Chef James takes over at Clitheroe Castle cafe

Clitheroe Castle
Clitheroe Castle

A Clitheroe chef with an impressive CV and successful outside catering business is the new operator at Clitheroe Castle’s Atrium Café and Restaurant.

James Harper (37), who attended Ribblesdale High School in Clitheroe and Blackburn College of Catering, is the former chef at the Waddington Arms, Stirk House Hotel, Gisburn, and Alma Inn, Laneshawbridge.

He helped to set up the award-winning Garden Kitchen at Holden Clough Nursery in Bolton-by-Bowland and runs a thriving relief chef business, Absolute Hospitality Recruitment, as well as Absolute Hog Roast, which offers outside catering for events and weddings.

The Atrium is Clitheroe Castle’s flagship café and restaurant and James aims to establish it as one of the town’s premier hospitality venues, where fine rustic food, daily-baked cakes and the “best cup of coffee in town” will be the order of the day.

James said: “I am delighted to have taken over the Atrium and will be looking to establish it as a premier visitor attraction offering fine home-cooked food using local produce and the best cup of coffee in town thanks to a state-of-the-art coffee machine from Exchange Coffee.”

Robert Thompson, chairman of Ribble Valley Borough Council’s community services committee, said: “James has a fantastic reputation as a chef and we look forward to working with him to ensure the Atrium goes from strength to strength.”

The Atrium Café was part of a £3.5 million refurbishment of the Clitheroe Castle Museum that received a Royal opening in 2009.