Francis Cowlam has been appointed head chef of Martin Pickles and Martin Hicks' £2m Leeds restaurant, Convive, set to open February 2017 in Weetwood Hall.
Cowlam, who specialises in Mediterranean cuisine, will help to develop the Mediterranean menu at the 120-cover restaurant.
His previous experience includes Piccolinos, Gusto and Blackhouse Bar & Grill as well as a number of independent Italian restaurants.
At Convive, Cowlam will lead 12 chefs in the £450,000 kitchen. Confirmed as part of the team is sous chef Najam Ur Rehman, who was previously at Brasserie Blanc in Leeds.
Cowlam said: "This is the opportunity of a lifetime and I can't wait to get everything in place ready for opening. The vision and investment at Convive is on a scale like nothing I've ever seen before and I'm really looking forward to asserting my Mediterranean influence on the menu, creating an authentic and unforgettable dining experience. The freshness and vibrancy of the food and the fact that we'll be sourcing locally as much as we can and applying a Mediterranean twist means we'll be supporting lots of great suppliers on our doorstep."
Managing director of Weetwood Hall and Convive, Martin Hicks, said: "Francis is an outstanding head chef and fits the bill perfectly for Convive. His inspiration is Leeds' own Marco Pierre White and Francis aims to emulate his style and flair whilst bringing his own passion, personality and experience to the role.
"He is already assembling a team of chefs that has an impeccable track record and after almost 20 years' experience in Italian kitchens, has lots of great contacts of his own that will help the restaurant team soar. This experience will be invaluable especially when we begin our innovative chef exchange with genuine Mediterranean restaurants across Europe. Francis and his team will ensure that we deliver unrivalled food quality to match the relaxed, convivial dining experience we are creating."