Tom Kemble (pictured above) has been appointed head chef at The Pass restaurant, near Horsham in Sussex. Kemble previously held the same role at Michelin-starred Bonhams in Mayfair, which closed in December after nearly four years. Kemble will oversee a revised five-course set lunch priced at £50 and a six or eight-course evening menu at £70 and £90 respectively. He replaces Ian Swainson in the role, who took over from previous head chef Matt Gillan in 2016. Under Gillan The Pass held a Michelin star for five years until 2016.
Dave Strauss, the former managing director of Burger & Lobster and steak restaurant group Goodman, is to join Mitch Tonks’ seafood group Rockfish as restaurant director. Strauss will oversee Rockfish’s expansion on the south coast from next month, including the launch of its sixth restaurant, in Exeter Quays, in March. An opening in Poole will follow later this year and the company says it has identified further suitable locations along the coast.
Chris Simpson has left high profile Devon hotel Gidleigh Park after one year behind the stove. The former head chef of Nathan Outlaw’s two-Michelin star flagship in Port Isaac took over from Michael Wignall in early January 2018. Wignall had managed to retain the Chagford hotel’s two Michelin star rating but under Simpson’s tenure the venue dropped down to one star. A spokesperson for Brownsword Hotels, which owns Gidleigh Park, said: “As his first lead chef role, we understand that the challenges and demands of the multiple outlets in a hotel kitchen versus a single restaurant operation aren’t for everyone and fully support his decision to take some time out." A replacement is expected to be announced shortly.
Ross Bryans, formerly chef director at Corrigan’s Mayfair, has been appointed head chef at Les 110 de Taillevent London in Marylebone. Bryans, who appeared on Great British Menu in 2018, has also worked as head chef at Jason Atherton’s Pollen Street Social and was Clare Smyth’s senior sous at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. His new role has seen him develop a menu which will be paired with some of the restaurant’s 110 wines.
London healthy eating chain Abokado has hired Ellie Hopkins as its new head of food. Hopkins, who holds a professional chef diploma, previously worked for Ferndale Foods, developing fresh products for brands such as Waitrose and Co-op. Abokado, which recently opened its 24th site, says she will help further its growth outside of central London in 2019.
The Gaucho steakhouse group has named Max Castaldo as its new executive chef. Born in Argentina, Castaldo joins Gaucho from a role as head chef at London’s Lanesborough Hotel, where he oversaw the Michelin-starred Celeste restaurant. The chef's role at Gaucho will see him research and develop menus on an ongoing basis, as well as training staff. Gaucho was bought out of administration by Lomo Bidco, a conglomerate of banking and nance groups, in October with the steakhouse chains’ former managing director Martin Williams returning to head up the business.
Allister Barsby and Alice Bussi
Allister Barsby is to step down as executive head chef at Pembrokeshire’s Grove of Narberth hotel to open his own restaurant this summer. He is planning to launch a site in the coastal town of Hythe, Kent, alongside his partner Alice Bussi. Bussi is also stepping down from her role as food and beverage manager at The Seren Collection, which owns the Grove of Narbeth, for the project. Barsby previously spent three years as head chef at two-Michelin-starred Gidleigh Park, cooking under Michael Caines. Bussi launched the Beach House restaurant in Gower in 2016, before taking on the group management role.