CHRIS Harrod, who trained under the world famous Raymond Blanc, re opens The Crown at Whitebrook and with a complete new look and approach tomorrow (October 2, 2013).
Chris, aged 39, who developed his chef's skills while working at Raymond Blanc's two Michelin starred Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, in Oxfordshire has transformed the former Michelin starred restaurant in the heart of the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The chef, with a background in fine dining cuisine, has assembled a team of 10, including four in the kitchen and four front of house, at the rural retreat.
A first appointment, as front of house manager, is Exeter College catering graduate of the year Steve Mason, who after graduation worked under Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons and was head waiter and maitre d at the two Michelin star The Ledbury, in London.
The Crown,according to Chris, will be a restaurant 'of its time and of its place'.
The layout of the restaurant has been reconfigured to allow more guests to dine. The entrance to the established restaurant with rooms has been moved so guests now enter form the valley side and not straight in from the car park.
Chris said: "There are some obvious physical changes to structure of the internals of the restaurant. The atmosphere and ambience of the restaurant will also change. There are also some more subtle alterations which I want customers to discover for themselves and to enjoy."
Originally from Worcestershire, but most recently living in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, Chris arrived in Monmouthshire from Denbighshire, North Wales, where he was consultant chef at Lord Newborough's Rhug Estate Organic.
Chris was previously head chef at Colette's, the flagship fine dining restaurant of the five star hotel and golf resort The Grove, in Hertfordshire. Chris opened the restaurant and whilst there achieved 3 AA rosettes, 6/10 in the Good Food Guide. The Grove was voted AA hotel of the year.