Sally Abé has left her role as head chef of the Michelin-starred Harwood Arms in London's Fulham after three years and has been replaced by Jake Leach, former head chef at the Ledbury in Notting Hill.
Abé's departure was first reported by BigHospitality following confirmation on her Instagram page. The chef was recruited by the Conrad London St James hotel last year as a consultant chef to oversee its new F&B concepts alongside executive chef Michael Riordan. The hotel plans to invest £1.75m in creating a new signature restaurant, a contemporary take on a London pub, an afternoon tea lounge and cocktail bar.
The first concept will be a relaunch of the 256-bedroom hotel's Blue Boar bar as the Blue Boar pub in May following a redesign and with a new menu from Abé.
She said: "I'm cooking the food I want to eat when I go to a pub, so my menu is a traditional pub menu but with my own contemporary twist on much-loved classics. It's all about quintessentially British dishes – done to their absolute best with a lot of love and care. The Sunday roast is going to be amazing, I've spent a lot of time working on it so I can't wait for our first Sunday! I'm really focusing on attention to detail, using the very best British produce available, and just making sure the Blue Boar becomes one of the best pubs for food in London."
Abé won the 2020 Cateys Pub & Bar Award for her work at the Harwood Arms. She was recognised for her part in the growth of the business and her initiatives to support her team.
The Harwood Arms, which is expected to reopen in mid-May, is co-owned by chef Mike Robinson, Brett Graham, owner of the Ledbury, and Edwin Vaux. Before moving to the Harwood Arms, Abé spent five years at the Ledbury with Graham, as has Leach.
Graham said last year the Ledbury was to remain closed "indefinitely" as even one-metre distancing rules were "unworkable" for the venue, and as a result of its closure lost its two Michelin stars in the 2021 guide.