US-based French chef Laurent Tourondel is to launch his first restaurant in Europe at the Hotel Café Royal in London this May.
The announcement comes four months after the departure of the hotel's executive chef Jeremy Brown, who was in the position for only seven months and has since returned to his previous role with contract caterer Rhubarb. A replacement for Brown is yet to be announced. The executive chef position had earlier remained unoccupied for two years after Andrew Turner, who joined the hotel prior to its launch in 2012, left in August 2015.
The food and beverage operation at the five-AA-star, 160-bedroom hotel will in the meantime be overseen by head chef and 2007 Roux Scholar Armand Sablon and food and beverage director Kerry O'Connor.
French-born chef Tourondel currently executive chef of Brasserie Ruhlmann in the Rockefeller Center in New York. He also runs the Vine and L'Amico restaurants in New York and the Alley in Miami, as well as BLT Steak restaurants in North Carolina in the US, Hong Kong and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
After training in France, Tourondel spent his early career working in London at Boodles Club, as well as undertaking a position in Moscow. He was later appointed executive chef of CT, Claude Troisgros' debut restaurant in New York.
Designed by Italian architect and designer Piero Lissoni, the as yet unnamed restaurant will be located on the first floor of Hotel Café Royal. Lissoni previously worked on the Conservatorium in Amsterdam, part of the Set hotel collection as well as Hotel Café Royal.
The 110-cover restaurant will feature an open kitchen, grill and sushi bar and offer "relaxed yet refined" all-day dining.
Lissoni has also overseen the transformation of the hotel's main entrance lobby. Inspired by the lobbies of the world's Palace hotels, the double-height space now features a Murano glass chandelier made by Vistosi and Poltrona Frau leather furniture.
Tourondel said: "I am thrilled to be returning to London… I cannot wait to create a new home in the iconic Hotel Café Royal."
Also joining the new restaurant team are Dinos Tagkalos, as general manager, who previously launched the Henrietta hotel in Covent Garden; head sommelier Sam Heathcote who joins from the Bulgari hotel; and Fabio Spinetti appointed from the Connaught hotel as bars and beverage manager.
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