ON THE JOB: Chef Alistair Ross and Thomas Magnay outside Fernaville’s Rest
ON THE JOB: Chef Alistair Ross and Thomas Magnay outside Fernaville’s Rest

IT took six weeks of gentle persuasion to get Alistair Ross to don his chef’s whites again and the owner of the Fernaville’s Rest in Whorlton is delighted.

Mr Ross ran the highly acclaimed Oak Tree Inn, in Hutton Magna, with his wife Claire for 16 years. They decided to close the pub, which had two AA rosettes and featured in the Michelin Red Guide, after deciding they needed to have a more relaxed life.

“Things were getting very intense,” said Mr Ross. “I knew I would be back in a kitchen at some point.”

Old Well

Mr Margnay, who runs the quaint Grade II listed Fernaville’s Rest with his wife Nicola, said: “It’s such a coup for us. Getting Ali on board feels like we have really grown up. We’re going to slowly change the menus, one ingredient at a time. But with Ali we’ve definitely got the right ingredient to start off with. Customers have already started to notice the difference and clients of Ali’s are starting to drift to us,” he added.

Recently Fernaville’s Rest was able to push ahead with plans to create a private dining area for private functions and a lounge area.