A string of celebrity chefs including Richard Corrigan, Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay have been approached to open a new fine-dining restaurant in London's Grosvenor House hotel.
The new restaurant and brasserie are part of a multimillion pound redevelopment of the Park Lane hotel under Marriott's new ownership, which is expected to include a large casino.
The American hotel chain confirmed it had been chasing a celebrity chef to take over what was formerly Chez Nico and launch a new brasserie-style operation, since last year.
Robert Gaymer-Jones, Marriott vice-president for the south of England and Ireland, said no deal had yet been completed but a decision was expected in the next few weeks.
"We're looking at bringing in a celebrity chef as part of the major refurbishments going on at Grosvenor House," he said. "The hotel needs to be exciting and it needs to be known as a social destination, not just for banqueting."
Gaymer-Jones said the hotel wanted a chef who would cook in the restaurant's kitchens, not just add a celebrity stamp.
Corrigan has been closely linked to the deal but declined to confirm or deny reports. "I'm incredibly happy at Lindsay House and I see no reason why I would want to end that," he said. "Every chef in London has looked at Grosvenor House. We did talk, but talk is cheap."
Corrigan's partners at Lindsay House, Richard and Nigel Goodhew, co-chairmen at Searcy's, have also been linked to the deal. A spokeswoman for the contract caterer said it could not comment.
Gordon Ramsay Holdings confirmed it had been in discussions with Grosvenor House, but withdrew when it became apparent a casino was involved in the operation.
Other names linked to the deal include Raymond Patterson of Patterson's in Mayfair and the Roux brothers. A spokeswoman for Blumenthal said the chef was not considering the project.