The two-Michelin-starred chef John Burton-Race is to move from his Berkshire restaurant to London's Landmark hotel.
Burton-Race has owned and operated L'Ortolan, in Shinfield, for more than 13 years and will open his new restaurant, John Burton-Race at the Landmark, on the evening of 23 May.
He said that although he had been presented with five or six other opportunities to move into London, he had decided to go to the Landmark because of its management team.
"Because I'm an awkward bugger, it was more the people than the place that made me go this way," said Burton-Race. "The management here are good boys - they appreciate fine food and they are launching the Landmark forward in all sorts of innovative ways."
He added: "The refurbishment is costing a little over £300,000, but that includes sponsorship from various suppliers. The deal I have struck on rent is, by London standards, a phenomenal one."
John Burton-Race at the Landmark will be run as an independent company, and the chef has initially signed for five years.
L'Ortolan is currently on the market with Savills for £800,000 and is likely to be bought as a private house.
The existing Dining Room at the Landmark will close next week (14 April). Burton-Race and his wife, Kim, who will be overseeing the front of house refurbishment, will start work one week later. L'Ortolan will cease trading as a restaurant on 7 May.
Although the restaurant at the Landmark is licensed to seat 94, Burton-Race envisages sittings of about 70.
The entire L'Ortolan team bar one (26) will go with him to the new restaurant, and the chef is looking to recruit another 10 staff. He concluded: "There is absolutely no reason, with the funding and support I've got from this hotel, that I couldn't go for my third star."
by Amanda Afiya
Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 6 - 12 April 2000