Ben Murphy, Pierre Koffmann protégé, former Young National Chef of the Year 2012, WorldSkills 2011 gold medal winner, three-Michelin-star familiar and star of the BBC's Chefs on Trial show, is to open his own restaurant.
The Woodford, in the East London-Essex area of South Woodford, is planned for mid-January, and will serve modern British-style food across what is expected to be 80 covers.
Upstairs, there will be a piano, Champagne and oyster lounge, and downstairs will open on to a glass kitchen overlooking the dining room.
The opening is backed by Essex-based restaurateur Stephen Andrews, who has invested a considerable sum in the venture.
Murphy, former chef de partie for French legend Koffmann, and winner of the Young National Chef of the Year 2012, has also worked at the Michelin-starred Le Bristol hotel and the three-Michelin-starred Epicure in Paris, and most recently undertook a stage at the three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park in New York before being approached to open his new venture.
Murphy has recruited a team with an impressive collective CV, including William Yarney, currently assistant bar manager at the Shangri-La hotel in London's the Shard; some former colleagues from the Greenhouse, Koffmann's and Le Bristol; and one chef from the Fat Duck who sent in an application.
Commenting on the new plans, Murphy told The Caterer: "So many people, such as Koffmann, advised me to keep working for Michelin-starred chefs, but when you know you want to do your own restaurant, it's more just a matter of when. I knew I was up to it, so it was a matter of make or break this time. I hope Koffmann will come to the opening though; we still speak regularly."
The chef, who received positive feedback from hotelier Alex Polizzi in her BBC Two television programme Chefs on Trial this year, added: "I am young, but I turn 25 in two weeks, and people like Marcus Wareing had a Michelin star at 25. In a way I look at them as role models."