He learned his trade by working with some of the best. Now head chef Paul Bussey is giving Teesside foodies a taste of his experience and passion for cooking.
Paul left behind his role as head chef at the Cleveland Tontine for a new challenge in charge of the kitchens at Acklam Hall in July last year.
“Who wouldn’t want to work in a Grade I listed building done out to this standard?” he reflects. “It’s a beautiful place to work. It’s really got the wow factor.”
So too does the food Paul and his team of six chefs serve up for a myriad of customers who expect their meal to match and even exceed the stunning surroundings.
“I want people to come here and know they’ll get exceptional, good value food they won’t get anywhere else,” says the 31-year-old, originally from the village of Chilton, between Durham and Sedgefield.
“I want Acklam Hall to be a destination venue where guests know they’ll have a great food experience.”
Bussey, who has launched new Spring menus at the Hall, has gained inspiration throughout his cheffing history, starting an early age when he spent time cooking with his mother and grandmother.
He was just 18 when he left the north-east for London to work at The Connaught under the guidance of Angela Hartnett, a protégée of TV chef Gordon Ramsay. Later he worked for Mark Broadbent, who won accolades during a stint on The Great British Menu.
Then came more experience at The Star Inn at Harome before a spell as a sous-chef in Ramsay’s restaurant in the Hilton Dubai.
So what’s his Acklam Hall remit? “To keep the standard of the food high and achieve real consistency, whether you’re here for a club sandwich or an a la carte meal,” he answers.
“It’s great to be part of Acklam Hall’s incredible story. We make everything in-house, from the black pudding down to the scones that are such a big part of our popular afternoon teas, while all the produce is bought locally wherever possible.”
And, he insists, it’s not just posh food to go with the venue. “The menu includes choices such as a dozen oysters and salmon gravlax, but I have a cottage pie on the menu too, and prawn cocktail for starters.”
But foodies will be keen to know about Bussey’s signature dishes. How do you like the sound of a starter of beetroot gravlax with horseradish ice cream, pickled beetroots and water cress? And for mains? A tasting of Yorkshire pig including belly, cheek and fillet wrapped in pancetta with caramelised apples.
• Contact Acklam Hall on 01642 822000 or go to www.thebrierley.co.uk