People on the move: January 2018

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

People on the move: January 2018

Related tags: Head chef, Chef, Director

It's been another busy month in hospitality, with a departure at one of London's Michelin-starred restaurants and several major new partnerships announced.

Rohit Ghai

Chef Rohit Ghai is stepping down as executive chef at Jamavar in Mayfair this month.​ He joined the restaurant in 2016 and oversaw the win of its first Michelin star in the 2018 Guide. It is not confirmed what Ghai’s next move will be, but Jamavar has confirmed its group culinary director Surender Mohan is moving to London to oversee its eponymous site and sister restaurant Bombay Bustle going forward. Mohan was the founding chef of the first Jamavar restaurant in Bangalore, India in 2001, and led subsequent openings in Mumbai, Goa, Channai and New Dehli.

Oliver Meakin

The Gaucho Group has appointed a new chief executive following the departure of its founder Zeev Godik last year.​ Oliver Meakin, current boss of Maplin Electronics, will join on 29 January as the group looks to pursue its ‘ambitious plans for UK and international growth’ under its eponymouse steakhouse and CAU brands. Meakin previously worked alongside Gaucho non-executive chairman Paul Mason at supermarket chain Somerfield, and was director of emerging concepts at Mitchells & Butlers’ Miller & Carter steakhouse chain. His appointment comes after Godik stepped down from Gaucho in November after 41 years leading the business.

Carlos Martinez

The former head chef at Maze by Gordon Ramsay has been appointed group head chef at Chucs Italian restaurants.​ Carlos Martinez joins the group, which is the sister brand to the fashion label of the same name, ahead of the launch of its upcoming site in Harrods. Chucs said in a statement that his appointment comes ahead of a ‘new phase of development’ for the company, and he will be ‘heavily involved’ in its future openings, as well as its two existing restaurants. Chucs currently runs two restaurants on London’s Dover Street and Westbourne Grove.

Chris Simpson


The former head chef of Nathan Outlaw’s two Michelin star flagship restaurant has replaced Michael Wignall as executive chef at Gidleigh Park.​ Chris Simpson ran his first service at the hotel on 12 January. He joins after seven years heading up the kitchen at Outlaw’s Port Isaac restaurant. Simpson faces the task of upholding Gidleigh Park’s two Michelin star rating, which was first won under Michael Caines in 1998 and retained under Wignall last year.

The Stafford London hotel


Ben Tish, former chef director of Salt Yard Group, has joined The Stafford London hotel ​following the departure of executive chef James Durrant. Tish’s new role as culinary director will see him launch new restaurant projects focusing on his ‘love of European cuisine’, as well as overseeing the hotel’s existing Game Bird restaurant, American Bar and private dining. It comes after he stepped down from his role as chef director at Salt Yard, where he launched London restaurants Dehesa, Ember Tavern and Opera Yard, after 11 years.

Durrant joined The Stafford in September 2016 and oversaw the opening of The Game Bird. He has been replaced by the restaurant’s former head chef Jozef Rogulski, who has also cooked at The Waterside Inn and Tom Kerridge’s The Hand and Flowers.

Tim Allen


Tim Allen has been appointed chef-partner at The Flitch of Bacon,​ Daniel Clifford’s Essex restaurant with rooms. Allen had originally been set to launch a restaurant in Manchester with Select Property Group this year, but parted ways with the project in December. The Essex site will be renamed Tim Allen’s Flitch of Bacon from February, and will serve seasonal, British cuisine ‘with a modern edge’. “Tim worked with me at Midsummer House so having [him] join me once again…is a huge deal for The Flitch,” said Clifford. “[There’s] no one I’d trust with The Flitch more than Tim in his capacity as chef and partner.”

Aurore Lagabec


Sopwell House hotel in St Albans has appointed Aurore Lagabec as its new restaurant and cocktail bar manager. Lagabec started her career at Gordon Ramsay’s eponymous three-Michelin-starred restaurant on Royal Hospital Road and went on to work for both Tom Aikens and Marlon Abela. In 2014 she became restaurant manager of Pascal Aussignac’s Club Gascon in London, and previously managed restaurants at Harvey Nichols. Her new role will include overseeing Sopwell House’s two-AA-rosette dining room

Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square

The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square has announced two new appointments to its management team following a multi-million pound refurbishment of the property. Johan Scheepers will become general manager, supported by Gillian Mylles as hotel manager.

Originally from South Africa and educated at the International Hotel School and Oxford University, Scheepers has over 22 years’ experience in the hospitality industry with previous roles at The Maslow Hotel, Sun City Resort in South Africa and Macdonald Hotels and Resorts in Manchester.

Aberdeen-born Mylles, who has worked at Hotel du Vin and Malmaison, will oversee the day to day running of the hotel and its 208 staff.

Dominic Blakemore

Compass Group has named Dominic Blakemore as its new chief executive​ following the sudden death of Richard Cousins in a plane crash on 31 December. The catering company said 58-year-old Cousins was planning to retire on 31 March, but it had advanced Blakemore’s appointment following the sudden accident. “The thoughts of everyone at Compass are with Richard’s family and friends, and we extend our deepest sympathies to them,” said Paul Walsh, Compass Group chairman.

Related topics: People, Restaurant, Chef

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