Chef Simon Salt, a contender in TV’s “Masterchef: The Professionals”, is to take over the lease at the closed-down White Bull, Gisburn.
A £380,000 refurbishment of the hotel is being carried out by owners Star Pubs and Bars – a subsidiary of Heineken – and reopening is scheduled for the second half of November in time for the Christmas season.
“I’ve been looking for the right pub for a long time, so I was delighted when I found the White Bull,” said Simon, who has been Lancashire Young Chef of the Year, North West Young Chef of the Year, a Gordon Ramsay Scholar finalist, and a “Masterchef” quarter-finalist in 2010.
Simon, originally from Oswaldtwistle, has worked in Michelin-starred establishments in Wales and Spain and at Northcote Manor, Langho, and Stanley House, Mellor.
He added: “The White Bull is going to be a real village pub where people can eat or drink or do both. As the only pub in the village, it also has an important role to play with the community.”
Chris Jowsey, trading director of Star Pubs and Bars, said: “Simon is undoubtedly a talented and visionary chef. His skills and the plans for the pub will be hugely beneficial for the village.”
The refurbishment scheme at the listed building was delayed by disagreements between the new owners and Ribble Valley planners, but villagers pleaded for action and new plans were approved.
Nine jobs are being created – three chefs and six front of house staff – and Simon intends to source ingredients from local producers and suppliers.