Chris Horridge`s former sous chef, Matthew Butcher, has been appointed head chef at von Essen`s Somerset hotel, Ston Easton Park.
Butcher`s appointment comes as the hotel group completes a £2m refurbishment of the 22-bedroom hotel set within an 18th Century Palladian mansion.
The luxury hotel group is investing millions of pounds in upgrading four of its properties in the West Country. A further £3m could be spent on Ston Easton Park to build a spa and conference facilities, subject to planning, and the same amount is being invested at Buckland Manor in Gloucestershire to develop a new spa and refurbish the Garden rooms.
Spas are also being planned at Greenway, the manor house near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire and Homewood Park in Somerset as part of investment programmes worth £2.5m and £1m respectively.
Von Essen has already spent a total of £5.5m across all four hotels to refurbish bedrooms.
Butcher (pictured), who worked under Chris Horridge at the Bath Priory for three years, is expected to make use of the fully restored Victorian kitchen garden in his role and will work closely with head gardener Dorian Poole to make the estate fully sustainable for 2009.
General Manager of Ston Easton Park, Ian Jupp said: "We are very excited to welcome Matthew to the team here at Ston Easton Park. His wealth of experience in England`s finest restaurants, passion for locally sourced produce and enthusiasm for the kitchen garden will firmly establish Ston Easton Park as the premier fine dining venue in Somerset."
Michael Caines joins Bath Priory after Chris Horridge departure