Jamie Raftery has been appointed head chef of the Castle at Taunton, Somerset, and will take over the kitchens on 1st November.
This will be his first head chef position, following in the footsteps of such talented chefs as Gary Rhodes, who also took up his first head chef position at the Castle.
Jamie will be taking over from Richard Guest, who is leaving to open his own restaurant.
Jamie is 27 years old, the son of Irish poet John Malachy Raftery, and comes from County Galway. He worked under Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park for three years and has assisted in the launch of the Michael Caines-led Abode Hotels in Glasgow, Manchester and Exeter.
In 2007 he won the Gordon Ramsay Scholarship and as part of his scholarship prize, he was mentored by Ramsay and his team at his restaurants in London, Paris and New York during 2008.
For 12 months in 2009, Jamie also worked under Thomas Keller at The French Laundry in the Napa Valley.
Kit Chapman, owner of the Castle at Taunton, and architect of the English Project, which champions English produce and cookery, was particularly impressed by Jamie’s determination, dedication and passion. “Jamie will be the fifth head chef in 25 years to embrace my “English Project”, following in the gifted paths of Chris Oakes, Gary Rhodes, Phil Vickery and Richard Guest – although, this time, we may see an Irish accent in The Castle’s cooking,” he says.