MasterChef: The Professionals quarter-finalist Matei Baran has been announced as the new executive head chef of the four-AA-starred Bannatyne hotel, Darlington.
Romanian-born Baran will join the hotel from his position as head chef at the Jurys Inn Newcastle. His previous experience includes: glh hotels; Thistle hotels; and the Otterburn Hall Hotel, Northumberland.
As part of his new role, Baran will oversee the hotel's team of cooks and taking charge of the kitchen set-up and menus.
Lucy Readshaw, general manager at Bannatyne Hotel Darlington, said: "Matei's passion for food and his creativity and skills are impressive and inspiring and we are delighted to have attracted a head chef of such a high calibre.
"We are looking forward to Matei bringing a new dimension to and further enhancing our menus with the focus being on using the freshest ingredients and creating dishes that suit a wide range of tastes, including those who prefer vegetarian and gluten-free options."
Baran said: "I am excited about introducing some exciting menu changes, but not to the detriment of the established favourites. I cook from the soul with lots of passion and I will be on concentrating my dishes complementing the high quality customer experience at the Bannatyne hotel Darlington."
The Bannatyne Health Clubs chain began in 1997 with the first club on Teesside. It now has 68 sites across the UK under the Bannatyne Health Clubs brand and more than 200,000 members.
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