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The Caterer

Chris Corbin and Jeremy King

12 May 2005
Chris Corbin and Jeremy King

Overall Ranking: 66

Restaurateurs ranking: 21

Snapshot

Chris Corbin and Jeremy King have been the driving force behind some of London's best-loved restaurants for more than 20 years. They propelled the historic Le Caprice, The Ivy and J Sheekey restaurants back into the limelight and their most recent venture, the Wolseley in Piccadilly, was an instant hit.

Career guide

Corbin first came to prominence as manager of the French-influenced Langan's Brasserie in London, while King was maitre d'hôtel at the American-style Joe Allen restaurant.

They attained legendary status with Caprice Holdings, which bought Le Caprice in 1981, The Ivy in 1990 and seafood restaurant J Sheekey in 1997. Luke Johnson's Belgo group (now called Signature Restaurants) bought the group in 1998.

Corbin and King stayed on as directors of Caprice Holdings until 2002. The following year their new company, CLK Restaurants, opened the Wolseley in September.

What we think

Corbin and King are regarded as the Batman and Robin of dining and, despite their determinedly low profile, they practically created the celebrity-haunt diner. With Caprice Holdings, they took three restaurants that had fallen on hard times since being set up between 1896 and 1945 and made them the epitome of discreet, sophisticated elegance.

Le Caprice inspired scores of London restaurants with its combined French and American influences. At the time, King told Michael Gottlieb, president of the Restaurant Association, "We don't want to expand. We want to create immortality with what we have."

Yet it was their next buy, The Ivy, that was to prove the pinnacle of the Caprice empire. Readers of Harden's London Restaurant Guide have voted it their favourite restaurant for nine consecutive years since 1997, when it toppled Le Caprice from the top slot.

The dynamic duo were praised as "complete" and "hands-on" restaurateurs with an almost nit-picking attention to detail when they won the Caterer & Hotelkeeper Catey Independent Restaurateur of the Year award in 1993.

With the Wolseley the pair have aimed to create an all-day café-brasserie in the grand European style that will serve snacks as well as three-course meals.

The Wolseley has won a number of accolades since it opened, including Restaurant of the Year from Harpers and Moet and London Restaurant of the Year from Time Out and the AA (which concluded "There is something for everyone here, and everybody's budget".)


Corbin and King may also be readying themselves to make their mark on the hotel scene, as they have made it no secret that they are keen to own a small London hotel.

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