The Lanesborough hotel, which has been closed since December 2013 for an extensive refurbishment, has appointed the multi-Michelin-starred French chef Eric Frechon to oversee the property's food and beverage operation.
Frechon will take on his new responsibilities alongside his existing role as executive chef at Le Bristol in Paris, where he was awarded his first Michelin star in the same year he joined the hotel in 1999. Today Le Bristol's Epicure restaurant has three stars, while its luxury brasserie 114 Faubourg holds one star.
With Frechon moving between Paris and London, the kitchens at the five-red-AA-star, 93-bedroom Lanesborough will be headed on a day-to-day basis by the hotel's new executive chef Florian Favario, who has spent five years as sous chef at Le Bristol.
In November last year it was announced that the management of the Lanesborough, which is expected to reopen in June, would be taken over by the Oetker Collection, a group of nine luxury hotels, which include Le Bristol. The Lanesborough was previously operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts under its St Regis brand.
Following a long search for the right chef, which included approaches to some of the UK's leading chefs, Geoffrey Gelardi, managing director said he was "thrilled" to now have what he described as "the best of both worlds".
"We had been looking for a young, rising star and we have found one in Florian, combined with the magnificent experience of Eric, who will be his guiding hand. I am very, very confident that we have now got a terrific team in place who will make a real point of difference in the culinary offer at the Lanesborough.
"I have no doubt in my mind that the arrival of Eric and Florian will make other establishments in London sit up."
Frechon and Favario will be responsible for all food and beverage areas in the Lanesborough, whereas prior to the hotel's closure, Apsleys restaurant was overseen by Italian three-Michelin-starred Heinz Beck and the rest of the hotel was looked after by Paul Gayler.
It will be the first time Frechon has worked outside France, while Favario will be arriving in London with extensive overseas experience, having worked as a consultant for Thierry Marx in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Shangahi, Singapore and New York.
Speaking to The Caterer exclusively, Frechon said that he will be combining the savoir-faire of 30 years of French cooking experience with British produce as he doesn't intend to import ingredients from Paris.
"The hotel will have my signature running through it, whether it is four courses in Aspleys, a club sandwich in the Library bar, or a meal in private dining. Room service in the bedrooms will have a more international approach and we will take care to focus on breakfast and afternoon tea, as I know both are so important for English people. Everything will be absolutely perfect".
Frechon, who is currently working with Favario on the menus in Paris, said that he will spend as "much time as I need to" at the Lanesborough prior to and following its opening.
"Florian is a rigorous and dedicated chef and this is a great chance for him. He will be a winner. But the real winner is the client because of the great level of service we will bring to the hotel. We are very happy to be collaborating with the Lanesborough."
Favario added: "Having worked together for five years, we both understand each other very well. I will bring a freshness to the reputation we have in Paris."
Originally opened as a luxury hotel in 1991 within the property which once housed St George's Hospital, the Lanesborough will reopen with an interior created by designer Alberto Pinto, who completed the designs before his death in 2012.