1 Michelin Star Chefs: Richard Swale, head chef, Allium at Askham Hall

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 21st October 2019

Richard Swale is the head chef at Allium at Askham Hall. 

The Cumbrian-born chef joined Askham in 2013 and was at the helm when it relaunched restaurant under its new name, Allium.

Allium at Askham Hall

Allium at Askham Hall

Askham Hall, Askham, Penrith CA10 2PF

Telephone: 01931 712350

Website: askhamhall.co.uk/restaurant-with-rooms/

Reservations: https://www.askhamhall.co.uk/contact/

Twitter: @AskhamHall

Instagram: @askham_hall

Facebook:  @AskhamHall

Opening hours: 7 pm – 9.30 pm on Tuesdays to Saturdays, closed on Sundays and Mondays

Career to date

Growing up in the region, Richard learnt about local produce through hunting, fishing and raising his own rare-breed chickens, discovering his love for cooking from a young age.

The chef then honed his skills in the French Alps, working at chef Marc Veyrat's then three Michelin-starred restaurant, followed by a brief stint at Noma in Copenhagen. 

Prior to joining Askham Hall, Richard worked forJohn William Burton-Race and Anthony Demetre in London. 

Allium at Askham Hall

Askham Hall is a country estate inn with a restaurant, bar and bedrooms situated on the edge of the Lake District. 

Dating back to the 12th century, the estate used to be a a fortified peel tower intended to protect England from invasion by Scotland. In the 16th century it was converted into an Elizabethan mansion by Thomas Sandford before being bought by the Lowther family two centuries ago. 

What the guides say

Michelin:

Michelin star

AA: 

three rosette logo 2

It then became home to Anthony Lowther, a descendant of the 5th Earl of Lonsdale, and was passed down the family. It is now owned by Charles Lowther and his mother, Caroline, Countess of Lonsdale, who until recently had it as a family home.

The decision to open it for commercial purposes, as a wedding hall, hotel and restaurant came in 2011, and was completed after two years of renovation work.

Named after family of flowering plants which include onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chives, the restaurant is set in the castle's modish country kitchen with ornately decorative floors with views on the gardens and private room. 

On the menu

Guests are given a choice of two dishes per course, all of which are driven by seasonality and the produce available within the Lowther Estate's kitchen garden and farm. Richard works closely with the gardener on the estate, who advises him on which ingredients are at their peak and what should be planted next. 

According to the guide, the restaurant produces "accomplished dishes have a certain simplicity to them but also focus on complementary textures and tastes." 

On the menu, expect dishes such as crab with lovage, blackcurrant and garden herbs, sourdough and squid ink lattice, Goosnargh duckbreast; celeriac with beetroot, plum and a duck fat waffle and buttermilk pannacotta with apple sorrel and blackberries. 

The chef's specialities include Askham-reared chicken with smoked shallots, onion and beetroot; loin and shoulder of Cumbrian lamb and goat's curd, lamb fat potatoes and mint; caramel tart with damson, candied walnuts and sorrel ice cream. 

The wine list receives a special commendation in the guide, calling it "hugely impressive." 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 21st October 2019

1 Michelin Star Chefs: Richard Swale, head chef, Allium at Askham Hall