Head chef ready to rock Stratford restaurant

Lee makes great experience count as he gets top job

Lee Cresswell, head chef at The Arden Hotel
Lee Cresswell, head chef at The Arden Hotel

The new head chef of a Stratford restaurant will be calling on his knowledge of the town's foodie scene to add something different to the mix.

Lee Cresswell, whose career includes a stint at Stratford's Michelin-starred Salt, said he has some big plans in his new role at No 44 Brasserie at The Arden Hotel in Waterside, a two AA rosette restaurant.

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He said: “I’m really excited to get going and can’t wait to bring new flavours to Stratford.

“Stratford has a growing food scene with so many different cultural offers – from Indian, Greek, to Chinese – alongside traditional English pubs and cocktail bars.

“There’s an emerging fine dining scene right now and we hope to take that up a level here at The Arden with some exciting plans for No 44 Brasserie in the coming months.”

The Arden job will be his first role as head chef, having started in the industry straight out of college aged 16.

He began as a commis chef at the Evesham Hotel before becoming a chef de partie. Since then he has spent eight years in the Cotswolds, which included roles at Buckland Manor as a chef de partie, Dormy House Hotel and Spa in Broadway and its sister hotel The Fish as a junior sous chef, working his way up to become sous chef.

During his 18-month stay at The Fish he worked alongside culinary director and two Michelin star chef Martin Burge and executive chef Jon Ingram, as it reinvented itself as a fish and seafood restaurant and gained two AA rosettes within the first six weeks of opening.

His next role saw him move to Stratford working at Michelin-starred, three AA rosette Salt under the stewardship of chef Paul Foster, before returning to The Fish as senior sous chef.

Lee, who is from Evesham but has lived in Stratford for the past ten years, said: “I have been lucky enough to have had some great mentors along the way and their advice has helped mould me into the chef I am today.

“I am really pleased to be here at The Arden and take my first step as head chef – I feel I am ready for it.”

In terms of what diners can expect, he said: “It is modern food. It is cool, playful, fresh and seasonal.

“I just like to play around with things. I am one of those people who just really likes to cook food and have a happy team around me.”