Neil McCue joins the West House as Graham Garrett plots expansion
Former Curlew head chef Neil McCue has joined Graham Garrett at the West House in Biddenden, Kent to allow the chef to concentrate on building other strands of the business.
Garrett worked with McCue in his capacity as consultant for the Curlew which opened in July 2009, winning a Michelin star in 2011.
He has now brought McCue in to work as head chef at the Michelin-starred West House to enable him to devote more time to other projects, including a planned cookery school.
"I've spent 11 years on this treadmill of doing lunch dinner, lunch dinner every day, having to close for the odd TV work," Garrett said. "The only way out of that was to get someone else in. Neil and I were always talking about doing something together and until now I've never had the time.
"I've brought Neil in to eventually run the kitchen, I suppose in a head chef capacity but a little bit more than that as he's now got a percentage in the business to involve him."
Garrett is now planning on building an extension at the back of the West House site to accommodate a cookery school and three rooms above.
He added: "With the cookery school we may get involved with cookware supplier who could also use the space as a demonstration space, where people can use the equipment in a real environment.
"I've instructed an architect to apply for planning and if we can get it the idea will be for a cookery school downstairs with around 12 workstations and a demo area and three luxurious en-suites above."
Though bringing McCue on board will enable Garrett to develop plans for other projects, he said that he would still spend much of his time in the West House kitchen.
He said: "I'm still here all the time, probably annoying Neil a little bit, but I can never walk away from it totally. We want to work together to take the business forward.
"At the moment the cookery school is in the planning stages but I've now got time to progress it with Neil here. Apart from being a separate project it enhances the restaurant and should generate more money too."
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