Alan Murchison Restaurants, the company that operated the one-Michelin-starred L'Ortolan restaurant near Reading, Berkshire, has been put into liquidation. The company has just one director, chef Alan Murchison, and was owned by the 10 in 8 Group.
The liquidation leaves more than 50 creditors with unpaid bills, amounting to £447,209.29.
Among the company creditors are butchers Aubrey Allen (£2,394), Bibendum Wines (£28,887), Raeburn Fine Wines (£11,045) and fresh produce company Richard Wellock & Sons (£5,532).
According to Companies House, HM Revenue & Customs is owed nearly £165,000, while the Bank of Scotland appears to be waiting on payment of more than £90,000. Chelmsford-based Boost Finance is also owed more than £22,000.
The news comes at the end of a testing year for the chef. In June, the freehold of L'Ortolan was put up for sale for £1.3m by owner Newfee Ltd, which is now operating the restaurant in its own right. Murchison remains at L'Ortolan as executive chef.
In the same month, it emerged that Murchison's long-time colleague Will Holland was to leave his position as head chef of La Becasse in Ludlow to pursue other opportunities. Along with L'Ortolan and Paris House, La Becasse is part of the 10 in 8 Group. Holland, a former Acorn Award recipient, left the restaurant in September having worked with Murchison for more than 10 years, and is due to open his own restaurant in Shropshire in spring 2014.
Earlier this year, in March, the renowned Devon restaurant the Angel, which was opened in 1974 by Joyce Molyneux under the name the Carved Angel, was closed. Part of the 10 in 8 Group, whose chairman is businessman Richard Pursey, the Dartmouth-based Angel was a 70-cover, Grade II-listed restaurant, spread over three trading floors. Just a week earlier, Macdonald Hotels & Resorts confirmed that it ended its agreement with 10 in 8 to run the restaurant at the Bear hotel in Woodstock.
At the time, a spokesperson for Macdonald Hotels commented: "Despite a strong relationship between the hotel and the 10 in 8 Dining Group it became clear that 10 in 8, who operate some of the finest Michelin-starred restaurants in the UK, were more suited to operating standalone restaurants rather than the full hotel catering operation and, as a result, it was mutually decided that Macdonald Hotels would be best placed to resume operational responsibility."
In 2012, the 10 in 8 Dining Group and Nina and Gerard Basset's Hotel TerraVina joined forces to combine the Bassets' experience in hotel management and fine wine with Murchison's culinary expertise. The Bassets resigned from 10 in 8 at the beginning of the year.
Alan Murchison was unavailable for comment.