Thomas Piat (pictured above) has been appointed executive chef for restaurants at Searcys. Having graduated with a degree in culinary arts from Ecole Hôtelière de Paris in 2005, Piat’s career in hospitality spans 20 years. He has worked in some of the top international establishments, inlcuding the Mandarin Oriental in London and Jòia with Hélène Darroze in Paris and spent 10 years in New York and London with chef Daniel Boulud. Prior to joining Searcys, he spent three years working as a private chef in Miami before becoming executive chef of Palm Beach members club Carriage House. He will work across Searcys’ collection of nine restaurants and bars.
Restaurant Associates has appointed Adam Thomason as its culinary director. Adam Thomason previously worked for Restaurant Associates and the wider Compass Group business for a number of years, leaving in 2021. He has achieved Master of Culinary Arts and is currently captain of the England Culinary Team. “It’s fantastic to be back with Restaurant Associates,” says Thomason. “It’s a privilege to be heading up such a talented culinary team. I am looking forward to introducing new ideas, concepts and opportunities in the coming weeks.”
St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel
Emma Watts has been appointed head pastry chef at St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel. Classically trained at Le Cordon Bleu, Watts has over 10 years’ experience in the culinary industry working at venues including Claridge’s, The Landmark London, and Shangri-La at the Shard. She most recently held the position of head pastry chef at Park Row. She will be work with executive chef Julien Maisonneuve and the recently appointed head chef Jack Hazell.
Simon Attridge has been appointed culinary director at Claridge’s replacing chef Dmitri Magi. Attridge was most recently executive chef at Gleneagles Hotel and Estate, where he held the role since August 2017, and played a key role in the extensive refurbishment of the hotel and development of the estate. Prior to this, he held senior culinary positions with Baxter Storey and Shangri-La, across London, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai.
CORD, the fine dining restaurant on Fleet Street owned by French culinary school Le Cordon Bleu, has appointed Karl O’Dell as its new executive chef. In his new role, O’Dell will be charged with crafting seasonal menus that ‘showcase the freshest produce and flavours available throughout the year’. His new menu, which has already launched, includes Cornish brill with coco beans, dill, mussels and Champagne velouté; and Highland venison with farci, beetroot, blackberries and juniper. O’Dell, who recently competed as a finalist in the 2023 National Chef of The Year competition, previously led the kitchen of The Monarch Theatre, the fully-immersive tasting menu restaurant housed within Soho’s DC-inspired multi-faceted venue Park Row. He is one of several new additions to the CORD team. Others include senior sous chef Justine Bordet, who was previously executive chef at Le Sylvestre in France, which received its first Michelin star within two months of her joining; and junior sous chef Marnix Taghon, who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu with the Diplôme De Cuisine in 2017 and most recently worked as a junior sous chef at Ollie Dabbous’ Hide restaurant in Mayfair.
Gareth Thorpe has been named as executive chef at The Barnsdale in Rutland, part of boutique hotel brand The Signet Collection. Thorpe, a former Joseph Perrier Young Chef of the Year, will be in charge of culinary offerings served in 1770, The Orangery, The Rod Room and The Burley Bar. He began his career began at The Black Horse in Grimsthorpe, later moving to Siena to work at the Park Hotel. Thorpe returned home and spent the next eight years at The Old Bridge in Huntingdon before opening his own restaurant, Tatum’s of Stamford, followed by two years at The George of Stamford.
London-based Spanish restaurant Aqua Nueva has announced Mateo Garcia Leiva as its new executive chef. Leiva grew up and cooking in kitchens across Spain - from his family’s Tarragona restaurant to the five-star Le Méridien in Sitges - followed by four years under chef-mentor Jordi Cruz at Barcelona’s three Michelin-starred ABaC.
Dessert restaurant brand Creams Cafe has appointed Oliver Rodbard as its chief operating officer. The multi-faceted role will have a focus on franchise engagement and growth, alongside collaboration with the executive team to develop, refine and execute the overall business strategy as Creams continues to expand. Rodbard brings over 16 years of experience gleaned in the food and hospitality industry within franchise models and joins Creams Cafe from Soul Foods Group, a global franchisee for the KFC, Starbucks, Burger King and Taco Bell brands, where he was also the chief operating officer. Previous experience includes 12 years with YUM! Brands.
DoubleTree by Hilton, Cadbury House
Gareth Ireland been named as the new general manager at DoubleTree by Hilton, Cadbury House in Congresbury, Somerset. He will soon take control of the day-to-day running of the hotel, including its Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill. With over 20 years’ experience in the hospitality sector, Ireland who was previously general manager at the Aztec Hotel & Spa in Bristol. He says he is looking forward to consolidating the venue’s position as the South West’s ‘leading four-star hotel’, with ambitions to make it one of the best in the UK. “Cadbury House has a great reputation across the hospitality and hotel sector. It’s a phenomenal venue and is a very well-balanced business when you combine the different elements such as the hotel, meeting and conference facilities, restaurant, wedding offering and health club,” he says.
30 Euston Square
Conference and events venue 30 Euston Square has named Alessandro Negro as its new executive chef. Negro served as senior chef on the cooking team for the Italian president Giorgio Napolitano before moving to London to work in restaurants such as Aubaine in Selfridges, Chelsea’s Medlar Restaurant, and Rabbit. In 2021 he moved to Moldova’s Oro Restaurant before returning to London at the end of 2021 to become the co-executive chef at the Chef Academy of London.
Chef Dan McGeorge has stepped down as head chef at Ambleside’s Rothay Manor after six years. McGeorge, who was crowned Champion of Champions in BBC Two’s Great British Menu in 2021, says he intends to spend some time with his young family before embarking on new and exciting projects in his home town of Liverpool. The chef joined Rothay Manor in September 2017 as head chef when it held two AA rosettes. In 2019 he helped the restaurant gain a third rosette for his cooking, that fuses modern British cooking with classical French techniques, which he has successfully retained for the past four years.
Sam Harrison Group
Robbie White has joined restaurateur Sam Harrison’s business in its newly created role as head of people. White has worked in hospitality since 2001, when he worked in Dublin at Café Java and then Yamamori, both in manager positions. He then moved to London to Hawksmoor, starting as a waiter and progressing to restaurant manager. Prior to joining the group he was head of people and culture at Vinoteca. “In the last 12 months, we will have added four sites to our little west London portfolio, and our team has grown from 50 to 150. The business is based around working with great people and making sure that we look after them,” says Harrison. “As the company expands, I want to do everything possible to ensure that we recruit the very best people and then develop and nurture them. For our continued success, I need our teams to flourish, so we have engaged Robbie to help us focus on our staff welfare and growth.”