Simpson's in the Strand has appointed William Hemming as head chef to oversee the opening of what is one of London's oldest restaurants following an extensive refurbishment (photo opposite shows restaurant before the refurbishment).
Situated adjacent to the five-red-AA-star, 267-bedroom Savoy hotel, the restaurant has been closed since Easter Monday and will reopen in the summer. The Grade II-listed building, which originally opened as a chess club and coffee house in 1828, is currently being restored by Robert Angell Design International.
Hemming has joined Simpson's from Sky Garden, London, where he was executive sous chef. In his new role he will create "a reimagined menu" of traditional and contemporary British dishes, featuring ingredients from across the British Isles.
Prior to the closure of Simpson's, the kitchen was headed by Gerry Rae as master cook, the term the restaurant had previously used in place of head chef.
Rae was among around 27 staff who faced being made redundant following the announcement that Simpson's would close for the refurbishment. While some staff did lose their jobs, others were offered unpaid leave during the refurbishment or the opportunity to apply for jobs within the hotel.
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