Harbour Hotels has ended its relationship with celebrity chef Gary Rhodes, closing its Rhodes South restaurant at Christchurch Harbour Hotel in Dorset
Rhodes, who also operated a restaurant at Harbour Hotels’ Kings Hotel until last year, closed Rhodes South at the weekend to make way for a new restaurant headed by Michelin-starred chef Alex Aitken.
Mark Godfrey, managing director of Harbour Hotels, said the area’s clientele weren’t ready for a celebrity chef restaurant.
“It has become clear that the era of the international celebrity chef doesn’t necessarily produce the best local food results,” he said. “Rather than a destination restaurant, we have elected for a much more local presence.”
Alex Aitken at The Jetty
Aitken, who joins the group from Lime Wood in Lyndhurst, but gained his first Michelin star at Le Poussin in Brockenhurst, Hampshire, has now become executive chef at The Jetty at Christchurch Harbour Hotel, which opens today.
Serving a locally sourced, seafood orientated menu featuring local oysters, shrimp and lobster, as well as numerous charcoal grilled dishes and sharing platters, The Jetty aims to be ‘the best neighbourhood restaurant around’.
“We are thrilled to welcome Alex to our team at The Jetty,” Godfrey added. “Alex is a ‘home-grown’ chef with a huge amount of food knowledge and experience. His list of accolades includes the UK’s top food awards but it was his love of local food that made Alex the perfect chef to head up The Jetty.”
Rhodes now operates just two restaurants in the UK – Rhodes W1 Restaurant and Brasserie at The Cumberland Hotel, and Rhodes Twenty Four at Tower 42, both in London.
A spokesperson for the celebrity chef, said: "Gary has really enjoyed his experience at this beautiful waterside location but his other operations in London and abroad have meant that he has not been able to dedicate as much time to the restaurant as he would have liked.
"Gary continues to enjoy visits to Dorset and the local area and would like to wish the team the best of luck for continued success for the future."
The chef also operates two cruise ship restaurants plus two in Dubai and Calabash.