One of Northern Ireland’s most renowned chefs has been appointed to run the restaurant of a charming new guest house in Castlewellan.
Will Brown, who worked under Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsey in London and as a chef at The Old Schoolhouse family-run restaurant in Comber, previously held the position at Hillyard House in County Down.
The guesthouse and restaurant opened a month before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, but have now reopened, creating 11 full-time and 26 part-time jobs.
It represents an investment of £ 3 million by Forest Park Development Group, with support of £ 300,000 from Invest Northern Ireland.
Will will be supported by a team of 12 chefs and the new CEO Suzanne Kidd.
“I am delighted to take on the role of Head Chef at Hillyard House Castlewellan,” he said. “I recently moved to live in Castlewellan with my two sons, Harry and Jackie.
“It’s a really beautiful place and Hillyard House is the perfect platform to excel in my career. The restaurant is beautiful and I am fortunate to have some of Ireland’s best produce right on our doorstep.
“We source our food locally and cook in a simple but elegant way. Our customers can count on consistently good food using ingredients to which they belong.
The property’s menu, which is now open for business, includes Carnlough Bay oysters, flax-fed beef, Castlewellan tomatoes, Dundrum Bay mussels, Morne lamb, Comber potatoes and more. .
Will began his career at the age of 17 when he worked under the direction of Marco Pierre White at the Mirabelle in Mayfair. He returned to Belfast where he trained in Roscoff with Paul Rankin before moving to London where he worked in two Michelin star The Square in Mayfair, Gordon Ramsay’s Maze and The Glasshouse for Bruce Poole.
Among his prestigious guests, he can count Madonna, Guy Ritchie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Claudia Schiffer. Will also performed in the Great British Menu.
Hillyard House Chief Operating Officer Mark O’Higgins welcomed Will’s appointment.
“His nomination allows us to open ourselves fully to the public with a bang, offering the best of local food for the whole family complemented by the most beautiful environment to be found here,” he said. “Hillyard House is a true celebration of all that is great about Northern Ireland. “
John McGrillen of Tourism NI added that Hillyard House is a good addition to the tourism product in the Mournes area.
“It is ideally located at the gates of Castlewellan Forest Park to meet the needs of the growing number of people who visit here to explore all of the activities available in the park and in the wider Mournes area. High quality local food and drink is now an integral part of our tourism offering and it is great to see Will Brown join the team here as he will deliver a dining experience that lives up to the fantastic produce and landscape they come from.