Marco sees a bright future for Wheeler's outside London

24 June 2010 by
Marco sees a bright future for Wheeler's outside London

Marco Pierre White]( sees the future of his Wheeler's brand in the Home Counties and in pubs rather than units in central London.

White's comments came in the week following the opening of a new pub in East Sussex using the Wheeler's name, the first of 14 pubs planned over the next several years.

The chef has teamed up with pub company [Powder Train](, which has opened the Chequers pub in Maresfield near Uckfield. The 18th-century Chequers pub, which can handle 100 covers, underwent an extensive £150,000 refurbishment earlier this year.

White, who relaunched Wheeler's of St James in London last year, told Caterer: "I believe the future of Wheeler's is in the Home Counties, and that it belongs in a pub brand rather than a unit in London.

"It's a traditional brand, the oldest fish brand in the world, and the foundations are still classically Wheeler's. But things have to change: we won't be doing Dover Sole 30 ways. It's not purely a fish brand now. It offers classic English and French dishes."

He also indicated that future openings were likely to offer food at prices lower than might be expected, given the use of the Wheeler's name. "Thirty years ago, it was a very expensive restaurant; now it's more affordable. It has still got the gravadlax, crab cocktails and Dover sole, but with a lighter and more modern touch."

Powder Train is run by Jack Bowyer and David Butcher, former directors of pub operator and brewer Gales, which was sold to Fuller's in 2005. Commenting on White's involvement, Bowyer said: "Marco's vision is renowned and will suit our locals and passers by, no doubt also attracting a following from London who want to escape to the country."

Neil Thornley, who helped White to establish his Yew Tree pub in Berkshire, has been installed at the Chequers as chef de cuisine.

However, White would not be drawn on his precise timetable or plans for further expansion of the brand: "I've got plans to open others, but let's deal with one at a time, rebuild and restabilise the brand and get this one right first," he commented.

And he promised that he would personally get involved with the day-to-day running of the new venues: "I'll get involved - I like sniffing around. I'll make sure the standards of service and food are where they should be," he said.

Marco Pierre White's restaurants

â- Wheeler's of St James's, London (collaboration with Sir Rocco Forte)

â- Marco, Chelsea Football Club Complex, Stamford Bridge (collaboration with Roman Abramovich)

â- Frankie's Sports Bar & Grill (four locations in London, collaboration with jockey Frankie Dettori)

â- The Yew Tree Inn, Highclere, Berkshire

[Marco Pierre White opens Sussex pub >>](

[Marco Pierre White to open a steakhouse in Liverpool >>](

[Marco Pierre White to launch three ventures in the North West >> ](
By Neil Gerrard

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