The French chef told BigHospitality he had been asked for some 'friendly advice' by the restaurant's owner five months ago to help push the business forward and after working closely with head chef David Lewis was now being appointed in a more official capacity.
"The owner and I are friends and the restaurant was not quite where he wanted it to be, so he asked me for some friendly advice. Nothing was discussed about me trying to take over at all, but it has since become a really good collaboration," he said.
"It suits me really well. I have been in the UK for a long time, but I grew up in the countryside in Brittany. Having One-O-One in London is great, but I always said that if I had the chance I'd like to get involved in something in the countryside and be able to cook more than fish and seafood, so this is perfect as it means I have the best of both worlds."
Proyart has worked with Lewis to devise new menus, which make the most of the Petworth restaurant's relationship with local suppliers. Beef and lamb sourced from the Goodwood Estate, pork from nearby Storrington and fish from the nearby coast have made it into dishes such as Sussex lamb rump tagine with Raz el Hanout, lemon confit and minted-coriander couscous; Rich Sussex beef casserole with winter truffle mash and wild mushroom garniture grand mere and Daily fish casserole Bouillabaise style. Cheeses produced in the county and game shot in the South Downs will also be used.
"The menu is based on my own recipes, but is more rustic to reflect the location we're in," said Proyart. "We'll see about Michelin stars and AA Rosettes, but for the moment we are just trying to do something special there with the local produce that will bring customers back again and again."
The chef, who aims to spend at least one day a week at The Leconfield, has also invited the Sussex restaurant's chefs to his kitchens in Knightsbridge for training.
"I want to be involved in more than just the menus," he said. "This is a new venture for me and for them, but it is one that seems to be working well so far and has made some positive changes already to the business."