A CELEBRITY chef, who honed his skills in Colchester, is taking on the challenge of reviving one of America’s oldest hotels.

Few people would recognise the name Mark Salter on this side of the Atlantic, but in the States the name is as familiar as Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay are to us.

Now Mr Salter, who trained at Colchester Institute in Sheepen Road, has bought the Robert Morris Inn in Oxford, Maryland, with Scottish hotelier and entrepreneur Ian Fleming.

They are hoping to revive the fortunes of the 16-bedroom hotel and 300-cover dining room and tavern.

The establishment, which celebrates its 300th anniversary this year, is credited as the oldest working inn in America.

Mr Salter was at the Colchester college from 1979 to 1981, earning the title of best student and a diploma in professional cookery.

Neil Rippington, head of the centre for hospitality and food studies, said: “It’s great to see past students doing so well.

“Mark has remained a friend of the centre and practically every year – including this year – Mark has welcomed students to work at the Inn at Perry Cabin, Maryland, where he is executive chef.

“As food is such a popular vocation at the moment, it is fantastic to see so many of our students reaching the pinnacle of the profession.”

He has been in America for almost 20 years and has cooked for a number of famous names, including Michael Jackson, actors Matthew McConaughey and Owen Wilson and actress Jane Seymour.

He also cooked for the US ski team at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City and is famed for making and selling his own salad dressings and sauces.