Meet the Chef ~ Craig McCready at The William Cecil ~ Stamford.

Head Chef Bio

 

Menus which follow seasons, not fashion…

Craig McCready

 

 

Meet Craig, Head Chef at The William Cecil hotel… Craig started his kitchen experience at the tender age of 14, working as a Kitchen Porter whilst at school, by the time he’d reached 17 he was a fully-fledged Commis Chef in his home town of Pitlochry, Perthshire. He went on to land the role of Chef de Partie in the nearby Green Park hotel, but it wasn’t until he secured a role at the prestigious Fonab Castle that Craig accelerated his culinary skills and knowledge, working alongside the likes of Graham Harrower and David Mackintosh, with 3 AA Rosettes Craig absorbed every single piece of culinary finesse required when creating a dish.  After deciding to jump over Hadrian’s Wall, Craig spent a year at The Daffodil as Head Chef then head to Middle England to join us here at The William Cecil at Stamford.

Craig landed in at the deep end at the William Cecil in August 2017 right at the start of the Land Rover Burghley Horse trials – ‘I loved it immediately, it was a challenge and a good starter for ten, this year I’ll be firmly in the saddle ready for the three-day event.’

He believes that each dish must be stand alone, clean, simple, full of flavour with a unique twist. In doing this Craig always makes sure that he uses as much local, seasonal produce as possible.

Can you tell us a little about the role and what’s involved?

My role as Head Chef at The William Cecil is to bring new inspirational seasonal dishes to the table and sourcing the very best seasonal ingredients available to me.

I’m passionate about offering quality, simple, and clean dishes with a unique twist. For example, we’ve just updated our seasonal menus one of which includes; Loin of line caught cod, cod brandade, artichoke, asparagus, with a chicken reduction.

With a team of six in my kitchen its essential we’re all cooking from the same menu from the start of service until the end, promoting good team morale is fundamental to my role.

What do you love most about the property?

We have a talented team of 6 and an even better working atmosphere. I love the people I work with at The William Cecil and you can’t plan! I’ve supportive management behind me, from the director of Hillbrooke Hotels to Kieran our General Manager at the property; this is invaluable when working as a Head Chef. 

Who are your inspirations?

David MacKintosh & Graham Harrower, I was fortunate to work alongside these two culinary legends when I worked at Fonab Castle. I absorbed and learnt pretty much everything from the secrets of good prep to getting the dish to its highest standard for the pass. These skills I implement daily; whether it’s training my team, creating new seasonal dish from scratch or pulling up my sleeves and getting amongst a sack of sprouts!  It’s totally all about the team in my kitchen.

If you could have famous dinner party guests who would you invite?

I’d genuinely love to cook for Daniel HummEleven Madison Park. Can you imagine? It would be an honour, and a genuine dream come true.

What can we expect from the properties this year?

Continuing to use local, seasonal produce with some unique British dishes yet adding my fine dining twist and maintaining our two AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence, building on the hotel and restaurant as a the fine food destination in Stamford.

HOT OFF THE PRESS ~ since interviewing Craig for our Q&A We’re pleased to report that Craig & his team maintained their two AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence!! 

thewilliamcecil.co.uk

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Shots taken by our Food & Beverage Manager Carrie ~ Enjoy a selection of dishes from Craig’s NEW Seasonal Spring ~ Summer Menu

 

Meet the Chef at The Master Builder’s at Buckler’s Hard

Menus which follow seasons not fashion…image3 (1)
Alicia Storey
Alicia, Head Chef at The Master Builder’s hotel, started her kitchen experience at The
Forest Inn, splitting her time working in the kitchen preparing salads and working behind the bar, while completing her Catering & Hospitality NVQs. With over 16 years’ experience, Alicia has travelled through the ranks of, Commis Chef, Chef de Partie, Sous Chef and becoming Head Chef at Balmer Lawn hotel in 2010.
Along her culinary journey, Alicia has had the pleasure of working alongside Gavin Barnes at The White Star, Southampton where she absorbed some invaluable culinary skills, attitude to work and gastronomic inspiration. Then with Head Chef Julian O’Neil at The Old Parsonage, Oxford, who furnished Alicia with the some of the key basics – people
management, and invaluable organisation and time management in the kitchen, which is key to her role as Head Chef. Six months into her current role at The Master Builder’s at Buckler’s Hard, Alicia continues to carve her culinary reputation, innovating unique dishes for the seasonal menus at the property, constantly bringing innovative ideas to the table – in both senses of the word! She believes that each dish must be well presented but also be full of flavour. In doing this she always makes sure that the team uses as much seasonal and local produce as possible.

Can you tell us a little about the role and what’s involved?
My role as Head Chef at The Master Builder’s is to continually come up with new
inspirational seasonal dishes, sourcing the very best seasonal ingredients available to me. I involve the whole team, giving them the freedom to create their own dishes, they
research what seasonal produce is available to them locally. I’m quite excited about some
new puddings I’m working on for the new Summer menu – one of them is homemade
custard doughnuts with poached rhubarb & ripple ice cream.
What do you love most about the property?
The location is idyllic, regardless of the season the drive to work is stunning and the river view is the icing on the cake! I’ve also got a very talented team of five and an even better working atmosphere. I’m also very fortunate to have supportive management behind me, from the director of Hillbrooke Hotels to Kara our General Manager at the property; this is vital when working as a Head Chef.
Who are your inspirations?
I admire Gavin Barnes, when I worked with him, he always suggested the team should go
out and experience what other chefs have to offer. We ate at Marcus Waring’s restaurant
which blew me away! Contemporary British cuisine at its best! My mum was a definite
inspiration from a very young age… making homemade pizza and the best Sunday roast, I used to roll up my sleeves and get stuck in with her prepping and washing up, then loved eating the end result!
If you could have famous dinner party guests who would you invite?
I would absolutely love to cook and serve dinner to Jennifer Lawrence! But, hand on heart I’d be extremely proud to serve what I cook today to my grandmother, I think she would have been impressed and loved the food I create today.
What can we expect from the properties this year?
Continuing to use quality, local produce with some traditional British classic dishes, with a fine dining twist. The restaurant team work in harmony and with the arrival of our new Restaurant manager Jose, we will move forward and join up the dots on what we’ve
started to create as a team, and ultimately strive to secure a second AA Rosette.

Keep an eye here from 30th March &  view the #NEW Spring 2018 menu from the Riverview Restaurant & the Yachtsman’s Bar & Garden

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Winter Warmer With Us in Stamford

Situated in middle England in the county of Lincolnshire, you’ll find the award-winning William Cecil hotel & The Bull & Swan, a perfect spot to check in and explore the magnificent Georgian architecture, beautiful riverside meadows, Burghley House & its vast parkland, niche shopping, first class local food and a vibrant Arts Centre, all this combined make Stamford a visitor must! Oh, and if you didn’t know, Stamford won the compliment from The Sunday Times  as ‘Britain’s top place to live’

If walking, exploring and learning is high on your agenda then be certain to stay with us… Just a short 20-minute drive – Enjoy Rutland Water, the internationally famous nature reserve which provides one of the most important wildfowl sanctuaries in Great Britain, resident to more than 25,000 waterfowl. Look and plan your trip, from guided walks & talks, to Osprey river boat cruises or if learning a new skill is high on the agenda, book in for one of their dry-stone walling courses or traditional hedge laying.

Whatever you decide to do or not, The William Cecil and The Bull & Swan offers a home from home space with comfortable sofas, a large open log fires, newspapers, Scrabble, and waiters service to cater for your needs, so just relax and we’ll do the rest!

Book our dedicated Winter Warmer break from now until 28th March 2018. A 2-night break for £275 for two in our classic bedrooms which includes breakfast each morning & dinner for two on both nights,  in our  2 AA Rosette restaurant Contact one of our team & book a cosy Winter Warmer stay.

PS for those wishing to stay with their four-legged friend, we also offer Dog Friendly accommodation and a dedicated Dog Dinner Room Service Menu

Can’t stay for two nights? Book a #SundayStopOver at The William Cecil & sleep with us for £50 for two when you spend £75 on food & drink. OR #SundayStopOver at The Bull & Swan, for £45 when you spend £75 on food & drink.

Get Social With Us… Tag your photos of your visit #QuirkyLuxury

The Bull & Swan FacebookInstagram & Twitter  The William Cecil Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

‘Tis the Season to indulge – Christmas Afternoon Tea With Us…

As the fallen leaves crowd the streets and the air has a definite chill, Winter is coming, and Christmas is certainly on the horizon. So, for those who are feeling the tingle of the Christmas spirit you’ll be pleased to hear that The William Cecil at Stamford are launching a brand new Festive Afternoon Tea.

Served with tea, mulled wine or Champagne, a selection of festive sandwiches from roast turkey & cranberry to smoked salmon & dill, delight in sweet treats –  mini sherry trifles, Christmas tree brownie pops, & Christmas pudding truffles. Finish with a scrumptious hand-crafted gingerbread man, lovingly wrapped with a ribbon… a perfect reminder to take home and hang on your tree perhaps? To view the full menu, click hereclick here.

Festive afternoon tea is available from Sunday 3rd of December until Sunday 31st December, 2:30 – 5:30pm, pre-booking is essential. Prices start from £20 per person.

T: 01780 750 070 thewilliamcecil.co.uk

Red & Yellow & Orange & Brown… #AutumnIsHere at The Master Builder’s Hotel

Red & Yellow & Orange & Brown… #AutumnIsHere at The Master Builder’s Hotel

Nestled on the banks of the river Beaulieu, The Master Builder’s is the perfect place to stay and enjoy the New Forest National Park as the green of the forest changes into a dazzling autumn display of golden hues, rich reds and burnt orange.

An idyllic location for couples and families alike, enjoy autumnal walks, cycle rides, or even a dedicated Fungi walk can also be organised by thenewforest.co.uk. There are around 70,000 species of fungi worldwide with around 2,700 of those found in the New Forest National Park. Please note – there is a strict look but don’t touch policy protecting these little guys.

If walking, exploring and learning is high on your agenda then be certain to stay with us… Visit The New Forest Walking Routes.  Strolls for families, town & village walks, pub walks , wildlife walks,  and not forgetting dog walks ,walks to fulfil any walkers needs big or small.

Whatever you decide to do or not, our new refurbished Riverview lounge offers a home from home space with comfortable sofas, a large open log fire, newspapers, Scrabble, and waiters service to cater for your needs, so just relax and we’ll do the rest!

Book our dedicated Winter Warmer break from 1st October 2017 – 28th March 2018. A 2-night break for £199 for two in our Posh Classic bedrooms which includes breakfast each morning & dinner for two on one of the nights in our award-winning Riverview Restaurant. Contact one of the team to book a cheeky Winter Warmer stay.

PS for those wishing to stay with their four-legged friend, we also offer Dog Friendly accommodation and a dedicated Dog Dinner Room Service Menu

Can’t stay for two nights? Book a #SundayStopOver & sleep with us for £50 for 2 when you spend £75 on food and drink.

Get Social With Us… Tag us your photos of your visit #QuirkyLuxury

Facebook, Instagram & Twitter

T: 01590 616 253

themasterbuilders.co.uk

Take a tour around Hillbrooke Hotels…

Twice a year we organise and style shoots with our expert award-winning photographer Fergus Coyle. We understand the importance of new and up to date photography, as we’re constantly improving what we offer at our hotels – from newly refurbished Posh Classic rooms at The Master Builder’s hotel to creating a Walled Kitchen Garden from scratch at The Bull & Swan or simply  seasonal menu changes across all three hotels.
July 2017 saw the team capture video footage for the first time at all three of the Hillbrooke hotels.
Paul Brown, Group Director, commented ‘We really wanted to share more of a moving visual experience, so that perspective visitors and guests could really gain a feel for each properties location and interior. Situated on English country estates, each hotel affords, stunning surroundings of the countryside. It also gave us a real chance to welcome people inside our 4 AA Star hotels, from arrival, checking in, enjoying drinks on the terrace, to catching a glimpse of our #QuirkyLuxury rooms with roll top baths and king-sized beds.’
Highlights from the Summer Shoot include:
New Walled Kitchen Garden at The Bull & Swan at Burghley – January 2017 saw the start of what was the car park getting slowly transformed into a walled Kitchen Garden, complete with Pizza Potting Shed. Easter 2017 we opened the new space complete with the now very popular outdoor Garden Cinema – Thursday night has fast become the new Friday night.  Take a look at our Winter Cinema Programme.
See, a stunning aerial view of our outdoor Wedding Pavilion, at The William Cecil, the only place in Stamford to say, ‘I do’ outside. You can arrange a tour of our award-winning wedding venue at any time and our Wedding Coordinator Amy Dawkins will show you around and help you with your forthcoming wedding plans. Diary check our dedicated Wedding Fayres and Wedding Open days  dates for 2018.

At the Master Builder’s at Buckler’s Hard our award-winning Riverview restaurant got a full make over in early Spring, making the dining experience more intimate with new tables and chairs strategically placed, lining the French windows and doors. Guests & diners can now eat and watch the ever changing vista of the beautiful Beaulieu river from dusk until dawn.

One of our requests to Fergus was to produce a dedicated recruitment piece of footage so that perspective employees & apprentices could see various roles within the hotels in action, from members of the restaurant & bar teams, Kitchen side to housekeeping and of course the locations they maybe working from. If you would like to #WorkWithUs and join our team as an apprentice or to view our current vacancies please get in touch…

NEW walled Kitchen Garden, showcasing a NEW Garden Cinema & Pizza Potting Shed at The Bull & Swan at Burghley.

June saw the launch of  our newly landscaped Kitchen Garden at the Bull & Swan at Burghley. The former car park has been transformed into a Kitchen Garden, with a dedicated Pizza Potting Shed, Garden Cinema, and new outdoor seating.

The Kitchen Garden comprises of six raised wooden clad boxes. Each one has been carefully mapped and planted to grow fresh seasonal herbs, salad, vegetables and soft fruit, which will ultimately end up on our Kitchen Garden menu.

The terrace area has been kitted out with new seating and deck chairs for those wishing to enjoy a spot of alfresco dining over the summer months. The seating is centred around the new 45-inch outdoor cinema screen, which shows ‘classic’ family films every Thursday from 7:30 pm (weather dependent) – films such as Bridget Jones, Titanic and The Full Monty to name but a few. Tennis fanatics were also able to enjoy the British grand slam tennis championships at Wimbledon, with fresh strawberries from our Kitchen Garden. When the nights get cooler, thick blankets are readily available, to ensure you feel as snug as a bug in the garden.

**HOT OFF THE GARDEN CINEMA PRESS**

Introducing #FridayFeeling late night Garden Cinema nights. – Late night Friday Mystery Movie. This movie will be chosen by our Facebook winner, and the movie will be announced once the competition comes to a close the Wednesday before! The film will start at 9 pm. Enter on our Facebook page to select your chosen film and be in with a chance of winning pizza for two with a glass or wine each. Movies to vote for include,GoodfellasScarface50 Shades of GreyGone GirlSilence of the Lambs or
Borat: The Movie
 

#RBS6Nations fanatics, diary check Saturday 3rd February at 14:15 when we kick off with Wales v Scotland at the Principality Stadium, side step into our Garden Cinema (weather dependent), but fear not, rain will not stop play as we’ll also be showing games inside the pub too!

The Pizza Potting shed is also a brand-new offering. The pizza oven is fired up every Thursday & Friday from 6 – 9 pm and every Saturday from 12 noon – 9 pm (weather dependent) offering a choice of seasonally topped pizzas, Peroni, Prosecco, Pinot & Popcorn.

The Garden Cinema is free with no booking required. However it is weather dependent and we recommend you arrive early when the weather is good to avoid disappointment. Pizzas one for £12 or £20 for two. To view the film list visit thebullandswan.co.uk or call 01780 766 412

The Bull & Swan at Burghley is an AA 4 Star Inn with an AA rosette for culinary excellence and home to Award Winning Head Chef Philip Kent, winner of the CLA Game Chef of the year. The property also offers nine #QuirkyLuxury bedrooms for guests.

 

Hillbrooke Hotels

We welcome you to our brand new Hillbrooke Hotels blog, where you can enjoy regular updates, news, and competitions from the team. We’re #QuirkyLuxury and we’d like to think our blog posts will often reflect this…

Read & enjoy blog posts on dog-friendly stays, Weddings, indoors or outdoors at either of our #AwardWinning venues, at The Master Builder’s Hotel at Buckler’s Hard and The William Cecil at Stamford. New, seasonal menu launches from all three properties. Individual seasonal news from each hotel, such as #SundayStopOvers , #LunchForLess ,#SausageClub to #Festive Celebrations , #AfternoonTea  and dedicated English estate breaks, such as Burghley House & Beaulieu Palace & Gardens.

The Bull & Swan at Burghley is our little gem, a fine traditional #English pub with rooms. The food is above and beyond what you might expect & famous for our homemade scotch eggs! We’ve recently opened a new Kitchen Garden, offering a Garden Cinema every Thursday and a Pizza Potting Shed serving freshly prepared pizza, the perfect place for #Cinephiles and #PizzaLovers.

The Master Builder’s at Buckler’s Hard is situated on the Beaulieu estate, nestled on the banks of the River Beaulieu, offering a tranquil place to sit & enjoy undisturbed views of the river. The recently renovated Yachtsman’s Bar & Garden is where you’ll find our ‘shipmates’ who are always ready to serve you seasonal delights from our menu. OR book into our #AwardWinning Riverview Restaurant for an AA Rosette dining experience! Stay the night, book into one of our #NEW #PoshClassic rooms for a splendid slumber.

The William Cecil at Stamford lies within the magnificent Burghley Estate, the centrepiece of which is Burghley House, one of the foremost Treasure Houses of the United Kingdom. Add this to the beauty of Stamford – which came top of a Sunday Times list of the best places to live in Britain – and The William Cecil must be one of the best located hotels in the country. Enjoy #AwardWinning culinary delights, lovingly created by our #TopChef & Game Chef of the Year Phil Kent, Phil runs an impeccable kitchen with a fantastic team who are consistently unleashing culinary delights for their recently awarded 2 AA Rosette restaurant

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#DogFriendly ~ Offering Dedicated Dog Dinner Room Service at Hillbrooke Hotels.

A quirky service for pet owners at selected Hillbrooke Hotels.

Luxury hotel collection, Hillbrooke Hotels, is extending its reputation for quirkiness with the launch of a Room Service menu for VIPs Room Service menu for VIPs (Very Important Pets) at three of its properties: The Bull & Swan at Burghley; The Master Builder’s at Buckler’s Hard and The William Cecil at Stamford.

With the new Dog Room Service menu, hirsute Hillbrooke guests can experience the same delicious food as their owners, although the more ‘traditional’ canine customer can also enjoy a choice of branded dog food flavours.

Group Director, Paul Brown of Hillbrooke Hotels commented: ‘Each Hillbrooke Hotel Head Chef is passionate about seasonal and creative, yet simple menus, cooked to perfection. A special room service menu designed for dogs is our way of recognising a growing trend among our guests to holiday with their pets. We want to offer our four-legged friends the same luxurious experience as their owners and dogs certainly won’t have to ‘ruff’ it with our new menu.”

Sirloin steak and organic chicken breasts feature on the short, but tasty, menu at each property. Dishes start at £4.50.

THE BULL & SWAN is a traditional pub in Stamford with luxurious rooms, and frequented (we think) by the infamous 1684 Burghley House drinking club called The Honourable Order of Little Bedlam.

Address: The Bull & Swan, St Martins, Stamford, Lincolnshire, PE9 2LJ

thebullandswan.co.uk T: 01780 766 412

THE MASTER BUILDER’S  

Beaulieu Estate, in the heart of The New Forest, which was voted the best large visitor attraction by VisitEngland. With beautiful views over the Beaulieu River and set at the end of the grassy street that is Buckler’s Hard village, it is difficult to imagine a more picturesque setting for a hotel on the whole south coast of England.

Address: The Master Builder’s House Hotel, Buckler’s Hard, Beaulieu Estate, Hampshire. SO42 7XB themasterbuilders.co.uk T: 01590 616 253

THE WILLIAM CECIL not only lies within the magnificent Burghley Estate, but is in Stamford, the town that topped The Sunday Times’ list of the best places to live in Britain.

Address: The William Cecil, St Martins, Stamford, Lincolnshire, PE9 2LJ

thewilliamcecil.co.uk  T: 01780 750 070

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