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Top chef’s arrival signals new chapter for Lilleshall Hall restaurant

A Shropshire country estate used for weddings and functions has welcomed its new chef.

Mark Bannon is the new chef at Lilleshall House and Gardens
Mark Bannon is the new chef at Lilleshall House and Gardens

Lilleshall House and Gardens near Newport has unveiled Mark Bannon, who for the past eight years has worked with well-known TV cook Antony Worrall Thompson.

Mark Bannon has spent the last eight years at The Greyhound in Henley-on-Thames, the restaurant Worrall Thompson runs with his wife, but now he's embarking on a new challenge in Shropshire.

While he enjoyed his time at The Greyhound, Mark needed to relocate as his daughter, Kaya, accepted a place at the prestigious Harper and Keele Veterinary School to study veterinary science.

Mark said: “I loved working with Antony and Jay and The Greyhound team. Antony, along with Marco Pierre-White, is a true food hero of mine and although I’ve been a professionally trained chef for over 30 years, working with him was like attending the best training college in the world – I learnt so much and have so much to thank him for.

“I’ve really fallen on my feet with this new role though. The place itself, Lilleshall, is stunning, and there’s so much potential for growth across the estate.

“Into 2023, I’ll be looking to make more of the location, introducing more game dishes into the menu, as there’s an abundance of quality game around here.

“These will be dishes that local people will have grown up with, but for some reason may have fallen out of favour with modern tastes. I want to bring back some of the classics, but give them a 21st century twist. I want to intrigue people with my food, and get them excited about eating here.

“We’re filling up nicely with Christmas bookings, but once we’re into 2023 we’ll be looking to bring back our popular Sunday Roasts in Chapters Restaurant, as well as staging a series of one-off special events, like a Burns Night on January 25 and a St Patrick’s Day celebration on March 17, to name just a few.

“This place is a genuine hidden gem, and I’m very excited about the next chapter in our story.”

Antony Worrall Thompson said: “Mark has a great passion for sourcing the best products, he’s inspirational in his menu choices and has a tremendous ability to get the most from his staff.”

For more information about events at Lilleshall House and Gardens, including Christmas Party Nights, Lunch with Santa and their new Christmas Crafting Classes, visit lilleshallnsc.co.uk/nsc/ or call 01952 603 003.

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