James Close, the chef patron of two Michelin starred Raby Hunt in Darlington, Co Durham, finds inspiration for his cooking in contemporary Britain, strongly influenced by muticulturalism rooted in the colonial past as well as the migrations of today that made exotic ingredients and cuisines easily available and as such an unmissable part of the British culture. The ingredients and techniques from all over the world are his playground, feeding his vivid mind and giving to his geeky nature limitless possibilities for exploration and learning. James is an obsessive chef who in his constant search for perfection rarely leaves his kitchen. Cooking makes him happy.
He was a professional golf player who fell in love with food, and thus changed his career at the age of 29, when his parents in 2009 bought a pub called Raby Hunt in Darlington. The self taught chef quickly understood that his ambitions point higher, so the pub became a restaurant which already two years after its opening won the first and five years later also the second Michelin star, putting the Raby Hunt with its unique food (between his signature dishes are for example artichoke with offal and perigord truffle as well as blue taco with pork belly) between the best restaurants in the United Kingdom.