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‘Bored’ Hadden seeks buyer for Priory House

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Chef-proprietor Martin Hadden has put his Michelin-starred Priory House restaurant on the market because he has become bored with the day-to-day routine of running a small establishment operated by just four people.

Hadden wants about £275,000 for the freehold of the restaurant in Stoke-sub-Hampton, near Yeovil in Somerset.

When the restaurant has been sold, Hadden will return to his former employer, Historic Sussex Hotels, as group executive head chef for its three properties, all in Sussex, which include Ockenden Manor in Cuckfield, the Spread Eagle hotel in Midhurst and the Bailiffscourt hotel in Climping.

His new role will involve helping the group purchase and set up new ventures, which could include stand-alone restaurants. Hadden is keen to set up a restaurant in the Brighton area.

Hadden bought the 30-seat Priory House early last year because he wanted to win a Michelin star. Ironically, three days after exchanging contracts on the restaurant, he learnt he had won a Michelin star for Ockenden Manor, where he had been head chef.

Although the restaurant is profitable, attracting regulars from a 50-mile radius and making a net profit of £42,000 in the year to 30 September, Hadden has found, “The fun of the chase is more than the fun of the achievement.”

The small working environment means having total control but also having to do all the routine, mundane jobs that can be delegated in larger restaurants, explained Hadden, who said it could also get a little lonely.

Hadden also wanted his wife, Michelle, who currently works front of house, to be able to spend more time with their two growing children.

The restaurant is for sale through Robert Barry & Co.

by Angela Frewin

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