Michell, who was formerly executive chef of Belgraves Hotel in Mayfair and is also part of the team behind Gorgeous Kitchen at Heathrow Terminal 2, will develop all of Byron’s food and drink recipes, ‘driving Byron’s menus into an exciting new direction’, according to the chain.
“Sophie’s appointment is the first key strategic initiative in our overall plan to position the brand to be the best in what is a rapidly changing market,” says Byron chief executive Simon Wilkinson.
“Sophie has forged an impressive career and we are delighted she will be joining Byron as food director. Sophie’s expertise, passion and enthusiasm for food will put new ideas and energy into Byron’s recipes and menus as we drive the brand forward.”
Michell will work on menus for all of the group’s 53 UK restaurants, the majority of which are in London. “I am very excited to be taking on this new role at Byron,” she says. “It’s a great brand serving food that is loved by its customers.”
“I am really looking forward to working with Byron’s passionate team to develop and expand the food offering, injecting some new flavours, whilst retaining that familiar Byron taste.”
Michell trained at Butler’s Wharf Chef School. She become the youngest female executive chef at London’s Belgraves Hotel where she overhauled the menu and relaunched the restaurant Pont St in 2013 and has also cooked at private members' club Home House. She has also been a private chef and TV credits include Cook Yourself Thin, Iron Chef USA and Masterchef.
Her appointment comes after a tough year for Byron, which closed 21 restaurants last year after entering a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).
The chain secured £10m funding from investors in February and has launched a 'turnaround plan' which includes an overhaul of its food, design and service.