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Alan Murchison takes over La Bécasse

26 February 2015 by
Alan Murchison takes over La Bécasse

Alan Murchison is making a return to the restaurant scene, nearly six months after he announced his resignation from L'Ortolan in Reading, after taking on the lease for La Bécasse in Ludlow.

The move means it is the second time Murchison (pictured) has taken control of the restaurant, which he first bought 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 re-open the venue in April this year, offering good food in a friendly and informal setting, although details have yet to be finalised.

"I always thought the restaurant has a great set-up and it has got a cracking kitchen. I have got lots of ideas. I want to get it back to being a wonderful destination restaurant," he said.

The chef, who held a Michelin star at L'Ortolan from 2003 until he left last year, said he would be working in the kitchen of La Bécasse from its launch and for the "foreseeable future".

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 gradually disintegrated, with La Bécasse, by then no longer part of the group, entering voluntary liquidation in May 2014.

Speaking to The Caterer, Murchison claimed he had not had any involvement in the restaurant at all since September 2013.

He first started looking at the possibility of taking over its lease late last year.

It is a solo venture for Murchison, who said he wanted to avoid working with a business partner on this project.

"I have learned an awful lot in the last 18-24 months about how partnerships can and cannot work," he said. "I think a restaurant lives and dies by the quality of the product and the people that are in it. If we get that right then we shouldn't need to have any external influences in it."

He added: "I am hugely aware that I need to get this right. I love Ludlow. I know that Ludlow has always supported us tremendously. We are hoping to get the community back on board and get la Bécasse back on the map."

Alan Murchison resigns from L'Ortolan >>

La Bécasse enters voluntary liquidation >>

Chef Will Holland to leave La Bécasse >>

Will Holland announced as head chef at Coast >>

Claude Bosi completes Hibiscus sale >>

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