dining at borrowdale gates hotel

The Chef’s Table at Borrowdale Gates Hotel | Exploring Christopher Standhaven’s Culinary Journey

The Lake District is a land of quiet wonder, where the rolling hills and glittering waters belie a culinary scene that defies the old tropes. For those who venture beyond the stereotypes, a true hidden gem awaits – a fine dining experience that rivals the best in the world.

One such shining example can be found at the Borrowdale Gates Hotel, where the head chef, Christopher Standhaven, has curated a menu that is nothing short of a masterpiece. Standhaven’s dishes are steeped in the local tradition of the region, drawing upon the bountiful farms and pristine lakes that dot the landscape. Yet, his culinary vision extends far beyond the familiar, as he seamlessly blends these classic flavors with contemporary techniques, creating a dining experience that is both deeply rooted and thrillingly innovative.

Crafting Culinary Perfection

To step into the dining room of the Borrowdale Gates Hotel is to embark on a journey of the senses, guided by the steady hand and discerning palate of Chef Standhaven. From the use of delectable Cumbrian produce to the fresh seafood plucked from the nearby Morecambe Bay, every element of the meticulously curated menu has been carefully considered and expertly executed.

But what is the story behind this culinary triumph? What path has Standhaven walked to reach the pinnacle of his craft? To unravel this tale is to discover the very essence of the Borrowdale Gates experience.

Roots and Refinement

Standhaven’s journey began in the bustling town of Barnsley, where he was born in 1978. It was here that he first honed his culinary skills, attending the Barnsley Catering College and immersing himself in the intricacies of NVQ catering. Yet, Standhaven’s thirst for knowledge was insatiable, and he soon found himself seeking out specialised training in the culinary arts.

His path led him to the hallowed halls of Chewton Glen, where he apprenticed under the tutelage of a Michelin-starred chef. It was here that Standhaven’s talents truly blossomed, and he rose through the ranks to become the esteemed Chef de Partie. But the young chef’s ambitions knew no bounds, and he soon earned a Michelin star of his own at the prestigious Hambleton Hall.

Since 2009, Standhaven has been the guiding force behind the Borrowdale Gates Hotel, where his unwavering dedication and deep understanding of the local Dales of Yorkshire have earned him two coveted AA Rosettes. His menu, a tapestry of flavors that celebrate the region’s culinary heritage, has become a beacon for discerning diners from near and far.

A Culinary Visionary

Standhaven’s approach to the culinary arts is one of reverence and innovation. He sources the finest ingredients the Lake District has to offer, from the crisp, fresh produce of local farms to the succulent seafood plucked from the nearby waters.

These raw materials are the foundation upon which he builds his masterful creations, each dish a testament to his deep respect for the land and its bounty.

Chef Christopher Standhaven’s Culinary Journey

Yet, Standhaven’s vision extends beyond the mere assembly of ingredients. He is a true alchemist, seamlessly blending traditional flavors with contemporary techniques to push the boundaries of the region’s cuisine. His menu is a symphony of the familiar and the unexpected, each course a revelation that delights the senses and transports the diner to a realm of culinary bliss.

Precision and Passion

The dining experience at the Borrowdale Gates Hotel is a study in perfection, from the exquisite plating to the meticulous attention to detail that permeates every aspect of the meal. Standhaven leads his team of talented chefs with a steady hand and an unwavering commitment to excellence, fostering a culture of creativity, collaboration, and continuous improvement.

This dedication to precision is evident in every bite, as Standhaven ensures that each dish is a masterpiece of balance and harmony. He pays particular attention to the interplay of flavors, textures, and temperatures, crafting a dining experience that is not only visually stunning but also a true delight for the palate.

A Culinary Ambassador

Standhaven’s influence extends far beyond the confines of the Borrowdale Gates Hotel. As a culinary ambassador, he represents the very best of the region, showcasing the exceptional cuisine at prestigious events and competitions. His passion for the culinary arts is infectious, inspiring both his team and the discerning diners who seek out his creations.

Yet, for all his accolades and achievements, Standhaven remains grounded in his commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. He champions the use of locally sourced, responsibly produced ingredients, aligning the Borrowdale Gates ethos with his own deep-seated values.

The Chef's Guiding Principles

Standhaven’s approach to the culinary arts is guided by a set of principles that have become the foundation of his success. These tenets, forged through years of dedication and refinement, serve as a roadmap for aspiring chefs and a testament to the depth of Standhaven’s culinary wisdom.

  • Respect the Ingredient: Standhaven believes in treating each ingredient with reverence, understanding its unique characteristics and coaxing out its most captivating qualities.
  • Embrace Seasonality: By harnessing the bounty of the seasons, Standhaven crafts menus that are not only fresh and flavorful but also deeply connected to the local environment.
  • Attention to Detail: No element is too small to escape Standhaven’s discerning eye. From the precision of his knife work to the perfect balance of seasoning, every detail is meticulously considered.
  • Stay Curious and Experiment: Standhaven’s culinary journey is one of perpetual exploration, as he continuously seeks out new techniques, ingredients, and flavor combinations to push the boundaries of his craft.
  • Lead with Passion and Humility: Standhaven’s leadership in the kitchen is defined by his unwavering passion for food and his dedication to excellence. Yet, he remains humble, acknowledging that there is always more to learn and room to grow.

It is through the lens of these guiding principles that Standhaven has elevated the Borrowdale Gates Hotel to the pinnacle of fine dining in the English Lake District. His culinary vision, rooted in tradition yet unbound by convention, has transformed this once-hidden gem into a true destination for the discerning palate.


How does the head chef ensure the freshness of ingredients at Borrowdale Gates?

At Borrowdale Gates, we prioritise sourcing local, seasonal ingredients to ensure freshness and flavour. We maintain close relationships with regional farmers, fishermen, and artisans, allowing us to procure the finest ingredients at the peak of their freshness. Additionally, our kitchen team conducts rigorous quality checks upon delivery to guarantee that only the highest-quality ingredients make it onto our menu.

What sets Borrowdale Gates’ culinary approach apart from other establishments?

Our culinary approach at Borrowdale Gates is defined by a commitment to innovation, sustainability, and respect for tradition. We blend traditional flavours with modern techniques, creating dishes that celebrate the unique terroir of the Borrowdale region. We prioritise sustainability by sourcing ingredients responsibly and minimising food waste, ensuring that each dining experience is not only memorable but also environmentally conscious.

How does the head chef ensure consistency in the dishes served at Borrowdale Gates?

Consistency is paramount in our kitchen, and we achieve it through meticulous attention to detail and rigorous training. Our team adheres to standardised recipes and procedures, ensuring that each dish is executed to the highest standards every time it is served. Additionally, regular tastings and feedback sessions allow us to maintain consistency while also providing opportunities for continuous improvement and refinement.  

What inspires the head chef’s culinary creations at Borrowdale Gates?

Our head chef draws inspiration from the natural beauty and bounty of the Borrowdale region, as well as from global culinary trends and techniques. Seasonality plays a significant role in shaping our menus, with each dish designed to showcase the best of what the season has to offer. Furthermore, our chef’s passion for innovation and experimentation drives the creation of new and exciting dishes that surprise and delight our guests.

Booking at the Borrowdale Gates Hotel

If you’re looking for a pampering culinary experience, book your reservation at Borrowdale Gates Hotel. Come in and meet Chef Standhaven and allow your senses to celebrate the cuisine of the Lake District. The Borrowdale Gates Hotel provides everything you need to enjoy the meal of your dreams. Book a reservation for dinner today or book your stay on our website, email at [email protected], or call us at 017 687 77204.

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The area offers a wide selection of hikes of all levels, direct from the hotel doorstep, so you can leave your car behind. For rock climbing enthusiasts, there is a good choice of climbing sites nearby. Just mention when booking if you would like to book a session with a local Mountain Instructor.