Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Alan Murchison, 10 in 8

01 July 2011
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Alan Murchison, 10 in 8

Overall ranking: 92 (NEW ENTRY)

Chef ranking: 32 (NEW ENTRY)

Alan Murchison is the multi-Michelin-starred chef and chief executive of 10 in 8 Group which operates L'Ortolan in Shinfield near Reading, Berkshire; and owns and operates La Becasse in Ludlow, Shropshire; Paris House in Woburn; and Angelique in Dartmouth.

Alan Murchison - Career guide

Murchison got his first taste of Michelin-starred cooking at Inverlochy Castle in Fort William, working there in 1990 at the age of 19 and again in 1996.

His next stop-off, between 1996 and 1998, was two-Michelin-starred L'Ortolan, where he rose to junior sous chef under John Burton Race.

From early 1998 to mid-2001, he rose through the ranks at Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Oxfordshire, to senior sous chef and acting head chef. For his last two-and-a-half years there, he headed Blanc's Ecole de Cuisine.

Alan Murchison took over the formerly two-Michelin-starred L'Ortolan in Reading, Berkshire, in 2001, as chef-director for owner Peter Newman after it had been closed following John Burton Race's departure 18 months previously. The partnership achieved a Michelin star for the rejuvenated restaurant in 2003.

However, Murchison quit his role in the summer of 2003 concerned about the direction the business was heading in. Newman closed the restaurant for a £250,000 refurbishment at the start of 2004 and then surprised many by putting it on the market.

In autumn 2004 it was Murchison that returned to head the business under a management service contract with Newman. Since June 2003, the route back to L'Ortolan had taken Murchison through Hampshire, where he worked as head chef at Chewton Glen and helped set up the Running Horse gastropub in Littleton.

Six years later he repeated the trick of relaunching a renowned restaurant by buying Claude Bosi's Hibiscus site in Ludlow and opening it as La Becasse in July 2007.

At the start of 2010 Murchison confirmed he had bought Paris House in Woburn, Bedfordshire, previously owned by the late Peter Chandler. Paris house was awarded a Michelin star at the start of 2011.

In September 2010 Murchison purchased another former John Burton Race restaurant, the New Angel in Devon. He considered renaming it the Carved Angel, which it operated as under Joyce Molyneux in the 1970s and 1980s, but it reopened this February as Angelique after suggestions were invited from the local public.

Alan Murchison - What we think

Murchison's 10 in 8 Group's ethos is quality over quantity. Born out of the chef's ambition to have ten Michelin stars in eight years with a portfolio of financially solid fine-dining eateries. With La Becasse the latest in the group to achieve that standard and Angelique reopened, he remains on course to achieve just that.

With initiatives such as The Fine Dining Academy in Yattendon, Berkshire, arming his team with the skills required to operate at the very top of the restaurant game, and the addition of former Cliveden and Bath Priory chef, Chris Horridge last year, the sky appears to be the limit and Murchison's influence within the industry (not least thanks to the launch of a management image consultancy for up and coming chefs) continues to grow.

Alan Murchison seeks new name for Dartmouth's New Angel >>

Video: Alan Murchison masterclass >>

Third time lucky for Murchison >>

10 in 8 website >>

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