Great British Menu chef Kenny Atkinson has announced he will be leaving his job as head chef at Von Essen's Seaham Hall to run a new restaurant at the multi-million pound Rockliffe Hall Hotel when it opens its doors in County Durham later this month.
Atkinson, who was one of the winning chefs in the BBC TV series Great British Menu this year, will open Kenny Atkinson at The Orangery restaurant at the luxury resort in Huworth near Darlington following its opening on 23 November.
The 32-year-old chef said he'd been 'blown away' by the hotel, a restoration of an 18th Century country hall that has been extended to include a golf club and luxury spa.
"I’ve had a number of really tempting offers from a host of amazing restaurants in London and across the world, but the opportunity to continue to wave the flag for the North East was one I simply could not resist," he said. "It’s so exciting to be part of such a major new project right here on my own doorstep.
"The attention to detail here is staggering. The place and its people are demanding the very best. It was a challenge I simply could not resist once they suggested my name could be above the door of the restaurant here."
Atkinson put Seaham Hall's White Room restaurant on the map when he helped it gain a Michelin star 18 months ago.
Nick Holmes, managing director at Rockliffe Hall, said: "Kenny is a chef at the top of his game right now and we are thrilled to have him here at Rockliffe Hall. His performance on Great British Menu backed up his growing reputation as one of the new stars of British cooking. “Kenny will play a major part in making us one of the top five star hotel, golf, spa and now restaurant destinations in the UK."
Rockliffe Hall's golf course opened in June with the hotel and spa due to open at the end of this month. As well as the Orangery, guests will be able to dine in the Spa's bistro and The Clubhouse restaurant, which are overseen by head chef Martin Moore, former head chef at Seaham Hall's Ozone restaurant.