Chef's new venture

By day and night Chris Coubrough is the award-winning chef at the Crown Hotel at Wells - but in between he dons his hard hat and steel toecap boots on a construction site.

By day and night Chris Coubrough is the award-winning chef at the Crown Hotel at Wells - but in between he dons his hard hat and steel toecap boots on a construction site.

For he has just acquired the 400-year-old Crown at East Rudham and, not afraid to get his hands dirty, is helping to give it a £300,000 makeover to create a traditional English country pub with rooms.

And if these two roles are not enough, he is looking forward to starting filming a new series as presenter of TV's Coastal Kitchen programme.

Building work is now also under way at his Wells hotel to rearrange the ground floor layout to provide more restaurant space and new toilets. New rooms are also being added at the rear of the hotel.


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Mr Coubrough is taking everything in his stride and is excited about reopening the Crown beside the busy A148 at East Rudham.

He and his team of builders moved in on January 3 and began stripping out the interior. Original beams and old lath plaster have been uncovered. They took away several layers of hardboard and MDF and uncovered a 14ft-wide original inglenook fireplace.

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Mr Coubrough said: “I bought the Crown pub at East Rudham because of its fantastic location between Fakenham and King's Lynn and close to the coast. The pub has a good feel about it and I want to create a comfortable traditional atmosphere.”

He plans to offer good English food sourced from the nearby country estates of Houghton and Holkham and local seafood.

“We are hoping to be open by early May and, as well as the pub itself, there will be five first-floor en suite rooms. There will be one main bar in a circular shape and a courtyard garden,” he said.

He admitted his workload of cooking at the Crown at Wells, preparing for his new TV series and helping out with building work at the other pub means he has a busy lifestyle.

“Yes, time is difficult but if you are involved in a hands-on way with something like the pub redevelopment the finished product means more to you. I think you have a better sense of ownership,” he said.

He said: “East Rudham is one of the good parts of Norfolk and is an up and coming village with some successful businesses.”

He says that when it gets up and running the pub will probably need around 20 full and part-time staff and he hopes that these posts can be filled by local people.

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