The Merseyside restaurant says it will honour all current bookings but that no more new reservations will be taken so that the restaurant can close and Wilkinson “some much needed time and space to explore other projects”.
Announcing the decision on the restaurant’s Facebook page, Wilkinson said he wanted to make the transition from one man and his restaurant to one man and his dog.
“The time has now come for me to step away from the restaurant side of Fraiche and give myself some much needed time and space to explore other projects, ideas and interests, which previously I have been unable to pursue and finally make the transition from one man and his restaurant to one man and his dog,” he wrote.
“18 years is a long time in one place and the intensity, drive and focus required to keep creating, developing and evolving Fraiche has been exciting but all consuming, not to mention physically and mentally draining. I am immensely proud of everything I have achieved at Fraiche over the years and feel incredibly lucky to have had this opportunity to put Merseyside proudly on the culinary map.”
Wilkinson is one of the UK’s few remaining ‘soloists’ - a chef that works virtually unaided in the kitchen. He opened his bijou 14-cover restaurant in the village of Oxon in 2004 having previously worked at Surrey’s Pennyhill Park and East Sussex’s Mirabelle Restaurant
In 2018 he looked to move Fraiche to a larger site but later decided to stay put. In 2021 it was listed on the list of the UK's Top 100 Restaurants.
Wilkinson added that the Fraiche name would not be going away any time soon and that he would release news about future projects and developments in due course.
“There are so many ideas and projects which have been racing around my brain for a long time, and now finally I will be able to devote the time and energy to their fruition,” he said.
“This is not the end, just simply a change in my direction.”