Neil McCue, head chef at the Curlew near Bodiam, East Sussex, has left the Michelin-starred restaurant.
McCue, who had been at the helm of the restaurant's kitchen since it opened in 2009, said that he would take time out from the hospitality industry to do go travelling together with his girlfriend, Aimee Jones, the Curlew's pastry chef, who has also now left the restaurant.
He said: "We're going to Australia for five weeks and I will consider my next move while we're there before coming home. I'm immensely proud of what we've all achieved here at the Curlew but for me it's time to move on now."
McCue will be succeeded as head chef at the Curlew by Andrew Scott, who will leave his present role as head chef of Leamington Spa's Michelin-starred Mallory Court hotel. Scott has also done stints at Lords of the Manor hotel in Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire, and at Simon Rogan's L'Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria. Scott will be joined at the Curlew by Nicholas Bennett as his sous chef, who previously worked with him at Mallory Court.
Under McCue's leadership in the kitchen, the Curlew was awarded a number of awards, including two AA rosettes and a Michelin star in 2011. He established the restaurant's reputation for using its local larder of produce from the surrounding counties of Kent and East Sussex on his menus.
Commenting on McCue's departure, Mark Colley, co-owner of the Curlew with his wife Sara, said: "As owners, Sara and I are as committed as ever to maintaining the excellence and consistency for which the Curlew has earned a reputation. Neil said that he would like to take a well-earned rest and he has given me more than enough time to recruit a replacement."
He added: "As a team, Sara, myself and Neil can be rightly proud about what we've already achieved over the past three years. We wish Neil every success in whatever he decides to do next."
By Kerstin Kühn
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs