New head chef arrives at historic wedding venue

A CHEF whose travels have taken him from the Houses of Parliament to the Michelin-starred lights of London has landed at one of the UK’s most historic mansion houses.

Colin Smith has been named as the new head chef at Samlesbury Hall in Lancashire - where he is on a mission to transform the food offering into the best the county has to offer.

Along with his team, he is developing a menu bursting with dishes created from locally sourced ingredients - and capped off with homemade cakes, pastries, and desserts.

Colin, who has spent the last 23 years working in kitchens across the UK, said: “What became immediately apparent to me is that there is a great team here who are really switched on and keen to take the food offering at Samlesbury hall to the next level.

“Our aims are really clear. We want to become the premier venue for weddings and events in Lancashire, if not the North West, and for lunches and casual diners we strive to be the best in the county.

“There is a real focus from our end on using as much locally-sourced produce as possible in every dish, including eggs laid by our very own free-range hens. These are exciting times; we have a shared vision and plenty of energy to deliver it.

Colin started his career working in the kitchens of the Houses of Parliament, before moving on to London’s oldest French restaurant, L’escargot, which at the time held a Michelin Star.

Soon after the turn of the Millennium, a move closer to his native Preston saw Colin start to work at AA Rosette-winning Shaw Hill Golf Club and Resort near Chorley, before another move to Preston North End Football Club, where for eight years he worked as head chef.

The sporting theme continued in 2017 when he took up a similar position at Warrington Wolves, before joining the team at Samlesbury Hall in September.

A time-served pastry chef before ascending to the role of head chef in his previous places of work, it is fair to say Colin has a sweet tooth.

Along with his team, he is ploughing time and energy into new home-baked treats, along with the creation of traditional sweets, many of which will feature in a revamped afternoon tea.

An old favourite is also set to make a return to the wider dining menu in the restaurant - in the shape of Sunday lunch.

Colin said: “It will be one of the finest Sunday lunches for miles. There’s not a great deal available in the area, so we are expecting this to be very popular when it is launched this month.

“Making sure that diners - whether they are wedding or function guests, day-trippers or people treating themselves to a stay at The Hamlet - have the very best experience is absolutely what I and the team are about.”

When he’s not in the kitchen, Colin is busy with his three children and partner Sally. In rare moments of downtime, he enjoys a meal out: It’s good to keep in touch with the opposition,” he joked.