Meet The Chef.. Ernst Van Zyl – Etrop Grange Hotel Manchester.

Ernst van Zyl is currently Head Chef at The Etrop Grange Hotel in Manchester, and has made some big waves in cooking circles producing some much discussed dishes which look stunning in presentation.

(Autumn Pigeon)

Ernst was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, and moved to the U.K at the age of 21. He had already gained catering training and had worked as a Chef for a few years before arriving in the UK, bringing with him the experience of working in large hotel kitchens. After arriving in the UK, Ernst worked at the Hilton, Manchester Airport, and then moved down to London to work at the Hilton Kensington which offered further experience in a large and recognised hotel.

A small spell at the London Park Lane Hotel, offered valuable experience with high level service producing high end quality food to discerning customers. A tough but rewarding position, and one which provided such valuable experience to anyone wishing to develop further as a Chef and understand how to deal with mass catering while still producing quality food.

(Butternut Tofu with Parsley, buttermilk curd, white jelly, avacado puree, black olive crumbs)

After Park Lane Ernst worked briefly in Belfast before returning back to Manchester, working at the Radisson where he gained further experience and got himself more firmly on the map as a talented and able Chef. At the Radisson Ernst was No: 2 from a kitchen employing 20 Chefs, and it was perhaps time to be looking at finding a well deserved role of Head Chef!

Ernst then spent almost three years (2005-2008) at the Stanneylands Hotel, a four star hotel in Wilmslow which is part of the Prima Hotels chain which offered sound experience and development in reaching that goal of becoming Head Chef. This goal was further realised after being promoted to Executive Chef and food and beverage manager for the Prima group in 2009.

(Rabbit with Beetroot textures)

Ernst moved to the Etrop Grange Hotel in Manchester in August 2011 as Head Chef and has been creating some stunning dishes ever since. Senior Management soon saw what his abilities were and arranged for Ernst to undertake time to gain further experience working at The Fat Duck. More recently in October of 2012 Ernst had the wonderful opportunity of spending a fortnight at Raymond Blanc’s, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons Restaurant. This was key in further helping Ernst develop his modern British experimental cooking which is what he is known and respected for at Etrop Grange.

(Salt baked celeriac with duck egg, coriander glass, oil and watercress emulsion)

Ernst also secured a placement at Noma in Copenhagen for five weeks. Noma is classed as one of the 50 best restaurants in the world and annually they are always featured in the top ten. Exposure at this level can teach you more in a matter of days than you can learn in years! Ernst also received some good news last week when he learnt that he had been successful in gaining further experience on a placement at Restaurant Frantzén/Lindeberg in Stockholm sometime during 2013.

(Etrop Mess. Bitter Chocolate, Plum and Basil)

Ernst Van Zyl, more commonly referred to these days as Ernie Chef, has worked in some serious kitchens to date, gaining vast experience and has worked alongside some of the worlds most renowned Chefs. His “modernistic approach” is widely known and he has the ability to create dishes which offer incredible flavour which are also a pleasure on the eye as well as the taste buds! I predict that we will one day see him in the Michelin Guide which will be a just reward for such culinary talent.

Etrop Grange Hotel.

Etrop Grange is a gracious Grade II listed Georgian County House originally built in 1780 by school teacher William Moss and although located just a short distance from Manchester Airport, is anything but an ‘airport hotel’.

(Front of Hotel)

Originally known as Moss House, the hotel was renamed Etrop Grange in 1984 by the owners after a local area called Etrop Green (now the car park located between Etrop Grange and Terminal 2!). Etrop Grange first opened for business in November 1985 as a fine dining restaurant on just the lower level and was slowly converted into a hotel over the next 13 years with a £3 million refurbishment.

Now in its 26th year as a hotel, Etrop Grange still retains its Georgian charm with its stately facade matched by a luxurious interior of decadent chandeliers, heavy drapes and marble fireplaces.

Due to modern intervention the hotel is now ideally located just two minutes from Manchester Airport and the M56, and is one of the few hotels in the area with no overhead aircraft noise making it an ideal hotel for business and leisure alike. Offering complimentary transfers to and from the airport and airport railway station along with complimentary parking and WiFi for all guests, Etrop Grange is the perfect place to spend a relaxing day or night.

Bedrooms at Etrop Grange Hotel.

(Bedroom Four Poster)

Etrop Grange Hotel boasts 64 individually furnished en suite bedrooms each individually decorated in styles reflecting the Georgian Charm of the hotel. Most of the rooms contain a brass or four poster bed and all rooms are equipped with air conditioning, plasma screen TVs, direct dial telephones, tea and coffee making facilities, iron and ironing board, hair dryer and complimentary WiFi.

The hotel offers a range of bedrooms including singles, twins, standard doubles, executives, four posters and two suites both of which have French doors leading onto our manicured Courtyard. All bedrooms benefit from room service available 24 hours a day through reception.

As the hotel is not located under any flight paths, both business and leisure travellers need not worry about overhead aircraft noise disturbing their sleep.

Etrop Grange also offers special Stay, Park and Fly packages for guests wishing to leave their cars at Manchester Airport whilst travelling.

Competitively priced corporate rates are also available for businesses and travellers who travel to and from the airport area on a regular basis. Please contact our Sales Manager, for more information.

(Bedroom Standard Double)

Restaurant Facilities.

The WineGlass at Etrop Grange Hotel.

Outstanding food and first class service has always been at the heart of Etrop Grange and the WineGlass restaurant offers this and more by delivering exquisite food prepared with signature Michelin precision.

(13 different varieties of fresh Musrooms to experiment with!)

Along with the classic WineGlass menu, their Chef has created a stunning Chef’s Dinner Menu taking inspirations from his training at Noma and the Fat Duck. This menu combines simple ingredients with modern techniques to create visually stunning and delicious food for your pleasure.

The restaurant menu is well thought out and Ernst is absolutely passionate about using the freshest ingredients possible sourced locally and loves to experiment with produce to offer dishes which tantalise the senses. I have found that when discussing fresh produce with Chefs, the common theme seems to be the realisation that more and more customers expect to know the provenance of the food they are eating. Knowing where the food comes from and who produced it seems the latest trend in questions to ask!

(Viola Flowers)

On the Menu you might find starters such as Cured fillet of Mackerel with Banana, Oyster and Parsley. Pan Roasted Breast of Wood Pigeon with Pumpkin, Shallot and Almond.

Main courses feature dishes including, Rabbit, Loin & leg, Beetroot, Aubergine and Spelt. Pan fried Cod Fillet, Parsnip, Ox cheek and New potatoes.

Deserts offer delights such as Poached Pear, Pistachio, Buttermilk and Eucalyptus. 1833 Barbers – Twice Baked Soufflé, Celery, Grapefruit and Hazelnut.

Dishes range from £6 – £8 for starters and £15 – £18 for main courses. There is also the Tasting Menu which consists of a selection of the Chefs menu which is available for £47.50 per person or £75 per person with carefully chosen paired wines to compliment the exquisite food.

(Popcorn Shoots, taste like baby sweetcorn or fresh corn kernel)

The WineGlass also provides an ideal setting for a business lunch, romantic meal or special occasion with stunning views over the manicured courtyard and traditional Georgian features within.

As the name suggests wine features prominently in the restaurant with a list of 40 exceptional wines and champagnes offered by the glass providing guests with the unique experience of being able to sample and savour fine wines at affordable prices.

Their wines are also available in the lounge bar along with a wide selection of draught and bottled beers, spirits and soft drinks. The bar provides the perfect setting to relax and unwind and offers a delicious selection of bar snacks including gourmet sandwiches, salads and other light meals.

The hotel also offers private dining facilities catering from 2 to 200 in a variety of settings from the traditional Library to the elegant Etrop Suite. Our Chef will be happy to work with you and your party to provide a bespoke menu perfect for your occasion.

To book your table please call 0161 499 0500 or email

The restaurants is happy to welcome both residents and non-residents alike.

Meetings, Conferences and Weddings are also available at Etrop Grange Hotel, Manchester Airport – Please refer to the website direct for detailed information.

You can follow Ernst, and Etrop Grange Hotel on Twitter @Erniechef @EtropGrange

Etrop Grange Hotel
Thorley Lane
Manchester Airport
M90 4EG

Tel 0161 499 0500
Fax 0161 499 0790


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