Prominent chef Hrishikesh Desai, formerly of Gilpin Lodge in the Lake District, has taken up the role of chef-patron at Farlam Hall, a boutique hotel on the other side Cumbria beyond Carlisle.
Hrishikesh, a 2009 Roux scholar, left the Gilpin in Windermere on Boxing Day, having run its kitchens for seven years. By the end he was in charge of three restaurants – Hrishi, named in his honour, Gilpin Spice and the Gilpin Grill at the Lake House.
Owner Barney Cunliffe is reconfiguring the Gilpin’s culinary offering, naming three chefs to run the restaurants separately: Ollie Bridgwater has been hired from the Fat Duck to head the main dining room, which will be renamed; Welsh chef Tom Westerland, who trained under Howell Jones at Lucknam Park, will run the Grill; while Aakash Ohol has been promoted to take charge of Spice.
Farlam Hall, with 12 bedrooms, six cottages and a six-acre estate 10 miles east of Carlisle, was run by the Quinion family as a boutique hotel for 40 years until 2019, when it was acquired by Seattle-based Joe Walter and Kathy Mares.
Hrishikesh takes charge of its Cedar Tree restaurant, and is joined in the new venture by ex-Gilpin managing director Karen Baybutt. He says he has always wanted to run a country house hotel: “I fell in love with Farlam Hall the moment I arrived, and I want as many people as possible to share that feeling. It’s a truly special place, steeped in history and understated elegance. I can’t wait to welcome guests to become part of our story.”
He’s promising food of “delightful simplicity with oodles of class and an unexpected twist to make guests smile!”