Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay have both denied rumours that they are in line to head up the new restaurant at luxury hotel group Von Essen's latest venture at Battersea Heliport in south London.
The speculation was quashed this week when White told Caterer: "I don't know anything about it, so I can't possibly pass any comment," while a spokeswoman for Ramsay said the rumours were "completely unfounded".
A spokesman for Von Essen would confirm only that the company was in talks with "several big-name restaurateurs" and would look to make an announcement later in the year.
The restaurant will form part of a new riverside hotel on the site of Battersea Heliport, which the company has bought for £50m.
The 70-bedroom boutique-style property will feature a hydrotherapy and chromatherapy spa, a 200-seat rooftop restaurant with 360° views over London and Battersea, called Reach, and an executive business suite.
Andrew Davis, chairman of Von Essen, would not comment on the restaurant, but said: "The exclusive new development heralds an exciting and important stage in Von Essen's expansion. We will be creating world-class facilities that will provide high-end users with the luxury and levels of convenience which are lacking at the moment."
In the deal, Von Essen acquired the freehold of the heliport, which will in future be operated by its joint-venture aviation partner, PremiAir - part of the Sir Robert McAlpine Group. McAlpine already manages and operates Von Essen's fleet of helicopters and jets.
Von Essen was the subject of further industry rumour last week, with speculation suggesting the group is on the verge of buying the Port Palace hotel in Monte Carlo. The harbourfront property's proximity to the Monte Carlo heliport makes it an ideal fit for the luxury hotel group.
By Emily Manson