The new head chef at Seaham Hall is aiming to stamp the hotel firmly on the foodie map.
Damian Broom has taken over the reins in the site’s two restaurants, Byron’s and Ozone, and is hoping new seasonal menus will draw more non-residents through the doors.
“A lot of people are aware of the hotel, it’s got a great reputation nationally, but a lot of people still don’t think about just coming here to dine,” he said.
The chef, whose past posts include stints at The Oakley Court Hotel in Windsor and Danesfield House in Marlow-on-Thames, said the menus will have a firm focus on good quality, seasonal produce.
He said: “I was working in Windsor and hadn’t been to the North East before, but had certainly heard of Seaham Hall. So when the job offer was dangled in front of me I jumped at the opportunity. It ticks a lot of boxes: the hotel itself is amazing, the Byron’s dining room is beautiful and there’s a great wine cellar and great produce available.
“I think sometimes people often see the hotel as exclusive and expensive, but we’re actually laid back and open to everyone. What we want to be known for is great food and great service in a great environment, whether that be for breakfast, a meal in Bryon’s or Ozone, afternoon tea or Sunday lunch. We do great Sunday lunches, just like you have at home, without you having to do the cooking.
“We aren’t chasing awards, we want people to just come here and have an amazing time and to put the restaurants on the map.”
Damian says he’s lucky to have a wealth of great produce on his doorstep for the menus, which change almost daily depending on what produce is available here and further afield.
“We buy from the day boats and there is some great seafood up here,” he said. “We source really high quality ingredients, whether that be beautiful scallops from the Isle of Skye, dry aged beef from the Lake District or lamb from Durham.”
As well as Byron’s restaurant - named after the former Georgian country house’s most famous resident, romantic poet Lord Byron - Damian oversees the Ozone restaurant at the site’s Serenity Spa which offers Asian fusion cuisine.
He said: “Ozone has some great offers, such as two course lunches, and has a very different style to Byron’s. It’s classical Asian cuisine with daily specials, such as Asian steamed buns and Vietnamese spring rolls.”