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Former Castle Terrace chef and manager take over Cambridgeshire pub

20 October 2016 by
Former Castle Terrace chef and manager take over Cambridgeshire pub

The former head chef and restaurant manager of Dominic Jack's Castle Terrace in Edinburgh have moved on to take over the running of a Cambridgeshire pub, the Abbot's Elm, near Huntingdon.

Roberta Hall, who has worked in the kitchen with Jack at Castle Terrace from its launch until late this summer, and her partner Shaun McCarron, who was restaurant manager for around five years, have already started managing the two-AA-rosette, 70-cover pub with five rooms in the village of Abbots Ripton.

McCarron said it had been a difficult decision to leave but that they were looking forward to a new challenge. "It was a hard decision to leave Castle Terrace and there was to-ing and fro-ing for five or six weeks where we tried to decide if it was the right thing or not. I am quietly confident and very excited about the new challenge and for Roberta and I to work directly together and bounce ideas off one another and see where we can take it.

"We have left Castle Terrace on really good terms and they have been so supportive. Any help or advice they can give and they are there to be called upon and it is amazing to have people like that. I have no doubt in my mind that Robert and I will be on the phone with questions."

McCarron and Hall are taking over the management of the Abbot's Elm after owners John and Julia Abbey decided to take a step back and Julia retired from the kitchen.

He added that he and Hall did not plan to make any sudden changes to the pub. "The key thing with a country pub is not to alienate all the locals and scare them off, so we are just going to get a feel for it and understand what they like," he said.

"I certainly think there is the opportunity to cast the net wider. It has five rooms so we could make it a bit more of a destination where people can stay over. We won't go down the tasting menu route - it will be a la carte and there will always be those pub dishes like steak pie and burgers and then hopefully we can add in some more refined dishes and put into practice some of the things that Roberta has learned over the last 9-10 years in the kitchens at Castle Terrace. It is about finding that balance."

Earlier this year, Castle Terrace underwent a £1m refurbishment, with a restructured kitchen and dining area and the addition of new hand-drawn murals by artist Nichol Wheatley.

King of the Castle: Dominic Jack on the newly refurbished Castle Terrace in Edinburgh >>

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