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J’AIME DECEMBER 2021

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F O O D & D R I N K<br />

A Lunar experience<br />

LUNAR BY NIALL KEATING OPENED WITH A RED CARPET RECEPTION AT<br />

WORLD OF WEDGWOOD IN STAFFORDSHIRE THIS NOVEMBER. KATY<br />

EDGINGTON LEARNS MORE FROM THE TWO MICHELIN-STARRED CHEF<br />

Staffordshire-born Niall Keating is one of just a<br />

handful of chefs in the UK to hold two Michelin<br />

stars right now, as Executive Chef of The Dining<br />

Room at Whatley Manor in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.<br />

You may recognise him as the BBC’s Great British<br />

Menu Champion of 2020.<br />

When Ed Myhill and Craig Wilkinson of The Great<br />

British Experience Company (the minds behind The<br />

Great British Drive In, London experience ‘The<br />

Murder Express’ and Stafford’s Alberts Cafe) invited<br />

Niall to oversee Lunar, a new modern dining concept<br />

opening at World of Wedgwood’s Barlaston site in<br />

the heart of Staffordshire, he leapt at the chance.<br />

With a well-deserved reputation as one of the leading<br />

chefs in the country today, Niall has of<br />

course had various different proposals<br />

and opportunities present themselves over<br />

the last few years, but he says “nothing<br />

felt quite right as coming home”.<br />

“It’s always been a dream of mine to<br />

open a restaurant in Staffordshire,” Niall<br />

says. “I’m so proud of home and to have<br />

the opportunity to create something<br />

special in the area is really exciting.”<br />

Lunar takes over the former dining<br />

hall at the historic Wedgwood estate.<br />

The canteen-style setting has been<br />

transformed into a sophisticated new<br />

restaurant where guests can experience<br />

modern British cuisine served only on<br />

Wedgwood fine bone china. The team<br />

hope it will bring a welcome breath of<br />

fresh air to the local food and drink scene.<br />

“Being so close to bigger cities such as<br />

Manchester and Birmingham, which<br />

have great restaurants and bars, means<br />

Stoke often gets forgotten about as<br />

somewhere that has great potential for<br />

the hospitality industry,” Niall says. “A<br />

modern dining experience like Lunar<br />

is perfect for the area - and what has<br />

been missing. It’s a great chance for people to try<br />

something new and for both the staff and guests to<br />

get excited about local produce and celebrate the<br />

history that’s always been here.”<br />

The opening comes in the wake of a very tough<br />

period for the whole hospitality industry, but Niall<br />

for one has clearly not been resting on his laurels for<br />

the past 18 months. The Paradise Carriage started<br />

life as a street food trailer at the Exchange Bar and<br />

Kitchen in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. Niall began<br />

using it during the first lockdown in 2020 to cook<br />

and deliver meals to key workers, before taking it to<br />

Whatley Manor as a drive-through takeaway venture.<br />

He explained that it played a really important role<br />

STAFFORDSHIRE-BORN NIALL<br />

KEATING, LEFT, IS OPENING LUNAR<br />

AT THE WORLD WEDGWOOD<br />

32 www.jaimemagazine.com

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