Staines, who held a Michelin star for seven years in his role as head chef at Foliage at London's Mandarin Oriental hotel, will oversee all food and beverage operations at the 60-bedroom hotel which is due to be transformed into a mid-market boutique hotel by its new owners.
The chef will also work closely with hotel owner Ian Taylor to devise plans for a standalone restaurant serving informal, bistro-style food with a key focus on simple cooking using high quality ingredients to appeal to both hotel guests and locals when he starts the new role in March.
Taylor said: “When I took over the Abbey, my plan was to make some changes to the hotel to make it more attractive to local people as much as to the tourist market.
"The restaurant is an ideal starting point. With Chris’s involvement, I’m confident the bar and restaurant at the Abbey have the potential to become an affordable 'go-to' destination for people living in Bath whether they are looking for after work drinks and nibbles or something more substantial.”
Local food for local market
The new restaurant will be a change of direction for Staines, whose background has been in fine dining, but he said there was a 'huge opportunity' for a mid-market restaurant in the city.
"Bath and the surrounding areas have fantastic suppliers and I’m keen to start working with them to create an offering that people living in Bath will be genuinely excited about,” he added.
Staines joins from Heckfield Place in Hampshire where he has been executive chef for the past two years. He was also tasked with revamping the food and beverage operations at the Feversham Arms in Yorkshire in a consultancy role which he took up in September 2010
The Taylors bought the Abbey from Compass Hotels at the beginning of February. A Best Western hotel, it will be refurbished over the next three years as part of a £1.5m investment in the business.