Raymond Blanc-trained chef Chris Harrod takes over The Crown at Whitebrook

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: À la carte, Menu, Restaurant

As new chef-patron of The Crown at Whitebrook Chris Harrod is aiming to rebuild its reputation before seeking accolades
As new chef-patron of The Crown at Whitebrook Chris Harrod is aiming to rebuild its reputation before seeking accolades
Raymond Blanc-trained chef Chris Harrod has taken over The Crown at Whitebrook, the former Michelin-starred restaurant in Monmouthshire forced to close in March after it went into administration. 

Harrod, who trained under Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons before going on to open Colette's restaurant at The Grove in Hertfordshire, takes over the restaurant with rooms as chef-patron and will recruit a new team before re-opening for business in October. 

He said taking on the restaurant, which was overseen by James Sommerin for seven years before he left to open his own restaurant​, was 'a dream come true'. 

He said: “I had been looking for a restaurant in Buckinghamshire, a country retreat in the Chiltern Hills with the potential to add rooms. I’d drawn a complete blank and then a friend mentioned The Crown at Whitebrook. I took a look and was amazed to find that it fits the bill right down the ground. I just can’t wait to get started.”

New team

Chris-Harrod-Steve-Mason
Front-of-house manager Steve Mason (left) will help new chef-patron Chris Harrod to recruit a new team.

Harrod, who will live on-site, has already appointed Steve Mason, former head waiter and maitre d' at The Ledbury in London, as front-of-house manager. Together the pair will recruit another 10 members of staff to form the restaurant's new team. 

The chef said he planned to keep a fine-dining focus at the restaurant, which had a Michelin star for seven years under Sommerin, and serve British food with a French influence using locally-sourced produce. 

“We will offer a set lunch menu, an a la carte menu and tasting menus and we will also be introducing a Sunday lunch menu with roasts," he said. 

Michelin star

Harrod, who was most recently a consultant chef at Lord Newborough’s Rhug Estate Organic, said his immediate plan was to build up the restaurant's reputation again, rather than seeking accolades. 

“I and my team are going into the Crown at Whitebrook to offer our very best," he said. "If we deliver that then I am confident that we will regain the reputation the restaurant has enjoyed previously.

“First we need to focus on making the restaurant work by offering our very best. We will be striving to deliver my unique vision rather than focusing on gaining awards or Michelin stars. If we concentrate on doing this then I believe recognition will be achieved in due course.”

The Crown at Whitebrook was placed on the market for £850k, or available for £50k on a 15 year lease, after it was placed into administration in March. Previous owners Crown Hotels and Restaurants Ltd., blamed poor trading caused by heavy snow and a winter shut-down for its demise.

Related topics: Business, People, Restaurants, Venues

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