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The Schwabs sell up at Winteringham Fields

21 July 2005

Annie and Germain Schwab have sold Winteringham Fields, their two-Michelin-star restaurant with rooms in rural Lincolnshire, for more than £1.2m.

The restaurant, which the couple have run for the past 17 years, will pass into the hands of Colin and Rebecca McGurren, at the beginning of August. All existing staff will remain.

Annie said that they intended to take on consultancy roles in Britain, France and Switzerland and continue their involvement in training and education initiatives. Germain will also keep in touch with Winteringham Fields in an advisory role.

The kitchen brigade will continue to be headed by the 22-year-old Robert Thompson, who has been head chef at Winteringham Fields for the past two years. Annie was confident he would keep the restaurant's two Michelin.

African-born Colin McGurren has worked as a chef for the royal family of Dubai and for Michelin-star French restaurants.

He said he planned no changes for the first six months, but would look at investing more in the business - perhaps converting a barn into a cooking school.

He also plans to chase a third Michelin star.

One headache he will inherit is the restaurant's tussle with the Inland Revenue over business rates.

A rates tribunal in December supported the Schwab's claim that Winteringham Fields is a restaurant with rooms, rather than a hotel and reduced its rateable value from £39,500 to £14,250.

This hasn't deterred the Revenue, which is dragging the restaurant back to the courts on 15 August and demanding an even higher rate of £48,500.

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