PAUL Kitching of Michelin-starred Juniper, in Altrincham, is seeking a fresh start and a chance to go for his second Michelin star when he shuts up shop in April.
Kitching and his partner Katie O’Brien have been at Juniper for 12 years. It was awarded the star in 1997.
Soups Ltd, which owns the Juniper lease and in which Kitching and O’Brien have a stake, is looking for someone to take over the lease which is being marketed through agents Harvey Silver Hodgkinson.
Kitching is not taking the name Juniper with him, preferring a “clean slate”, so the doors are open to an aspiring chef who wants to retain Greater Manchester’s Michelin star, besides someone after something a little less ambitious.
Kitching said he is undecided on whether to open his next restaurant in a major UK city (he’s already looked at sites in London, Glasgow and Dublin) or whether to open a country house restaurant somewhere rural like the Lake District. He said: “The money’s there, we’ve just got to find the place. We have to go somewhere that feels right.”
Although he said the decision to move was partly governed by his desire to get a second Michelin star, most important he said was “to find out in my heart how good a chef I can become.”
He said he hopes to be open by Christmas, adding: “It’ll mean a year out of the guides but it’ll be worth it.”