Richard Johns, who opened Artisan with his wife Lindsey in 2004, says the decision to close the restaurant was not a financial one, but he admits the pair had taken it as far as they could go without a star – it is, however, listed in both the Michelin and Good Food Guides.
“We feel we’ve taken Artisan just as far as we possibly can and it’s time to move on to whatever’s next,” Johns told BigHospitality. “Financially, we’re ok - of course we’ve suffered along with every other business since 2008.
“But as far as accolades are concerned, we won all of them but a Michelin star which was an area of contention for us.
“We often wondered why we weren’t deemed good enough to get that accolade which would have put us in a different place to where we are now. If we did get a star then things could have been very different.
“Any chef that works at this level and pretends they wouldn’t like Michelin star is lying, we all know the impact it can have on a business."
Artisan also featured in Restaurant magazine’s inaugural National Restaurant Awards in 2008. It will shut up shop at the end of April, with Johns adding there had been a few ‘tentative enquiries’ for the site.
The husband and wife duo are using the closure to embark on a food tour across France and Italy, for potential inspiration for future restaurant projects here in the UK.
“At the minute we really don’t have a vision, it’s an open book,” added Johns. “The food tour will give us a little recharge and hopefully some inspiration. We could go in several directions but on a food front our next restaurant would always be real food, a take on the classics.
“As for area, I’d love to stay loyal to the area that we’re in but who knows. Hopefully some good opportunities come our way.
“So it’s not bad news, for us the closure is a positive – we’re going out on a high.”
Artisan is fully booked up until the closure.