Richard Guest, the former head chef at Kit Chapman's Castle hotel in Taunton, has launched his own restaurant in the Somerset town.
The former Michelin-starred chef, who left the Castle after more than a decade last autumn, has opened Augustus, a small bistro, together with former Castle restaurant manager Cedric Chirrosel.
Located in a private courtyard just near Taunton's main street, the restaurant accommodates 35 diners as well as 20 outside during the summer months.
Guest is overseeing the kitchen together with John Soddeby, who also previously worked at the Castle. The menu offers simple dishes influenced by British, French and Asian flavours and with a focus on seasonality and local produce. Average spend is £30 a head including a glass of wine.
"At the Castle we were extremely focused on local produce so I built up a great network of suppliers," Guest told Caterersearch. "But it's nice to be able to mix things up a bit and buy great products from Europe."
Interiors at Augustus, which is named after the character of Augustus Gloop from Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka, are simple with wooden tables and chairs and no tablecloths.
"It has always been my ambition to open a simple little restaurant like this but I got a bit side-tracked working in fine-dining establishments," Guest added. "I'm really enjoying running this restaurant with Cedric and being just me and John in the kitchen."
Guest joined the Castle in 1999, overseeing both the 150-cover brasserie and 60-seat fine-dining restaurant as well as the hotel's banqueting and room service. He won a Michelin star at the property in 2002, which he retained for five years. Guest previously held a star at Maison Novelli in London's Clerkenwell, which he opened as head chef in 1997 after working with Jean-Christophe Novelli at the Four Seasons restaurant in Park Lane, London.
By Kerstin Kühn
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