TV chef Martin Blunos takes over the kitchen at Seaham Hall

Martin Blunos
Martin Blunos
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A MICHELIN starred chef has taken up the helm of a five-star hotel as part of its £1.5million relaunch.

Cookery show regular Martin Blunos will run Seaham Hall and Serenity Spa’s new seafood restaurant, and has already overseen a rethink of the food served in its Ozone restaurant.

The business was bought by Seasons Holidays last year after previous owner Von Essen went into administration.

The new owner’s early days were dogged with controversy, with police called when staff refused to leave their accommodation after it was deemed unsafe, and couples who had booked weddings left distraught by cancellations.

However, with the appointment of the new chef – who has two Michelin stars and has featured on shows including Saturday Kitchen and James Martin’s Feasts – and new manager Ross Grieve, its reputation as one of the region’s top hotels may be restored.

The company has said its purchase addressed “a lack of investment in the intervening years” since it was named the AA’s Hotel of the Year in 2004.

A new Byron Bar, which takes its name from poet Lord Byron who married the daughter of the hall’s owner in the building in 1815, has also been installed as part of a revamp.

Mr Grieve, who spent a decade in the same job at London’s Grosvenor Hotel, said: “Everyone here is really excited at the prospect of making this iconic hotel one of the best in Britain again.

“With its striking, contemporary design features, creative and accomplished cooking, high levels of guest comfort and laid-back, informal atmosphere, we are hoping to attract guests who appreciate style and sophistication in a sensational setting.”

He added it had been accepted into membership of the prestigious Pride of Britain consortium of independently-owned hotels.