Macdonald Hotels in talks with more top chefs following Aiden Byrne partnership

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Aiden byrne Chef

Aiden Byrne's new restaurant will open at Macdonald Hotels' Craxton Wood hotel on 29 July
Aiden Byrne's new restaurant will open at Macdonald Hotels' Craxton Wood hotel on 29 July
Macdonald Hotels has revealed it has been in talks with a number of 'top chefs' to run partnership food operations at its 42 UK hotels after signing a deal with Aiden Byrne to open a restaurant at one of its Cheshire properties.

The 120-cover Aiden Byrne British Grill will open at the 72-bedroom Craxton Wood Hotel on the Wirral at the end of this month with both Byrne and partner Sarah Broadley planning to be 'hands on' in its operation.

Food and beverage director Alan Swinson said: "One of the reasons we chose Aiden is because he will have daily involvement in the running of the restaurant and one of the key benefits is that he has his own business around the corner. We don't want to stick a chef's name above the door and then they turn up twice a year to cook, we are looking for a relationship that is much more about ownership."

Swinson said another reason for choosing Byrne for its restaurant was because he shares the food ethos of the group - to use carefully-selected quality ingredients (Chicken and eggs are all free-range for example).

Chef and restaurant partnerships

The company said it is currently in talks with other 'top chefs' to discuss similar projects around the country, although Swinson would not reveal who until a decision had been made and said each site would be looked at individually.

"There are locations around the UK which lend themselves very well to joint ventures with top chefs. Delivering added value to our hotel guests is key to what we do," he said. "The key is we want someone who's as commited to the quality of the food as we are."

Over the past few years Macdonald Hotels has set up a number of partnerships with existing operators. Restaurant group Living Ventures has opened a Red Door bar in the basement of Macdonald Hotels' Chester Blossom's hotel and the Swan's Nest Hotel has a Le Bistro Pierre operating within it.

The group also looks to develop talent from within if it was right. Chef John Paul McLachlan, who has worked for the group for five years, has opened an eponymous restaurant at the Marine Hotel in North Berwick.

"It's not all about going outside the group. We have got some great chefs in our business. It's more about making sure that what we do is right for each site," said Swinson.

Aiden Byrne partnership

Aiden Byrne British Grill will be Byrne's third restaurant and Swinson said he and Byrne were not ruling out partnerships at other hotels in the future.

"We are looking at the Craxton Wood partnership as a long-term commitment and we would consider another site with Aiden if the opportunity was right," he said.

Byrne left his job as head chef at the Dorchester Grill at the end of 2008 to open the Church Green at Lymm. He opened a restaurant at the Hillbark Hotel in Frankby-on-the-Wirral in July 2010, but closed it in December to concentrate on the opening of his second standalone venture, The Collingwood in West Kirby.

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