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Russell Bateman takes head chef role at the Castle Ashby estate

30 November 2020 by
Russell Bateman takes head chef role at the Castle Ashby estate

Russell Bateman has taken the position of head chef at Grade II-listed coaching inn the Falcon hotel in Castle Ashby, Northampton.

The former Petrus head chef and National Chef of the Year winner will head up the Eyas restaurant in the 21-bedroom property, which is located on the 11,000-acre Ashby estate owned by Lord and Lady Northampton.

Bateman is head chef at the Eyas restaurant and takes responsibility for F&B in the East Wing lounge and bar – a cellar bar that dates back to 1594, with its original steps – a juice bar, in-room dining and a new wellbeing centre set to open in February 2021.

The property was built in 1594 and is the ancestral home of the seventh marquess of Northampton. It was renovated and reopened in January 2020 and re-opened for a short period in the summer after lockdown. Bateman took the reins in early November.

Bateman said Lord and Lady Northampton have "re-imagined, re-purposed, and re-fitted the property, and his new dishes have been designed to fit in with the estate's history, location and environment."

"It's been great to put my own stamp on the menus," he said. "We will obviously have a focus on sustainability, and the best quality produce. We have our own deer and feathered game and this will of course feature on the menus.

"Northamptonshire is rural and has a strong agricultural background. We will work with lots of local producers to showcase their produce, and to embrace the history of the estate and the county."

The Eyas menu will include dishes such as a starter of Northamptonshire grain ragout with roasted cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprout leaves and confit egg with a truffle sauce; a main of Castle Ashby Estate venison cooked over juniper with local parsnips, fresh walnuts and pears from the estate's orchard; and a dessert incorporating honey from the estate's beehives and parsnip cake served with a chilled chamomile custard and an apple compote made with apples from the Estate's orchard (Bramley, Windsor and Malus Fiesta).

The Eyas restaurant will offer a three-course prix fix menu for £60, including homemade bread, raw butter and petits fours.

Bar snacks with a focus on ‘clean ingredients' will include flatbread pizza with wild mushrooms and Baron Bigod cheese, and Fowey Estuary mussels with cider made with estate apples and tarragon.

"I'm very excited," said Bateman. "This is a great opportunity to show what we can do for people from a wellbeing perspective. And the wellbeing ethos is not just about our guests, it's about the team too – that is equally important.

"I already feel I have a wonderful relationship with Lord and Lady Northampton, Lord Northampton is super-intelligent and inspirational, and Lady Northampton is very kind and intuitive. They are both really interested in all of the team here and how we all move forward."

The Falcon hotel will re-open this Wednesday for dinner and rooms in tier two.

Bateman's previous head chef role was at Pétrus, part of the Gordon Ramsay Group, from June 2018 to February 2020. He won the National Chef of the Year competition in 2014 while head chef of Colette's at the Grove hotel in Watford.

Russell Bateman
Russell Bateman

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