Michelin-starred chef Michael O'Hare signed by Neville and Giggs

08 January 2016 by
Michelin-starred chef Michael O'Hare signed by Neville and Giggs

Michelin-starred-chef Michael O'Hare has been appointed creative director of GG Hospitality, the operating company behind Hotel Football.

He replaces Michael Wignall who has stepped down from the role following his move from executive chef at Pennyhill Park, Surrey, to the same position at Gidleigh Park, Devon.

The appointment comes five months after Singapore investment company Rowsley acquired a 75% stake in Hotel Football, which was founded by former Manchester United footballers and directors of the business Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs.

O'Hare's role will differ from when Wignall was creative director in that he will not be responsible for the food offering at either the 133-bedroom Hotel Football, which opened in February 2015 adjacent to Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium or Café Football in Stratford, London. Instead, his focus will be on two new hotel projects in Manchester: a 35-bedroom boutique hotel in the former Stock Exchange building and a five-star hotel within the mixed-use St Michael's Manchester development, alongside other future developments from GG Hospitality.

Neville said that he instantly knew that O'Hare was the right man for the company on meeting him in October. "I've dined at The Man Behind the Curtain and can honestly say that I've never experienced anything like it," he said.

"Michael's skills, attitude and attention to detail are exactly what we require across all our GG projects and we've no doubt that he is a perfect match for us."

Giggs added: "It really is truly exciting to be working with such a talented and inspiring chef.

"Since the opening of Hotel Football, GG Hospitality has gone from strength to strength. As our business evolves, it's imperative that we move forward with the best team around us and I'm confident that Michael will help us in achieving further success."

O'Hare, who won the fish course in BBC TV's Great British Menu 2015, said he wanted to be involved in the business as soon as he started discussing the company's various projects with Neville. "His passion and enthusiasm immediately drew me in and the vision both him and Ryan have for enhancing the GG Hospitality offering felt like a natural fit for me," he said.

O'Hare's appointment marks the latest change in personnel for GG Hospitality. Stuart Procter, the managing director of the company who guided Neville and Giggs as they learnt the ropes of hotel operations, left the company in October to return to his former haunt of the five-red-AA-star Stafford London hotel as general manager.

While Procter has not been replaced directly, Stewart Davies has been promoted from general manager of Hotel Football to director of operations for GG Hospitality. He has been replaced at Hotel Football by Paul Walsh who has joined from Doubletree by Hilton Leeds.

Meanwhile, Brendan Fyldes, currently executive chef at Hotel Football and Café Football, will leave the company at the end of January.

Neville and Giggs score another hotel in Manchester >>Stuart Procter leaves Hotel Football to return to the Stafford hotel >>
Video: Stuart Procter and Ryan Giggs introduce Hotel Football Old Trafford >>

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