Mark Poynton and Colin Starkey host third annual gourmet night

Colin Starkey & Mark Poynton

Colin Starkey & Mark Poynton - Credit: Archant

Culinary magic happens when Colin Starkey chef at the Best Western Plus Pinewood on Wilmslow Hotel joins forces with chef Mark Poynton.

Colin Starkey, chef at the Best Western Plus Pinewood on Wilmslow Hotel, clearly loves the challenge of a little friendly competition from chef Mark Poynton.

Once again the pair went head-to-head (or should that be course-to-course?) to conjure up a creative feast at a special gourmet night hosted at the hotel’s Restaurant One Eighty.

It was the third event of its kind and the pair pulled no punches, creating a £70-a-head seven course showcase menu with matched wines provided by Neil Goldie from House of Townend poured liberally for their guests.

The last two gourmet dinners held at One Eighty sold-out within just a matter of days, so the return of Mark who held a Michelin-star until early October, was keenly anticipated.

Using some of the finest local produce, the pair took it in turns to produce course after course of beautifully prepared food.

A stunning leek soup, cappuccino of yeast by Mark Poynton proved a culinary crowd-pleaser, packed with intense flavour. Colin countered with a second course of pressed ham hock, pea puree, pancetta, pea pakora, then Mark weighed in with the fish course, which combined the freshness of mackerel and cuttlefish with a rich ragu, on top of which nestled a perfectly al dente tagliatelle.

Mark was also responsible for a main course which married the unctuous, sweet and acidic flavours of duck breast, carrot and grapefruit, while Colin delighted with an unusual baked banoffee yoghurt, cake served with mango. There was a further dessert by Mark, a white chocolate mousse served with a raspberry sorbet and little bursts of freeze dried raspberries and pistachio for crunch, before the dinner came to a conclusion with ‘One Eighty’ tea or coffee with petit fours.

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Mark, who is chef patron of the Alimentum in Cambridge, started his career at the Queen’s Hotel in Chester before moving to Shrigley Hall where he met One Eighty executive chef, Colin. The pair have remained firm friends ever since.

Said Colin: ‘I’ve known Mark since he was my commis chef at Shrigley and we have remained friends ever since. We’ve come to really enjoy this event and it’s nice that my guys get to cook Mark’s food to Michelin standards.

‘We are also now quite a destination restaurant here and with a further 19 bedrooms just added on the third floor, we have more than enough space to accommodate diners who wish to stay over.’

Restaurant One Eighty is at the Best Western Plus Pinewood on Wilmslow Hotel,, 01625 529211.