Parker’s Tavern will be the destination restaurant in the University Arms, a 192-room revamp of the 1834 hotel overlooking Parker’s Piece, a city-centre playing field famous as the birthplace of Association Football, as played by Cambridge students in the 1840s. The catering link goes back much further: the field was named after Edward Parker, a college cook who owned it in the early 1600s.
Welch grew up near Cambridge, leaving to train in London under Gary Rhodes before joining Michel Roux junior at Le Gavroche. He was head chef of Gordon Ramsay’s Pétrus at the Berkeley in Knightsbridge, and relaunched Launceston Place in Kensington before leaving to work on Mustique in the Caribbean.
He said: “I am thrilled to finally be coming home to Cambridge to create a modern British restaurant in the heart of the city. The menu will be as flamboyant as I am, with dishes reflecting my personality and passion for fuss-free, beautiful and downright delicious food, cooked with locally sourced and seasonal ingredients.”
Welch plans to develop a “farm to fork” menu using East Anglian produce. The hotel and restaurant interiors are by Martin Brudnizki, who designed the Ivy and Scotts in London.