Georgian Ramsgate boutique recruits local talent to head up kitchen

Empire room

The Royal Harbour Hotel in Ramsgate has appointed Craig Mather as head chef of its Empire Room restaurant.

James Thomas, owner of the Georgian townhouse hotel has welcomed local talent Mather to take over responsibility for the ‘club-like’ 30-cover restaurant from the beginning of July.

The Michelin-trained chef is to leave his post as chef lecturer at East Kent College in Broadstairs for the role, where he has been since 2011.

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Prior to this he was head chef at Eddie Gilbert’s seafood restaurant, which closed in May 2013 following the tragic death of its proprietor, Jonny Dunhill.

Under his reign, the restaurant scooped a string of awards including two Taste of Kent Awards and named Best Newcomer at the Kent Restaurant Awards.

Mather also trained for four years at the Michelin-starred Mallory Court in Leamington Spa.

In his new position at The Empire Restaurant, he will now work on maintaining links with East Kent college, offering work placements as well as developing apprenticeships and running cookery classes for the general public.

“I am delighted to be forming a partnership with Craig – his skills as a chef, his experience and local knowledge will help build the reputation of the Empire Room restaurant,” said James.

“This partnership with James Thomas offers an exciting opportunity to bring a regularly changing menu, focusing on the best of seasonal Kentish ingredients, in a relaxed and unique restaurant environment,” he added.

The Royal Harbour Hotel, with 27 bedrooms is set across three period townhouses in a distinguished Georgian crescent, overlooking the Royal Harbour (granted royal status by George IV in 1821) and is within a 10-minute walk from the beach.


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