Chef Simon Gueller returns to Box Tree kitchen following loss of Michelin star

22 October 2018 by
Chef Simon Gueller returns to Box Tree kitchen following loss of Michelin star

Simon Gueller has announced his return to the kitchen of the Box Tree in Ilkley, Yorkshire, explaining that his restaurant's loss of its Michelin star earlier this month had "awoken something".

The executive chef is now looking to recruit a new team, including a head chef, to help him as he looks to take the restaurant "as far as possible".

Gueller and wife Rena, who runs front of house, took over the restaurant in 2004 and gained a Michelin star the following year, which it held until this year. On Monday head chef Kieran Smith announced his departure after a "fantastic two-and-a-half-years".

Gueller said the pair had made the decision to part ways having realised that working together "wasn't going to work". He is now looking to recruit a new brigade.

The chef, who made his name after opening Rascasse in Leeds, said: "I'm back in the kitchen myself after being out for five or six years and really enjoying it. I think I was a bit burnt out, I think my time out has refreshed me and losing the star has awoken something. It's been really good for me in the sense that I didn't think that I would have this sort of passion again, so I'm really pleased, very motivated and enjoying teaching people again."

Gueller said that losing the star was "overwhelming" and "totally my fault", adding that he had taken his eye off the ball. He added that in the last two weeks he had overhauled the menu, kitchen practices and techniques.

He added: "The Box Tree has been very successful but that's down to it being the Box Tree and the work my wife's put in. I sort of got by on my reputation, but now I feel I want to prove myself in the industry again because I feel the people in the industry have had more belief in me than I've had in myself the past 10-years or so. I'm up for it - I'm like a 21-year-old trapped in a 54-year-old's body at the moment.

"I already feel like now it's the best it's been since we've owned it. Everybody's pulled together, and the refurb has just been done. I do know Michelin star food - I've held one for some 20 years. The food now is the correct standard to get that, but I'm kind of looking beyond getting a star back I want to absolutely take it as far as I can."

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