Nico Ladenis, the well-known chef who formerly held three Michelin stars, has decided to have no further direct involvement with his London restaurants Incognico and Deca.
Ladenis has been in semi-retirement since 1998, when he told Michelin that he wanted his three-star London restaurant, Chez Nico at Ninety Park Lane, to be withdrawn from the guide because he had become disillusioned with the three-star restaurant scene.
But since then Ladenis has regularly travelled between his retirement home in the South of France and his London restaurants. He retained full control of the menus, but this will now change.
"I have decided to retire fully and not to be involved with Deca or Incognico even on a semi-retired basis".
Family management of the restaurants is being maintained through Ladenis's daughter, Natasha Robinson, the development and product director. Ladenis's other daughter, Isabella, has had less day-to-day involvement in the restaurants since she had a baby.
Natasha said she was pleased about her father's decision. "I think it will be good for him," she said. "It has taken him an awfully long time to wind down, but he has now become very comfortable sitting on his sofa watching football."
The last few years have been dramatic for Ladenis. As well as closing Chez Nico and opening Incognico and Deca, he has overcome cancer and now describes himself as 99% well. "The doctors never tell you that you are completely cured," he said.
He will still visit London, but less frequently, added Natasha.
But will the famously strong-minded chef be able to keep his hands off his restaurants when he does visit the UK?
"Probably not," admitted Natasha.
Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 13-19 March 2003