Ashley Palmer-Watts is leaving the Fat Duck Group

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Ashley Palmer-Watts is set to leave The Fat Duck group after almost twenty years as part of Heston Blumenthal's restaurant empire.

The chef shared the news on Twitter, where he said: "After 20 incredible years, it is time for me to move on from Bray for a new chapter and to take on fresh challenges. I will initially be spending time with my family as I prepare for the new and exciting journey ahead."

"I am eternally grateful to all of you for the knowledge and memories I have gathered working with Heston and the group and would like to thank all the brilliant people past and present that have made the last 20 years nothing short of extraordinary." 

"I wish everyone continued success for the future and I am very proud to be able to say that I have been a part of the magic of Heston's world." 

Ashley joined The Fat Duck group during its ascent to glory almost two decades ago, and has played an instrumental role in making it the institution it is today.

The chef put his own stamp on Dinner, Heston's London restaurant, and it is likely that any future venture of his own will draw on his love for food's historical heritage, as well as his skill at creating a theatrical dining experience.

He earned and has retained the restaurant's Michelin two stars, overseeing its continuing success since it opened in 2011.

The news comes at an interesting point in time for the group, which has had its fair share of woes in recent months: earlier this year, it reported massive financial losses in the UK,  and just days ago declared insolvency in Australia and is facing a  £200,000 lawsuit following allegations by a former member of staff that working at The Fat Duck had caused her lasting physical and mental injuries.

Ashley has yet to announce his plans for the future, but, given the excitement around the former Fat Duck duo Jonny Lake and Isa Bal's new venture, they are bound to draw attention within and outside the industry.

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 1st January 2020

Ashley Palmer-Watts is leaving the Fat Duck Group