Chef and mental health campaigner Andrew Clarke has been appointed to devise menus for an independently owned hotel and restaurant in Hertford.
As well as creating the dishes for the à la carte menu at the 28-bedroom Hertford House, Clarke will also be involved in newly acquired outlets, the Storehouse deli, Hole in the Wall takeaway and modern tapas bar Anexo.
Hertford House, located in a Grade II-listed Georgian townhouse, has been owned by the Shipton family for more than 20 years. The hotel's bar and restaurant were refurbished last year in the style of a classic New York brasserie with eclectic art deco influences. Managing director Daniel Shipton took over the additional businesses after they became available as a result of the pandemic, with a view to rejuvenating the town's high street.
"With everything that has happened over the past year, fewer people are travelling into the city on a daily basis," said Shipton."
"I think a lot of people appreciate being able to work more flexibly but also miss some of the things that London has to offer. What we wanted to do was bring some of those inspiring food concepts that you normally only get in bigger cities to people in Hertford. The vision was that we worked with a really great chef to develop innovative and evolving menus to capture some of that sense of excitement about dining out that we've all missed so much."
Clarke's dishes at Hertford House will be prepared over wood fire by a kitchen brigade headed up by Simon Ulph, who previously worked at Smokehouse in Islington and alongside Clarke at St Leonards in Shoreditch. They will include barbecue lamb, courgette, mint and crispy lamb fat potatoes; steamed cod, white crab, creamed potato and horseradish; and roast truffled chicken breast and chicken offal ragù.
Clarke, who left St Leonards restaurant in 2019, announced in March 2020 that he was taking a break from working as a chef to focus on mental health campaign Pilot Light, which he had founded with Doug Sanham.
"I'm very humbled to be able to work with the team at Hertford House by developing these diverse menus with them," he said.
"They're a fantastic bunch of people and it's been wonderful to be a part of multiple openings in this beautiful historic market town and bring great food to the people of Hertford."