Will Holland: 'Not ruling anything out' for first venture after La Bécasse

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Restaurant, Michelin guide, Alan murchison

Will Holland, who is to leave La Bécasse after six years as chef patron, told BigHospitality he has not yet decided his next move
Will Holland, who is to leave La Bécasse after six years as chef patron, told BigHospitality he has not yet decided his next move
Will Holland, chef patron of Alan Murchison's former Michelin-starred restaurant La Bécasse, has told BigHospitality he has not made any plans for his next venture after he departs in September and is not currently ruling anything out when it comes to his next move.

Holland, who first teamed up with Murchison at L’ortolan in Berkshire in 2004, yesterday announced he would depart the former Hibiscus restaurant in Ludlow, Shropshire, later this year in order to 'seek a fresh opportunity' and 'new challenges'.

Speaking to BigHospitality today, Holland revealed he had made the decision to resign earlier in the year but had agreed not to go public until three months before he was due to leave. 

"I am not necessarily going to open a restaurant on my own," he explained. "I have got nothing set in stone and I will look at every single opportunity. I am not ruling out it being another venture in Ludlow or Shropshire, or anywhere else in the UK," he said.

"I have worked for 15 or 16 years as a full-time chef and that has always been in fine dining restaurants and Michelin star environments but the world is a very open place these days and I wouldn't close the door on anything. I would definitely look at different styles of operation," he revealed.

Alan Murchison 

Holland took the helm at La Bécasse when Murchison acquired the venue in 2007. He helped it gain a number of accolades, including a Michelin star which it held until 2011.

Paying tribute to Holland, Alan Murchison said the chef had done an 'amazing' job at La Bécasse. "I wish Will the very best in the next stage of his culinary journey and in the future," he said. "He has been a huge asset to my business and his presence will be missed as a close friend and inspirational work colleague," Murchison added.

Out of respect for his former boss, Holland agreed not to actively search for another opportunity until his departure was public knowledge.

"The direction that Alan's company wants to travel in and the direction I want to travel in are slightly different," he revealed. "It is time to move on and do something else."

In a statement released yesterday the chef paid an emotional tribute to Murchison saying he had 'enabled' him to go on 'an incredible journey'. "I have benefited from Alan's relentless drive and determination, and the persistent faith and trust he has put in me have been very humbling," Holland said.

Speaking to BigHospitality, the chef said he wanted to show the culinary world what he had learnt during his time in Ludlow: "I have proved during my time at La Bécasse that I can set up a restaurant, run a restaurant, put it on the map and achieve good things. It is time to do that elsewhere but whether that is with a restaurant or something else - only time will tell."

10 in 8

As a venue in the 10 in 8 group, La Bécasse was part of last year's deal which saw Murchison's business merged with Hotel Terravina, the company owned by sommelier Gerard Basset and his wife Nina.

Speaking to BigHospitality in November, newly-appointed managing director Nina Basset explained the fine dining group would no longer be focused on gaining 10 Michelin stars​ and would instead concentrate on owning 10 'industry stars' - be that actual awards or staff with star quality.

As well as L’ortolan, La Bécasse and Hotel Terravina, the 10 in 8 group also operates the Paris House restaurant in Bedfordshire. A deal to operate a restaurant within the Macdonald Bear Hotel in Woodstock has now ended.

Holland will leave La Bécasse on the weekend of the Ludlow Food Festival which takes place from 13-15 September. "It is the biggest weekend in the calendar for me here," Holland said. "It is a weekend which I really, really enjoy so I thought 'go out on a high'," he added.

The 10 in 8 group is currently recruiting to fill a variety of roles at La Bécasse and Paris House - to find out more or to apply check out BigHospitality Jobs.

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