Wilderness head chef Stuart Deeley will be leaving the Birmingham restaurant following opportunities brought about by his appearance on MasterChef: The Professionals.
He had taken the position in 2017 and owner Alex Clarridge (pictured, left) credits him with establishing the restaurant's prestigious food credentials. He said: "He has elevated what my restaurant does and cemented our reputation as a serious place to eat – delivering three rosettes this year."
Deeley (pictured, right) is currently appearing in on MasterChef: The Professionals. The programme started with 48 contestants and he has won a place in the semi-finals.
Clarridge added: "When he approached me earlier this year and asked whether he could compete on MasterChef I knew the risk. In the last three years we have now had two strong contestants excel in MasterChef. It brings immense opportunities for any young chef and as any restaurant supporting their journey is aware, the MasterChef effect may well propel them to new worlds.
"Accordingly, it is with both immense pride tinged with sadness that I announce Stu will be leaving us to pursue those opportunities that only Greg Wallace can bring."
Writing on Instagram Deeley added: "As all great stories there has to be an ending, but unlike so many this one is not sad. It's happy, it's grateful and it's knowing that with belief and graft anything is possible.
"Alex gave me the platform to hone my own style and create the menu on my own... that must of been a massive worry for Alex in January 2018, but it was a challenge for me and one that I relished. With Alex's belief and the people who come see us at what is our tiny piece of Birmingham's well-loved restaurant scene. It gave me the confidence to try and push, what we were offering, and our dishes became bolder and more refined."
Deeley's last day as head chef will be on 21 December. He has yet to reveal where he will be moving to next, but hinted he will remain in Birmingham. His replacement will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Wilderness is in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter and serves British fine dining using seasonal menus. A new flagship restaurant will open in early 2020.