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Former Roux family chef brings a classically French style to Lake District inn with rooms

Alex Beard, Head Chef at the Punch Bowl Inn & Restaurant at Crosthwaite

The Punch Bowl Inn & Restaurant at Crosthwaite has announced the appointment of a new head chef.

Alex Beard, originally from Shropshire, has taken the helm at the 5-star 2AA rosette inn with rooms in the Lake District’s Lyth Valley.

Alex, 34, has cooked at the highest level, including for Royalty, Heads of State, and under the legendary culinary Roux family at the 3 Michelin-starred Waterside Inn at Bray.

No stranger to the North West, he attended Lancaster University and, after travelling the world cooking in places like Asia, India and Italy, is now ready to put down roots in the Lake District with wife, Helen.

Alex spent five years at the Waterside Inn – the latter two as senior sous chef – and three years as a private chef whilst also continuing to work on promotions, pop ups and general consultancy for the Roux family. His classically French background influences his cooking style but Alex also brings many modern techniques to his dishes.

He was drawn to the Punch Bowl after feeling it had the same strong family atmosphere that the Roux’s are renowned for.

He said: “Richard (Rose, Punch Bowl owner) was the main reason I came here. The Punch Bowl means everything to him and it’s his passion that gives the place such a great feel for both staff and customers. We’ve got the same ideas about how to develop things and he doesn’t mind paying for quality products, which is a great position for a chef to be in because we’re not scrimping on anything.

“Richard has put a lot of trust in me to give me my first head chef role and I’m going to repay that trust and drive the business forward. That means being recognised for our great food, great service, great wine – and being an outstanding all-round destination inn.”

“We are thrilled to have attracted someone of Alex’s talent and experience to the Punch Bowl,” said Richard Rose, owner of the Punch Bowl Inn.

“In just a short space of time he has transformed our menus and invigorated the kitchen and there’s a great buzz around the Punch Bowl at the moment. He is building an incredible team who are benefitting from learning new techniques and trying out new recipes and are all really inspired. He is the ideal fit for us.”

Alex’s new à la carte menu is now being served featuring dishes like Pan Fried Scallops with Carrot & Lime Puree, Satay Sauce, Compressed Pineapple, and Coconut Foam alongside Dry Aged Creedy Carver Duck with Confit Leg Meat Stuffed Cabbage Ball, Mirk Howe Damson Puree, and Damson Duck Jus. A chef’s signature 7-course tasting menu is also available for advance bookings.

The Punch Bowl Inn & Restaurant at Crosthwaite is a former Michelin pub of the year and holds 2AA rosettes for culinary excellence. Earlier this year, it won the ‘Front of House Team of the Year’ at the UK’s Top 50 Gastropub Awards and was awarded ‘Cumbria’s Dining Pub of the Year’ in the 2020 Good Pub Guide.