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Richard Hughes Cookery School Logo

About Richard

In a career that has taken him from a hotel pot wash to a Michelin-starred kitchen, and from his first restaurant opened with £200 in the bank to director of Norwich’s premier venue, The Assembly House in Norwich, 2017 saw the 40th anniversary of his very first day in a professional kitchen.

Beginning his career in the kitchen as a 15-year-old at The Imperial Hotel in Great Yarmouth, Richard opened his  first restaurant - Number 24 in Wymondham – in 1991. During his 11 years in Wymondham he also taught at the Hotel School at Norwich City College and began his popular, and still running, Step by Step column in EDP Norfolk Magazine. In 2002, he left Wymondham to open The Lavender House at Brundall to national acclaim, and very shortly after founded the Richard Hughes Cookery School, winning the inaugural British Cookery School of the Year award.

In 2017 he relocated the school to the Grade 1 listed heritage site that is The Assembly House in Norwich city centre where he is Chef Director. This new, larger, purpose-designed cookery school allows Richard to share his lifelong passion for food with an ever-growing audience of all ages and abilities. With numerous awards and accolades to his name Richard is still as passionate, enthusiastic and dedicated as ever and continues to inspire a host of cooks, both professionally and in home kitchens, as well as offering advice to a host of food-related businesses, including, care homes, tourist attractions, pub chains, school meal contractors and the county’s biggest hospital services provider.

Richard’s name is well-known not only in Norfolk and East Anglia, but across the UK – he is a member of the prestigious and exclusive Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, runs the regional centre for the Academy’s Adopt a School Trust and has trained chefs who now work across Britain, Europe and America.

Richard Hughes Consultancy

Richard Hughes has a proven track record of running successful hospitality businesses and can offer his expertise to your business whether you’re planning a new start-up, want to grow your existing restaurant or have a struggling business in need of a helping hand.

Opening a restaurant can be a risky business, with more than 60 per cent of start-ups failing within their first year of trading. Richard offers clients the opportunity to avoid becoming a sad statistic with direct, no-nonsense advice – advice that will save money, heartache and hassle. Richard’s career in hospitality spans more than 40 years, decades spent working in busy seaside hotels, Michelin-starred country house hotels, mid-market national chains and running his own portfolio of businesses for more than 20 years. 

He can offer businesses his knowledge and expertise, whether clients are planning to start a new restaurant or looking to improve an established business and want to ensure customers come back for second helpings. Richard knows that trends come and go but that the fundamentals that underpin good food never change: his tailored consultancy programmes cover all aspects of hospitality and customer service, offering direct, practical and effective advice (with no pointless management speak!). Unlike many restaurant consultants, Richard is still working in the industry and his expertise is honed from decades working in the trade – he knows all the potential banana skins a restaurant can slip up on, and more importantly, how to avoid them. His previous and current clients include independent school, holiday complexes, some of the most successful tourist attractions in the county, roadside diners, chain and independent restaurants and the region’s flagship NHS hospital. 

Richard can help with the following:

  • Kitchen organisation, controlling costs and recruitment.
  • Inspiring your team, motivation, staff and service advice.
  • Menu design, suppliers, wine list compilation, buying strategies.
  • Complaint analysis, trouble-shooting and product development.
  • Finding the expert advice you need – accountants, book-keepers, payroll, health and safety, systems expert.
  • PR opportunities, marketing strategies, social media advice

Richard Hughes’ Awards and Achievements

  • 2018 Best Independent Marketing Campaign, The Assembly House Norwich,
    Norfolk and Suffolk Tourism Awards
  • 2017 Richard was awarded a British Citizenship commendation for his work in inspiring young people.
  • 2017 Awarded Learning Destination status for Norfolk Children’s University, Richard Hughes Cookery School
  • 2016 Member of The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts’ Adopt a School Trust charity
  • 2016 Best Small Hotel of the Year; The Assembly House Norwich, Norfolk Tourism Awards
  • 2015 Outstanding Front of House Team, The Assembly House Norwich, EDP Norfolk Food Awards
  • 2012/13 Inaugural winner of the UK Cookery School of the Year, Richard Hughes Cookery School
  • 2012/13 Best UK Small Cookery School, Richard Hughes Cookery School
  • 2013/14 Broads Quality Charter Gold Award, The Lavender House at Brundall
  • 2012 Awarded Membership of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts
  • 2012 Winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award, EDP Norfolk Food Awards
  • 2009 Honorary Fellowship, Services to the Hospitality Trade and Education, University of Suffolk Campus
  • Catey Winner. Independent Marketing Campaign 2006 * Menu of the Year 1994
  • 2007 EDP Tourism Awards. Education & Training Winner
  • 2006 Springboard UK Best Student Placement Provider
  • EDP Tourism Awards Innovation Winner
  • EEDA BBC; Work for Schools Premier award Richard Hughes
  • EEDA BBC; School/Business link Winner
  • 2005 Norwich Hotel School Premier Award for Outstanding Contribution
  • 2004 Norfolk Food Awards; Employment Innovation Winner
  • 2004 EDP Business Awards Business /Education Link Winner
  • 1993 1991 1989 National Chef of the Year Finalist
  • EDP Norfolk Young Chef of the Year from The Lavender House 2009 2008 2006