Paul Heathcote has bought former Michelin-starred Leeds restaurant Rascasse.

He takes over on Monday from former owner Nigel Jolliffe.

Heathcote has a 14-year lease on the restaurant.

Rascasse lost its Michelin star this year following the departure of chef and business partner Simon Gueller.

Heathcote will run the 100-seat restaurant as Rascasse until the end of the year and will close it in the new year for a three-week, £200,000 refurbishment.

When it reopens it will be the fourth restaurant in Heathcote's Simply Heathcotes chain. The Rascasse staff will transfer to the new restaurant.

Heathcote said: "It will be a Simply Heathcotes but whether we will continue to use the Rascasse name, I am not sure."

In addition to Leeds, Heathcote said he was "very close" to signing a deal on a property in London.

He hopes to complete the deal in the next week or two and wants to open the restaurant next March.

It will be his first in the capital and his fifth Simply Heathcotes.

Heathcote had been negotiating for a site in Birmingham, but has pulled out.

He said: "We pulled out of Birmingham partly because of 11 September and partly because the site we had gone some way to completing and had spent some money on was becoming too expensive."

Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 8-14 November 2001

Published by: