Former head chef at the Michelin-starred West House restaurant, Ben Crittenden, has opened his first restaurant in Broadstairs, Kent.
The restaurant, named Stark, opened on 15 December and offers seasonal, modern European cuisine, with three courses for £25 and six for £45. Crittenden's wife Sophie has taken on the 12-cover restaurant's front-of-house.
Crittenden spent six years at the West House in Biddenden, Kent, under chef-patron Graham Garrett. He has also previously worked at the Marquis at Alkham and Rhodes W1 in London, and competed in MasterChef: The Professionals in 2014.
After nearly leaving the trade last year due to depression and anxiety, the property was offered to him with a six-year lease and he decided to go solo. Crittenden and his father refurbished the former sandwich shop themselves over the last year.
"We've basically put every single penny we have into it. The food we're knocking out with what we've got we're quite happy with. I just want to push it further and take it as far as I can on my own."
He added: "I'd like to move somewhere bigger, but we'll see how it goes. I'm quite positive. People have come in already, have seen the passion and the desire to make it work. As long as people keep coming in and are seeing that and hopefully they come back, I think we'll be alright."
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