Michelin-starred chef Alan Murchison has confirmed that he has bought Paris House in Woburn, Bedfordshire, previously owned by the late Peter Chandler.
L’Ortolan sous chef Philip Fanning is to be installed as head chef at the new venture, while L’Ortolan assistant restaurant manager François Hardy will become restaurant manager.
Speaking to Caterer, Murchison said: “We’ve been looking for another property now for over 12 months because we want to develop the people that we’ve got and take them to the next level. You can put three, four, five years into someone and then they leave and you end up losing a brilliant asset, so we want to turn that on its head.”
Murchison declined to reveal how much he paid for the acquisition of Paris House, which comes as part of a wider plan for Alan Murchison Restaurants to expand across the country. “We will continue to look for other properties and continue to grow the people within the company,” he said.
“I will be at Paris House quite a lot in the first quarter. At the end of the day I can’t afford for this restaurant to be anything other than brilliant. We will be aiming to get a Michelin star there – that is our goal.”
The restaurant, set in 22 acres of parkland, will accommodate 35 covers, as well as private dining facilities. Murchison is also looking to offer an inspirational chef’s table for six guests on a regular basis.
The menu will offer modern interpretations of classical French cuisine, in an effort to build on the reputation that Chandler, who died of cancer last year aged 56, established since he opened the restaurant in 1983.
Murchison indicated that he would initially rely on established suppliers to L’Ortolan and La Bécasse, before working more and more with local suppliers and producers.
By Neil Gerrard
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