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Paul Heathcote on selling his final restaurants and what the future holds

By Sophie Witts , 10-Feb-2016
Last updated on 10-Feb-2016 at 17:53 GMT2016-02-10T17:53:27Z

Paul Heathcote on selling his final restaurants and what the future holds

Former Michelin-starred chef Paul Heathcote MBE is to sell his two remaining restaurants this year to focus on other projects.

The Lancashire-based chef has put The Olive Press and Heathcote’s Brasserie in Preston on the market after 20 years of trading.

Heathcote told BigHospitality that he felt it was the right time to move on and spend ‘much more time’ focusing on his contract catering business Heathcote & Co.

“I’ve been doing this 20 years so it’s a fair stint by anybody’s yardstick,” he said.

“Late last year we had an approach [for a sale] that didn’t happen and I was fairly disappointed. I realised that it was probably the right time so I decided I would [sell] in the New Year.

“We also have the opportunity for a couple of other contracts in our contract catering business that I can’t disclose.  That won’t happen until later on or very early 2017 but they will need my attention and I can’t do everything.”

Known for its high-end Italian cuisine, the 200-cover Olive Press is a favourite haunt for celebrities including Rod Stewart, Fat Boy Slim and former Manchester United manager David Moyes.

It sits on the same site as the Heathcote Brasserie private dining room, which serves guests a specially 'bespoke' menu.

Looking ahead

When asked if would ever open another restaurant Heathcote admitted that he would ‘never say never’.

“In all honesty I would like to do something slightly different to what I’ve been doing for quite a long time, as it was 1990 when I opened Longridge," he said.

"I don’t know what that looks like but I think I need to find the next thing for Paul Heathcote…something new and fresh and that would excite me in the way that Longridge or anything else I did over those 25 years did.

“I’m not ready for retirement that’s absolutely for sure.”

In 2010 the chef closed Simply Heathcotes in Liverpool and the Leeds Olive Press blaming the impact of the recession and poor footfall.

The same year he sold the majority of his remaining restaurant portfolio to Living Ventures, including three Olive Press sites in Manchester, Liverpool and Cheadle Hulme as well as Grado in Manchester and London Road in Alderley Edge.

Heathcote also sold his flagship Longridge restaurant  in Preston in 2012 after 22 years of trading.

Christie & Co is seeking £250,000 for the leasehold interest in the Preston Olive Press and Heathcote Brasserie site.

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