Norman Bradford - Head Chef
Norman Bradford is a chef who has worked in some of the north east’s best-known restaurants.
Norman can hardly contain his excitement at taking charge of the kitchen in the six-centuries-old hotel, where he succeeds Mark Percival, who alerted him to the vacancy. The chefs worked together at the iconic Fisherman’s Lodge and Mark considered Norman perfect for the role, when he chose to step down.
Langley’s new head chef, who has moved from a role at Hotel Indigo, has also worked at Marco Pierre White’s restaurant in Newcastle and at Malmaison. His culinary talents were also appreciated in Bermuda for a time, until Norman had to reluctantly leave when the Twin Towers terrorist attack saw the number of Americans travelling abroad, and hence dining numbers, plummet.
Interestingly, his career as a chef only came about when, in his school days, he chose to take up an offer of work experience with Newcastle Brewery, working in its canteen kitchen. Had he gone down a different path then, his love for cooking might never have been ignited.
Norman says he and Langley’s diners are set for “exciting times” and he is looking forward to using all of the fresh ingredients on the castle hotel’s doorstep. Game is likely to continue to feature and Norman may even treat diners to the dishes that led to his success in the North East Chef of the Year contest.
There his main dish - and the one he now regards as his signature dish - was a guinea fowl breast, taken from the crown, and a guinea fowl leg stuffed with chicken mousse. The game was rolled in a ballotine, along with stuffed morel mushrooms and a white truffle purée. The dish was then served with fresh peas and truffle.
For his starter he created a salmon confit with pickled cucumber and air-dried British ham, whilst his dessert was a mouth-watering chocolate and hazelnut parfait, with salt caramel and pickled raspberries.
Carla Robinson, general manager of Langley Castle, says: “Norman is a chef who loves to concentrate on different techniques within cooking, so Langley’s diners can expect to see a range of dishes created which communicate his passion. He will introduce new dishes to our menu over time and we are sure his food will prove very popular here.”
Norman adds: “I am thrilled to have this opportunity, in such a unique venue, and am truly excited about this new role. One of my first tasks was to unveil what could be the world’s biggest cheese and onion pasty, which was created to celebrate the second Northumberland Day at Langley Castle, so I was thrown into the limelight straight away, but was so proud to have my wife and two boys there to see it. I am now working on menu ideas for various functions, as well as evolving the main dinner menu.”