James Close joins Rockliffe Hall as culinary director

Two-Michelin-starred chef James Close is joining Rockliffe Hall as culinary director to open a new restaurant, as well as oversee and develop the gastronomic direction of the resort.

Slated to open in late 2024, Close’s new restaurant will continue his current global approach to gastronomy, but a new bespoke space will allow interaction with the chefs, who will take diners on a journey inspired by the best cuisine from around the world. Close will be joined by his wife Maria, who will head up development, and his Head Chef Adam Molloy.

Close will join the hotel in February, which will allow him time to get to know the current culinary offerings, before identifying opportunities to strengthen the resort dining experiences through adding his passion and personality.

“To join Rockliffe Hall as Culinary Director is an incredible opportunity and the perfect progression to take everything we have developed and achieved at the Raby Hunt to the next level,” comments Close. “I’m always striving to do better and I’m looking forward to being part of an ambitious team that wants to lead the way in the culinary hotel space and modernise what a luxury country hotel offers its guests across gastronomy, service and experiences.”

He adds: “I’m very thankful to all the people who have believed in us and been involved in our journey so far – repeat diners, guests travelling from further afield, chefs, suppliers and Michelin, which has played a big part in my career – and we look forward to our continued relationship with all of them.”

Before closing on 27th January, Close has created The Final Menu for the remaining services at Raby Hunt, which will include favourite dishes from over the years. The team will also hold a final celebration event to thank those who have been involved in James and Maria’s journey so far, including chefs, suppliers, regular diners, family and friends.