D&D London has appointed Lee Bennett as executive chef of its forthcoming restaurant and bar ventures in Leeds, Crafthouse and Angelica, which are due to open at the city's new Trinity shopping development in the spring.
The group's first foray outside of London, the venues will occupy the fifth and sixth floors of Trinity, with Crafthouse showcasing the best British produce, taking inspiration from the history of Leeds and Yorkshire, and Angelica comprising a cocktail bar with an international menu.
Bennett, a 2008 Acorn award winner, joins from the Swissotel the Stamford in Singapore, where he was executive chef of the Equinox Complex, which includes five restaurants and bars as well as four private dining rooms with a total capacity of 900 covers. His move marks a return to D&D London, having previously been executive chef at the group's Le Pont de la Tour restaurant in London.
He previously worked under three-Michelin-starred chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Pierre Gagnaire and Alain Ducasse, while his first head chef position was at the Michelin-starred Savoy Grill, under executive chef Marcus Wareing, where he won the Craft Guild of Chefs Restaurant Chef award in 2007.
Commenting on his appointment, Bennett said: "I left Yorkshire some 15 years ago and have had the fortune to live in Dubai, Paris, London and Singapore working under some truly great chefs.
"The time now feels right to return home with this wonderful site that D&D are investing heavily in. I am most excited about returning to Yorkshire as it will enable me to use the amazing produce that the region is famous for. For me this is a rare opportunity to be able to run the kind of operation I have come accustomed to running yet being in my home region of the country."
D&D London managing director David Loewi added: "We are thrilled to welcome Lee back to D&D London as executive chef of Crafthouse and Angelica in Leeds. His Yorkshire roots paired with his exceptional experience as a chef are, we feel, the perfect combination to launch our first restaurants in the North of England."
Separately, news broke today that Helena Puolakka, executive chef at Skylon, is set to leave the D&D London-owned restaurant to join pub group Cirrus Inns as operations director replacing Mark Askew.
By Kerstin Kühn
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