Unsung Heroes: Richard Allen, executive head chef, Rockliffe Hall


Since Richard Allen arrived at Rockliffe Hall in 2014 and took over the operation of the resort’s flagship 3AA rosette Orangery restaurant’s kitchen, the hotel has witnessed a transformation in the behaviour and the culture of the kitchen brigade, with standards rising to an all-time high.

He joined after Eamonn Elliott was appointed chief executive at the luxury five-star property from The Grand Jersey, where Allen was also executive head chef. Inspired by Elliott’s passion for Rockliffe Hall and the prospect of a new challenge, Allen swiftly jumped ship and made the move after nine years at The Grand.

Now an integral part of the team at Rockliffe, Allen is hugely respected by the staff, not only for his talent as a chef but also his work ethic and his commitment to achieving excellence. During his reign, employee engagement has increased significantly and turnover of staff has reduced by 70%.

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His philosophy is to lead by example and he sets a high standard, developing and nurturing talent along the way; he recently promoted one of his young kitchen porters to an apprentice commis chef. Last year Allen won the Inspirer Award at Rockliffe Hall – the hotel’s internal accolades – recognised for his leadership skills among the entire workforce at the hotel.

The Orangery restaurant team were also runners up in the Department of the Year awards, rewarded for their high standards, and culinary excellence, spearheaded by Allen. Allen has also caught the eye of the national media; in February 2017 the restaurant was voted in the Sunday Times Top 100 restaurants within the UK and approached by the Good Food Guide for inclusion within the 2018 guide.


Rockliffe Hall

Address: Hurworth Place, Darlington DL2 2DU

Bedrooms: 60


Twitter: @rockliffehall

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Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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