CELEBRITY chef Marco Pierre White is bringing his culinary skills to the Ribble Valley.

The world-renowned chef, who was the youngest person to receive three Michelin stars, has taken over the historic Assheton Arms in the village of Downham.

Marco, 49, and his business partner and Cheshire restaurant entrepreneur, Francis Carroll, plan to turn the centuries-old building back into a traditional public house serving real ales and a la carte British food.

Mr Carroll, is the man responsible for bringing his long-term friend, Marco, to the North West restaurant scene with The Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill at Doubletree by Hilton Chester and another restaurant in Aughton, near Ormskirk.

The chefs first worked together after they trained under the Roux brothers at La Gavroche in London.

Mr Carroll, who is a share-holder in the new venture, said: “We have plans to revamp the building and turn it into an exciting pub and restaurant.

“We want to bring it into line with Marco’s other successful pubs, but also cater for the varied clientele of hikers and walkers, as well as those looking for a fine dining experience.

"Downham is a perfect location as it is a key area in the Ribble Valley and is also quite near to Marco’s home ground of Yorkshire.”

The pub at the top of the village, opposite St Leonard’s Church, was first used as a public house in the 19th century, when it was known as the Cross Keys.

It changed its name a number of times before becoming The Assheton Arms in the 1950s, when it was named after Conservative politician Ralph Assheton.

He had previously served as Financial Secretary to the Treasury and was later given the peerage of Baron Clitheroe of Downham.

The pub is still owned by the Assheton family.

Landlord David Busby has run the pub for the last 28 years with his wife Wendy, but the couple have now decided to retire.

Mr Busby, said: “We will be delighted to hand over the reins to such a capable pair of hands.”