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‘Elton likes his lamb pink’ - Chef who cooked for the stars starts at Norfolk hotel

PUBLISHED: 11:52 24 July 2020

Tour chef to the stars, Tony Liddell, is now in the kitchen at the Thomas Paine Hotel in Thetford. Photo: Emily Thomson

Tour chef to the stars, Tony Liddell, is now in the kitchen at the Thomas Paine Hotel in Thetford. Photo: Emily Thomson

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A Norfolk hotel has brought in a chef to the stars in a bid to entice customers as it recovers from the pandemic.

Sir Elton John gives a speech at Winfield House in London. Picture: Hannah McKay/PA ImagesSir Elton John gives a speech at Winfield House in London. Picture: Hannah McKay/PA Images

Tony Liddell had been travelling around the world on Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour as his personal chef when the pandemic began.

But after the tour was postponed, Mr Liddell was forced to go back to his home in Northern Ireland and now the chef has found himself in Thetford at the Thomas Paine Hotel, on Whitehart Street.

Tour chef to the stars, Tony Liddell (left), is now in the kitchen at the Thomas Paine Hotel in Thetford. With hotel owner Gez Chetal. Photo: Emily ThomsonTour chef to the stars, Tony Liddell (left), is now in the kitchen at the Thomas Paine Hotel in Thetford. With hotel owner Gez Chetal. Photo: Emily Thomson

The hotel’s owner Gez Chetal said: “I have known Tony for 22 years and he phoned me a few weeks ago and told me he was at home and had nothing to do because the Elton John tour had been cancelled - so I invited him to the hotel and he said yes.

“He has gone from Australia and America to China and Tokyo on tour with the biggest names in the music industry and now he is in Thetford.

A message from chef to the stars, Tony Liddell (left), when he toured with ACDC. Photo: Tony LiddellA message from chef to the stars, Tony Liddell (left), when he toured with ACDC. Photo: Tony Liddell

“To actually get someone of that quality here, when we are all struggling, is just amazing.”

Mr Liddell, who has toured with the likes of The Rolling Stones, ACDC, Depeche Mode and Ed Sheeran, said he is ready for the new challenge and is happy to be back in the kitchen.

Tour chef to the stars Tony Liddel (left) with Rick Parfitt (second from left) from Status Quo. Photo: Tony LiddellTour chef to the stars Tony Liddel (left) with Rick Parfitt (second from left) from Status Quo. Photo: Tony Liddell

He said: “I’m working for Elton at the minute and he is a very simple eater. He likes what he likes and he likes good quality.

“He likes his lamb pink, medium, and very crispy on the outside and some fresh mint sauce, no vegetables and he doesn’t touch carbs.

Tour chef to the stars, Tony Liddell (left) with singer Ronan Keating (middle). Photo: Tony LiddellTour chef to the stars, Tony Liddell (left) with singer Ronan Keating (middle). Photo: Tony Liddell

“What I like about the touring industry is the camaraderie. You go on tour and you’re with your crew and the band 24/7. Everybody looks after each other.”

The 54-year-old, who will be at the hotel for around two months, is set to give the menu a revamp, bringing dishes he has enjoyed from around the world.

Tour chef to the stars, Tony Liddell (left) with singer Lulu (middle). Photo: Tony LiddellTour chef to the stars, Tony Liddell (left) with singer Lulu (middle). Photo: Tony Liddell

And with the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme in place from August, customers will be able to enjoy meals with money off.

Mr Liddell, who also owns Iceqube, which offers mobile refrigeration systems, added: “I am quite enjoying it actually, when you’re on the tour you’re constantly moving so being static for a while is good because you can do certain things you can’t do on the road.

“It’s nice being able to get back to a kitchen and go back to my roots.”

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