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Introducing our Head Chef

Gabor Katona's earliest memories are of his grandparents, mother and father in the kitchen cooking for the family and helping his mother make her fresh bread and sponge cakes.  Like most children, he loved licking the bowl and the spatula clean.  On one occasion when he was allowed to make his own sponge, much to his mother’s horror, he ate the whole mixture.

Born in Hungary, Gabor’s early years were spent on a farm where he learned all about rearing chickens, pigs, cows and skinning rabbits.  Later his family moved to the city and at school he realised a skill and love for carpentry.  However, his life took a different route when, encouraged to attend a catering college, he discovered a deep passion for food and cooking.  After graduating, Gabor spent his year’s national service working as an army chef, cooking for regulars and five star generals alike.  On completing his year, he became a Sous Chef in a large sports complex.  Working with six other chefs, he cooked for athletes training in a variety of sports and learned much about nutrition and cooking foods to achieve maximum energy and fitness levels.

After five years, Gabor left and took up a Head Chef position in a well-known city restaurant. It had 70 covers and a small, regularly changing menu but such was its reputation that some days there would be 400 for lunch.  However, now age 27, he still had itchy feet and when a friend mentioned that the Left Bank restaurant in Herefordshire was looking for staff, he decided to travel to England.  Under the watchful eyes of Stuart McLeod, Gabor soon achieved the Head Chef position. When the Left Bank complex closed, Gabor moved to Castle House under Head Chef Claire Nicholls. 

Now 42 and Head Chef at Castle House, Gabor is looking forward to the challenge.  He has introduced a new, fine dining menu in the evenings and continues the hotel’s Tasting Menu. Very popular with diners, it consists of 6 courses, starting with a savoury to “prepare the taste buds”. The menus will remain seasonal with food from trusted local growers and producers, as well as the kitchen garden on the Watkins family’s Ballingham farm.

Gabor is passionate about making his own bread and the hotel is currently preparing a bakery so everything can be made and baked in-house. As well as his signature sourdough breads, Gabor will be introducing home-smoked meats and lite bites on the lunch menu. The hotel’s Afternoon Tea menus have been upgraded and Gabor has introduced a proper High Tea with a delicious selection of finger sandwiches, cakes and treats, all made in-house, and some intriguing savouries. Keep scrolling for some of his delicious dishes.

Castle House is undergoing some exciting, new changes and will be opening a new restaurant, something Gabor is really looking forward to.

Click here for Herefordshire Living's Meet The Chef July 2019 


Click here for Gabor Q & A