Manchester's four-AA-star, 275-bedroom Palace hotel has announced the kitchen team that will be oversee the food and beverage operation of the property, which is currently nearing the end of a multi-million pound renovation.
Steven Wilson is heading up the team as executive chef, supported by Alex Worrall, head chef of the hotel's new restaurant, Refuge Public Bar & Dining Room, and Paul Speakman, banqueting head chef.
Originally from Edinburgh, Wilson has previously worked in Manchester at the Lowry hotel's River restaurant. He then went abroad to work under René Redzepi, Massimo Bottura, Pierre Gagnaire, Paco Torreblanca and Ferran Adria. He has also worked for Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons.
Alex Worrall, another former member of the Lowry kitchen brigade, who has also worked at nearby haunts, Red in Westhoughton, Victor's in Hale, and Reform in Manchester. Further afield, he has cooked under Marco Pierre White at the Oak Room at Le Meridien in London, and Tetsuya Wakuda in Sydney.
Speakman's 23-year-long career has taken him from his home town of Bolton to working for Marco Pierre White and Simon Rimmer, presenter of Channel 4's Sunday Brunch. He also worked at the Lowry hotel and is now reunited with Wilson and Worrall as he head up the Palace hotel's 17 private dining and events spaces, including the ballroom for 750 guests.
Due to open in September, the Refuge Public Bar & Dining Room has been created by Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford, the owners of Manchester's Volta restaurant. Cowdrey and Crawford are working in partnership with the Palace hotel team to create what they believe will be "one of the most talked-about new additions" to the city's food and drink scene.
The Palace hotel has just been announced as the venue for the gala awards dinner of the Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2016 on 10 October.
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