John Campbell has decided to withdraw from negotiations to run the Hambrough Group, which includes the five-AA-star and Michelin-starred Hambrough hotel based in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight, and the Ventnor Winter Gardens project.
The former two-Michelin-starred chef told Caterer and Hotelkeeper: "This is a fantastic opportunity to undertake, but after careful consideration I have come to the conclusion that I am unable to dedicate the necessary time and commitment required for such a project due to professional and family commitments.
"I have therefore decided not to proceed with the negotiations but I wish the Hambrough Group every success with this exciting project," he said.
A spokesperson, on behalf of the Hambrough Group, said the opportunity to take over the running of the Hambrough had arisen following the announcement that Robert Thompson, the group's current chef-patron, had decided to leave the company after five thriving years on the island.
She said that Thompson had continued to work with the Hambrough Group through this transitional phase and that a new chef-patron for the Hambrough was expected to be announced next week.
She added that the Hambrough Group remained fully committed to the Ventnor Winter Gardens project.
The portfolio at the Hambrough includes the seven-bedroom hotel and 38-seat restaurant, the 30-seat Pond Café, and Villa Lavinia (a five-bedroom villa and a two-bedroom apartment). The Ventnor Winter Gardens project incorporates a 34-bedroom hotel, food and beverage outlets and a 400-seat auditorium.
In a new development, the group has today announced the appointment of Chris Denney as chef-patron of the Pond Café. Denney, whose career includes periods at Michelin-starred properties Piazza Duomo in Alba, Italy, Nahm in Bangkok, Hambleton Hall, Coworth Park in Ascot, Berkshire, where he worked with Campbell, and Viajante, will be reopening the Pond at the Hambrough next week.
Fellow Coworth Park chef Joe Gould will be joining Denney as senior sous.
Campbell, the double Catey-winning chef, announced his decision to take over the running of the Hambrough Group last month. His former head chef at John Campbell at Coworth Park, Olly Rouse, was due to head up the team at the Hambrough.
He 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. He continues to consult to foodservice business BaxterStorey.