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Ashenford returns with new Cotswolds restaurant

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Marcus Ashenford, who gained a Michelin star in 1998 as head chef at Chavignol restaurant when it was based in Oxfordshire’s Chipping Norton, has bought his own Cotswolds restaurant.

Thirty-three-year-old Ashenford and his wife, Kate, have purchased the lease of the Poacher’s restaurant in Winchcombe for £56,000 from its previous owners Claire and Frank Eckermann. The restaurant will reopen on 28 January under the new name, 5 North Street.

“We’ve used our own savings – we didn’t have to get a bank loan – and are going to start trading in the black, which will be quite novel,” Ashenford told Caterer.

The couple had been looking for a suitable business to takeover in the Cotswolds since Ashenford parted company with Chavignol last summer, a year after its move to Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire.

The new restaurant will have 28 seats and an à la carte lunch menu as well as three set-price evening menus. Average spend per head is predicted to be about £30.

“I’ll be cooking the same sort of food as at Chavignol but we want an affordable family-run restaurant where all the locals can come as well as people that are into food,” said Ashenford, who is also aiming to regain a Michelin star. “I intend to achieve what I achieved in the past, but I don’t want to become obsessed by it,” he confirmed.

Ashenford will be joined in the kitchen by pastry chef, Marcus McGuiness, who spent four years with him at Chavignol. Kate Ashenford will initially oversee front of house until the couple’s second child is born in April.

Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 16-22 January 2003

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