The team behind the Grove at Narberth has announced the leadership team for its new beachfront restaurant, the Beach House on the Gower Peninsula in south west Wales.
Among the appointments is head chef and native Welshman Hywel Griffith, who will leave Steven Smith's Freemasons at Wiswell to take up his new role.
The Beach House will be Neil Kedward and Zoe Agar's second coastal restaurant, nearly two years after launching Coast restaurant in Saundersfoot.
Griffith, a fluent Welsh speaker, grew up in Bethesda in Gwynedd and learned his craft at Coleg Menai in Bangor before joining the Lanesborough in London as commis chef. His next role was as sous chef with Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor before returning to Wales as sous chef at Ynyshir Hall near Machynlleth.
His first head chef position was at Paul Heathcote's Longridge restaurant. In 2011, he moved into the head chef role at the Freemasons at Wiswell under Smith, which became the first and only pub restaurant in the UK to be awarded a cooking score of 7/10 in The Good Food Guide last year. It also topped the Waitrose Top 50 Pubs list in the Good Food Guide 2016.
Griffith said: "As a fluent Welsh speaker I am very proud to be involved with this exciting project, opening up a stunning beachfront restaurant with Neil and Zoe in my native country. I've already started jotting down lots of ideas for new dishes and very much look forward to working alongside Glamorgan's local producers, not to mention the quality and freshness of the seafood that we'll be serving."
Steven Smith has appointed Matt Smith, who previously worked as sous chef at Freemasons before spending a year working at Hammet House in Pembrokeshire, as his new head chef and has also brought Michael Lambert back on board as pastry chef. Steven Smith said: "Hywel has done a great job and I wish him all the best for the future now that he is going solo. Matt is really talented guy so I am looking forward to him re-joining us. With Michael joining us as well, I am really happy that my old staff want to come back and it means I have got a really strong team behind me, so we are really looking to push on."
Working with Griffith will be restaurant manager Alice Bussi. Bussi joins from the Bath Priory hotel where she has managed the Michelin-starred restaurant since July 2014.
She joined the restaurant in 2012 and progressed from sommelier to restaurant manager. Before moving to the Bath Priory Alice she worked at a number of luxury Italian hotels. She has also worked at the five-star Gallia Palace hotel in Tuscany and the Crystal hotel in St Moritz.
Bussi said: "When I met Neil and Zoe I felt right away that we could work together to build something great. The Beach House will combine a fantastic location and special atmosphere with fine service and excellent food - I might even learn a little Welsh!"
The Beach House, which is due to open in June 2016, will seat 60 in the dining room and a further 50 guests on the large terrace area with views across Oxwich and Three Cliffs Bay. It will be designed by leading interior designer Martin Hulbert.
Latest video from The Caterer