Jo brings Michelin magic to Middleton Hall

May 2014

Joanne StoddartA Chef who has cooked for rock stars and royalty and worked at the Michelin starred London restaurant, Le Gavroche, has taken on a new role heading up the catering at our award-winning retirement village.

Jo Stoddart worked alongside one of the world’s best known chefs, Michel Roux Jr, at his acclaimed restaurant Le Gavroche – the first in the UK to gain three Michelin stars – and is now bringing some Michelin magic to Middleton Hall Retirement Village,  as our new catering manager.

Jo was among five students plucked straight out of catering college, in Liverpool, to join Le Gavroche where she found she was the only girl out of 20 chefs. Within three months she had been promoted to head chef of the training kitchen where she worked for six years before working for Michele’s father, the gastronomic legend, Albert Roux, for four years. Working for Albert as chef manager, her jobs included catering for the BAFTAS and cooking for the likes of A List Hollywood actors, rock stars such as Tom Jones, Prince, Bon Jovi and Oasis and Arabian royalty.

Jo recalled: “We saw many famous faces and they were just like normal people only they used the back entrances so they could get out without being seen.”

She said Michel was very down to earth and unlike most chefs, could command respect without shouting.

From working for the Rouxs, Jo joined a private school group in Kensington as catering manager before Raynham Primary School in Enfield, London, as a chef manager, where she won the London School Chef of the Year competition. She moved to Wolviston Village, near Billingham, Teesside, with husband Elton, in 2010 with her three boys aged seven to 16, and joined the social enterprise, Create, helping to run a training programme aimed at getting people back into work.

Jo will now be looking to bring her Michelin standard experience to Middleton Hall by updating the restaurant and Orangery menus as well as the food for events and functions and launching an advanced training package for our chefs where they will learn new techniques and update skills.

“I’ve joined Middleton Hall because of the vision there is for the catering. It’s going to be really exciting to be part of it and working with the team to look at all aspects of the catering for residents,” she said. “We’re looking to make the menus more seasonal from locally sourced ingredients. Middleton Hall is working on healthy eating so we are looking at what we cook, how we present it and how we source food.”

Jeremy Walford, managing director of Middleton Hall, said: “Attracting a chef of Jo’s calibre and experience is incredibly exciting and she’ll be playing a key part in our vision for the future. We want to be known as the best retirement village in the country and Jo’s food will add to our growing reputation for providing independent living and care services within a five star setting.”

Joanne StoddartJoanne Stoddart