The owner of London restaurant Aubergine is exploring the possibility of closing the former Michelin-starred establishment and replacing it with an informal Italian eatery.
Under the proposals the London Fine Dining Group (formerly A-Z Restaurants) would consolidate the 55-cover French restaurant in Chelsea with its sister restaurant Aubergine at the Compleat Angler hotel in Marlow, Buckinghamshire.
Aubergine Chelsea would then undergo extensive refurbishment before reopening as an all-day informal Italian restaurant later in the year.
Paul Singer, managing director of the London Fine Dining Group, told Caterer that an internal consultation process had started last week but no final decision had been made about the future of the restaurant.
"If the proposal does go ahead, it is hoped that any potential job losses from the closure of Chelsea in its present format can be avoided by existing staff being offered relocation either to other sites within the group, or even returning to Park Walk when it reopens later this year," he said.
Aubergine first opened in 1993 with Gordon Ramsay at its helm. The chef gained his first Michelin star at the restaurant in 1995 and was promoted to two stars in 1997.
After Ramsay left Aubergine to set up his flagship restaurant on Royal Hospital Road in 1998, William Drabble was appointed executive chef. He retained a Michelin star until his departure last year and also successfully launched Aubergine in Marlow. Last year, Drabble was replaced by Miles Nixon as executive chef, with Christophe Renou running the Chelsea kitchen as head chef.
By Kerstin Kühn
E-mail your comments to Kerstin Kühn here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.caterersearch.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Caterersearch.com jobs