Hambleton Hall’s incredible family tree
21st March 2022
In February 2022, Hambleton Hall near Oakham was awarded a Michelin star for the 40th consecutive year – the longest-retained Michelin star in Britain. This is an outstanding achievement. Perhaps even more remarkable is Hambleton Hall’s unique talent for finding, developing and unleashing talent. Great Food Club’s Matt Wright tells us more…
In February 2022, Hambleton Hall near Oakham was awarded a Michelin star for the 40th consecutive year – the longest-retained Michelin star in Britain. This is an outstanding achievement. Perhaps even more remarkable is Hambleton Hall’s unique talent for finding, developing and unleashing talent.
Visionary owner Tim Hart, who acquired the Hall in 1979, and Aaron Patterson, head chef since 1992, have had an uncanny talent for launching the careers of brilliant chefs. Indeed, the Hart-Patterson golden touch is so prolific that it’s easy to compile a list of outstanding alumni:
Gareth Ward Hambleton Hall for four years. Now head chef/co-owner of Ynyshir near Aberystwyth, Wales – 2 Michelin stars, 5 AA rosettes.
Adam Stokes Hambleton Hall for six years. Now owner of Adams in Birmingham, 1 Michelin star.
Matt Weedon Hambleton Hall for four years. Now head chef at Ellenborough Park in Cheltenham; previously won a Michelin star at Glenapp Castle, Ayrshire.
James Petrie Hambleton Hall for three years. Went on to become Heston Blumenthal’s development chef at The Fat Duck in Bray. Now working for Gordon Ramsay in the same role.
Julian Carter Hambleton Hall for several years. Now head baker and co-founder of Hambleton Bakery in Rutland.
Sam Carter Hambleton Hall for two years. Now head chef and co-owner of the highly rated Restaurant 22, Cambridge.
Ben Jones Hambleton Hall for seven years (front of house). Went on to buy The Olive Branch in Clipsham, which he still directs and co-owns.
Sean Hope Hambleton Hall for seven years. Opened The Olive Branch with Ben Jones and won a Michelin star.
Neil Hitchen Hambleton Hall for four years. Now runs Hitchen’s Barn in Oakham (Michelin Bib Gourmand).
Mark Gough Hambleton Hall for several years. Now head chef at The Finch’s Arms, Hambleton.
Peter Templehoff Founder and managing director at FYN restaurant, Cape Town.
Alan Gleeson Hambleton Hall for four years. Then worked at the Lucky Onion and now at The Harcourt Arms, Oxfordshire.
Chris Denney Hambleton Hall for five years. Opened 108 The Garage in Notting Hill to rave reviews. Now runs the highly acclaimed Fiend restaurant, also in Notting Hill.
Mark Southon Hambleton Hall for three years. Moved to Australia and worked at Vue de Monde (formerly Australia’s top restaurant for two years running). Was executive chef at O’Connell St Bistro in Auckland. Now resident chef for New Zealand morning TV Show, The Café.
Nick Gill Hambleton Hall’s first head chef was hired by Tim Hart in 1980 and stayed for five years. Nick, brother of the late restaurant critic AA Gill, kicked it all off by getting the Michelin star, which Hambleton has retained ever since.
Fiona Cairns Nick Gill’s pastry chef at Hambleton. Fiona established the hugely successful cakes company, Fiona Cairns Ltd. She made Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding cake in 2011.
And then there are other, more indirect ripples of success, which once set in motion from Hambleton Hall continue to flow outward. There’s not enough room here to list all the talented chefs who learned their trade under Hambleton Hall-trained chefs, but this trio provides an example – each earned their stripes in Sean Hope’s Olive Branch kitchen:
Frazer King Head chef and owner of The Red Lion, West Deeping
Dan Smith Head chef at The Exeter Arms, Easton on the Hill
Jamie Knowles Head chef at The Boot Inn, South Luffenham
So, congratulations to Tim, Aaron and the current team. And three cheers for Hambleton Hall and all who sail in her! May this Rutland legend continue to cast its magnificent shadow across the culinary world for many years to come.
Words: Matt Wright, www.greatfoodclub.co.uk