Alan Murchison pulls out of La Bécasse

02 June 2015 by
Alan Murchison pulls out of La Bécasse

Chef Alan Murchison has pulled out of plans to take over La Bécasse in Ludlow.

In an update on social media website Facebook, Murchison said: "After much soul searching and many sleepless nights, I have decided not to open another restaurant. Been there, done it. Bit of success and some big failures."

"Head and heart not recovered from the last 24 months, so it's time for something new," he added.

The news comes just three months after Murchison told The Caterer he would be taking on the lease for La Bécasse.

The move would have put Murchison in charge of the restaurant for a second time, having first bought it back in 2007 when Claude Bosi put what was then the site of two-Michelin-starred Hibiscus on the market.

Murchison said he planned to reopen the venue in April this year, offering good food in a friendly and informal setting.

It looked like a new start for the chef who resigned from L'Ortolan in Reading last year after a difficult period, which saw the gradual disintegration of the 10 in 8 Group, in which Murchison was involved.

La Bécasse had been owned by 10 in 8 Group Ltd, the company that once included L'Ortolan, Paris House in Woburn and the Angel in Dartmouth among its portfolio. The group had been set up as a partnership between Murchison and businessman Richard Pursey with the aim of accumulating ten Michelin-starred restaurants in eight years.

After its acquisition in 2007, Murchison put head chef Will Holland in charge of the kitchen at La Bécasse, in what turned out to be a shrewd move - Holland ended up winning a Michelin star in 2009 while still under the age of 30. However, the young chef left in 2013, and is now head chef of Coast in Pembrokeshire.

Meanwhile, 10 in 8 collapsed, with La Bécasse, by then no longer part of the group, entering voluntary liquidation in May 2014.

In his Facebook statement, Murchison added: "Have some really special people in my life and I really want to see more of them and enjoy life. An ambitious kitchen isn't the place to be when you have priorities other than being the best cook you can be."

He said he was not sure what he would do next, stating: "Job offers most welcome but I am probably unemployable. Might just ride my bike and run with my dogs to help reflect a bit."

It is not yet clear what will now become of the La Bécasse site but Murchison is thought to have handed back the lease.

Alan Murchison takes over La Bécasse >>

Alan Murchison resigns from L'Ortolan >> La Bécasse enters voluntary liquidation >>

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