorous or casual depending on what our customer chooses from the menu. These are exciting times at the Duke.”
The hotel has a wealth of history, sitting at the centre of the town during its heyday with guests including Charlie Chaplin and Clark Gable gracing its doors. Having spent the last ten years refurbishing every inch of this grand Victorian building, Lancaster Brewery has also recently extended into the adjoining Cooke’s Building attic and added nine contemporary urban bedrooms. The venue is now complete, so the attention has been turned to the food and drink offering.
Phil Simpson of Lancaster Brewery comments: “Steven is an acclaimed chef with an incredible record of success. He’s a very rare talent in having both the experience running one of the best kitchens in Europe alongside his Cumbrian gastro pub expertise. Recruiting him was hard work and took six months of negotiations, however, since his arrival we’ve seen our food sales more than double and the quality of the meals his team produces is extraordinary. The Duke and The Mill will offer different styles of food, both Head Chefs will work with Steven in designing their own menus. They’ve each got their own distinct styles.”
Completing the team at The Mill is Head Chef Nigel Bullock, previously Head Chef at First Floor Cafe in Windermere – where he has worked with Steven since 2007. Nigel worked his way up from Front of House Supervisor to Head Chef over a ten year period under Steven’s watchful supervision.
Doherty comments: “Nigel is a real talent. I’ve worked with him for many years now and he’s a young, exciting and innovative chef who has that rare skillset of having individual flair whilst also being a great team manager.”
Bullock adds: “The Mill is a brilliant venue. I’m delighted to be working with such a talented team of chefs, we’ve got some fantastic ideas building on the food we already produce by adding a few more challenging and complicated dishes. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in and also meeting a few of our ever growing band of regular diners.”
Simpson continues: “The entire kitchen at The Mill has been refurbished at enormous cost and we carried out a complete overhaul of the restaurant and ground floor. The final innovation was on the top floor. Formerly the manager’s accommodation, we converted this 200 year old vaulted attic space to create the Loft Cocktail Bar. Our cocktails are all hand-made, we don’t use pre-mixes and the staff are trained diligently. The Mill is extraordinary, three bars all with a distinctly different feel and clientele, a lovely air conditioned restaurant and large outdoor terrace with retractable roof.”
Doherty adds: “It’s rare for pubs in our area to really invest in their food offering. But we’re focusing heavily now on making our food truly exceptional, moving into modern cooking styles and broadening our menu offering. In essence, we’re looking to delight our customers with even better food and an even better array of drink choices.”