Richard Guest, head chef at Kit Chapman's Castle hotel in Taunton, Somerset, is leaving the property after more than a decade to launch his own restaurant.
The former Michelin-starred chef, who will leave the 44-bedroom hotel at the end of October, plans to open a small bistro in the Somerset area. "It has always been my ambition to open my own restaurant but a good cook isn't always a good businessman so I had to wait for the right time," he told Caterer.
"I have a small amount of investment and am now looking for a small site with a small kitchen where I can serve a simple bistro menu and enjoy what I'm cooking. I have a fantastic network of local suppliers so I don't want to move too far away from Taunton."
Guest joined the Castle in 1999, overseeing both the 150-cover brasserie and 60-seat fine-dining restaurant as well as the hotel's banqueting and room service. He won a Michelin star at the property in 2002, which he retained for five years. Guest previously held a star at Maison Novelli in London's Clerkenwell, which he opened as head chef in 1997 after working with Jean-Christophe Novelli at the Four Seasons restaurant in Park Lane, London.
Chapman told Caterer he wished Guest all the best for the future. "This has been Richard's ambition since he was a teenager and I wish him all the best," he said. "He is an outstanding chef and leader and it has been a joy to work with him over the past 11 years."
Chapman added that he was close to naming Guest's replacement at the Castle. "I have had a number of outstanding applications but have narrowed it down to two extremely strong candidates," he said.
By Kerstin Kühn
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