The Stafford London has appointed Ben Tish as culinary director to oversee the hotel's food offer as well as launch several new independent restaurants.
Tish, who was chef director at the Salt Yard Group until March 2017, will join the five-red-AA-star, 105-bedroom hotel on 5 February. His appointment follows the departure of James Durrant as executive chef at the hotel and promotion of Jozef Rogulski from head chef into the role.
Durrant joined the Stafford London in September 2016, since when he has been an integral member of the team which opened the Game Bird restaurant offering a contemporary take on a traditional British menu. Earlier this month Stuart Procter, general manager at the hotel, told The Caterer that the restaurant has increased the Stafford's food and beverage revenue by more than £2m. Durrant declined to comment about his future plans.
During his 11 years at Salt Yard Group, Tish helped grow the restaurant company, which focuses on small plates of Italian and Spanish food, to incorporate Salt Yard, Dehesa, Ember Yard and the Opera Tavern. In his new role he will oversee the Game Bird restaurant, the American Bar, private dining in the Wine Cellars and in-room dining, as well as launch new restaurants outside the Stafford hotel focusing on his signature style and love of European cuisine.
"It is serendipity that the role has come across now," explained Tish. "My wife and I had plans to open our own venture in North Yorkshire, but didn't come to fruition and so decided to remain in London.
"The opportunity at the Stafford then came along. It is an exciting time for the hotel having launched the very successful Game Bird last year. The restaurant will remain as it is now under the watch of Jozef, while I will initially be focused on the forthcoming refurbishment of the American Bar which we are planning to make more of a food destination with a light menu."
Tish said that a site for the Stafford's first stand-alone restaurant was currently being sought in central London, with Mayfair, Fitzrovia and Soho all possible locations. Once open it will reflect the hotel in some way, while serving the distinct style of food that Tish is renowned for.
Procter described Tish as "an incredible chef", adding that together they are looking forward "to evolving the offering at the Game Bird and across the hotel, along with launching exciting projects in line with Ben's fantastic food philosophy".
Tish added: "The synergy between Stuart and myself was a key reason for accepting the role, which is a pretty big deal for me."
Rogulski, who joined the Stafford in 2013, previously worked at Cliveden House in Taplow, Berkshire; the Hand and Flowers in Marlow, Buckingham; and the Waterside Inn in Bray, Berkshire.
Photo: L-R Ben Tish, Stuart Procter and Jozef Rogulski
Videos from The Caterer archives