Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, a five-star, family-run hotel near Windermere, is on course for becoming THE foodie destination of the region for 2023, with the appointment of three new high-profile chefs.

Ollie Bridgwater (ex Fat Duck), Aakash Ohol (ex HRiSHi), and Tom ‘Westy’ Westerland (ex Lucknam Park) will completely transform the F&B offering at Gilpin, offering three completely different dining experiences in one location.

Each will oversee the kitchen at one of three onsite restaurants; the Michelin-starred HRiSHi (to be renamed SOURCE) and Gilpin Spice – both at Gilpin Hotel – plus the newly opened Glöð at Gilpin Lake House.

From January, the chefs will begin to put their own creativity, and cooking techniques into practice: developing entirely new menus for the restaurants while also committing to more sustainable practices.

Although the aim is to create three very different restaurants, headed up by three very different chefs, they will work together, sharing the same vision and values, built on sustainable sourcing with low to no food miles and supporting local producers.

Under the guidance of owner Barney Cunliffe, the property’s strategy for sustainability will include new procedures and techniques for procurement, scrutinising the supply chain and developing a new Culinary Centre, complete with its own on-site butchery, and working with local farms and specific herds.


Taking up the role of executive chef at Gilpin’s one Michelin starred, AA four rosette restaurant is Ollie Bridgwater. Ollie joins Gilpin from Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, possibly the most innovative and successful restaurant in the UK’s history, which next year is due to celebrate an astonishing quarter of a century of three Michelin stars. Ollie was with Heston for eight years and his appointment is a real coup for the region’s burgeoning fine dining scene.

He aims to create his own unique Lake District restaurant with local produce at the top of his agenda, topped with a sprinkling of culinary magic and storytelling that pushes the boundaries of what diners have come to expect at this popular fine dining establishment.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity here with Barney and Zoë, there is a lot of history here, a lot of family; I want to respect that and protect the legacy. It does mean a lot to be chosen for this role. I visited before I knew I was coming to work here and I always thought it was a very special place, so I’m very excited to get started on this project,” says Ollie.

“We’ll be collaborating across all three restaurants to use each animal nose to tail, ensuring nothing is wasted. Style-wise, I’m not going to try and replicate what I’ve been doing at The Fat Duck, but of course there will be strong influences. I do have some particular dishes in mind but I’m keeping them under wraps for now.”

Aakash Ohol, previously sous chef at HRiSHi, Gilpin’s Michelin-starred restaurant, is taking the reigns as head chef of Gilpin Spice. Prior to his role at HRiSHi he worked as a long established, five-star head chef in Goa, India.

Aakash has exciting plans to transform the menu at Gilpin Spice which is renowned locally for its inspired fusion of Asian-influenced cuisine, saying, “My recent experience in HRiSHi has served to refine and develop my culinary abilities and ideas.

“I have a lot of ideas and I’m looking forward to creating them. India has a lot of different spices, every city it is different. The same with the Philippines, China, Japan, Vietnam; finding the exciting dishes and bringing them here, that is the main idea right now. The kitchen at Spice is open so diners are right in front of me and the team. If they keep coming back again and again, I know they enjoy the food.”

National Chef of the Year for Wales, Tom ‘Westy’ Westerland, will head up the kitchen at Gilpin’s newest restaurant, Glöð at The Lake House, where guests can dine with panoramic views of the lake.

Westy trained at Restaurant Hywel Jones, the fine dining offering at Relais & Châteaux Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, which has retained its Michelin star since 2006. Westy was also head chef of the Brasserie at Lucknam Park, where he discovered his passion for grill cooking, especially on coal. His vision for Glöð is to create a menu that is fun, entertaining, nostalgic and taps into a sense of playfulness to create memorable dishes.

“To see some of the vistas and some of the views, you can’t help but be inspired by what’s out there. It also has some of the best produce in the country thanks to the environment it is being grown in and being reared in” he says.

“My food is based around cooking with charcoal and different woods. Being somewhere like this, where you have so much inspiration around you, it’s a fantastic tool to work with.”

The three appointments come with the news of the departure of chef Hrishikesh Desai, who held the position of Executive Chef at Gilpin Hotel and Lake House for the past seven years, overseeing the entire F&B offering at Gilpin.

Owner Barney Cunliffe added: “Whenever something major changes within an organisation you must look at it as an opportunity to re-examine what you’re doing and find ways to make positive changes for the future. We are very sad to see Hrishikesh go, but we are happy to see him follow his dreams; the whole team and we wish him lots of luck for the future.

“Rather than try to emulate what we had, Zoë and I felt that it was time to try something new and with the opening of our new restaurant at the Lake House, it felt like the ideal time to begin to diversify our culinary offering.

Family owned and run Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, is an elegant, relaxing haven of luxury which offers the ultimate in wellness experiences. Awarded the coveted 5 Red Star Accreditation by The AA in 2021, which “recognises the top level of excellence in hospitality awarded to a hotel by the organisation”, guests can expect warm smiles, stunning culinary experiences, exquisite décor, real fires and friendly, unpretentious service.   

Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Crook Road, Windermere, The English Lake District

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