Michelin-starred chefs prepare to descend on top hotel

SIX renowned chefs who together boast a clutch of Michelin stars are set to descend on Cumbria to deliver a weekend of fine dining - all in the name of charity.

Venue: The Abbey House Hotel and Gardens

The culinary stars will take over the kitchens of the luxury Abbey House Hotel and Gardens in Barrow for the annual Lake District Farmers fundraiser.

Among the celebrity chefs at the event will be Angela Hartnett, Brett Graham, Adam Byatt and Cumbria’s own Tom Barnes, who is chef-patron of Rogan & Co in Cartmel.

Abbey House Hotel and Gardens’ general manager, John Horton, said he is thrilled the hotel is once again the venue for the event.

He added: “This will be the third year we have supported the Lake District Farmers event by providing our banqueting facilities, kitchens and staff free of charge and I must say it is a delight to be supporting such a worthwhile local cause and charity.

Delighted: Hotel general manager John Horton

“Having chefs of such high calibre in the hotel creates a real buzz among staff and guests alike and the weekend always proves to be one to remember.

“We really do look forward to welcoming guests over the course of the two days and, along with the visiting chefs, ensuring they have a fantastic experience”.

The Lake District Farmers Armstrong Family Charitable Trust was established in memory of local businessman and philanthropist, Ray Armstrong, after he died of cancer in April 2013.

Since then, the charity has distributed more than £250,000 to good causes.

This year’s event will be the seventh since Ray died. It will be held at the Abbey House Hotel and Gardens on Friday, February 15 and Saturday, February 16.

On Friday, chefs Brett Graham, Phil Howard and Tom Barnes will be at the kitchen pass as they prepare a series of mouth-watering courses.

Hitting the pass: Angela Hartnett

They will be followed on Saturday by Clare Smyth, Adam Byatt and Angela Hartnett.

Tickets for the 2019 event - which this year is focused on just one weekend as opposed to two, go on sale on Friday, December 21.

Dan Austin is the managing director of Lake District Farmers. He said that with attention on just two days for this year’s event, the focus was on perfection. In a new twist, Google’s UK Regional Executive Chef, Tim Blake will oversee breads and canapés to diners on both evenings.

Said Dan: "Things outside of our control have conspired against us a little bit this year and on the back of that we're only able to host two dinners as opposed to the four we would usually produce.

“What that has allowed us to do is really focus on the small detail, and deliver an extremely high calibre of chef and menus which I believe are better than ever before.

“We've given a menu brief for the first time ever and aspired to produce a menu which showcases an incredible level of technical cooking ability but at the same time is familiar to our guests. I believe we're in a position to offer our best event across the seven years we've been doing this. "The demand for donations is as strong as ever, there are a lot of families out there that need our help. It's our responsibility to deliver an event we can be proud of and to raise as much as we can to support those that need it most.

“We've always had incredible support from the people of Barrow, we're an outstanding community, full of outstanding people. I'm sure that we will see that support for the forthcoming event. "This is the third year we've held an event at Abbey House. It's an association we're proud of and a business we enjoy working with. John and his team are extremely passionate about the huge part they play in delivering a great event and the funds they help us to raise.

“We can't thank them enough for their unwavering support and we're looking forward to teaming up with them once again."

Money raised from the weekend will be funnelled into the LDF Armstrong Family Charitable Trust, which through its monthly grant donations will continue in 2019 to provide help and support to people most in need across Cumbria.

Tickets priced at £100 are limited and are expected to sell out quickly. To book, contact the Abbey House Hotel and Gardens on 01229 838282 or book online at