Mini Patel has left his role as head chef of the Pointer in Brill, Buckinghamshire.
The Pointer restaurant and pub, which is owned by David and Fiona Howden, won the Menu of the Year Catey last year. Senior sous chef Sebastian Bielecki is now heading up the kitchen.
Patel told The Caterer: “After two-and-a-half years, I now feel it is time to move on and try something different. I want to thank everyone who has made my time here so memorable. David and Fiona have always been very supportive, and I feel the Pointer remains in good hands. I wish the whole team the very best for the future and I am confident they’ll continue in building the Pointer name.”
The Pointer has been operated by the Howdens since May 2011 when they bought it from Greene King. It was previously known as the Red Lion Brill and the Howdens had lived and farmed in the local area for more than a decade prior to purchasing the pub. Their goal was to create a “real, village pub”.
The three-AA-rosetted restaurant won County Dining Pub 2017 in The Good Pub Guide and was named in The Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants for 2017 in February.
Prior to joining the Pointer, Patel worked in a number of roles at the Cotswold House hotel, Claridge’s and the Connaught in London, and Rockpool restaurant in Sydney with Neil Perry. Patel took part in the North East heat of Great British Menu last year.
Giovanna Grossi, AA chief advisor on awards and quality assessment and a judge on the Menu of the Year Catey panel, commented at last year’s Cateys: “The Pointer menu stood out among particularly strong competition this year for a number of reasons, but primarily because it reflects the passions, not only of head chef Mini Patel, but also of the owners, farmers and gardeners. The team create a real field to fork operation with clear provenance. Dishes reflect the passion and desire to produce quality pub food utilising excellent ingredients.”
Richard Smith, general manager at the Pointer, praised Patel for his success in winning “a host of accolades and awards for the business” and wished him “all the best in his, no doubt, successful future”.
“Mini is moving on in a different direction with his cooking, with assured good success, and it was mutually agreed to part company,” he added. “The Pointer will continue to promote its farm to fork ethos, sourcing its produce from its own farm and livestock. Taking over the helm will be Sebastian, who shares our passion for responsible and sustainable produce cooked simply.”
Bielecki has worked as Patel’s sous chef for the past two years, having previously worked at the Randolph hotel in Oxford and the Vineyard, near Newbury.