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Hrishikesh Desai new exec chef at the Gilpin after BBC show win

24 April 2015 by
Hrishikesh Desai new exec chef at the Gilpin after BBC show win

Hrishikesh Desai, 2010 Roux Scholar and 2010 National Chef of the Year, has been named executive chef of the four-star Glipin hotel and Lake House in Cumbria after winning a BBC Two TV show.

Desai was last night crowned winner of the first four heats of the programme Alex Polizzi: Chefs on Trial, after winning the final against two other chefs, Simon Szymanski and 24-year-old Ben Murphy.

Each chef was asked to prepare dishes to budget for hotel owners John and Christine Cunliffe (who run the Relais & Châteaux hotel with son Barney and daughter-in-law Zoe), under the watchful eye of Polizzi, who has more than 25 years' hospitality experience. They had already battled through three high-pressure heats to reach the final, from an original shortlist of nine chefs.

Desai will now relocate to the Lake District with his wife and small child, and help the restaurant in its bid to achieve a Michelin star.

Commenting on the new appointment, the Cunliffe family stated: "After a tense week we are thrilled to welcome someone with Desai's immense talent to Gilpin. Not only does he have a unique blend of skills and experience, but he is a man of true humility and fits in perfectly with the ethos of our family business. He's a perfect addition to the existing team, which includes our fantastic head chef Lee Bird. We hope he is with us for many years to come."

They also said that working with Polizzi had been a pleasure and that they were proud to have been approached to take part in the programme.

Desai said: "I'm absolutely thrilled to have been awarded this exciting new role, this is the job I've always wanted. The opportunity to work at a Relais & Châteaux hotel with such a superb reputation is genuinely a dream come true.

"As viewers of the programme will have seen, it was an intense and at times emotional process, but I'm so thankful to have the chance to come to the fabulous Lake District and create some exciting and inspirational new menus in my own distinctive style."

Originally from India, and former head chef at the Brasserie Restaurant at Lucknam Park in Wiltshire, Desai won the Craft Guild of Chefs' National Chef of the Year competition in 2010 and also won the Roux Scholarship in the same year.

The 16-part programme is seeking to show how difficult it can be for establishments to find high-level, competent head chefs, who are able to produce food to the right standard at the right budget, and also manage staff and the kitchen.

It continues on BBC Two next week, this time at the Miners Arms gastropub in the Forest of Dean, run by Mario and Karen Constantinides.

Profile: Hrishikesh Desai, National Chef of the Year >>

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