Adam Bennett of Simpsons restaurant made chef director of Kenilworth pub The Cross

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bocuse d'or, Chef

Adam Bennett, previously head chef at Simpsons and the Bocuse d'Or UK candidate in 2013, has an exciting year ahead after being made chef director of The Cross and agreeing to compete in the international competition again.
Adam Bennett, previously head chef at Simpsons and the Bocuse d'Or UK candidate in 2013, has an exciting year ahead after being made chef director of The Cross and agreeing to compete in the international competition again.
Simpsons head chef and UK Bocuse d'Or candidate Adam Bennett has been appointed chef director of The Cross, the Kenilworth pub chef and restaurateur Andreas Antona takes over at the end of this month. 

Bennett, who has been head chef at Simpsons for the last eight years, will take over the 70-cover Charles Wells pub later this week. 

He said he was looking forward to heading up the new venture: “I’m sure that many chefs dream of running their own restaurant and I’m very grateful to Andreas for giving me the opportunity to bring my own personal touch to The Cross. Thanks to Andreas, I have another exciting challenge ahead of me which, coupled with our success in the Bocuse d’Or, looks set to make 2013 a year to remember," he said. 

The pub, which has been owned by Howard Grundy and Jon Sharp of the Tasty Pub Company for the last 10 years, will serve 'restaurant quality food in a pub environment'. Antona told Restaurant magazine​ last month he was taking inspiration from pubs such as The Harwood Arms and the Hand & Flowers for his latest venture. 

“We’ve been looking for a larger premises for some time now and The Cross provides us with an ideal space and setting for Adam to set up his first dining venture," he said. "We’ll spend the first few months getting to know the team, the location, the pub and its regulars so that we’re all set for an official relaunch later in the year.”  

Bennett has been replaced at Simpsons by Matt Cheal, who has worked up the ranks since he joined the team in 2000. Luke Tipping, will continue in his role as chef director of the restaurant. 

Antona will continue to oversee both venues and will be on hand to share his knowledge and experience during the bedding-in period he said. 

Bocuse d'Or

It is not the first time the business-owner has given support to his staff. He gave Bennett six months off to focus on preparing for the Bocuse d'Or 2013 which took place in Lyon in January. 

The chef and his commis chef Kristian Curtis, also of Simpsons, achieved the best result ever for a UK candidate, coming fourth out of 24 countries. The pair also picked up two special awards - Best Meat and Best Commis. 

Bennett has also confirmed he will compete in the next Bocuse d'Or contest, whose first round is in Stockholm in May. He said he had not felt able to confirm either way until he was running his own restaurant. 

“The Bocuse d’Or was an incredible journey and we learnt so much in the process - however I have other things going on right now which I also need to focus on," he said. "I’ve spent the last few months considering the prospect of doing it all again and I only made the decision when I felt 100 per cent comfortable that I could do it whilst running my own restaurant.   

“Thanks to organisations such as University College Birmingham and our generous sponsors, we now have better support than ever and having gone through the experience before I have a better handle on things.  We have strong teams both at The Cross and in the Bocuse d’Or UK committee which will enable me to combine the two roles seamlessly.”

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