Ben Murphy will leave The Woodford at the end of the year

The  Staff Canteen

Ben Murphy, the Chef to Watch in the Good Food Guide 2017 and Pierre Koffman protégé, is set to leave The Woodford on December 31 2016 less than a year after taking over as head chef.

The 25-year-old, who recently won Food and Travel Magazine's Breakthrough Chef of the Year award, transformed the former four-story Georgian residence into a 100 cover restaurant. It opened in March this year and was backed by Essex-based restaurateur, Steve Andrews, founder of Essex-based The Blue Group - a collection of hotels, restaurants and bars.

Ben Murphy with mentor Pierre Koffman

(credit: Ben Murphy twitter)

“The Woodford is looking for a new direction,” explained Ben. “It wants to offer simpler food and to do more covers. Obviously I’ve never trained to do that many covers and currently The Woodford is not a brasserie so I think they want to change the concept.”

The former Young National chef of the Year winner is now focused on his next venture and said: “I’m looking and I have a few options but nothing has been confirmed yet. I’ve spoken to Pierre Koffman as my mentor and he’s guiding me in the right direction so we’ll see.”

>>> Related - 10 Minutes With: Pierre Koffman, 50 Years a Chef

After three years working for Pierre Koffmann Ben moved to France to work at Michelin-starred restaurants: Michel Guerard’s Les Pres d’Eugenie and Epicure at Le Bristol, working under Eric Fréchon.

He won the Young National Chef of the Year title in 2013 and was headhunted for BBC2 culinary programme, Chefs on Trial. He returned to London to work at two Michelin-starred restaurant, The Greenhouse in Mayfair.

Talking about the direction he is looking to move his food style in, Ben said: “The food I do next will be nothing like The Woodford, it’ll be more exciting and complex plus more interactive at the table. Not exactly like The Fat Duck but that’s an example of the direction I want to go in next.”

He added: “A Michelin star is still the dream, I said I wanted one by the time I was 30 so I still have time!”

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 14th October 2016

Ben Murphy will leave The Woodford at the end of the year