Chef-restaurateur Paul Heathcote has appointed Hywel Griffith as head chef of his flagship Longridge Restaurant in Preston, Lancashire.
Griffith, who will join the Longridge Restaurant from the Michelin-starred Ynyshir Hall Hotel in Wales on 29 June, will replace Chris Bell, who is heading back to his native Northern Ireland.
Griffith previously worked with Simon Radley at the Chester Grosvenor and at the Lanesborough. His appointment confirms Heathcote's desire to continue his drive restore the former Michelin-starred Longridge Restaurant to its former glory after selling the majority of his restaurant portfolio to Living Ventures last year.
"In Griffith's appointment I am confident we can continue to move at a pace to gain that Michelin star," Heathcote said. "His experience is very solid, his cooking skills are at a level that I would expect and we share the same passion for food."
Griffith added: "It is an exciting opportunity - we both have the same ambitions."
Meanwhile Great British Menu star Bell and his wife, Kath, will return to Bell's home town of Ballymena in Northern Ireland to take over the running of the River Room restaurant at the Galgorm Resort and Spa.
The pair rejoined the Longridge restaurant nearly two years ago, having previously managed the it until 2006, with Kath in charge of operations and Chris, a former Gordon Ramsay Scholarship winner, overseeing the kitchen.
"Chris has done a terrific job at Longridge, he is a fine chef and I have enjoyed working closely with him. The food, brigade and atmosphere have all been wonderful and I wish him the very best," Heathcote said.
By Kerstin Kühn
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