Top Chef On The Right Track At North East Restaurant

A CHEF who was runner-up in a leading TV cooking contest is now steaming ahead at a revamped North East hotel and restaurant.

Leon Dodd, who took second place in Masterchef The Professionals in 2008 – and so impressed judge Michel Roux Jr that he offered him a job in his two Michelin star restaurant, Le Gavroche – has now taken up the role of head chef at The Pullman Hotel, Bar and Restaurant, Sunderland.

And his appointment is part of a plan by the hotel's new owners to put it on the map as a destination eatery.

The Pullman – which gets its name because it features two historic, original Pullman carriages – was taken over six months ago by Rosalind Leisure.

The company has invested heavily in revamping the hotel including the creation of Carriages Tea Room and Platform 5 bar and eatery and the upgrading of its conference facilities.

The appointment of Leon means the aim of creating both a casual and more formal dining experience at the hotel are now on track.

“We're delighted to have Leon on board,” said John Gray.

“The first menu he's created for us is already going down a storm and everyone has remarked on it.

“We're looking forward to working with him going forward.”

The current menu is more informal and is being served in the Platform 5 bar, and it offers a range of anti pasti and mezze sharing plates along with favourites such as proper fish and chips, spiced lamb burgers and Thai green curry.

Leon revealed that he is now working on a second menu with the aim of offering a fine dining style experience, focussing on seafood.

“When I was in Masterchef I became known for my fish dishes and Michel Roux offered me a job working on the fish section at Le Gavroche,” he said.

“Given the great location – right by the sea – and my passion, it makes sense for fish to strongly feature on the menu I'm currently creating.

“This is a great challenge and very exciting for me.”

For more information about The Pullman, or to book, visit or call 0191 529 2020.


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