THERE have been many chefs at the helm of Taunton's most well-known hotel over the years.

This includes celebrity faces that many of us recognise today, but did you know they started out here in the heart of Somerset?

We took a look through our archives to discover the many faces that have led the kitchen over the years...

Chris Oakes (1983 until 1986)

Somerset County Gazette:

When Chris Oakes left the hotel, he opened up his own restaurant - Oakes in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

He also worked at Claridge's, and the Stafford hotel, and he was also head chef at Cambridge University's Trinity College.

Gary Rhodes (late 1980s)

Somerset County Gazette:

After Gary Rhodes worked at the hotel, he was poached by The Greenhouse, in Mayfair, and went on to carve out a career in television, with appearances on programmes such as Masterchef and Hell's Kitchen, as well as This is Your Life and Strictly Come Dancing and a number of commercials.

Mr Rhodes returned to the Castle at Taunton in 2010, as part of the 6anniversaryrary - to make his famous bread and butter pudding.

When Mr Rhodes died last year, Castle director Kit Chapman said he was an "absolutely terrific cook" and a "wonderful guy".

Somerset County Gazette:

READ MORE: Gary Rhodes tribute from Kit Chapman of The Castle Hotel, Taunton

Phil Vickery (1990s)

Somerset County Gazette:

Phil Vickery started at the Burlington Hotel on Folkestone seafront and worked in a few more places before becoming head chef at the Castle.

While working at the hotel, he won a Michelin star and four Rosettes in the AA Guide, as well as other awards.

Mr Vickery has appeared on the BBC Holiday Programme, Ready Steady Cook, Proof of the Pudding, Phil Vickery's Pudding Club and This Morning.

He has also written 20 books.

Richard Guest (1999 until 2010)

Somerset County Gazette:

Richard Guest won a Michelin star at the hotel in 2002, which he retained for five years.

He then went on to open his own restaurant, Augustus - still in the heart of Taunton - with former Castle restaurant manager, Cedric Chirrosel.

READ MORE: Richard Guest head chef at Augustus restaurant in Taunton

Somerset County Gazette:

Liam Finnegan (2012 until 2020)

Somerset County Gazette:

Liam Finnegan worked at the Castle for eight years, but before that worked in The George Hotel (Isle of Wight), The Bath Priory, Gidleigh Park and The Nuremore Hotel.

He left the hotel at the end of August this year.

John Godfrey (2020 onwards)

Somerset County Gazette:

John Godfrey started as head chef in September 2020 and he vowed to "grab the challenge by the horns".

Nick Chapman, chairman of the hotel, said John has "all the qualities that make a great head chef - very much in the mould of Liam and his distinguished predecessors".

READ MORE: John Godfrey to take over from Liam Finnegan at The Castle

If you have any old pictures of The Castle at Taunton or any memories of your visit there, don't forget to share them in our We Grew Up In Taunton Facebook group.