Whatley Manor promotes Ricki Weston to executive chef following Niall Keating's departure

10 January 2022 by
Whatley Manor promotes Ricki Weston to executive chef following Niall Keating's departure

From today, head chef Ricki Weston has been promoted to the role of executive chef at Whatley Manor, following the departure of Niall Keating at the end of December 2021.

In his new role at the five-red-AA-starred, 23-bedroom hotel near Malmesbury in Wiltshire, Weston, he will oversee the full food offering at the hotel, including the two-Michelin-starred Dining Room, Grey's Brasserie, room service, afternoon tea, private dining and events. A new menu for the Dining Room will be launched on 4 February when the hotel reopens after a short closure from 27 January to 4 February.

General manager Sue Williams said: "We feel very lucky to be moving into Whatley's next culinary chapter with Ricki at the helm. He brings to the role a fresh focus on the finest British ingredients and some interesting traditional cooking techniques, all of which perfectly complement our sustainability goals. I feel very excited to watch Ricki lead the team to deliver more exceptional eating experiences for our guests."

Born and raised in Storrington, West Sussex, Weston's career kicked off in 2010 as a commis chef at White's Bar & Kitchen in nearby Steyning, progressing to demi chef de partie. He then moved to Wabi, a contemporary Japanese restaurant in Horsham, where he worked as a chef de partie between 2011-12.

Staying in Horsham, he joined South Lodge's Camellia restaurant as chef de partie from 2012 to 2014, before moving to the hotel's Michelin-starred restaurant Matt Gillan at the Pass.

In late 2015, he was appointed chef de partie, then junior sous chef, at two-starred Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham, where he spent three years, before joining Whatley Manor as sous chef in August 2018. He was promoted to head chef in October 2020.

Weston said: "I feel honoured to have been given this opportunity to head up such a quality and committed team, and in such a fabulous kitchen, all in the beautiful setting of Whatley.

"The hotel has had a long history of being one of the best UK foodie destinations, so I have a lot to live up to, and I cannot wait to start developing my recipes and to evolving a whole new dining offering."

Keating left Whatley Manor after five years as executive chef to pursue other business ventures, including the opening of his new restaurant Lunar in Staffordshire.

The chef joined Whatley Manor as executive chef in 2016, a tenure which saw the Dining Room achieve a Michelin star in 2018, followed by a second in the 2020 guide.

He supported to the business' drive for sustainability, for which it was awarded the 2021 Catey Sustainable Business award. In October 2021 it was announced that he would oversee Lunar at the World of Wedgwood visitor attraction in Barlaston, near Stoke-on-Trent, in partnership with the Great British Experience Company. The 120-cover restaurant that opened in November 2021.

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