The Lancashire-born chef, who spent eight years at Hipping Hall, has taken on role of executive chef at 263 ahead of a relaunch later this month, and overhauled the restaurant including a complete redesign of the 32-cover dining room with new décor, tables, seating, bar and artwork.
Martin says his decision to leave Hipping Hall, which holds four AA Rosettes, was driven by his want to refresh his cooking style.
“I wanted to take a step back from being on the stoves and the general running of the kitchen, to allow myself more time to be able to put my focus on the dishes, on the style of the service and the offering," he says.
"Sometimes you need to step away from things to really progress."
The kitchen at 263 has also received a 'major transformation' with Rikki Hughes, previously of Tom Kerridge's The Hand and Flowers in Marlow, working under Martin as 263's new head chef.
Open on Fridays and Saturdays, 263 will serve a single tasting menu focused on seasonal produce, with Martin's passion for heritage and foraged ingredients evidenced throughout.
The menu will feature Lancashire-inspired dishes including a Lancashire beetroot rose; and butter pie.
Located in Preston’s Winckley Square Hotel, 263 is owned by restaurateur Mark O’Rourke and originally launched back in 2019.
While the restaurant reopened between Covid lockdowns last year, it has remained closed since restrictions began to ease earlier this year.
“I’m so excited to finally announce this rebirth of 263,” says O’Rourke.
“Oli is definitely the man for the job, his style of cooking and determination to produce a great quality product is the thing that will make 263 a true success.
“I firmly believe that Oli will create a menu and a restaurant, that people will talk about in the same breath as the very best restaurants in Lancashire and the rest of the UK.”
O’Rourke also owns Preston-based Spanish restaurant Fino Tapas, which announced plans earlier this year to open four new locations as part of a £2m expansion plan.