Paul Foster is to leave Tuddenham Mill, near Newmarket, to take on the position of head chef of the 56-seat Dining Room at Mallory Court in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.
The 31-year-old chef, who has garnered several top accolades at Tuddenham Mill in the past four years including three AA rosettes, an Acorn Award, 6/10 in the Good Food Guide and Observer Food Monthly Young Chef of the Year 2011, will join the three AA red star, Relais & Chateaux property at the end of February.
Simon Haigh, food and beverage director of the Eden Collection, which operates Mallory Court, told Caterer: "We are very excited at the prospect of Paul coming to work with us at Mallory Court. We think that he is a great talent and his enthusiasm for the job is infectious. It is clear to see that he has love for food and the industry."
Haigh said that the process of finding the right person to succeed John Footman, who left the hotel in October, had been long and difficult. "It has been a decision that we have not taken lightly, but we think we have the right man for the job," he said.
Commenting on his appointment, Foster said: "Working with Simon will help further me as a chef. He has a vast wealth of experience and knowledge that will be an advantage for me to draw on, but the food will be mine with my name above it." The restaurant, however, will not carry Foster's name and will remain branded as the Dining Room.
The chef said that he had had more successes at Tuddenham Mill than he could have hoped for, but at Mallory Court he wanted to "carry on with the amazing things Simon has achieved and take it as far as I possibly can, further impress its customer base, and introduce new customers".
Having lost its Michelin star last autumn, Foster said it was an ambition for him to achieve one. "To do it at Mallory Court would be incredible," he explained.
"Tuddenham Mill has been a fantastic platform for me as a first head chef role, I have been able to hone my style and build a great team of chefs around me. However, it wants to move in a different direction and offer a broader range of food in the restaurant. I think this suits its customer base. I was looking for somewhere I could take my food and evolve it further, and I feel Mallory Court is the perfect place for me to grow as a chef."
Foster, who trained at Henley College in Coventry and whose career has included periods at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons and Restaurant Sat Bains, and stages at WD50 in New York, the French Laundry in Napa Valley and Auberge de l'Ile in Lyon, said that he wanted to move his food forward. "I want to keep learning and growing. My philosophies will always stay the same, but my style will naturally move on and mature, and I believe Mallory Court is the ideal set-up to do that.
"Foraging is something I have long been a fan of and it will always stay with me, but it only makes up about 5-10% of my food as I am more focused on seasonality, quality and provenance of ingredients and using modern techniques to enhance the purity of flavour while keeping the food simple and natural in essence."
Haigh added: "Paul has worked in some great places and with some great chefs, but he has put in his time at Tuddenham Mill and, without being disrespectful, I think he needs to move on to a bigger stage to show off the talent that he clearly has, and Mallory is such a stage, as I can testify.
"The objectives are simple: to cook for our guests and to keep them happy. When we achieve this, the accolades that all chefs desire will come, and I am confident of that."
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[Paul Foster's poached parsnip with baked oats, grapefruit and sea aster >>](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qk0CqPZHXmw)
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