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Caterersearch.com 100: John Campbell

01 July 2010

Overall ranking: 57

Chef ranking: 16

John Campbell - Snapshot

John Campbell is director of cuisine and food and beverage at the Dorchester Collection's Coworth Park, near Ascot. The chef, who made his name at the two-Michelin-starred Vineyard at Stockcross in Berkshire, is also a consultant for contract caterer BaxterStorey.

John Campbell - Career guide

Campbell, who was born in 1969, left school at 15 to take up an apprenticeship at Forte's Haydock Posthouse hotel in Merseyside. After three years he was granted a scholarship as a graduate chef, which involved placements around the world.

His next move was to London's Grosvenor House hotel as senior sous chef. He took on his first head chef's job in 1995 at the BBC's residential training centre, Wood Norton Hall in Evesham, Worcestershire.

In 1997 Campbell became head chef at the Lords of the Manor country house hotel in Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire, where he held on to its Michelin star and upgraded the restaurant to four AA rosettes. In 2000 he took on additional responsibilities as director of food and beverage.

He moved to the Vineyard in 2002, retaining its Michelin star and adding a fourth AA rosette. In the same year Campbell joined caterer Wilson Storey Halliday before it joined forces with BaxterSmith at the end of 2004 to become BaxterStorey, the UK's largest privately owned contract caterer. The partnership is now one of the longest-running arrangements between a top restaurant chef and a contract caterer.

In July 2009 Campbell announced his decision to leave the Vineyard to join the Dorchester Collection's new country house estate and spa, Coworth Park. He quit his role at the Vineyard in August and joined Coworth Park, near Ascot, as its director of cuisine and food and beverage in October. The property opened in May 2010.

John Campbell - What we think

Formulas for Flavour or recent editions of the industry's education bibles, Practical Cookery and Advanced Practical Cookery.

Despite leaving school with no qualifications, Campbell has become one of the country's best-qualified chefs. In 1999 he became one of a select handful of British chefs to achieve a BSc diploma in international culinary arts.

Campbell's cuisine is marked by modern techniques allied to traditional culinary lore, using contrasting textures and temperatures, and sometimes unexpected but carefully considered flavour combinations. Like Heston Blumenthal of the Fat Duck and Ferran AdriÁ of Spain's El Bulli, he has been influenced by the scientific approach to cooking popularised by Harold McGee.

He won one of Caterer's Acorn Awards for high achievers aged 30 or below in 1998 and his cooking was one of the reasons for the Vineyard winning the Independent Hotel of the Year Catey in 2003. Then, after a couple of near misses, he picked up the Cateys' much-sought-after Chef Award in 2008, on a night of double success, also scooping the Education and Training Catey for his commitment to developing young chefs.

In his new role at Coworth Park, Campbell is responsible for two restaurants - a fine-dining restaurant in the main house seating approximately 65 and a larger, informal restaurant in the converted barn, with its own outdoor terrace. He is also accountable for the dining in the hotel's four private function rooms and marquee that can host events for up to 300 guests.

John Campbell - Further information

John Campbell to leave the Vineyard for Dorchester Collection's Coworth Park >>

Watch double-Catey winner John Campbell's masterclass >>

Back to the floor >>

Read more about the Caterersearch.com 100, the list of the most influential people here >>

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