A chef who had his own slot on regional television has admitted two charges of fraud relating to his time at one of the North-east's most prestigious hotels.
Nigel Smith, who admitted the charges at Newcastle Crown Court, was chef director at the Lauder Grange hotel and restaurant near Colebridge, Northumberland. He will be sentenced early next year.
The hotel has now been put into liquidation by owners David and Lorraine Allen following a string of problems since they took over in 1997. These included complaints from residents of the nearby village of Dilston over parking and plans to hold wedding receptions.
A spokesman for the appointed liquidator, accountancy firm Ernst & Young, said: "The place was trading at a loss and the partners just decided not to put any more money in."
Last month 20 full- and part-time staff were made redundant at the hotel, which has a 60-seat restaurant and seven bedrooms (Caterer, 25 November, page 6).