ESSEX boy Alan Warrior reckons he will always be considered a Delph in-comer even after 30 years in the village.
But the self-confessed northerner is definitely no stranger to Saddleworth folk who enjoy a good plate of food.
So when the tenancy of the White Lion became available late last year, Alan was an obvious choice to step out from the kitchen to succeed landlord Carl Benton.
Now the promising former rugby union player, who officially moved in behind the bar on January 4, is putting his own stamp on the Delph Lane hostelry.
“I was always happy working for other people,” said Alan persuaded by current Oldham Council deputy mayor and ex union and league player Cllr Adrian Alexander to swop Essex for the North West in the late 1980s.
“But I always wanted my own place. I have worked at the Lion for three years so when Carl decided he wanted to move on, he gave me a nudge in the right direction.
“I know all the locals and the locals know me. They took me under their wings when I first came up here.
“So, I have had a good response to taking over and touch wood, I’ve not had any bad responses or reviews.”
Like a lot of chefs, Alan has plied his trade at a number of pubs and restaurants in the area including the Bull’s Head, Delph, Three Crowns, Scouthead and – as he calls it – ‘big and little’ Muse.
“I trained as a baker and pastry chef so when I was forced to give up rugby due to injury in my late 20s, I concentrated on my cheffing career,” he explained.
Since succeeding Carl, Alan has produced new menus including gluten free options, vegetarian dishes, breakfasts seven days a week, sandwich platters to run alongside the main menu and changes to daily specials. On Tuesday, children eat for free.
He has also kept traditional favourites like fish Friday, curry and steak nights, Sunday roasts while all desserts are made in-house.
“I was 18 when I moved up on my own – just a wee snapper,” he laughed.
“But I have never looked back and don’t even go back other than to see my parents.
“I am a northerner now and Delph is home.”