Labron-Johnson leaves Portland and Clipstone

By Stefan Chomka contact

- Last updated on GMT

Labron-Johnson leaves Portland and Clipstone

Related tags: Fine dining, Michelin

Portland and Clipstone chef Merlin Labron-Johnson has stepped away from Woodhead Restaurant Group to focus on ‘new and exciting projects’.

Announcing the move in a social media post, the head chef of Portland in Fitzrovia said the time had come to leave, having spent four ‘incredible’ years working with Woodhead’s founders Will Lander and Daniel Morgenthau.

‘With Will and Dan I achieved things I never dreamt possible,” he wrote, adding it was an ‘enormous pleasure’ to have worked at Woodhead.

Labron-Johnson returned to London to open Portland in 2015 at the age of 23, having spent the past six years working in restaurants in Switzerland, France and Belgium.

The restaurant won a Michelin star in the 2016 edition of the red book.

He says he is looking to launch a restaurant next year and is in talks about a number of different projects, but with nothing yet confirmed. He will continue to work with The Conduit in London, the members club for people interested in social enterprise, and with charity Help Refugees.

Lander describes the move as a “great shame” and says the process of finding a replacement has been very gradual.

Zach Elliott, the former sous at Portland, is now the restaurant’s head chef and has been running the kitchen for the past few months, with his own menu already fully in situ.

View this post on Instagram

*FAREWELL PORTLAND AND CLIPSTONE* After nearly four incredible years the time has come for me to leave the @portlandrestaurant family to focus on new and exciting projects. Aged 23 I was convinced to come to London to open these restaurants and it was the most challenging and rewarding journey. With Will and Dan (who would never forgive me for posting a picture of them on social media) I achieved things that I never dreamt possible. I also worked with, learnt from and forged friendships with THE MOST lovely and talented people working in this industry. What an enormous pleasure. I’m looking to launch a new restaurant in 2019 and am continuing my work with @theconduitlondon and @helprefugeesuk This photo is of me standing between @mr_stuart_andrew and @edoardopellicano - the original soldiers from day one without whom none of this would’ve been possible. Massive shout out also to @zach.elliottcrenn for being one of the most hard working and reliable head chefs in the kingdom. He’s continuing the dream at Portland so go and try the food. It’s wonderful. Big love xx

A post shared by Merlin Labron-Johnson (@merlin_johnson) on

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