Chef John Campbell is making a sensational return to the hotel and restaurant scene following a 17-month hiatus, Caterer and Hotelkeeper can exclusively reveal.
The former two-Michelin-starred chef, who left Coworth Park in Ascot, Berkshire, in November 2011, has acquired the Hambrough in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight from chef-patron Robert Thompson.
Under his new business, John Campbell Restaurants, the double Catey Award-winning chef will oversee the food and beverage outlets and the accommodation at the one-Michelin-starred, five AA star property.
The portfolio at the Hambrough includes the seven-bedroom hotel and 38-seat restaurant, the Pond Café (an Italian-influenced restaurant with 30 covers), and Villa Lavinia (a five-bedroom villa and a two-bedroom apartment). The deal also sees Campbell taking over the redevelopment of the Ventnor Winter Gardens project, incorporating a 34-bedroom hotel, food and beverage outlets and a 400-seat auditorium.
Olly Rouse, Campbell's former head chef at restaurant John Campbell at Coworth Park, which held one Michelin star, will be heading up the team at the Hambrough.
"I believe there's an untapped resource of fabulous ingredients there such as opportunities for a beachland forage and a woodland forage, which really excites me. With the beach on my doorstep and the beautiful rolling countryside behind the property, I really have got the best of both worlds for superb ingredients."
Thompson commented: "I've had an excellent five years on the island, but I have decided to seek a new challenge. I wish John and his team all the best, and I would like to thank all of my customers and my team for their support over that period."
Campbell joined Coworth Park in Ascot, Berkshire, in 2009 as director of cuisine from the Vineyard in Stockcross, also in Berkshire, where he held two Michelin stars. The chef will continue to consult to foodservice business BaxterStorey.
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