THE former head chef of the Michelin-two-starred L'Enclume in Cumbria, is to open his own restaurant, with rooms, near Ormskirk.
Mark Birchall, who until this summer was group executive chef of Simon Rogan's restaurants in Cartmel and Manchester, is actively working on plans for the development of Moor Hall, a Grade II listed house set within a five-acre site in Aughton. It is expected to open next year.
The building, with its Tudor origins, is being fully restored and redesigned in partnership with Liverpool-born multi millionaire financier Andy Bell and his wife, Tracey.
There will be a 50-seat restaurant and a private dining room for 12 promising Birchall's "own style of modern British cuisine, reflecting the broad culinary experience he has garnered over the last 15 years".
Elsewhere, seven large bedrooms will be created (five in the main house, and two in the gatehouse nearby). The team behind Moor Hall say they are are hoping to attract customers from across the North West, London and internationally.
Born in Chorley, Lancashire, Birchall began his career at The Walnut Tree in Abergavenny, Wales, with Franco Taruschio, and then at Northcote Manor with Nigel Haworth.
During his tenure at L’Enclume (2006-15), he helped guide the team to five AA Rosettes, two Michelin stars, and the UK’s best restaurant in the Waitrose Good Food Guide with a full 10/10 rating. He also won the Roux Scholarship in 2011, the premier competition for chefs in the UK, which enabled him to spend time at Michelin three-starred El Celler de Can Roca in Spain.
Birchall also oversaw the success of The French, in Manchester. In July, its figurehead, Simon Rogan, vowed to help his departing right hand man in any new venture, saying: "Mark has given me nine years of his culinary life and I am grateful for his phenomenal contribution to our restaurants' achievements."
Birchall's plans for Moor Hall, which is 25 minutes out of Liverpool city centre, also include the transformation of additional buildings within the grounds (lodge, barns, stables) on the grounds for extensive further dining and kitchen operations, as well as developing the gardens, orchards and small lake.