People on the move in hospitality: May 2018

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

People on the move in hospitality: May 2018
This month has seen a big overseas chef move and changes at the top for several major restaurant groups preparing for expansion.

Dan Doherty 

Chef Dan Doherty (pictured above) is heading stateside after teaming up with London catering company Rhubarb to act as chef partner at its upcoming New York restaurant. The chef, who recently left London’s Duck & Waffle after nearly six years, will create an “East meets West” menu for the 171-cover restaurant, bar and terrace. It will open in the 30 Hudson Yards development, which will also be home to dining concepts from chefs Thomas Keller and David Chang, in 2019.

David Simms

Chef David Simms is the new culinary director at Restaurant Associates and Levy Leisure, overseeing training, supply chains and culinary development. He joins from an MD role at the Corrigan Collection, where he oversaw Bentley's Oyster Bar and Corrigan's Mayfair, and previously held the same role at Simon Rogan's UMBEL Restaurant Group, working across L'Enclume, Rogan & Co and Fera at Claridge's. His role starts as of 1 June.

Dalmaine Blignaut

Dalmaine Blignaut has joined Islington’s Bellanger, which holds a Michelin Bib Gourmand, as its new head chef. He previously cooked at London’s The Landmark hotel and The Reform Club for three years, before relocating to Australia and his native South Africa. The chef returned to London in 2015, with roles as head pastry chef at Aqua Shard and senior sous chef at Corbin & King’s The Delaunay, before being appointed head chef at its sister site Bellanger.

Gisborough Hall


Karl Rochford has joined Gisborough Hall hotel as head chef, overseeing its two-AA-rosette Chaloner’s Restaurant and more informal G Bar and Bistro. He plans to introduce new Sunday lunch and afternoon tea menus, as well as a “Taste of Yorkshire” sharing platter. Rochford previously worked as Gisborough Hall’s banqueting chef.

Amy Baker has also been named as Gisborough Hall’s new operations manager. She has over 15 years’ experience working in four and five-star properties, including The Devonshire Arms at Bolton Abbey and The Royal Crescent in Bath.

The appointments come a year after Gisborough Hall became a fully independent self-managed hotel, when it was previously a Macdonald Associate property.



BrewDog has hired its first chief financial officer ahead of plans to open 17 new bars worldwide. Jason Marshall, formerly of Coca Cola, has joined the Scottish craft brewer as it prepares to expand its 40+ global footprint and make its first move in to cider production. “[Jason’s] proven emphasis on fostering a positive team culture aligns with our mission of being the best company to work for,” says brewDog co-founder James Watt. “[He] will play a crucial role amongst our senior team in ensuring we never lose sight of this.”

Taco Bell

US chain Taco Bell has appointed Jorge Torres as its new general manager of Europe as it prepares to ramp up its UK expansion. The group already operates 25 restaurants in the UK, and is aiming to launch a further 20 this year. Torres will be responsible for developing new stores and “driving innovation”, and has already overseen the launch of chicken nachos in the UK – which Taco Bell says is one of its most successful products. He joins from Nestle Waters Company, where he led global business strategy.

Ole & Steen

Karen Kochevar, a former partner in Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group in New York, has joined the board of directors at Ole & Steen. The fast-growing Danish bakery group currently runs eight sites in London and 78 in London. Kochevar was previously involved in the global roll-out of Shake Shack and spent a decade working on Wall Street. “I look forward to supporting Ole & Steen in pursuing its considerable international growth potential,” says Kochevar.

Malmaison Hotel du Vin


Scott Harper, chief operating officer (COO) at Malmaison, is to extend his role to its sister brand Hotel du Vin after the departure of Nick Halliday earlier this month. He will now oversee 19 Hotel du Vin sites as well as 15 Malmaison properties. Hotel du Vin said Halliday had resigned to pursue “new ventures”.

Bistrot Pierre

Nick White has taken over as CEO of French-style restaurant brand Bistrot Pierre, with co-founder John Whitehead moving to a non-executive director role. White joined the Livingbridge-backed company six months ago as COO, and previously worked at Bella Italia, Chiquito and Pizza Hut. He will lead the 22-strong business through its next growth period, with three further sites set to open this year.

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