James Checkley has been appointed head chef of recently-reopened The Galley in Topsham
Following a brief closure due to hospitality challenges, Topsham’s much-loved seafood restaurant The Galley has reopened to the public with a refreshed culinary offering courtesy of new head chef James Checkley.
Prior to his appointment at The Galley, James was head chef at Paschoe House in Crediton. He learnt the tricks of the culinary trade while working in the kitchens at Exeter’s Royal Clarence Hotel and Harry’s Grill Bar, Arundell Arms in Lifton and Barnstaple’s Kentisbury Grange.
It was while peeling apples for Gordon Ramsey on work experience at Claridge’s that James first felt inspired to enter the industry: ‘The buzz, vibrancy, focus and dedication of a team that was all heading in the same direction – I had never seen anything like it, but I loved it.’
Of his new role at the Trencherman’s-rated The Galley, James said: ‘I am truly thrilled to be taking the lead at this iconic Topsham restaurant. I’m looking forward to combining modern British techniques with my classical training to deliver tasty plates of food.’
The Galley has long held a solid reputation for beautiful food and friendly yet efficient service. Befitting its location, a stone’s throw from the River Exe, the menu is seafood-focused and makes the most of the bountiful haul of local fish and shellfish. The fresh produce will complement James’ pared-back style of cooking, which allows the ingredients’ natural flavours to shine.
‘We are excited to welcome head chef James to The Galley,’ said general manager Patrick Mitchell. ‘James is extremely talented, with an impressive culinary background, and we are excited and confident that guests and Topsham locals will love what he brings to the table.‘