Chef Scott Goss has left the I'll Be Mother group to open his first solo restaurant, Verdigris, in Kent.
The 40-cover restaurant, which also has a 50-cover bar and 50-cover riverside terrace, opened earlier this month at 89 High Street in Tonbridge at the former Graze Kitchen and Bar site, which also used to be the Castle pub.
The menu serves ‘British classics' with a twist, including venison, bone marrow mashed potato and gravy; ironbark pumpkin, curried shallots, lentil and golden raising dressing; and semolina gnocchi with foraged mushrooms and herb pasta.
"I've started off with a small menu of flavours that people recognise, flavours that people crave, but delivered in a slightly unexpected way," said Goss, speaking to The Caterer.
He currently has two other chefs in his brigade and a team of 12 at the restaurant overall, which is expected to grow to around 20 next year.
Goss and his business partners have also refurbished the 1920s building to emphasise its Art Deco heritage. "We wanted to put the heart and soul back into the place, so we put a proper 1920s bar back in," he said.
Goss was previously executive chef and creative director of Pete Cornwell's I'll Be Mother group of businesses in Kent, which includes the Twenty Six restaurant (where Goss was based), the Beacon and the Swan. He also took part in this year's Great British Menu competition on BBC Two.
"I was with Peter Cornwell for 15 years, and at 35 years old, the opportunity came knocking and I thought it was now or never, really," said Goss. "Sometimes you've got to take these risks."
He added: "The feedback's been fantastic, I couldn't be happier."
Chef Megs Buchanan joined Cornwell's I'll Be Mother group six months ago as a sous chef at the Beacon to undergo a handover process with Goss, and has since taken on the head chef role at the Twenty Six. Buchanan previously worked as head chef at a boutique chalet in the French Alps.
Mark Constable, formerly head chef at Chelsea Football Club, has succeeded Goss as executive chef at the group.
Cornwell said: "Scott did an amazing job for the five years he was there. I'm really excited for him and his opportunity to do his own thing, but also equally excited that we've got a breath of fresh air coming in with Megs. I think she's going to do great things."