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Skye GyngellThe Michelin-starred Petersham Nurseries Café in Richmond, Surrey, has denied industry rumours that head chef Skye Gyngell has left.

The restaurant and garden centre, which first opened in 2004, insisted Gyngell was on a sabbatical but would be returning.

A spokeswoman for the Petersham Nurseries Café said: "Skye is currently on a sabbatical, such as she takes every year. However, she has not left."

Gyngell has been head chef at Petersham Nurseries Café since it first opened and last year gained a Michelin star for her cooking. She has published three books and is a regular contributor to the Independent on Sunday, Vogue and Delicious.

In 2009, Petersham Nurseries was granted a mixed-use planning application, after it won a four-year dispute with Richmond Council over parking and the level of traffic around the site.

Ross ShonhanRoss Shonhan, former head chef of acclaimed Japanese restaurant Zuma in London's Knightsbridge, plans to launch two solo ventures in the capital next year, a Japanese steakhouse and an Izakaya, a Japanese pub.

Tell us about your plans for your Japanese pub or Izakaya.
The overall idea of it is to make it relaxed, fun, and funky. It will have a casual approach to Japanese food and will take inspiration from the feel of Japanese pubs that I have visited in Japan. In Japanese pubs, the emphasis is more on food than drinking. So while it will be a pub, it will still be very much a restaurant but with a casual approach to Japanese food and a no reservations policy. Also, at around 20 to 30 covers, it'll be a smaller venue making it easier to change the menu and take advantage of limited season, small volume ingredients.

What about the steakhouse?
The steakhouse will be bigger, around 120 covers, and offer a more serious dining experience. But it will still have a fairly lively bar element to it too, focusing on Japanese beverages such as whisky, sake, shochu, Japanese vodka. The steakhouse will combine experiences that you would expect from a Western steakhouse with those that you'd find in a Japanese steakhouse. As well as offering traditional dishes including sukiyaki, it will also incorporate a large variety of cold dishes, grilled meats and fish. There will also be a lot of seafood and vegetables on offer. All in all, there will be a lot more to it than just meat. The steakhouse element is really a point of difference to separate myself from Nobu and Zuma. Also with a background in meat, I thought it made sense to call it a steakhouse.

What areas are you looking at?
While the focus of the area of the Izakaya is Soho/Covent Garden, the focus for the steakhouse is Mayfair/Knightsbridge/Belgravia. Ideally I would like the venues to be next to one another, but the logistics of the London property market make it near impossible to do this.

What will the design be like?
Both venues will include some of the POP art of Japan, like Manga. I want the steakhouse to be an open flowing space, where the energies of the kitchen, bar and dining room can combine. The design will feature elements of both Western and Japanese steakhouses. I would like to get a Japanese designer to help with the overall design.

Where has the inspiration for these two ventures come from?
My travels, my dreams, my ambitions. I've seen the successes of both Nobu and Zuma and I would like a piece of that for myself! I am young enough to still have the energy to do it, and old enough to have the maturity to do it.

Have you got other members of staff lined up?
I've got some good friends whom I've worked with and whom I trust. I would like to think they'll come onboard nearer the time. However, it's a bit too far off to identify any of them just yet.

Australian Shonhan moved to London in 2001 and joined Asia de Cuba as senior chef de partie before moving to the Dorchester Hotel as junior sous chef. He then moved to the USA where he worked with Stephan Pyles and in 2005 joined Nobu to oversee the opening of the group's Dallas restaurant together with Nobu Matsuhisa himself. In 2007, he was head hunted by Rainer Becker and joined Zuma in Knightsbridge as head chef.   

Lee BennettLee Bennett, executive chef at Le Pont de la Tour, is to leave the London restaurant to move to Singapore and join the Swissotel the Stamford.

Bennett, who has been at the helm of the D&D London owned restaurant near Tower Bridge for more than three years, will depart for Singapore at the end of August. His replacement has not yet been announced.

He will join the five-star Swissotel the Stamford as executive chef of its Equinox Complex, which includes five restaurants and bars as well as four private dining rooms with a total capacity of 900 covers.

In his new role Bennett will be in charge of the Equinox restaurant, which includes three private dining rooms, as well as the New Asia nightclub which also serves food.

Commenting on his move Bennett said: "I've been at Le Pont de la Tour for three and a half years and in that time have had lots of offers but it had to be something really special to get me to leave. This offer came out of the blue and it's a fantastic opportunity for me."

Bennett, who joined Le Pont de la Tour in 2008, has worked under three-Michelin-starred chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Pierre Gagnaire and Alain Ducasse. His first head chef position was at the Michelin-starred Savoy Grill, under executive chef Marcus Wareing, where he won the Craft Guild of Chefs 'Restaurant Chef' award in 2007.

Peter EatonPeter Eaton, former head chef at the Dorchester Collection's Coworth Park, is joining the Feathered Nest country inn in the Cotswolds as head chef.

The former Acorn award winner, who also previously worked with John Campbell at the then two-Michelin-starred Vineyard at Stockcross, will join the pub in Nether Westcote, near Stow-on-the-Wold, in Oxfordshire on 1 August. He will replace former head chef Kevin Barrett.

The move comes just two months after Eaton left Coworth Park in Berkshire, where he was made redundant following former director of cuisine Campbell's decision to change his role to a consultancy one for the hotel's flagship Restaurant John Campbell.

Full story will be on soon.

Spice MarketTim Tolley, executive chef at Spice Market, the new London outpost by US-based French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, is leaving the restaurant just weeks after it opened.

US-born Tolley, who returned to work with the three-Michelin-starred chef after running D&D London's Plateau for six years, helped launch the restaurant housed at the W hotel London Leicester Square. He previously worked with Vongerichten at Vong at the Berkeley where he was head chef until it closed in 2003. Former Vong and Plateau manager Bertrand Pierson will remain as general manager at Spice Market.

Commenting on his departure Tolley said: "Yes I am leaving. There's no specific reason, it just feels like the right thing to do. I have no future plans as yet but will definitely stay here in the UK."

When asked whether his departure had anything to do with the scathing review Spice Market received from the Telegraph's food critic Matthew Norman, Tolley said: "It has nothing to do with that. This decision was made some time ago.

"I still have a good relationship with Jean-Georges. I'm not sure when I will be leaving, it will be when they have found a replacement."

Spice Market opened in the 192-bedroom W Hotel London Leicester Square in February. Serving a menu inspired by South East Asian flavours, it is the sister restaurant to the original Spice Market in New York's Meatpacking District and marks Vongerichten's return to London after nearly eight years.

Shane OsbornShane Osborn, head chef and co-owner of London's Pied à Terre, is to leave the two-Michelin starred restaurant, Guide Girl can reveal.

Osborn, who has been at the helm of the Charlotte Street restaurant for more than 11 years, will leave in the summer to go travelling the world for up to nine months with his wife and two children.

He will be succeeded by his former protégé Marcus Eaves, currently head chef at Pied à Terre's Michelin-starred sister restaurant L'Autre Pied in Marylebone. Eaves will replaced by sous chef Andy McFadden, who recently joined L'Autre Pied from the three-Michelin-starred Oud Sluis in the Netherlands.

Osborn told Caterersearch it had been a tough decision to leave the restaurant and London. "I'm very sad to be walking away after 13 years but the restaurant is in very capable hands and in its best ever financial position," he said.

"The team at Pied à Terre, both front and back of house, is fantastic and there's only one person leaving and that's me. Marcus worked with me for four years; he is the crème de la crème of the young chefs who have worked in my kitchen and he has all the skills to take over from me and carry on Pied à Terre's legacy."

Pied à Terre owner David Moore thanked Osborn for his commitment to the restaurant, adding he would be sorely missed. "But this is an exciting new chapter for us and Marcus is the heir to the thrown," he said. "Shane leaves Pied à Terre after its best year ever and in a very stable and secure position."  

Osborn first joined Pied à Terre as sous chef in 1998 and was promoted to head chef after the departure of Tom Aikens in December 1999. The restaurant lost its second star in 2000, which Osborn regained in 2003 and has retained ever since.

First opened in 1991, Pied à Terre was first awarded a Michelin star in 1993, under Richard Neat, who took the kitchen on to two stars in 1996, but left the restaurant within months of receiving it. Neat's sous chef and successor, Aikens, held the two stars for a further three years.

Jean-Luc NaretJean-Luc Naret, the director of the Michelin guides, is to leave the organisation.

Naret, who has overseen the company's travel guides for the past six years, will vacate his position at the end of the year. However, he will become a consultant and will continue to advise Michelin, reports the New York Times.

Naret's resignation follows hot on the heels of the UK Michelin guides' editor Derek Bulmer, who left last month to join marketing agency My Jam as a hospitality consultant.

As part if Naret's tenure at Michelin he has overseen the guides international expansion outside Europe, which has seen the group launch books in the USA and Asia. Michelin now publishes 25 different guides listing hotels and restaurants in 23 countries across three continents.

Separately Michelin has awarded 52 new stars to restaurants in Japan, with the publication of its 2011 guide to Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe, which lists a total of 243 starred establishments including 12 with the top accolade of three stars, 46 with two-, and 185 with one star.

Three restaurants celebrated winning their second star: Hanamura and Hassun in Kyoto and tempura restaurant Yotaro Honten in Osaka.

A total of 23 restaurants in Japan now hold Michelin's top accolade of three stars, just three less than France.

Michelin will publish a number of new guides over the coming month including its first edition of a guide to the US city of Chicago.

Chris Hutcheson resigns from Gordon Ramsay Holdings

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Gordon RamsayChris Hutcheson, chief executive officer of Gordon Ramsay Holdings (GRH), has resigned from the company.

The celebrity chef's father-in-law, who helped found the business, is leaving after more than decade at its helm. He masterminded the growth of the company over the past 12 years.

In a statement GRH said: "We can confirm that Chris Hutcheson has left his position as CEO of GRH. He retains an interest in the business as a shareholder.

"We would like to thank him for all his efforts and support in helping to build and grow GRH over last 12 years.

"Interim management will be put in place while the search begins for a full time replacement. It continues to be business as normal for all GRH operations."

James DurrantJames Durrant, executive chef at the Michelin-starred Maze restaurant in London, is leaving Gordon Ramsay Holdings (GRH) after nine years with the company.

The chef's departure comes just weeks after Jason Atherton, former chef patron of the international Maze group of restaurants, announced his resignation from GRH.

A former Acorn winner, Durrant first joined GRH as a junior chef at the group's flagship three-Michelin-starred restaurant on Royal Hospital Road, before heading north to become junior sous chef at Paul Kitching's Michelin-starred Juniper in Altricham, Cheshire.

He then returned to London and GRH to work at the then Michelin-starred restaurant at Claridge's, before becoming executive chef at Maze in 2005. In this role, he helped launch the first international branch of Maze in New York, as well as Maze Grill in London.

Durrant said he was now looking forward to the next step of his career. "After an amazing five years at Maze and nine years at GRH I have decided to take some time out and I am really looking forward to the next step in my career," he said.

A spokeswoman for GRH added: "We're very sad to be saying goodbye to James, he is a fantastic young talent and we wish him all the best for the future."

Durrant's leaving marks the fourth senior chef departure from GRH in two years, with Marcus Wareing and Mark Sargeant also having left the group.

Meanwhile, Atherton, who opened Table No1 by Jason Atherton in Shanghai in May, will be launching a restaurant in London's Mayfair in the autumn rumoured to be called Pollen Street Social Jason Atherton.  

Allan PickettAllan Pickett, head chef at the Aviator hotel in Farnborough, Hampshire, is leaving the property to return to restaurant group D&D London.

Pickett, who previously worked with D&D London (formerly Conran Restaurants) at Orrery, Bluebird and the Aurora restaurant at the Great Eastern Hotel, has been appointed head chef at Plateau in Canary Wharf.

He will start at the restaurant, which is located on the fourth floor of Canada Place, on 7 June replacing current head chef Tim Tolley, who has overseen Plateau since its launch in October 2003 and is returning to the USA.

Pickett said he was "very excited" to be returning to the capital. "I joined the Aviator about two years ago and it was a great opportunity for me to diversify," he said. "But I do miss London. It's got a more discerning clientele and keeps you on your toes."

Pickett added that while his cooking at the Aviator had been traditional English, he was returning to his roots at Plateau offering a modern French menu with Mediterranean influences. "I would really like to introduce a tasting menu at Plateau," he said.

Pickett joined the 169-bedroom Aviator, which is a joint-venture from operator Ken McCulloch and Farnborough Airport, in 2008. He was previously head chef at the then Michelin-starred Orrery in Marylebone before joining Chris and Jeff Galvin as head chef at Galvin Bistrot de Luxe in 2007.


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