The Chester Grosvenor: new beginnings

From the appointment of Elliot Hill as executive chef, to the opening of its new restaurant, the Arkle, Anna Oakden, marketing manager and Richard Grove, general manager, and Hill reveal the latest in a discussion with Catering Today

What does Elliot Hill bring to the hotel?

Oakden: Hill comes to the Chester Grosvenor with a wealth of experience, having most recently been head chef at Panoramic 34 in Liverpool, where he earnt and retained an entry in the Michelin guide. Previously, as part of the Bespoke Hotels family, he held the position of Head Chef at Oddfellows Chester, where he executed the rebranding of the food business and its ‘Cultivated’ restaurant.

Hill’s culinary expertise has seen him come to national prominence, having been a finalist in 2021’s National Chef of the Year competition and a semi-finalist the previous year, while he also made it to the final six contestants in The Staff Canteen Chef of the Year 2021.

In short, Hill has an exceptional food pedigree and we’re hoping he’ll build and enhance on that during his time at the Grosvenor.

What will Hill’s new position entail?

Hill is taking up the reins from our former executive chef, Simon Radley, who left The Chester Grosvenor in October 2021, after more than 30 years here.

Tasked with bringing in a creative flair that complements our reputation for hospitality excellence, alongside the ‘Arkle’ restaurant, Hill will also oversee our 2 AA Rosette restaurant ‘La Brasserie’, as well as our afternoon tea and banqueting functions.

La Brasserie offers modern, fresh cooking, with the kitchen team preparing beautiful, vibrant dishes that use flavours and ingredients from home and abroad.

Afternoon tea is an institution at the Chester Grosvenor, having been served here since 1882. It means we have an exceptional heritage and a reputation for serving the finest afternoon tea in the city – a reputation Hill will seek to both maintain and strengthen.

The banqueting function, which will also come under Hill’s wing, includes large celebrations such as weddings and formal dinners right through to smaller meetings and private dining.

The kitchens at The Chester Grosvenor have historically been an environment where young chefs are nurtured and able to “Grow with Grosvenor”. Many of the current chefs started as apprentices or have been with the hotel many years, for example the hotel’s baker has worked here for more than twenty-five years, and the existing head chef of Arkle more than seventeen years. As executive chef, Hill will continue to encourage the development of the team to ensure the growth of the existing talent.

What can be expected from the new restaurant?

Hill: I cannot wait to launch our restaurant ‘Arkle’; a refined dining experience delivered the Cestrian way.

Whether using humble ingredients and elevating them or simply highlighting the best quality ingredients we can get, it will be food of the highest standard, cooked from the heart and personality of the kitchen team in the perfect setting.

Grove: The restaurant will be perfect for an intimate dining experience – luxurious but comfortable, and an environment designed for enjoying Elliot and the team’s food, and the hospitality of our Restaurant Manager, Aga.

Oakden: Whilst we’re excited for the official opening of the Arkle, it’s an exciting time for food in Chester in general with many excellent independent restaurants already on the scene. We hope to add to that by providing a unique and new experience for both the people of Chester and those visiting us from further afield to enjoy.

Does the hotel have any plans for the new year?

Oakden: The focus for the first quarter of 2022 is primarily on the launch and refurbishment of ‘Arkle’, an endeavour we’re making great progress in. Alongside this, the hotel will also continue its ongoing rolling bedroom refurbishment plans, with a further nine bedrooms scheduled for the coming six months.

All in all then, we’re expecting an exciting and busy 2022.

What was achieved in the recent refurbishment?

Oakden: At present, the hotel has 68 bedrooms and 11 stylish suites, all of which have been individually designed and furnished. During 2020 we invested more than £150k in the redecoration of several bedrooms. This is part of a rolling refurbishment scheme, which we started in 2019, and has seen the rooms completely refurbished with new schemes designed by Anita Rosato – in an overhaul that has taken in everything, from wallcoverings to sumptuous fabrics and furniture. The refurbishment programme will continue throughout 2022.

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