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Gabor Katona

Our Head Chef with Ballingham Beets

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

Born in Hungary, Gabor’s grew up on a farm where he learned all about rearing chickens, pigs, cows and skinning rabbits.  When his family moved to the city and he a new school, Gabor realised a skill and love for carpentry.  However, his life took a different route when, encouraged to attend a catering college, he discovered a renewed 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.  After a  year, he became aSous 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 the sort of food required 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, by now aged 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. 

Head Chef at Castle House for over 13 years, Gabor has some interesting menus which are seasonal, with food from known and trusted local growers and producers, or grown in the kitchen garden on the Watkins family’s Ballingham farm - a true Farm to Fork story.

Gabor is extremely passionate about making his own bread. As the hotel state of the art kitchen includes a bakery his bread is all baked in-house. As well as his signature sourdough breads, Gabor has brought in a range of home-smoked meats.  Served on a three tier cake stand, Gabor's Afternoon Tea has become something of a 'must have' locally and much in demand.  It includes a delicious selection of finger sandwiches, cakes and treats all made in-house, and some intriguing savouries such as mini Beef Wellington.

He has just introduced a new Deli Board which he has designed and made himself! Available daily, it offers a selection of charcuterie, cheese, artisan break and antipasti.    

Scroll down to see some of his delicious dishes.

Click here for Herefordshire Living's Meet the Chef