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Alan Murchison resigns from L'Ortolan

04 September 2014 by
Alan Murchison resigns from L'Ortolan

Chef Alan Murchison has resigned from L'Ortolan in Berkshire after 13 years.

Murchison reopened the restaurant in Shinfield near Reading with new owner Peter Newman in 2001 and has retained a Michelin star at the site ever since 2003. The restaurant also won a fourth AA rosette in 2013.

L'Ortolan was operated for a number of years by Alan Murchison Restaurants Limited but the gradual demise of 10 in 8 Group, which owned the company, saw Alan Murchison Restaurants Limited enter liquidation in late 2013.

The operation of L'Ortolan was then taken over by Newman's company Newfee Limited, with Murchison staying on as executive chef.

Following the announcement of his resignation, Murchison said: "I have had an amazing thirteen years at L'Ortolan and have achieved all that I wanted to. It is a good time now for me to have a break from the kitchen and pursue some of my other interests. I am confident that I am leaving the restaurant in strong and capable hands."

Newman added: "I greatly appreciate Alan's efforts over the years. His tireless enthusiasm and creativity have won the restaurant many awards and much recognition. His vision and determination have shaped the success of the restaurant as it is today. Alan will leave a lasting legacy in the numerous chefs who have been trained by him in the L'Ortolan kitchen, many of whom now head up their own restaurants, some with Michelin stars."

The rest of the management team remain the same including operations director Ania Jezusek who has been at L'Ortolan for 10 years, and Sally Albin, marketing director for the past 6 years.

"We are excited about the future for L'Ortolan and the opportunity that we have ahead of us. We are taking our time to find just the right the person to take over the reins, someone who appreciates our unique style and has the energy and drive to continue to grow the business with our very established team," Newman added.

Jezusek said: "Alan and I have had a fantastic working relationship over the years and I would like to thank him for being such an inspiration."

Murchison will remain at L'Ortolan until a new executive chef is appointed which is expected to be by the end of the year.

Ten In Eight Limited, the company once behind 10 in 8 Group, which owned restaurants including La Bécasse, Paris House and the Angel in Dartmouth, was served with a winding up order in the High Court in July this year.

The group was originally set up to open 10 financially sustainable Michelin-standard restaurants in eight years.

Paris House entered liquidation owing more than £400,000 to creditors in January this year, and was subsequently sold to head chef Phil Fanning.

La Bécasse entered voluntary liquidation in May this year, and ownership of the restaurant itself is thought to have passed from Ten in Eight Ltd to Ludlow Restaurants earlier this year.

The 10 in 8 Group also previously operated the Angel in Dartmouth, but closed the door of the landmark restaurant in March 2013. Clive Jacobs, owner of the freehold of the building, put the restaurant up for sale that same month. Following a sale by Christie + Co, the freehold for the property was acquired by Devon property investor and restaurant owner John Holland.

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