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New head chef appointed as historic Wynyard Hall enters new chapter

Historic Wynyard Hall has appointed a new head chef as it aims to stamp itself on the culinary map.

Saturday, 16th April 2022, 4:45 am

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The privately-owned 120-acre estate has welcomed new executive head chef Gareth Rayner who joins the historic site in the Tees Valley from Middleton Lodge, near Darlington.

As it reopened post-pandemic, the landmark venue had a shift in business with the main hall and its former Wellingtons restaurant now operating for exclusive venue hire only, or for select events.

It means its day-to-day food offering is now at The Glass House restaurant, which opened last summer.

Gareth Rayner has joined Wynyard Hall

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While wedding and other function guests can enjoy the opulence of the main hall, The Glass House, which stands apart from the former stately home of the Londonderry family within the walled garden area of the estate, has a much more relaxed ambience and is aimed at everyone, from dog walkers who can enjoy a drink in the bar area to families out for lunch and people looking for a high-quality evening meal.

It has a plot to plate dining concept, where many of the ingredients for the dishes are grown on site in the sprawling kitchen garden.

Gareth, who graduated from Kirby College, Middlesbrough and has 22-years of experience, said he’s looking forward to getting creative in the kitchen at The Glass House, as well as catering for the hall’s banqueting and events.

The chef, who will be plating up modern, British dishes, said: “I am thrilled to be re-joining the Wynyard team and to welcome back guests to The Glass House with new dining experiences, as well as overseeing the events food offering.

The Glass House restaurant, Wynyard Hall. Picture by Frank Reid

"Bringing my style and the flavours that I’ve worked with over the years to Wynyard while incorporating local produce is such an exciting opportunity. I look forward to making Wynyard a culinary destination.”

Kelly Moorby, operations manager at Wynyard Hall, said: “Chef Rayner brings a wealth of culinary talent and leadership to our team. His extremely diverse experience will elevate the dining experience here at the Wynyard Hall and further our mission to make plot to plate dining and the concept of what grows together, goes together, a wonderful experience for all.”

As well as utilising the wealth of produce grown on the estate, The Glass House uses local suppliers wherever possible, such as fish from Hodgson’s in Hartlepool, cheese from Parlour Made in County Durham, dairy products from Acorn Dairy in Darlington, wheat from Craggs & Co in Sedgefield and meat from Broom House Farm in Durham and R&J butchers near Ripon.

The Glass House, which has around 70 covers, had previously been used as a shop and for cookery classes, but customer feedback showed that people would like to see it used as a restaurant. It’s open Wednesdays to Saturdays, serving lunches from noon and dinner from 6.30pm, as well as Sunday lunches.

Gareth Rayner

The site also features a farm shop and cafe.

One of the largest glasshouses in the UK, Wynyard Hall’s Glass House reopened to the public after 70 years in 2016 following a major £160,000 project to restore it to its Victorian glory.

The Glass House restaurant opened last year
The Glass House restaurant, Wynyard Hall. Picture by Frank Reid
The Glass House restaurant, Wynyard Hall. Picture by Frank Reid