Lilleshall House and Gardens, near Newport, has unveiled its new chef, Mark Bannon, who for the past eight years has worked with well-known TV cook Anthony Worral-Thompson at The Greyhound in Henley-on-Thames, the restaurant he runs with wife, Jay.
Mark enjoyed his time at The Greyhound, but with his daughter, Kaya accepting a place at the prestigious Harper and Keele Veterinary School to study veterinary science, he needed to relocate.
Mark said: “I loved working with Anthony and Jay and The Greyhound team. Anthony, along with Marco Pierre-White is a true food hero of mine and although I’ve been a professionally trained chef for over 30 years, working with him was like attending the best training college in the world – I learnt so much and have so much to thank him for.
“I’ve really fallen on my feet with this new role though. The place itself, Lilleshall, is stunning, and there’s so much potential for growth across the estate.
“Into 2023, I’ll be looking to make more of the location, introducing more game dishes into the menu, as there’s an abundance of quality game around here. These will be dishes that local people will have grown up with, but for some reason may have fallen out of favour with modern tastes. I want to bring back some of the classics, but give them a twenty-first century twist. I want to intrigue people with my food, and get them excited about eating here.
“We’re filling up nicely with Christmas bookings, but once we’re into 2023 we’ll be looking to bring back our popular Sunday Roasts in Chapters Restaurant, as well as staging a series of one-off special events, like a Burns Night on January 25th and a St Patrick’s Day celebration on March 17th, to name just a few.
“This place is a genuine hidden gem, and I’m very excited about the next chapter in our story.”
Anthony Worral-Thompson added: “Mark has a great passion for sourcing the best products, he’s inspirational in his menu choices and has a tremendous ability to get the most from his staff.”