Restaurant entrepreneur Mark O'Rourke (pictured left), who earlier this year announced £2m growth plans for his Fino Tapas restaurant brand, is relaunching his 263 restaurant in Preston following the appointment of Oli Martin as chef director.
Martin (pictured right), a BBC 2018 MasterChef: The Professionals finalist, was until recently head chef of Hipping Hall's four-AA-rosette restaurant.
The 32-cover fine dining restaurant, named 263 in honour of O'Rourke's son's birth date and located in Preston's Winckley Square hotel, has been redesigned by Martin and will relaunch on 26 November.
Head chef at the venue will be Rikki Hughes, joining from Tom Kerridge's two-Michelin-starred the Hand and Flowers in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, where he was senior sous chef.
In the evenings 263 will serve a single tasting menu, focused on the best available seasonal produce, heritage and foraged ingredients. Many dishes will be Lancashire-inspired including beetroot rose and butter pie.
O'Rourke said: "Oli did take a little persuading to accept. He had already started to set up Foray Catering but we both instantly got along and having discussed my vision for 263 and, finding we shared very similar ideas, he agreed to take on the role of chef director.
"I'm so excited to finally announce this rebirth of 263. Oli is definitely the man for the job, his style of cooking and determination to produce a great quality product is the thing that will make 263 a true success."
Martin said: "I wanted to take a step back from being on the stoves and the general running of the kitchen, to allow myself more time to be able to put my focus on the dishes, on the style of the service and the offering. Sometimes you need to step away from things to really progress.
"Mark and I had a few discussions and then once I'd visited 263, I knew it was somewhere with bags of potential and a place I could really see myself at home and making a difference."
He added: "I think 263 is just the beginning for myself and Mark, he's a very driven and ambitious person who is always thinking about what's new."
Tom Dicken, former head chef at 263, is now head chef at Kevin Tickle's Heft in Cumbria.