After quitting Berkshire’s L’Ortolan in September last year chef Alan Murchison has pulled out of plans to take over La Bécasse in Ludlow. He posted in a Facebook update: “After much soul searching and many sleepless nights, I have decided not to open another restaurant. Been there, done it. Bit of success and some big failures. Head and heart not recovered from the last 24 months, so it’s time for something new.”
Three months ago Caterer & Hotelkeeper reported that Murchison would take over the lease at La Bécasse – a one time destination restaurant that seemed rather to have “lost the plot” according to our 2015 survey. Perhaps as a result of the recent trials and tribulations of the vainglorious parent ‘10-in-8’ empire?
The move would have put Murchison in charge of the restaurant for a second time. He bought the site (then Hibiscus) from chef/restaurateur Claude Bosi in 2007.
It certainly seems to have been a turbulent couple of years for Murchison who quit L’Ortolan (which he briefly owned) after 13 years in 2014. He had initially stayed on as executive chef after his company – Alan Murchison Restaurants Ltd – sold the place in 2013. Alan Murchison Restaurants Ltd – part of the rather ill-conceived 10 in 8 Group – went into liquidation in 2013.
Ten In Eight Limited, the company once behind 10 in 8 Group, which owned La Bécasse, Paris House (Woburn) and the Angel (Dartmouth), was served with a winding up order in the High Court in July 2014.
Its goal had been to open ten Michelin-standard restaurants in eight years – something it failed to do. Paris House was liquidated in January 2014 and subsequently sold on, La Bécasse was then liquidated in May last year and the Angel was sold at auction in 2013.
We have long observed that the quest for Michelin stardom is a toxic distortion of the restaurant trade: rarely has there been a clearer example.